Kalamazoo, MI- Emergent Justice Organizers, created a virtual statewide space for Black and Brown community members to collectively reflect and next steps for systemic change, starting in our own backyards.
Additional information about Emergent Justice or how to get involved! visit their website at www.emjustice.org
Kalamazoo, MI- Jackie Mitchell, resident of Kalamazoo and entrepreneur, is in the process of developing a corner of the Southside neighborhood into a hub for health through community gardening and connection. The space will have an indoor garden facility and feature education about sustainable gardening practices and food from local growers.
Jackie has been involved in multiple local efforts to address racial inequities on health, wealth and education in Kalamazoo. She has used her own money and know how and shared her knowledge and opportunities with family and community members. Jackie also has plans to provide space for local artists and makers to sell their crafts in this space.
Mitchell has completed a course in urban gardening through KVCC as well as multiple courses and consultation on small business development. She has developed a thorough business plan and has secured a business loan and multiple small grants to rehab the building and purchase necessary equipment. Extensive electrical, plumbing and construction work is still needed to get this business up and running.
Mitchell recently presented her project to Urban Democracy FEAST on March 20 and was awarded 100% of the FEAST crowd-fund which included, presenter for Fuel After the Economy, Alex Sanchez, graciously donated their awarded funds from the events presentations. To find out more about Urban Democracy FEAST and the next opportunities to present your social justice projects, visit www.urbandemocracyfeast.org
Kalamazoo, MI- Huey D’s Goodies, is proud to announce the launch of their Big Brother Scholarship. This scholarship is aimed to support prospect black male graduates of Kalamazoo Public School who wish to attend college or trade school.
We want the next generation to follow their dreams and reach their fullest potential. It takes a village, which is the perfect reason several black owned businesses will come together to make this possible.
This is no ordinary scholarship! Let’s celebrate academic excellence with a graduation photoshoot/video blurb from LPSL, gourmet cheesecake from Huey D’s Goodies, T-shirt from Custom Dope Apparel, hair cut from the amazing barber Anthony Ross & funding for school of choice.
This scholarship requires an essay of 300 words at minimum explaining why you should be selected. Please send written essay along with your contact information (first & last name, email & school) to HueydsgoodiesSFA@yahoo.com
Kalamazoo, MI- A message from organizers that are asking for members of BIPOC communities to taken in consideration as you plan your daily activities leading up the 2021 Presidential Inauguration.
BIPOC/ALLY Community Safety Suggestions for Jan. 17-20, 2021
Greeting you with Power.
These times are jarring and for many of us, unprecedented in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities. The multiple emotions we will feel leading up to the inauguration and beyond are valid and normal. We make space to hold these feelings in radical love and commitment to our wellness
During the dates of January 17-20th, we are aware that many white supremacist groups plan to protest the state capitols of all of our US states. This is known through online information shared and the advice from secure sources.
Our advice to our BIPOC/Ally communities is to stay close to community and away from any actions taking place anywhere near where the white supremacist groups will be. “Stay Safe, Stay Home” takes on an even deeper meaning for these days.
During these days, we strongly advise BIPOC to:
Take this weekend off of work.
We implore employers to refrain from penalizing employees of color for taking off to ensure their safety is not compromised going to and from their homes.
Take this week to stock your home with enough food, water, and needed medications for up to 2 weeks in the event that going out safely will be harder to do because of actions we cannot predict leading up to the inauguration.
Allies can be charged to help transport these items to vulnerable folks
Check on your loved ones, bring the Elders up to speed, and offer comfort and assurance. Now is the time to practice radical care for one another.
Keep all devices charged and limit use when unplugged to conserve battery
Secure a battery-powered radio in case of cell phone disruption to use to hear emergency radio broadcasts
Write down important phone numbers in the event of phone service disruption
Identify the closest landline to you and a safe route to use for emergencies. Do not travel alone.
In case of fire, have an extinguisher and smoke detector batteries on hand.
Stock up on blankets and warming packs in the event of power failure. Fiberglass blankets, flashlights or lanterns, are suggested
Identify the safest place in your home, away from windows and visible lights, even a closet if needed to conceal yourself.
If leaving home is not avoidable, avoid traveling anywhere far from your home and going out by yourself.
