From 3-4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 and Thursday, Feb. 25, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) will hold free public webinars, featuring speakers Rogier Gregoire and Glenn Simmons.

Gregoire will cover the topic of Duluth’s Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Tuesday, while Simmons will discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people who are experiencing health disparities on Thursday.

The events are being held in honor of Black History Month, and collaborative efforts among FDLTCC organizers and the speakers in an effort to create open dialogue within the community.

Ariel Johnson, Seek to Learn Academy director at FDLTCC, reached out to Gregoire, who serves on the memorial's board, because she believed he could create connections between the past and the future.

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Rogier Gregoire speaks during a 2016 town hall meeting in Duluth. Gregoire will lead a virtual discussion Tuesday, Feb. 23, on the the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. (Steve Kuchera / File / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
Rogier Gregoire speaks during a 2016 town hall meeting in Duluth. Gregoire will lead a virtual discussion Tuesday, Feb. 23, on the the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. (Steve Kuchera / File / skuchera@duluthnews.com)


“He reminds us of the history and how it has shaped local society, which can also contribute to the future we make,” she said.

An FDLTCC student ambassador suggested Johnson reach out to Duluth company DanSan Creatives, where Simmons works, and ask them to collaborate on an event.

DanSan works to empower youth and community members through diverse narratives and art forms, according to its website.

Simmons works as an artist and collaborator with the company, specializing in public speaking and poetry. He also works as an assistant professor of biomedicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth.

Simmons said he “jumped at the chance” to conduct a discussion about what health disparities are and how they play a role in social issues.

“When I speak on these things, I am speaking from ... personal experience,” he said.

Simmons grew up experiencing struggles related to health care access and emphasized that while race and ethnicity play prominent roles, they are not the only causes of disparities.

Glenn Simmons (Photo courtesy of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College)
Glenn Simmons (Photo courtesy of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College)

He hopes to mix his personal and professional experiences to discuss cultural and racial issues, as well as darker chapters in medical history that may not be as widely known to the general public.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a tidal wave of medical facts and opinions. Simmons said he feels an open dialogue will ultimately help people better understand the power of science during this time.

The free webinars will be hosted via Zoom.

If you (virtually) go

Tuesday, Feb. 23, session with Rogier Gregoire: https://minnstate.zoom.us/j/98625659956?from=addon

Meeting ID: 986 2565 9956

Passcode: 618510

Time: 3-4 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 25, session with Glenn Simmons: https://minnstate.zoom.us/j/92562427235?from=addon

Meeting ID: 25 6242 7235

Passcode: 253205

Time: 3-4 p.m.