89.1 WEMU

racism

Ypsilanti Township

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation after someone shot a car owned by the husband of Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustee Monica Ross-Williams.  

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. 


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.


The Corner Health Center / cornerhealth.org

Ypsilanti's Corner Health Center is connecting with Ford Motor Company to provide a safe space for teens and young adults deal with the many challenges of what's happening right now due to COVID-19 and systemic racism.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Corner Health Center executive director Versell Smith and Pamela Alexander, director of community development at Ford, about a recent virtual teen summit and plans for additional community outreach moving forward.


Sam Killian
Ypsilanti District Library / ypsilibrary.org

The local and national dialogue on racism continues.  To understand where we are and where we are going, it is important to understand how we got here.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair checks in with Sam Killian from the Ypsilanti District Library.  They'll discuss the resources available while the library branches remain closed and look forward at what may come as they reopen. 


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. 


Sandra Turner-Handy
Michigan Environmental Council / environmentalcouncil.org

Systemic racism touches all aspects of life in America.  There is police brutality, economic oppression, lack of access to health care, less opportunity to advance, and not enough political clout to be heard.  It’s all connected.  Another component is environmental justice, and it contributes to all of the above.  In WEMU’s "Issues of the Environment," Michigan Environmental Council engagement director Sandra Turner-Handy explains why this is the time where real progress can be made. 


Jerry Clayton
Michigan Sheriffs' Association / misheriff.org

Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton is speaking out about police reform, saying recent racial incidents involving police have "sparked a moment requiring immediate action."  He talks with WEMU's Lisa Barry and says that moment needs to be turned into a new era of police reform, criminal justice reform, and societal reform that fundamentally deconstructs institutional systemic and structural racism.


Ann Arbor District Library

The Ann Arbor District Library has launched a Black Lives Matter initiative.  

Beth Bashert

A protest is scheduled for this afternoon at 4 pm in Ypsilanti to demand the resignation of Mayor Beth Bashert.  

City of Ypsilanti

Some residents want Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert to resign after making controversial comments during a city council meeting earlier this week.  

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.


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. 

 

 

Debbie Dingell
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the call for more police accountability has intensified.  Federal legislation has been introduced to rectify this problem, and 12th District Congresswoman Debbie Dingell is one of its top supporters and discusses the bill's merits and its chances of passing.  Additionally, she explores COVID-19 pandemic trends in a conversation with WEMU's David Fair. 


Gretchen Whitmer
State of Michigan / michigan.gov

It's been nearly three months since Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued her first executive order to "stay home" to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.  Even though the number of cases are declining, the pandemic has had a negative economic impact on many areas of the state budget and residents of the state.  WEMU's Lisa Barry spoke with the governor, who talked about the many different issues she is trying to deal with as a result of the current global health crisis.


Riverside Arts Center
Riverside Arts Center / riversidearts.org

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the local visual arts scene.  WEMU's Lisa Barry is joined by Omari Rush, executive director of CultureSource and Chair of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.  They talk with Elisa Guyton, executive director of the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti, who has been working hard to keep the center connected to the community during a pandemic which began just a few months after she took over the job.


University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance / smtd.umich.edu

In November of 2015, Eugene Rogers commissioned and debuted a powerful musical performance piece called "The Seven Last Words of Unarmed Men," which was performed by the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club.  Five years later, the musical performance conducted by Rogers, now the Director of Choral Activities and Conductor of the U of M chamber choir, is gaining even more attention following the recent death of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.  WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Rogers about the performance piece and shares some of the music.


Bev Willis

Bev Willis grew up in Washington, D.C., literally in the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement because of her parents and grandparents.  Deb Polich and David Fair talk with Bev about how those experiences led to her becoming a graphic designer, active in her community, and encouraging everyone to use their talents to document defining historical moments.  Hear the conversation on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.


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

Listen, learn, and act.  As protests continue in Washtenaw County, the State of Michigan, and the nation, that is the avenue U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell says she is taking.  In a conversation with WEMU's David Fair, the 12th District Dearborn Democrat explains the work underway, legislation to be proposed, and the ongoing effort to create unity in eliminating prejudice and brutality. 


Sarah Anthony
Michigan House Democrats / housedems.com

Protests continue across the nation following the death of George Floyd during an encounter with Minneapolis police officers.  Once again, police brutality and racism are at the fore of the national conversation.  Police brutality is only a part of equation.  Among other things, inequities exist in education, health, and the environment.  On the June edition of "1st Friday Focus on the Environment," WEMU's David Fair and Michigan League of Conservation Voters executive director Lisa Wozniak talk with 68th District State Representative Sarah Anthony about what is necessary to make lasting change. 


City of Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti’s City Council adopted a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis in the nation.  The city now plans to take certain steps to address the issue locally.  

Garlin Gilchrist
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

About 14% of Michigan's population is African American.  Roughly 40% of COVID-19 fatalties are in the African American community.  It is an alarming statistic.  Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist heads the state's Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities.  He joined WEMU's David Fair and Michigan League of Conservation Voters executive director Lisa Wozniak to discuss what is being done to address the immediate crisis.  He also highlights the longer term issues that will need to be addressed and what the role of the task force will be to that end. 


Saline Area Schools / salineschools.org

Saline Area Schools presented a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic framework to its board of education.  The goal is to address racism at the district after some of their students made racist comments against African Americans earlier this year. 


NEW
Nonprofit Enterprise at Work / new.org

The Washtenaw County Health Department recently released data regarding confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county.  The data shows African-Americans have a disproportionately higher number of cases, despite representing a much smaller segment of the overall population.  On "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair talks with Yodit Mesfin-Johnson, president and CEO of Nonprofit Enterprise at Work (NEW) and chair of the board of the United Way of Washtenaw County.  They discuss what the data reveals and what is being done to address the immediate and underlying issues. 


Saline Area Schools
Saline Area Schools / salineschools.org

Saline Area Schools is putting together a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan after racist incidents occurred prior to the Coronavirus shutdown.  WEMU's Jorge Avellan has the details.


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.


Jorge Avellan / WEMU

Over 100 people attended a community conversation Thursday night hosted by Saline Area Schools.  It centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion.  89.1 WEMU's Jorge Avellan was there and has the story.


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