Street Politics: Talking Taxes & Things with Christy Gray, Tax Preparer & Consultant

Street Politics: Talking Taxes & Things with Christy Gray, Tax Preparer & Consultant

Street Politics choppin’ it up with Christy Gray, Tax Preparer & Consultant. For more information on services at: 269-743-7230 or 269-220-1000

Email: financialservices597@gmail.com

Office location: 516 1/2 Commonwealth PL*Kalamazoo, MI 49006

 

 

Street Politics : KPL Aides Fight for $15/hr

Street Politics : KPL Aides Fight for $15/hr

 

What KPL Aides are asking for. The actual petition from Change.org

Library aides and hourly custodians are the largest group of employees at KPL. We are a diverse group of employees and perform a wide variety of tasks within the Library, providing customer service, circulation tasks, helping with program preparation, among many other things. If you are a regular patron, you have probably interacted with us many times. We work for the library because we are passionate about serving our community. We have recently formed a union and are currently negotiating our first contract with the Library.

During our recent negotiations, KPL administration gave us a wage proposal of $12/hr, going up to $12.74 for the 2024/25 fiscal year. Not only is this not a living or a competitive wage, it is actually less than some employees are already making. These employees (who have already not seen a raise for over a year) would not see a raise until at least 2025. This is an unsustainable situation in an environment where we have seen an immense rise in the cost of living just over the past year. We feel that in these times, a wage of $15 an hour is appropriate and achievable for KPL.

KPL is a cherished institution in Kalamazoo, and we love working for the Library. But under current conditions it’s simply unsustainable for many of us. We are asking for the library to live up to its professed progressive values and compensate all employees fairly!

https://www.change.org/p/kalamazoo-public-library-kpl-aides-fight-for-15-hr

Let KPL Board Trustees know that your support KPL Aides Fight for $15!  Click>>>KPL Board

Library Aides Deserve a Living Wage!

Library Aides Deserve a Living Wage!

Kalamazoo, MI- As small,  yet visible protest could be seen as library patrons, community members and visitors In front of Kalamazoo’s downtown library. KalamKPL AIdeazoo Public Library’s regularly scheduledBoard meeting open to the public. The protest is over KPL Aides negotiating a living wage. Library Aides are the most visible employees of the organization. The Aides provided anything from customer service, circulation tasks, helping with program preparation among services provided.

Recent negotiations with  KPL administration presented a proposal of $12/hr to KPL Aides and to go up to $12.74 for the 2024/2025 fiscal year.  A echo of support shared with the Board and the audience, that the  proposed wage is not a living wage or a competitive one. Additionally, the proposed wage is less than some employees are already making and would not see a raise until 2025. The newly formed union of aides and custodians are asking for a sustainable, living wage of $15.

 

If you would like to support KPL Aides, send an email to the library board or administration. https://www.kpl.gov/about/board-and-administration/

 

Kalamazoo Breast Feeding Coalition Press Release

Kalamazoo Breast Feeding Coalition Press Release

News Release  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 24th, 2022

Breastfeeding Support, Breast Milk/Infant Feeding, Infant Formula Recall, and Infant Formula Shortage

There is an infant formula shortage happening right now due to the supply chain issues caused by the global pandemic. There is also a recall of Similac, Alimentum or EleCare infant formula.  The FDA is advising consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formula.

If caregivers  have infant formula to return, please visit, infant formula recall or visit the Michigan WIC webpage.

If caregivers are combining breastfeeding and infant formula feeding, breastfeed more often to increase milk supply and reduce the need for infant formula. See the USDA WIC Breastfeeding website for more information.

If families who are considering weaning from breastfeeding, consider waiting to avoid introducing or increasing formula use

It is possible to bring back a milk supply after you stopped breastfeeding, or to start producing milk even if the baby wasn’t initially breastfed. A certified lactation consultant can help. Please see the Kalamazoo Breastfeeding Coalition’s website at https://www.kzoobfcoalition.org/ for a list of Certified Lactation Consultants.

Now more than ever it is important that families feel supported with breastfeeding and/or pumping.  Kalamazoo and the Greater Kalamazoo area have so many resources for breastfeeding support.  These breastfeeding support resources are listed on the Kalamazoo County Breastfeeding Coalition website https://www.kzoobfcoalition.org/

Breastfeeding is a safe infant feeding option. Breastfeeding helps protect infants from foodborne illness and infections. Cronobacter and Salmonella illnesses have been linked to formula use, and breastfeeding is a safer alternative to consider. Maintaining and increasing human milk supply is important, particularly when infant formula availability may be limited.

Donor milk/Milk sharing:

  • For families who are breastfeeding and supplementing with infant formula or using infant formula and have concerns about Cronobacter and Salmonella contamination, they can contact their healthcare provider to see if their babies are eligible for donor milk.
  • The FDA suggests that a decision to give donor human milk to your infant should be made in consultation with the baby’s health care provider and that only screened donor human milk should be used.

