89.1 WEMU

washtenaw united

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.


Roz Gould Keith
Roz Gould Keith

There has been some progress made in societal acceptance of the trans community, but there is a long way to go.  Most communities still lack adequate support systems for trans people and their families to help navigate through.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," Roz Gould Keith joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss her family's journey and the nonprofit organization it inspired, Stand with Trans. 


Michelle Walters
Washtenaw Area Council for Children / washtenawchildren.org

The pandemic has created hardships across the board.  For a good number of people, it has been devastating and sometimes tragic.  Many have lost jobs and, coupled with being largely confined at home, are more stressed than ever.  That can be a recipe for child abuse.  WEMU's David Fair spoke about it with Michelle Walters, executive director of the Washtenaw Area Council for Children, whose mission is to prevent child abuse and ensure safe and healthy lives for all children. 


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. 


Krista Girty
Ozone House / ozonehouse.org

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed more young people into the streets.  Ozone House's new facility in Ypsilanti is full up with a waiting list that is the longest in the organization's history.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair talks with Ozone House executive director Krista Girty about helping those in need despite the changes the COVID crisis has created. 

  

Alice Liao
Alice Liao

For 20 years, the Ann Arbor-based Women's Center of Southeastern Michigan (WCSM) has been providing a safe space for women and families in our region.  As like all nonprofit organizations, the events of 2020, including the coronavirus crisis, has made the center's services more valuable than ever.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair speaks to WCSM's marketing director, Alice Liao, about what the center has accomplished in 2020 and what it hopes to achieve in 2021.


Toni Kayumi
Toni Kayumi

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Ann Arbor YMCA has remained committed to serving Washtenaw County and its citizens.  The organization has been adapting to the challenges presented by the pandemic and is prepared to continue doing so for as long as necessary.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair  spoke with Ann Arbor YMCA president and CEO Toni Kayumi about 2020, the Y's plans for the immediate future, and the lessons learned that will carry forward. 


Madeline Garcia
United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

One of the repercussions of the pandemic has been higher unemployment levels and a greater number of people in need of assistance.  For many service agencies and institutions, volunteers have become even more invaluable in serving the mission of meeting those needs.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair spoke with Madeline Garcia from the United Way of Washtenaw County Volunteer Center about volunteerism in a most unusual year.   


United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

Food Gatherers president and CEO Eileen Spring has been named 2021 Woman of the Year by the United Way of Washtenaw County.  The ceremony to honor her will be held virtually in March at the "Power of the Purse" event.  Spring and United Way of Washtenaw County president and CEO Pam Smith joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the award, the work, and food insecurity as we head toward the Thanksgiving holiday in this week's "Washtenaw United."   


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."


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.  


Towana Parker
Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach / dapco.org

The coronavirus pandemic has been a stressful time for everyone, even moreso for new and expectant mothers.  In the meantime, a Washtenaw County nonprofit group called "Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach," or DAPCO, has providing special services for families in need, and the organization has a special event planned for those welcoming new babies into their lives.  DAPCO executive director Towana Parker talks about a community "baby shower" the organization is planning with WEMU's David Fair on this week's "Washtenaw United."


Dan Kelly
Shelter Association of Washtenaw County / annarborshelter.org

Fall weather is here, and winter is right around the corner.  The services required to aid and assist the area's homeless increase every year during the cold weather seasons.  Now add in the potentially lethal combination of COVID-19 and flu, and things change even more.  On this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair gets together with Dan Kelly, executive director of the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, to discuss how services have and will continue to evolve during these challenging times. 


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." 


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