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United Way of Washtenaw County

  • There are a number of firsts this year in the United Way of Washtenaw County's Justice Fund allocations. The aim is to put money in the hands of more nonprofits and organizations that are working most closely with those in need—particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). WEMU's David Fair is joined by Bridget Herrmann, UWWC's vice president for community impact and advocacy, to discuss the refocused lens being used to shape community investment moving forward.
  • As Pride Month continues, we remember a trailblazing, social justice force that forever changed Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. Jim Toy passed away this year at the age of 91, but his work not only lives on, but it also continues to grow in his name. WEMU's David Fair is joined by Jim Toy Community Center board member, Leigh Greden. Together, they explore the community and attitudinal changes Mr. Toy brought forth on behalf of the LGBTQ community and the work his legacy requires to be carried forward.
  • We are days away from the national and local celebration of Juneteenth. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas. 157 years later, racial issues and matter of inequity and inequality remain at the fore of our social discourse. WEMU's David Fair is joined by the founder of Survivors Speak, Trische' Duckworth, to talk about Juneteenth as a platform to advance the dialogue and look at Ypsilanti's annual Juneteenth celebration while also marking the one-year anniversary of the painting of Ypsilanti's Black Lives Matter Boulevard.
  • June is Pride Month, and the effort to advance equity and equality for the LGBTQ community has a long way to go. There are also areas of foundational progress to celebrate, even while some are under attack. On "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair covers all of that with the deputy director of Movement Advancement Project, Naomi Goldberg. Naomi also serves as LGBTQ Liaison to the Mayor of Ann Arbor.
  • For some, Memorial Day is a day away from work in which, maybe a little time is spent reflecting upon those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. For family, friends and fellow soldiers, it is much more. On a Memorial Day edition of "Washtenaw United," WEMU’s David Fair explored the very personal nature of honoring the fallen with a man who has lived it. Today, Derrick Miller helps Washtenaw County through his work as executive director of the Ann Arbor-based non-profit, Community Action Network. He is also a former Marine who brutally lost some of his fellow soldiers in Iraq. Yet, he recently jumped back into the war-torn fray and traveled to Ukraine to help with its refugee crisis. We pay tribute to his story on this Memorial Day.
  • A "Community Baby Shower" continues through the end of May in Washtenaw County. We know there is a local and national shortage of baby formula, but there are a number new moms in our community that need a more than that. That's the idea behind the month-long event: to raise needed supplies to be distributed to give mother and child a hand-up as they begin their journey together. WEMU's David Fair was joined by the Vice President of Development of the United Way of Washtenaw County, Susan Smith, to discuss how serious the needs are and what we can collectively do to help in our community.
  • May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In 2021, hate crimes against members of the AAPI community in the U.S. increased 339%. WEMU's David Fair sat down with local artist, graphic recorder, and BIPOC advocate, Yen Azzaro, to discuss her personal journey and how it informs the work she does to build equity and understanding.
  • The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation is under new direction. Shannon Polk took over as president and CEO late last year. The foundation is a trusted philanthropic resource in Washtenaw County. WEMU's David Fair caught up with Dr. Polk for a look at what the future holds for the foundation.
  • May is mental health awareness month. Unfortunately, there is stigma still attached to mental health issues. There is inspiration to be had when progress is made, However, much of it comes from the sad and true stories of those who have suffered most. On "Washtenaw United" this week, WEMU’s David Fair discusses mental health, addiction and the loss of a son with Collyer Smith. Collyer is a member of the Ann Arbor Rotary Club and serves as the Rotary District’s chair of its mental health initiatives, including the “Stop the Stigma” campaign.
  • For those who need to take a payday loan to help meet financial obligations, it can be crippling. With interest rates averaging 370% in Michigan, just paying the loan back creates a cycle of debt that can be near impossible to escape. The "Stop the Debt Trap" petition drive is seeking to limit those interest loan rates to a maximum of 36%. WEMU's David Fair spoke with the group's Josh Hovey about the effort to get the initiative on the November ballot and why it's so important for all too many in Washtenaw County and around the state.