racial justice

Missy Stults
City of Ann Arbor / a2gov.org

In 2020, the City of Ann Arbor adopted its ambitious "A2Zero" plan that would make the city completely carbon neutral by the year 2030. Now, one year later, progress on the plan continues. WEMU's David Fair and Michigan League of Conservation Voters executive director Lisa Wozniak checked in with Ann Arbor sustainability and innovations manager Missy Stults. Listen and get the updates on progress so far and the work still needed to meet the 2030 target. 


Trische' Duckworth
Trische' Duckworth

Today marks one year since George Floyd died under the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Since then, Chauvin has been convicted of murder, while the call for police reform has intensified. Trische' Duckworth is founder of the social justice group Survivors Speak. She joined WEMU's David Fair to reflect on the past year, discuss Wednesday's rally in Ann Arbor, and look beyond to a community of equity, equality, and racial justice. 


Mike Schade
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families / saferchemicals.org

A new report released today by the Mind the Store campaign (a partner organization of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor) finds significant chemical policy improvement. Nearly 70% of companies surveyed have better chemical safety programs now compared to their first evaluation dating as far back as 2016. Mike Schade is director of the campaign and joined by WEMU's David Fair to discuss the ongoing efforts to remove chemical hazards from consumer products. 

  


Debbie Dingell
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy / flickr.com

In the wake of the conviction of former Minneapolis, MN police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, police reform is at the top of local and national discussions.  12th District Representative Debbie Dingell weighs in on the opportunity to make meaningful change on that and other issues in a conversation with WEMU's David Fair.

Court TV/AP

Local civil rights activists are praising the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Yodit Mesfin-Johnson
Nonprofit Enterprise At Work / new.org

Yodit Mesfin-Johnson has been a community activist all her adult life.  She serves as president adn CEO of  Nonprofit Enterprise at Work (NEW) in Ann Arbor, is active in Black Lives Matter, and is on the board of the United Way of Washtenaw County.  It is her mission to create equity in marginalized communities and put more people of color at leadership tables to ensure diversity and equality in our communities.  In the final Women's History Month edition of "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair talks with Mesfin-Johnson about her life, career, and the foundations she is helping build for future generations.

Trische' Duckworth
Trische' Duckworth

As WEMU continues to mark Women's History Month, we continue to talk with some of the women working today to building a new and better future.  The Black Lives Matter movement was initiated by women.  Community activist Trische' Duckworth has been a vocal leader of the movement in Washtenaw County.  WEMU's David Fair discussed the journey to activism with Duckworth and the history she hopes to help write and the legacy she wishes to leave on this  week's "Washtenaw United." 


Justin Onwenu
LinkedIn / linkedin.com

The movement towards racial equity is an ongoing fight.  Environmental racism has been an issue in our area since the industrial revolution, and it persists today, inflicting the most harm on communities of color.  In another Black History Month edition of "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair and the Sierra Club's Justin Onwenu explore problems and solutions in the effort to bring environmental injustice to an end. 


Cozine Welch
Cozine Welch / A Brighter Way

Those who are released from jail or prison, especially people of  color, face a great number of barriers to successfully reintegrating.  The COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse.  Former inmate Cozine Welch started the organization "A Brighter Way" to help those, like him, who have faced these obstacles.  Welch joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the work of supporting those in need of a new path while recognizing, and fighting, the systemic racism that permeates our system of justice. 


Donele Wilkins
Greendoor Initative / greendoorinitiative.org

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the the African-American community more in a variety of negative ways.  Among other things, it has highlighted the systemic issues that continue to support environmental racism.  Detroit-based "Green Door Initiative" was created specifically to fight such inequities.  Organization founder and CEO Donele Wilkins discusses progress and present and future challenges with WEMU's David Fair.  


Washtenaw Faces Race / washtenawfacesrace.weebly.com/

February is Black History Month, and coming up this week in Ypsilanti is a virtual community conversation being called “America Without Racism...Making the Vision a Reality."  Organized by several local organizations, including “Washtenaw Faces Race” and the Ypsilanti District Library, the two-day, online event is intended to be a conversation about imagining a world without racism and exploring what needs to be done to make that a reality.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with La'Ron Williams, a local storyteller and racial justice educator, who helped come up with the idea for the community event.


Alize Asberry Payne

2020 reinforced that there is still a lot of work to do to achieve racial equality and justice in America.  Numerous acts of police brutality and a pandemic that disproportionate impacted people of color highlight the need for greater investment in equity.  In a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day edition of "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair discusses the state of "The Dream," locally and beyond, with Washtenaw County racial equity officer Alize Asberry Payne.


