ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT)  – Armed with new information and committed to saving and improving lives, Gift of Life Michigan will take its Let’s Talk multicultural outreach into the virtual realm this year.

Gift of Life’s theme this year is “Too Big for One Day” with a host of virtual events which includes the annual LIFEWalk scheduled for July 25-Aug. 1.

“Let’s Talk” was launched last year to bring additional focus to the need for minority organ donors, break down misconceptions about the organ donation process and encourage communal conversations about the issue in diverse communities.

“We wanted to reach people in their own neighborhoods,” said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “It was important to listen to their concerns and encourage conversation.”

Throughout 2019, Gift of Life hosted dialogue circles in African American, Arabic and Latinx communities, took part in events in those neighborhoods and reached out through social and traditional media. Those dialogue circles reinforced previous research conducted about the shortage of minority donors, including:

  • All ethnic groups shared some common myths about organ donation, including a fear that care providers would not work as hard to save their lives if they were organ donors.
  • African Americans are reluctant to register as organ donors due to a general distrust of the medical community rooted in historical practices.
  • Latinx and Hispanic Americans share that distrust, particularly in the current political climate.
  • With Arab American and Muslim populations, the objections are primarily concerned with whether their faith traditions support the concept of organ donation.
  • Family and friends play a strong role in defining an individual’s attitude toward organ donation.
  • The message is better received if information is provided by a member that represents the community.

Let’s Talk 2020 will also feature stories of organ recipients and donor families, inspiring video testimonies and online roundtables that address myths, misconceptions and other topics.

Save the date for these Gift of Life eventsL

  • August: National Minority Donor Awareness Month
  • September: Millennial Roundtable
  • October: Business Roundtable with Sandy Baruah from the Detroit Regional Chamber

To stay connected with Gift of Life’s virtual events, visit here. 

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