Human Resources and Law

Law firm looks at racial integration

June 3, 2015
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Warner Tanner Colby
Attorneys and staff from eight offices across the state this summer will be reading “Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange History of Integration in America,” by Tanner Colby, as part of Warner Norcross' annual One Book, One Firm project. Photo via TannerColby.com

Attorneys and staff from eight offices across the state this summer will be reading “Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange History of Integration in America,” by Tanner Colby, as part of one law firm’s annual One Book, One Firm project.

Warner Norcross is now in the eighth year of its One Book, One Firm diversity and inclusion book club, which includes a lunch-and-learn program in July that will be attended by attorneys and staff from all of the law firm’s offices.

Lunch and learn

A panel of community leaders will share their insights into the book during the lunch-and-learn session.

The panel will include: Nancy Haynes, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan; civil rights attorney Stephen Drew; and the Very Rev. John J. Geaney, rector of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Grand Rapids.

The book

“Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange History of Integration in America” examines integration in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century.

Colby’s work is organized into four sections: integration of schools, integration of neighborhoods, integration in the workplace, and integration in the church.

The book was nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.

One Book, One Firm history

The annual One Book, One Firm program is modeled after successful community reading programs that encourage all residents of a city to read, discuss and share the experience of the same book.

Past selections have included: “Stealing Buddha’s Dinner,” by Bich Minh Nguyen; “The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work,” by Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnson; “The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett; and “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” by Susan Cain.

Year-round book club

In addition to the One Book, One Firm program, Warner Norcross has a Diversity Book Club that offers year-round reading and discussion opportunities of fiction and non-fiction works.

Books selected for this series have included “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” “America’s Boy,” “Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America” and “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.”

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