89.1 WEMU

african americans

Kallista Walker
Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Inspired by the thought "A community that reads together grows together," Kallista Walker created "Our Community Reads."  She has recorded a number of community leaders reading stories with the goal of replacing all the negative and traumatic stories that Black and Brown children see growing up.  Lisa Barry talks with Kallista and Sarah Rigg of "On The Ground-Ypsi" about the community initiative. 


Dollar
Needpix / needpix.com

Governor Gretchen Whitmer yesterday signed a $62.7 billion state budget as the new fiscal year begins today.  We have more from Rick Pluta.


Aaron Kinzel
Youth Justice Fund / yjfund.org

A recent study shows African Americans in Washtenaw County are far more likely than white people to be charged with felonies, and sentences tend to be longer.  The data raises questions about prosecutorial discretion and biases in the criminal justice system.  Aaron Kinzel is a lecturer of Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Michigan-Dearborn and serves as Executive Director of the Youth Justice Fund.  He joined WEMU’s David Fair on "Washtenaw United" to explore bias and the search for equality in the criminal justice system.


CDC

Washtenaw County, the University of Michigan, and Eastern Michigan University conducted a study that revealed that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on residents of color in Ypsilanti. 

Gavel
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Due to recent heightened awareness of racial bias in our country, the "Citizens For Racial Equity in Washtenaw" or "CREW" was formed to examine the local criminal justice system for any racial disparities.  The report uncovered evidence of wide racial disparities in the county.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with committee co-chair Linda Rexer about the report's findings.


Avery Williamson / Instagram

This week, "Art and Soul" focuses on the local visual arts.  WEMU's Lisa Barry and state and local arts leader Omari Rush talk with Avery Williamson, who works with many different types of materials to weave and paint and write blending her love of history, especially the history of Black women in this country.


City of Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor branch of the NAACP is working with the City of Ann Arbor and other local groups to host a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday.  

Charles Wilson
Charles Wilson

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when slavery was abolished in the United States and has been declared a day of celebration in Michigan by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

WEMU's Lisa Barry has been sharing what several local African Americans in Washtenaw County think about the day or how they may be celebrating.  In this edition, we hear from Charles Wilson, who works for the Washtenaw County Health Department and supervises the community health promotion division.


Christopher Taylor
Christopher Taylor

Local law enforcement is top of mind in many communities around the country, including in Ann Arbor.  The city council recently introduced a resolution asking for a review of the city's police department, which raised some questions and concerns from the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission tasked with overseeing the investigation.

After talking with the commission chair, WEMU's Lisa Barry checks in with Ann Arbor mayor Christopher Taylor for his hopes and intentions for the police department review.


Debbie Dingell
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The COVID-19 pandemic remains, but this week brought to light another ongoing problem in America.  Incidents of alleged police brutality against African Americans  have resulted in protests throughout the country, most notably, here in Washtenaw County and Minneapolis, Minnesota. 12th District Congresswoman Debbie Dingell joined WEMU's David Fair to offer her perspective on these incidents. 

Omari Rush
Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

Omari Rush is a state and local arts leader and co-host of "Art and Soul: The Visual Arts" here on WEMU.  As executive director of CultureSource and an African American man, he wrote a message in response to recent racial incidents with police to artists and the community and shared it with WEMU's Lisa Barry.


Washtenaw County Sheriff Department

There have been demonstrations and community outrage after cell phone video of a recent Ypsilanti Township incident was made public.  It shows what appears to be a white Washtenaw County Sheriff's deputy striking an African American woman in the head after she refused to leave the scene of a shooting.

WEMU's Lisa Barry spoke with Washtenaw County sheriff Jerry Clayton, who says he immediately launched an investigation into what happened.


United Way of Washtenaw County / Facebook

African Americans in Washtenaw County have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  The percentage of infections and fatalities is higher than any other ethnicity.  There are systemic reasons that existed pre-pandemic that are being highlighted by the crisis.  The United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) is kicking off a new, five-day equity challenge in hopes of creating heightened awareness that, in turn, will prompt action to remedy the  inequities.  UWWC Vice President of Impact and Advocacy Bridget Healy and local minister Darryl Johnson discuss the issues and challenge with WEMU's David Fair on this week's "Washtenaw United." 


Washtenaw County Government

COVID-19 is having a disproportionately large impact on Washtenaw County’s African American community.


Garlin Gilchrist
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

As chair of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force On Racial Disparities, Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist says they've already met once and plan to meet again this week to come up with quick solutions for the problem of more African Americans dying from COVID-19.

 

WEMU's Lisa Barry spoke with the lieutenant governor about the problem that local health officials say has been detected in Washtenaw County as well.


