89.1 WEMU

systemic racism

Jen Spitler
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County / bbbswashtenaw.org

The year 2020 has brought many challenges, from political rancor, to COVID-19, and renewed efforts to end systemic racism.  Such challenges can be especially difficult for Washtenaw County's young people.  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County has pushed on in helping youngsters find their way.  On this week's "Washtenaw United," the organization's executive director, Jen Spitler, discusses the program and its operations in a most unusual year with WEMU's David Fair.  


United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

As the search for an end to systemic racism continues to grow, some of the best advice is to first look inward.  Toward that end, the United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) is offering another 21-Day Equity Challenge.  With support from the University of Michigan's Ginsberg Center, the UWWC joins other United Way chapters from around Michigan in raising understanding and awareness of racism. 

UWWC development and communications manager Ebony Robinson and Sara Saylor, the Ginsberg Center's assistant director for community engagement, discuss the issues and opportunities with WEMU's David Fair for this week's "Washtenaw United."


Mail Art
Jamie Vander Broek

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the visual arts.  Lisa Barry is joined by state and local arts leader Omari Rush and Jamie Vander Broek from the University of Michigan Book Arts Studio at the U-M Library.  The University Library is partnering with the Ann Arbor District Library to capture the feelings of these difficult times using "Mail Art."


Collaborative ChangeMakers / changemakerscounseling.com

We are living through what many call a “double pandemic.”  COVID 19-hit, and now we are struggling through another phase of change in the effort to end systemic racism and anti-Black violence.  The struggles are real, and many feel alone and without support.  Addressing it gave birth to the project “Ypsi: In This Together.”  The program, developed in conjunction with the counseling services organization Collaborative ChangeMakers, is creating needed connection.  In this week’s edition of “Washtenaw United,” Dr. Mishelle Rodriguez shares the genesis and growth of the program with WEMU's David Fair.


WEMU

An Ypsilanti pastor says churches are playing an important role in the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.  

Marie O'Neill
University of Michigan School of Public Health / sph.umich.edu

On its surface, there may not appear to be many connections between the coronavirus pandemic and the climate change crisis.  You don’t, however, have to dig very deep to find the parallels and the impacts on people of color.  Dr. Marie O‘Neill is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology at the University of Michigan, and her work has put her in the path of that intersection.  Dr. O’Neill joined WEMU’s David Fair this week to help connect the dots on this week’s "Issues of the Environment."


MOASH
Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health / moash.org

COVID-19 and issues surrounding law enforcement and policing are impacting us all.  Stay-at-home orders and bias can impact some portions of our community even more.  The Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH) has received a grant from the United Way of Washtenaw County to assist transgender and nonbinary youth better deal with those issues.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair and MOASH executive director Taryn Gal will explore the intersection of adolescent sexual health and the circumstances we find ourselves living in today.  


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.


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.


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.