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Michigan Department of Civil Rights to Celebrate 50th Anniversary with Community Luncheon in Hart

Hart, MI - The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) and the Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) will host a luncheon discussion with community members and participate in a number of events honoring migrant and seasonal workers and their history in Hart and the region on June 3 and 4, 2013.

The two day celebration kicks off at 7 pm on Monday, June 3, with the screening of Asparagus! Stalking the American Life at the Hart United Methodist Church, 308 State Street in Hart. The 2005 feature-length documentary explores the crisis facing Oceana County from the possible destruction of its asparagus-based farming economy because of a little-known provision in a trade bill. Faced with potential economic ruin and the loss of the area's signature agricultural industry, the community decides to fight back.

On Tuesday, June 4, from 9:30 am to 11 am, the monthly meeting of the State of Michigan Interagency Migrant Services Committee will be held in Hart, also at the United Methodist Church on 308 South State Street. The meeting will include a presentation on Mexican-American history in Muskegon County by author and historian Connie Navarro.

Following the meeting, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights will host a community luncheon and discussion of civil rights issues in honor of the department's 50th anniversary, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the same location.

From 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm, the celebration moves to Hart City Hall with a tour of the exhibit Farmworkers: Past & Present, which chronicles the lives and work of migrant and seasonal farmworkers in Oceana and neighboring counties from the 1890s to today.

Participants will also have the opportunity to view the Smithsonian traveling exhibit The Way We Worked, showcasing images from the National Archives' photographic collections to tell the story of work in American culture.

All events are free and open to the public. To attend the MDCR 50th anniversary luncheon, RSVP by June 1 to Audra Fuentes at 269/615-6308 or

The visit to Hart is an early stop on MDCR's year-long tour of 50 Michigan cities commemorating the 50th anniversary of the department's creation. MDCR 50th anniversary events showcase MDCR services and provide an opportunity for department staff to meet with community leaders and citizens on a variety of topics.

The events are co-sponsored by the Michigan Department of Human Services Office of Migrant Services, Oceana County Department of Human Services, and the West Michigan Migrant Resource Council.

The complete 50-city anniversary tour schedule is on the MDCR website,

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