89.1 WEMU

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.


Brandon Tucker
United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

This past year has brought so much change to our community, from fighting the COVID-19 crisis to combatting racism and police brutality.  The United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) is working to creating equity in access to opportunity and quality of life by the year 2030.  UWWC campaign chair Brandon Tucker joined  WEMU's David Fair on "Washtenaw United" to discuss the work that needs to be done over the next decade to meet those aspirations. 


Barbara Niess-May
SafeHouse Center / safehousecenter.org

SafeHouse Center provides emergency shelter and an array of services to survivors on domestic violence and sexual assault in Washtenaw County.  Like all other service agencies, the pandemic has an effect on the way it conducts its business and on the bottom line.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," SafeHouse Center executive director Barbara Niess-May discusses maintaining vital and essential services during a public health crisis. 


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. 


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."


Moonson Eninsche
Washtenaw County / washtenaw.org

There are more than 90 service agencies and organizations in Washtenaw County helping area residents through the "Barrier Busters" program.  For many, COVID-19 has only increased the need for assistance.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair discussed the issues with Moonson Eninsche from the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development.  


Sivan Jones
Sivan Jones

The prospect of an uncertain school year is causing a great deal of worry for most parents.  A new service in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area called Family Pod Match aims to help navigate ways to alleviate some of that stress during COVID-19 and the new academic year.  For this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair talks with the program's founder, Sivan Jones, about how she can help find the right family match to share the burdens of daycare, so working parents can better balance need and uncertainty.  


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.


Faith in Action
Sheri Montoye

The organization Faith in Action has provided food, shelter assistance, and other basic services to low income families in Chelsea and Dexter for decades.  With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, the organization has had to work extra hard.  Faith in Action executive director Sheri Montoye joined WEMU's David Fair to share the stories of adapting to ever-changing circumstances and why there is inspiration to be found through fostering relationships through service work. 


Maria Militizer
Maria Militzer

Mexiquenses en Michigan is a grassroots, community organization established in 2016.  It is integrated by vulnerable, immigrant families with limited access to decision-making, power, and resources.  The Washtenaw County-based group dreams of what can be accomplished not just for immigrant communities, but with their active participation in all phases of the decision-making that affect their health, educational, and community outcomes.  Organization president Maria Militzer shares this inspiring story with WEMU's David Fair on this week's "Washtenaw United."


Chris Lemon
Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation / aaacf.org

The pandemic, and its impact on the economy, has forced some nonprofits to close.  Others are just hanging on.  The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation has partnered up to bring the services of "Catchafire" to the area, and it is making a difference.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair talks with the foundation's Chris Lemon about how the partnership with Washtenaw Coordinated Funders and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund is creating a path forward. 


Our House
Our House / ourhousemi.org

The transition to adult life can be difficult for those raised in the foster care system.  The Washtenaw County-based nonprofit, "Our House," was founded to make such transitions a little easier.  However, the coronavirus crisis has made the organization's work  more challenging.  But, there are successes to champion and optimism for the future.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," Our House executive director Natasha Doan-Motsinger speaks to WEMU's David Fair about how the organization, and those it serves, are adapting. 


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.  


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. 


United Way of Washtenaw County
United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

Managing finances can be difficult.  It becomes infinitely more difficult if there is very little money to work with.  COVID-19 has destroyed financial stability for a great many.  Add in issues of racial and economic oppression, and the difficulties are further compounded.  A grant secured via a partnership between the United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) and the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development will allow for further investment in teaching residents in need how to build a better financial future.  WEMU's David Fair talks to UWWC financial coach Ugbaad Keynan about the "Financial Navigation" initiative for this week's "Washtenaw United."


United Way of Washtenaw County
United Way of Washtenaw County / Facebook

Each year, the United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) hosts its National Day of Action, where residents get together to improve their neighborhoods through community service.  Yet, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, this year will a little different.  For this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair speaks to UWWC representative Madeline Mortimer and Engage @EMU staff member Kristen Klochko about the first-ever "National Day of Virtual Action," a partnership between UWWC and Eastern Michigan University.