If you know of anyone who is pregnant, struggling with breastfeeding and/or pumping, they can visit our website to inquire about all the great lactation resources we have in Kalamazoo https://www.kzoobfcoalition.org/

Contact:

Katie Pearson BA, CCLS

Co- Chair of the Kalamazoo Breastfeeding Coalition

269-443-3215

kzoobfcolation@gmail.com

Sokhna Heather Mabin BA, BS, EYT~Herbalist~Adv Doula~CLC

Co- Chair of the Kalamazoo Breastfeeding Coalition

917-312-5479

kzoobfcoaltion@gmail.com

Website:

https://www.kzoobfcoalition.org/

 

“Enough is Enough. We deserve better!

“Enough is Enough. We deserve better!

Kalamazoo, MI- January 13, 2022, was the first Kalamazoo Public School Board Meeting of the year. The first order of business for the Board was to elect the President and Vice President. Once President Sholler-Barber and Trustee Harrison were unanimously voted to stay in their current roles, the meeting went on. A father of a KPS student was present to voice is dismay at the lack of training that KPS employees have breaking up student fights at school. His daughter suffering a concussion and no longer wanting to attend her school.

 

Others in attendance used their public speaking time to voice continued concern of rising COVID cases and lack of transparency with rate of exposure numbers. Public comments to KPS BOARD

Communities all over the nation are divided on continuing to stay in person or go virtual. In 2020 PACCT BOARD worked in solidarity with Demand Safe Schools, National Day of Resistance.

(1) No reopening until the scientific data supports it
(2) Police-free schools
(3) All schools must be supported to function as community schools with adequate numbers of counselors and nurses
(4) Safe conditions including lower class sizes, PPE, cleaning, testing, and other key protocols
(5) Equitable access to online learning
(6) Support for our communities and families, including moratorium on evictions/foreclosures, providing direct cash assistance to those not able to work or who are unemployed, and other critical social needs
(7) Moratorium on new charter or voucher programs
(8) Massive infusion of federal money to support the reopening funded by taxing the billionaires and Wall Street
The crisis has deepened since 2020.
 Facebook Post from Black Lives Matter Kzoo/Battle Creek reads “Enough is Enough. We deserve better!”
We are grateful to those students who demonstrated courage in meeting with us to share their experiences in the school system here at their high school (Loy Norrix, Kalamazoo Public School system).
Their platform is to make demands for the administration to acknowledge and to stop dismissing the lack of safe protocols being enforced to reduce COVID transmission, the lack of transparent data regarding transmission or a way to measure this at the school, lack of free tests available, or requiring students regardless of vaccination status to be tested when having symptoms or when being exposed to those who are positive in order to stay in school.
They also were honest that culture of enhanced police presence and “force” exists there, including measures common in S2PP (school-to-prison pipeline) models, which is a violent conditioning of students that prepares them in school to behave and respond to stimuli in ways they would experience it in prison, and uses punitive measures to create a hostile environment in school.
The reported tensions between the students and the administration have caused students to feel they don’t have any other choice for their own safety and for the safety of BIPOC students.
They request community support for their attempt to reach administrative attention and serve their demands for a Safe School for All.
There is no ability to have a return to normal pre-pandemic, and they deserve to have their needs seen and accommodated.
Some have offered to bring water, extra masks, and amplifying devices.
Let us gather in support of the youth and as responsible partners in the safety of our families who are impacted by COVID and racist practices in our school system.
Getting to the Root Causes: Finding Affordable Housing with a Section 8 Voucher with a limited timeline and housing choices in Kalamazoo

Getting to the Root Causes: Finding Affordable Housing with a Section 8 Voucher with a limited timeline and housing choices in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo, MI- The year 2021 continues to bring uncertainty to many households in Kalamazoo, specifically the home of Issa Smith.  Ms. Smith and her family are facing an eviction that was supposed to happen on December 31, 2021, but because of the holiday the courts in Kalamazoo were closed on December 30, 2021.

Gilbert Street

The modest house located on the eastside of Kalamazoo, sits on the corner quiet and still, many not knowing or understanding that everyone is not celebrating the holidays, but in survival mode for basic human needs. Decent, affordable housing like in many communities is hard to come by.

Unfortunately, many folks in Kalamazoo County, specifically Kalamazoo that have a disability (invisible or physical) and houseless suffer in silence and have no immediate family support or advocates that will speak up for them or at least that kind of support that brings about the relief that is being requested. A few days ago, there was an article that was circulated in Kalamazoo on local media that covered a local mother and her families current situation regarding their housing.

Majyck Radio went to the home of Ms. Smith,  after hosting a press conference on New Year’s Eve.

