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William Barnett - Yes We Can HonoreeReservations are required by noon February 21 to attend the Yes We Can Luncheon honoring William Barnett (86). Take a break from your day to enjoy a catered luncheon, and to visit a time in history very similar to today as he presents a program on his years as a civil rights activist.  Space is limited. $30

Barnett graduated from school at 16. At 18, he joined the army and eloped with his girlfriend. Ten years into their marriage with two children and successful careers, they both quit work, sold everything and started school, finishing with their doctorates.

He has served in a variety of positions at universities ever since. He was a teacher and Director of Asian Studies at the University of Iowa; a Department Head at Lansing Community College; Department Chair at Fayetteville State and the Dean of Arts & Behavioral Sciences at Saginaw Valley State University.

Barnett was very active in the civil rights movement. He trained in workshops with Dr. Martin Luther King, participated in sit-ins, was a freedom rider, and was arrested 59 times! On his last freedom ride, Barnett was beaten so badly that it took four months before he was recovered enough to be released from the hospital.

In the last five years, he helped build a water purification system in southern Mexico and a church in the Dominican Republic. Just this year, Barnett served as a visiting professor in Southern India!

The luncheon, catered by NADA, includes mandarin orange wonton salad, teriyaki honey glazed chicken, ginger garlic wild rice, sesame ginger green beans, and strawberry shortcake.

The vegetarian option is tofu stir-fry.

Yes We Can! is a Creative 360 program designed to honor and celebrate artists, scholars, scientists and community leaders who are 80 and above from across the Great Lakes Bay Region in a way that respects their knowledge and taps into their legacy of creativity. People of all ages enjoy the opportunity to engage with this dynamic group through their art, artist talks, luncheon soirees and more.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of The Barstow Foundation, Gavin & Associates, NADA Northwood University, Space Studios and Balanced Living Chiropractic, the 2017 program is just as dynamic and diverse as the previous three seasons. This year’s Yes We Can! schedule runs January through May and includes a total of eight luncheon soirees, six Tuesday Tributes and a tea to honor mothers.

Future luncheon honorees are:

March 3:   Sarah Dergazarian (84), educator, musician, community leader, volunteer
March 17:   Kay Collison Driver (80), community leader, educator, director, volunteer
March 24:    Ronnie McQuaid (87), commissioner, community leader, advocate, volunteer
April 28:    Ced Currin (86), scientist, visionary, community leader, volunteer
May 5:    Edward & Elyse Rogers, community & business leaders, philanthropists, volunteers

For more information about each event, go to Creative 360’s website at or call 989-837-1885 to request a print brochure.

If you know of someone who is (or will soon be) 80 and above and should be considered as part of future Yes We Can! programs, please contact Creative 360 at 989-837-1885 or by email at

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