Eastern Michigan University / emich.edu

Eastern Michigan University, in collaboration with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, is bringing a distinguished keynote speaker to the annual Martin Luther King Junior  celebration event this year.  White House correspondent for PBS and NBC and MSNBC political contributor Yamiche Alcindor will be delivering the keynote address virtually this year because of the pandemic.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talked with the award-winning journalist about her experiences covering President Donald Trump and what message she hopes to share in her address.


Eli Savit
Eli Savit / eli2020.com

Eli Savit officially takes over as Washtenaw County's new prosecutor in January 2021 but has already been meeting with community groups and planning major reforms to how the office operates and to the local criminal justice system.  WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Savit as his new position begins.


Bridget Herrmann
United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

To say that 2020 was a challenging year would be an understatement.  The coronavirus pandemic combined with political unrest and reinvigorated calls for racial justice and equity proved difficult for everyone. The United Way of Washtenaw County had to adapt to new work restrictions, launch new fundraising programs, and adapt to changing and increasing needs in the community.  UWWC vice president for impact and advocacy Bridget Herrmann joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the year in review and a peek into what 2021 may bring. 


Desirae Simmons
Desiraé Simmons

With the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, and a highly volatile election season, 2020 has been a year of discontent.  Desiraé Simmons is co-director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice.  She says the good news is more people have become engaged and are working to take action, but it has to continue to grow.  Simmons joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the growing importance of civic engagement in this week's "Washtenaw United."


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.


NEW
Nonprofit Enterprise at Work / new.org

All too often, when public discourse centers on issues of racial equality and justice, the voices we hear from are from white people.  Ann Arbor-based NEW (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work) is changing that by putting forth leaders in the Black community to lead the conversations.  The online series is called "Centering Justice."  Will Jones III is Relationship Manager at NEW.  He joined WEMU's David Fair on this week's edition of "Washtenaw United" to discuss racism and the task of creating meaningful and lasting change. 


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.


City of Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor Independent Community Police Oversight Commission says they’re starting to see a new type of complaint being filed. 

Debbie Dingell
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Another police shooting of a Black man, social unrest and urgent calls for racial justice.  That has been the news playing behind the four-day Republican National Convention that concluded Thursday night.  12th District Congresswoman Debbie Dingell joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss, among other things, her opinion of the RNC, dealing with issues of policing and race, and the possibility of a federal government shutdown. 


Wiki Commons

A rally will be held this Saturday in Ann Arbor to protest the arrest and detention of protesters by federal officers in Portland, Oregon.  

Debbie Dingell
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Coronavirus cases have spiked in several states, including Michigan, and 12th District U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell fears more restrictions and shutdowns.  Meantime, the Dearborn Democrat is pushing for another federal relief package, new policing measures, and protections for international students that could face deportation.  Dingell joined  WEMU's David Fair to update work on all of those fronts. 


Debbie Dingell
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

On Thursday,  the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "George Floyd Justice and Policing Act."  It aims to create higher accountability in policing and create standards and oversight to protect from discrimination and brutality.  As written, it will not pass in the Senate.  12th District Congresswoman Debbie Dingell joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss that legislation and the prospects of another coronavirus relief package. 


Today is Juneteenth.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry has been sharing the thoughts of several different community members about what Juneteenth means to them.  We The People Opportunity Farm Director Melvin Parson talks about what Juneteenth means to him and shares his concerns about being an African American man in 2020.


Ann Arbor To Host Juneteenth Celebration

Jun 19, 2020
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.


Wikimedia Commons (TOP), State of Michigan (Bottom)

Friday, June 19th has been declared "Juneteenth Celebration Day" in Michigan by Governor Gretchen Whitmer commemorating the day in 1865 when slavery was abolished in the United States.  Following the deaths of several African Americans by police, a light has been shone nationwide on the problem of systemic racism in our country.

WEMU's Lisa Barry is talking--mostly listening--to a number of community voices about what Juneteenth means to them, beginning with Alize Asberry Payne, the Racial Equity Officer for Washtenaw County.


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.


Lisa Jackson

Like many communities across the country, police reform is an important topic being discussed by local government officials including in Ann Arbor.  WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Lisa Jackson, chair of the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission in Ann Arbor, which is looking into its own ideas for how that should be done. 

 

 

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