MJR: Ms. Smith, in your words, how would you summarize what is going on with you and your family?

Ms. Smith: “Illegally being evicted after discovering nonprofit landlord presidents fraud and refusing to let him and using my disabled family to commit further fraud against taxpayers and Hud Federally Funded programs.  “I refused to pay David Artley $231 in his name illegally for a tree that I did not cause to lean towards the neighbors house”. “This is unjust and to be evicted in the dead of winter with disabled children and service dogs with no where else to go makes me feel like the most worthless mother ever.

MJR: For folks that are not familiar with you, how would you describe yourself to someone that doesn’t know you?

Ms. Smith: “I would describe myself as a woman who has been disadvantaged in every way possible but refused to give up and let the people that have torn me down win”. “I am kind hearted resilient and determined to stand up for the injustices of those who are voiceless and can not speak for themselves”.

MJR: “Why should you speak up for those that are voiceless? Isn’t it about self preservation?  We are in a pandemic.

Ms. Smith: “Speaking up is the right thing to do”. “If I don’t speak up the next single mom that rents from Mr. Artley might not have the ability to fight back the way I have”. “My experience with predator individuals, they don’t care about anything but what they want, so if I don’t force myself to stand up for myself, even though it’s terrifying, I lose everything”. “Self preservation is the most dier part of this whole ordeal. “If I don’t protect my family no one else will, especially when we have a man who has made it his mission to destroy my disabled family and throw us out in the streets to freeze to death and he smiles about doing this to us because I exposed his fraud and defied him. “My family could lose everything”.

MJR: “Is this the first time you have been presented with a eviction from your current landlord”?

Ms. Smith: ” Yes”.

MJR: Do you think your current landlords perspective is representative of all landlords?

Ms. Smith: “No. I do not believe David Artley is a representative of all landlords. The landlord you met after the press conference is the complete opposite of Artley. I believe wholeheartedly that who you are as a landlord is who you are as a person. Money has a way of bringing out people’s true colors and intentions. I do not judge all landlords based on a bad one. I can honestly say I have met very few good people that are good landlords. I dream of the day I will live in a place, if I have to rent, that I will be blessed with a landlord that is caring and responsible and appreciates a tenant who respects their property.  Maintains it and treats the home like their own with care like I have 503 Gilbert Avenue.

MJR: “You have children, two boys. “How are they holding up with the current situation and dealing with the pandemic as well”?

Ms.Smith: “One of my sons even came to me and said mom, “you know I love you ,but I can’t take it anymore.  “If we end up homeless again and we did everything right I’m….(MJR edited for audience) “So not only am I facing freezing to death with my family outside I have to watch my sons so he’s ok also that’s a lot for one person.

MJR:  Sorry to hear this is challenging for your children. Do we need to stop the interview?

Ms. Smith: No, it will be fine”.

MJR: I know you are aware of many youth supports in Kalamazoo, but will put a link to a variety of youth services as the end of our interview.

Ms. Smith: “Thank you”.

MJR: “Kalamazoo County has literally thousands of nonprofit that cover a large number of social needs. From your experience, can you give our readers a short summary of the nonprofit industrial complex from your perspective?

Ms. Smith: “The nonprofit industrial complex sucks. I have only dealt with five legit nonprofits in Kalamazoo in the last 18 years. The majority of nonprofits are so corrupt they don’t help the people they receive funding for. The other sickening part of nonprofits is that many nonprofit presidents make more sitting on their butts than a hard working individual and all they have to do is “twiddle” their thumbs. They get to line their pockets with taxpayers money . I learned one very important thing dealing with nonprofit landlords and there presidents not all are the same. Some are better. Some are worse”.

MJR: What organizations have you reached out to?

Ms: Smith:  “I reached out to the Housing Commission, the city and county employees, Housing Resources, Integrative Services of Kalamazoo,Coalition for the Homeless, The Salvation Army, The YWCA, MSHDA , HUD and DHS. So far no one can help. Commissioner Rey did come to the press conference on New Years Eve.  David Artley and the Mayor have convinced everyone I destroyed the house and that I will never find another place to rent in Kalamazoo ever again”.

MJR: Have you reached out to others in Kalamazoo’s city leadership or housing/housing resource providers?

Ms. Smith: ” I don’t feel that a single official cares about what David Artley is doing and that(this sends a message that to those that may be feeling devalued and “thrown away”) the officials can harm, defraud and destroy lives and it’s ok because their abusing their positions of power”. I would like to highlight that I reached out to all of the officials and no one responded or cared. They are elected into office to stop their constituents from being harmed, but they are not. Vulnerable populations experience abuse of power  everyday are just supposed to roll over and be abused and stay silenced and not fight back and if we do we are blacklisted and ran out of Kalamazoo to keep us hidden voiceless and out of sight”.

