A group of parents, educators and students organized the kick-off of a series of community forums in the community. The Edison Neighborhood Association was near capacity during the first of community forum on September 24. City commission candidates and mayoral candidates were invited to participate in a community led forum. Housing, specifically affordable housing was an obvious concern of many people in attendance. The community is invited to attend candidate forums across the city:
October 1, 2019 WMUK 102.7 FM candidate(city commission) forum 7@ PM Schneider Hall.
October 2 The LWVKA forum from 6:30-8:30 at First Congregational. October 3, 2019 The Parkview Hills Neighborhood Association (city and mayor) 7-8:30 dining room of Parkview Hills Willow Lake Clubhouse 3707 Greenleaf Circle October 8, 2019 Millwood Community Church 3306 Lovers Lane 6-9
October 15 @ 6-8pm Youth led candidate forum at First Congregational
October 22 WMUK 102.7 FM candidate (mayor candidates) Schneider Hall
Kalamazoo, MI- SEE Change, a parent/student advocacy group based in Kalamazoo held an open community speak out to hear concerns of parents, students as well as educators within the KPS school district. Many families seeking educational supports for their student shared similar stories of challenging progress toward successful resolutions.
A few KPS board members were present as well and made themselves available to parents to answer questions they may have. SEE Change is collaborating with similar organizations in Michigan to provide advocacy to parents, caregivers, and students their rights to “due process” and rights.
SEE Change plans on conducting workshops and trainings throughout the year. For more information on what this group is doing, visit them on social media
Friday morning on K-College,busy with visitors local and distant for the kick-off of With/out-Borders? 2016. Facilitating the dialogue for the first AfroFuturism Plenary are Alex Lubin. Alex Lubin is Professor and Chair of the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico, Shante Smalls-Assistant Professor of English and African American Literature & Culture at St. Johns University. Joining them as well, Cynthia Young, Adrienne Marcee Brown, writer, sci-fi/Octavia Butler scholar, organizational healer, pleasure activist, organizational healer, facilitator, live/love/relationship/work coach, doula, speaker/singer. Kai Green, Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
On the campus of K-College, many social organizers, educators and community members with meet up Friday, October 21-22, for a two-day conference, With/Out – ¿Borders? ll Conference. The event with focus on cultural and academic work, powered by Afrofuturism. Facilitated modules around visioning of post-oppression desires through fantasy, film, technology, and speculative fiction.
Target areas of conversation:*Radical teaching Campus activism Education advocacy Liberatory educational structures and paradigms
*Ideologies and technologies that move toward a renewable energy [r]evolution and sustainable future *Global and local work creating next systems and deploying new economic possibilities and strategies.
Featured Keynote Speaker, journalist and author Naomi Klein will speak on Oct. 21 at the Arcus Center for Social Justice. The conference includes a robust panel of experts serving in local, national and global organizations. For more information visit–
Many students, parents,teachers, businesses, pretty much the entire community is anticipating the upcoming start of the 2016-2017 school year. Purchasing school supplies and new clothes and who their homeroom teacher will be is normal for students heading back to the classroom. Then there are those that experience school in such a way that is polar opposite. “Why go to school, if I’m only going to be in trouble and suspended all the time”. This experience echos intensely and loud in the black, hispanic and poor white communities around the nation, but specifically, targeted areas of the north, east and south sides of town in Kalamazoo.
S.E.E (social, economic & educational) Change, a grassroots social action group from Kalamazoo working to eradicate the School to Prison to Pipeline that lock black and brown youth, especially males.
Raise the Age, a campaign aims to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18. Michigan remains one of the few states that automatically prosecutes all 17-year olds as adults. This policy is at odds with state laws and national and international policies that declare adulthood to begin at age 18.
S.E.E. Change and Michigan United are sponsoring a free community to bring awareness, to what many do not realize is the school to prison pipeline. Victims for past and present will share their stories as well as providing local music entertainment, spoken word and information on efforts to dismantle and S.E.E real Change for urban community sustainability and vitality.
Elisheva Johnson, community organizer for Michigan United, shared a quote, “In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunities for education-Earl Warren. Johnson also invites the community to fellowship and celebrate our youth on September 2, 2016 at Majyckradio studio based in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo, MI-Hundreds of folks from the community showed up at LaCrone Park on Saturday to enjoy music, food, games and more at the ninth annual Ultimate Family Reunion.
The event, hosted by Mothers of Hope, their mission, to connect the community with the information and resources with a family reunion feel and function. Plenty of entertainment for everyone, inflatable bounce houses, live-performances from local youth and artists.
Multiple basketball games going on at the same time, as well as information booths set up throughout the park sharing information about educational, environmental, health and social organizations throughout Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo, MI-The Black Arts & Culture Center kicked off the 30th anniversary of the culture celebration. The showing of documentary, 7AM, directed by Jason Black and features Dr. Claud Anderson, Shalamar Blakely, A’Leila Bundles, Umar Johnson, Morris Levine, Brett Pulley and Don Peebles.
Show-cased before the viewing of the documentary, Black owned business from the community. The businesses and community members were able to share in fellowship and support small businesses by helping to keep the money generated, local.
