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Washtenaw United: Marking MLK Day With A Look At Racial Equity And Justice In Washtenaw County

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.

WEMU has partnered with the United Way of Washtenaw County to explore the people, organizations, and institutions creating opportunity and equity in our area.  And, as part of this ongoing series, you’ll also hear from the people benefiting and growing from the investments being made in the areas of our community where there are gaps in available services.  It is a community voice.  It is 'Washtenaw United.'




Alize Asberry Payne joined the Washtenaw County team as head of the Racial Equity office in July of 2019.  She has more than 20 years of experience as a community organizer and program specialist working in San Francisco and Detroit.  In her time at the county, she’s established a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy and inclusion statement and worked closely with county departments to make changes to county operations through the lens of equity.  Asberry Payne represents Washtenaw County on the State of Michigan’s Covid-19 Racial Disparity Taskforce and has played a vital role in the county’s Covid-19 emergency response.


One Community: Advancing Racial Equity in Washtenaw County


United Way of Washtenaw County has a vision that, by 2030, your zip code will no longer predict your opportunity in life.  At present, it does.  In our view, racism, poverty, and trauma are the principal threats that stand in the way of our realizing this vision for our community.  We recognize that the strength and vitality of our entire community is tied to just and equitable access to resources and opportunities.  Towards this end, we have much work to do.

We are proud to have a partner in Washtenaw County government that also views racial and ethnic equity as not only a priority, but a mandate for our community’s well being and quality of life.  Through our mutual efforts, we commit to community education on current inequities, responsive programming and initiatives, and working towards policy change to shift the impact racism, poverty, and trauma have on people achieving their full potential.
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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him atdfair@emich.edu

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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