MJR: Do you have a place to go if the eviction process moves forward?

Ms. Smith: No I do not.  I’m losing my voucher the 29th of this month because of Artley also and this illegal retaliatory eviction because I can’t find a decent landlord that  will except it. That’s why I have to raise money for a hotel. There is only one  local hotel  that can accommodate my service dogs and family . A hotel room is $110 to $190 a night for an average rated hotel.That’s $3,300 a month that’s $2,610 more for a small studio apartment style hotel room than the whole house I live in.

MJR: Ms. Smith, what can folks reading this or hearing about this do to support?

Ms. Smith: My ask is to raise money for an attorney and possible angel investors people that see our story and believe we are worth investing in.

Get a safe, habitable, suitable home of our own .

Help raising money to keep us in a hotel.

We need a reliable vehicle.  If there’s someone that has a van or tahoe that they would love to gift or at a price that could be raised. I don’t want people to give us their junk. We have respect.

We haven’t done anything wrong so we don’t want to be considered a charity case that deserves less than any housed person.

People that will help provide for my family, it takes a village.

Find other people David Artley has intimidated to give him money for things that are the landlords responsibility.

Others that may have experienced random visits to their homes that are unannounced and demanded to do an inspection of the property at early hours in the morning or late at night.

If any other tenants have been mistreated and held responsible for side payments added into their tenant rent share. Are there things that are not being fixed in their rentals.

MJR: Thank you  Ms. Smith for your courage and time. You and your family are dealing with a great deal and appreciate you sharing.

Ms. Smith: Thank you and you’re welcome.

Please click the links to below for additional information and how to support.

Click Smith Facebook fundraiser

Youth Resources for Youth in Crisis in Kalamazoo

December 15, 2021 Public Media Network coverage

December 29, 2021 Mlive

October 2018 Mlive

 

December 31st, 2021 Press Conference: Support Low Income Families and Individuals with Disabilities in Kalamazoo

Majyck Radio Evolution

MEDIA ADVISORY 

December 30th, 2021 

Contact: Majyck Dee

majyckradio@gmail.com                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Support Low Income Families and Individuals with Disabilities

Kalamazoo, MI – Majyck Radio Evolution is hosting a press conference at the home of Issa Smith on December 31st 2021. Social justice organizations, human services agency representatives, state and local elected officials, and anyone who works with vulnerable families and community members are encouraged to attend, either in person or virtually, to hear from a mother in need of community support.

What: Open invitation to attend  a community press conference in person or online.

When: December 31st, 2021 11:00 AM-12:00 PM 

Where: 503 Gilbert Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49048 (in person) or watch virtually https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSA1YSjYIKM or www.majyckradio.com

Who: Majyck Radio Evolution is a Black, female led enterprise created in the interest of promoting social justice and connecting a diverse community around issues of shared importance through music and culture. We operate through an anti-racist, anti-biased equity lens that is inclusive and affirming of all identities while maintaining focus on those that are underrepresented in mainstream media, particularly BIPIC, LGBTQ+ and youth.

Why: The purpose of the press conference is to highlight one of many examples of the marginalization and mistreatment that people with disabilities and low income families experience in Kalamazoo. Despite Mayor David Anderson’s professed dedication to ending homelessness he, along with other city leadership and their partner housing authorities have done little to increase access to stable and affordable housing for Kalamazoo’s poorest community members. David Artley, who recently resigned from his position as chair of the Kalamazoo Public Housing Commission, is Ms. Smith’s landlord. Artley also actively serves as President of Kalamazoo Family Nonprofit Housing Corporation, Elm Street Nonprofit and Kalamazoo County Housing Choices. 

As a community of collective voices, we need to make sure that those that we have entrusted to be good stewards of Fair Housing are acting in the best interests of all, regardless of identity, disability, or income, with fidelity to HUD guidelines and respect for tenant rights. 

For more information visit: www.majyckradio.com 

Night out with PACCT at the Theatre

Night out with PACCT at the Theatre

Join PACCT at the Theatre!They have purchased 8 pairs of tickets to Face Off Theatre Company‘s production of PIPELINE on Saturday night (July 17th) at 7:30 pm to share with our friends and followers! Here’s how you can enter to win a pair: FIRST, “Follow” PACCT Board here on Facebook. Once you’ve done that, leave a comment here on this post with your answer to this question: How many times (approximately) this month have you heard or seen the phrase “School to Prison Pipeline”? Drawing closes at 5 pm Thursday, July 15. WINNERS WILL BE SELECTED AT RANDOM and announced here at 7 and notified via messenger to arrange to have tickets delivered.

Face Off Theatre Company

This is awesome! Thank you for your support! For anyone wanting to know more about this show, here’s links to a blog post and to a radio interview with the show’s director and one of the leads.

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