In 1986, three organizers of the Festival (Gail Sydnor, Lois Jackson and James C. Palmore) wanted the African American Community in Kalamazoo to celebrate the creativity, culture,arts and appreciate the accomplishments of others contributing to a culture of greatness. 30 years later the BACC continues to flourish with with art, art exhibits, cultural events, classes, theatrical plays, movies, dance, poetry, resource materials and meeting space. Since 2001, BACC has been located in its current location at the Epic Center.
Since the beginning of 2015, Yolonda Lavender has held the position of Executive Director of BACC and continues to full fill the organizations mission and community outreach.
The Black Arts Festival 2016 has a full schedule of events throughout the week and various locations in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo, MI- This past Saturday was the second annual Youth Summit On Racism held by SHARE and organized by many individuals in the Kalamazoo community including the youth from several high school and middle schools.
High school students in Kalamazoo came together to plan and implement this summit. They lead and facilitated discussion issues of race in school, policing, stereotyping, and media amongst other topics. It was a powerful scene to see the discussions with middle school and high school students learning and engaging with each other.
Kalamazoo, MI- An aspiring group of WMU social workers hosted SEE-(Social,Economic,Educational) Prosperity, a collective of community members graciously sharing their experience, living Black in the world, specifically in Kalamazoo.
Four black representation of systemic barriers and stereo types put a face, emotions and their own words on issues that they face every single day. All of the participants, raised in single parented homes were able to create a life for themselves and try to prosper despite their daily struggles.
Elisheva Johnson, organizer from Michigan United said, “I too, made a mistake over 20 years ago, which resulted in a felony. I have been forced to live that mistake over and over again and this has greatly impacted my life and my children’s lives to this day”.
SEE Prosperity is working on Raise the Age, a nation-wide initiative that has “seeded” in Kalamazoo. Raising the Age currently from 17 to 18 years old in the state of Michigan. Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency
Raise the Age is packaged as-The “Youth in Prison” package also includes:
*Increasing the maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years old; *Increasing the County Child Care fund reimbursement rate for qualifying community-based services for youth by 25 percent; *Prohibiting the placement of youth under 18 in adult jails and prisons and provide access to age-appropriate rehabilitation; *Eliminating three offenses from the list of Specified Juvenile Offenses; *Requiring equal consideration of all mitigating factors prior to waving jurisdiction in traditional juvenile waiver cases; *Requiring public monitoring and oversight of youth under the jurisdiction of the MDOC who entered for an offense committed prior to turning 18 years old; *Restricting the use of administrative segregation in prison for youth aged 18 and under; and *Establishing a family advisory board within the MDOC to ensure effective partnerships with families and victims.
SEE- Social, Economic, Educational Prosperity, and many other campaigns and community stakeholders will be traveling to the state capital on May 17, 2016 for “Capital Day”.
Kalamazoo, MI-Michigan United, a statewide organization of community members and institutions fighting for the dignity hosted a debriefing/processing dialogue for members (MU), community leaders, and community members to discuss the recent mass shootings in Kalamazoo. A “space” was created for the community to share, process, speak openly, and know that others in the community are feeling isolated, hurt, and vulnerable.
The evening opened with a prayer/poem by Archbishop Oscar Romero, “A Future Not Our Own”. The attendees were asked to break into discussion groups based on how each person identifies racially. The facilitated groups then reported out what was discussed and the other racial groups listened and gave an interpretation of what they heard from the group reporting what was discussed.
Elisheva Johnson, lead organizer for the School to Prison Pipeline Campaign at Michigan United spoke with Majyck Radio, ” We realize we have to have this conversation because the community asked for this (conversation). People didn’t know how to process the information that was being reported so close to home.” Six fatalities and two victims have a long road of recovery ahead. The outpouring of support not just from communities in Michigan. Kalamazoo is not also known as “that town” where there were mass shootings occurred. Johnson went on to say, ” A lot of people decided to repress and move on business as usual, so this space was intentional where folks could come and be brave about how this made them feel and talk about how they process things differently because of race”.
There is definitely more work that needs to be done. More open conversations are in the early stages of planning for 2016. For more information about the School to Prison Pipeline and other social justice campaigns, visit www.miunited.org
Kalamazoo, MI-February 20th, Saturday, a horrific killing spree by a lone gunman left six folks fatally wounded and two others seriously injured. Jason Dalton, shooting suspect was arraigned this afternoon on 6 charges of murder with no bond.
There is a community vigil scheduled for Monday evening at Bronson Park in Kalamazoo, MI.
Kalamazoo, MI-The Black Panthers:Vanguard of the Revolution, a documentary by Stanley Nelson hosted at the Arcus Center for Social Justice, was well received by attendees with break-out groups discussing the Black Panthers 10 Point Program.
Speaking just on the basic fundamental of being human, no one with a working heart would be able to walk away from the presentation black,white or other, with thinking about or imaging the magnitude of what was really going on with the Black Panther Party at it’s overwhelming welcome of many classes, gender and race, not just in the United States, but across the water as well.
The Black Panthers” Vanguard of the Revolution will air in its entirety February 16 on pbs.org.