Alize Asberry Payne
Washtenaw County / washtenaw.org

Earlier this month, the Washtenaw County Health Department released data regarding confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county.  The most disturbing information came out of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township, in which there more infections among African-Americans than any other ethnicity.  WEMU's Lisa Barry and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg examine why this situation exists with Washtenaw County racial equity officer Alize Asberry Payne for this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


COVID-19
Military Health / health.mil

As the rate of COVID-19 cases continues to increase locally, Washtenaw County health officials have broken down the number of cases by zip code and race.  89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry reports it has highlighted some disparaties in the county.

 

 


Jorge Avellan / WEMU

After launching a series of listening sessions in mid-February to address racism at Saline Area Schools, the district held its last community conversation Wednesday night.  Racism has been a hot topic at the district lately.  89.1 WEMU’s Jorge Avellan attended Wednesday's meeting and has the story.


Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

An Ypsilanti Township event intended to help African American men feel comfortable with their emotions and communication has become more popular than expected.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry talks with Nate Frazier and Keyon Purite in a conversation that touches on many important topics including how emotions impact your overall life experience and what that life experience is like for a black man in 2020.


Washtenaw United WMBK My Brother's Keeper
David Fair / 89.1 WEMU

The "My Brother's Keeper" program was created by the Obama administration in 2014, and Washtenaw County was among the first to sign on.  Two representatives from Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper (WMBK), Rod Wallace and Jamall Bufford, talk to WEMU's David Fair about its latest projects for this week's "Washtenaw United."


Lisa Disch
Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

In this edition of "In The Public Interest," our bi-weekly conversation with the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, WEMU’s Lisa Barry talks with Lisa Disch, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan about Ranked Choice Voting.

 


University of Michigan / umich.edu

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the local visual arts scene.  WEMU's Lisa Barry is joined by state and local arts leader Omari Rush and Amanda Krugliak, curator at the Institute For The Humanities at the University of Michigan.  They talk about a new mural depicting the first African-American student admitted to the University of Michigan.


#OTGYpsi: WIC Program Gives Helping Hand To Ypsilanti's Nursing Moms

Oct 9, 2019
Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Many negative thoughts come along with breastfeeding, from less health benefits to making others uncomfortable while in public.  Luckily, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in Washtenaw County offers advice and support to nursing mothers, especially in the Black community.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg explore this highly-beneficial project with WIC service coordinator Gayathri Akella and WIC peer educator Dera Williams.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Geneology helps people learn more about their families and their heritage.  Yet, it can be more complicated for African American families, especially when America's history with slavery is factored in.  From there, the Washtenaw County African American Geneological Society was born.  The society's founders, Omer Jean Winborn and Cheryl Garnett, talk about this project with WEMU's Lisa Barry and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Washtenaw United
David Fair / 89.1 WEMU

The mission of the Ypsilanti-based 'Black Men Read' program is clearly stated: "We exist to promote the power of stories, storytelling and literacy to children in order to normalize the historical and cultural contributions of Black people throughout the diaspora, uplifting Black men and all of the ways that they engage in their families and communities while disrupting tropes of Black father absenteeism."  In this week's 'Washtenaw United,' you'll find out why the program is changing dynamics throughout the entirety of the community.  


#OTGYpsi: Special Day In Ypsilanti Honors Legacy Of Booker T. Washington

Apr 10, 2019
Patrick Campion / 89.1 WEMU

Booker T. Washington was an integral part of African-American history, especially in the realm of education.  Washington's work inspired local photographer Noah Rucker to create an holiday designed to spread education, business, and art in the black community, which he calls "BookDay."  Rucker talks all about the most recent BookDay with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

What do you think about hip-hop music?  Do you know it has deep roots in African-American culture and many of its messages can be inspiring and uplifting?  As part of Black History Month, 89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry explores the roots and reputation of hip-hop music in Washtenaw County and efforts to incorporate it into education and its impact on the community.


Classroom
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Michigan needs to create more opportunities for kids of color.  That’s according to advocates after a new report was released Tuesday.  The report shows that African-American kids in Michigan fare worse in areas like education than in any other state.


Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber / a2ychamber.org

It's said music has healing powers, and, later this month, the Ypsilanti Community Schools is having a special event intended to both entertain and improve the health of the community.  

We spoke with YCS superintendent Dr. Benjamin Edmondson and Dr. Wanda Whitten-Shurney, CEO and Medical Director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America/Michigan Chapter, about the upcoming "Jazz in the Parking Lot" event.   


Wikipedia Media Commons

An investigation is ongoing after racist graffiti was discovered early Tuesday spray painted on King Hall on the Eastern Michigan University campus. 


Pages