Reach Church / reachchurcha2y.org

A matter of race and faith.  Pastor Jason Robinson of Reach Church in Ypsilanti is ministering to an outraged and heartbroken congregation in the wake of yet another police killing of a black man.  Is this time different?  Will there be enough unity to make signifcant changes in systemic racism and bring an end to police brutality?  Perspective from a faith leader in this week's "Washtenaw United." 


Sarah Thornburg
Friends In Deed / friendsindeedmi.org

For several decades, the Ypsilanti-based organization "Friends In Deed" has been a major asset to Washtenaw County residents.  It has provided everything from furniture to financial aid to those who need it most.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair has a conversation with Friends In Deed executive director Sarah Thornburg, who explains the organization's strategies during the COVID-19 crisis.


Neel Hajra
Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation / aaacf.org

For more than 50 years, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) has been investing in the community with the aim of improving quality of life.  While the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t altered its mission, it has forced some changes in how the foundation decides how and where to apply its philanthropic efforts.  In this week’s "Washtenaw United" conversation, WEMU’s David Fair explores the changing landscape with the CEO of the AAACF, Neel Hajra. 


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 United
Washtenaw Literacy / washtenawliteracy.org

For nearly 50 years, Washtenaw Literacy has been dedicated to improving math and reading skills for adults.  Now as the COVID-19 crisis goes on, the organization has had to change their tactics.  Washtenaw Literacy executive director Amy Goodman joins WEMU's David Fair to discuss the organization's new methods in delivering the best adult education possible for this week's "Washtenaw United."


Raymond Rion
United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

The coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually everyone, but it has been particularly difficult for those who struggle with access to health care.  On "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair talks with Dr. Raymond Rion, executive director of Packard Health.  It is the non-profit mission to help that part of the community, but there are changes in how many of those services are rendered. 


Avalon Housing
Avalon Housing / avalonhousing.org

The coronavirus crisis has proven particularly difficult for the homeless.  Some Washtenaw County hotels are being used as temporary housing sites, but it is not a part of the long-term solution.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair has a conversation with Aubrey Patiño, executive director of Avalon Housing in Ann Arbor, about what preparations are underway to serve the moment and the future. 


Pam Smith
United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, the United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) has been building its $1 million, COVID-19 Community Relief Fund.  It provides financial assistance to fellow nonprofit organizations to be put to use to those most vulnerable and in need.  As of today, approximately $830,000 has been raised.  For this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair is joined by UWWC president/CEO Pam Smith, who details the latest plans for the relief fund.


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. 


Food Gatherers
Food Gatherers / foodgatherers.org

As we work through the Coronavirus pandemic, we must consider the needs of others, including basics like access to food.  For more than 30 years, Food Gatherers has put feeding the hungry and addressing food insecurity at the center of its mission.  During this public health crisis, the need for that work is increasing.  Food Gatherers president and CEO Eileen Spring joined WEMU's David Fair to tell the story of a community coming together to make sure those needs are met in this week's installment of "Washtenaw United."


United Way of Washtenaw County
United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

The United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) has committments for more than 600 thousand dollars in its effort to raise money for non-profits and those in the service sector.  This week, it will begin setting priorities on how best allocate that money with a plan to get the money back into the community as quickly as possible.  UWWC Vice President of Impact and Advocacy Bridget Healy provided the latest information in her conversation with WEMU's David Fair on this week's installment of "Washtenaw United."


Pam Smith
United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, many non-profits, businesses, and residents are under serious financial strain.  The United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) decided to start a fund drive to help those in need.  UWWC President/CEO Pam Smith joined WEMU's David Fair for a conversation about the initiative in this week's installment of "Washtenaw United."


Susan Cerniglia
Linkedin / linkedin.com

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, many developments have occurred in the state of Michigan.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair checks in with Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Cerniglia about the latest precautions being taken in Washtenaw County to keep the virus from spreading any further.


Americorps
David Fair / 89.1 WEMU

This fall, the Americorps program will celebrate its 25th anniversary.  Washtenaw County has a robust Americorps program.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," you'll meet two members who are taking the service work component of the program and building personal and professional growth into something of benefit to the greater community.  WEMU's David Fair welcomes current Americorps member Tien Holmes and Americorps alumnus Brian Rakovitis to talk about the paths they're forging.  


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