Spring break for students in Kalamazoo and Portage will continue as originally planned April 6- April 10, extending the mandated closure.
Many schools including Lake Michigan Catholic Schools announced spring break will continue as scheduled from April 3 – 13. All activities and events at both buildings, including daycare programs, are suspended until further notice. Kalamazoo and Portage will stay on schedule with spring break, April 6-10.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the immediate closure of all Secretary of State branches statewide. Offices can only be accessible by appointment and limited reasons through April 5. Walk-ins will not be accepted and doors will be locked. The Home & Garden Expo has been cancelled as well as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicking off March 14.
Essential services will continue for Kalamazoo County offices but with limited staff beginning March 16 through April 5.
Kalamazoo Public Library and Portage District Libraries announced the doors will be shut from March 14 to April 5.
All public universities in Michigan have suspended in-person classes and switched to online learning including Western Michigan University. Classes will be online through April 3. Starting Monday, March, 16, Kalamazoo Valley Community College will shift to online coursework delivery..
Kalamazoo College has suspend in-person classes and using online classes for two weeks after spring break, March 17-March 26. Lake Michigan College announced campus will be closed for all face -to face classes from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 20. Southwest Michigan College Dowagiac and Niles campuses will be suspended face- to -face classes and switch to online learning beginning Monday, March 16.
All ‘non-essential’ meetings for the City of kalamazoo have been cancelled. Including meetings planned to seek citizen input on a proposed ordinance to stop landlords from discriminating against prospective tenants. Senior Services of Southwest Michigan offices will close starting Monday, March 16. Home care and meals on wheels will still function as normal. The Kalamazoo County Jail does not have in-person visitation, only remote visitation by video.
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- Members of Kalamazoo community are preparing for a city-wide forum involved folks that seek the city commission and mayor post. Citizens will have an opportunity to submit questions prior to the forum scheduled for September 24, 2019 at The Edison Neighborhood Association.
Organizers of Urban Democracy FEAST are gearing up for the next FEAST at El Concilo located in Kalamazoo. The group seeks to provide crowd-funded micro grants to grassroots organization in Kalamazoo. To find out more about what provides are funded, visit, www.urbandemocracyfeast.org
El miércoles por la tarde, S.E.E. Change, defensores locales del cambio social, económico y educativo en Kalamazoo, se asoció con el Centro Arcus para la Justicia Social para presentar un documental que explora la respuesta actual y la perpetuación del trauma personal, intergeneracional, racista y de pobreza en el sistema de justicia penal. Nuestra sociedad. Producido y dirigido por la Dra. Shakti Butler, Healing Justice se basa en entrevistas con ex delincuentes, víctimas, artistas, expertos en justicia penal y practicantes de justicia restaurativa para proporcionar cuentas personales emocionantes, contexto histórico y cultural, y datos para ilustrar la filosofía y efectividad de utilizando un enfoque de sanación en línea con las Prácticas Restaurativas para reducir las tasas de delincuencia violenta y de reincidencia en las comunidades de todo el país.
Elisheva T. Johnson SEE Change Organizer
Durante la proyección, se invitó a los televidentes a participar en discusiones en grupos pequeños y compartir ideas entre la audiencia más amplia sobre cómo podemos trabajar juntos para abordar el daño causado por un sistema de justicia punitiva: una población en prisión cada vez mayor, estructuras familiares rotas, privación de derechos económicos, niños traumatizados, víctimas olvidadas, crisis de salud mental no tratadas y avance hacia un enfoque más efectivo y proactivo para lidiar con el delito y la delincuencia, uno que aborde las causas de los comportamientos dañinos y se enfoque en las necesidades reales de los delincuentes y las víctimas.
El evento del miércoles contó con la participación de activistas comunitarios, líderes, académicos y jóvenes, así como del Fiscal del Condado de Kalamazoo, Jeff Getting, quien según los informes está explorando la posibilidad de implementar la Programación de Justicia Restaurativa en el sistema judicial juvenil local. VER. Los organizadores del cambio esperan que esto sea solo el comienzo del diálogo continuo y la colaboración de buena fe entre los miembros de la comunidad, los funcionarios de justicia penal y los líderes electos en Kalamazoo.
Se anima a los interesados en unirse a la conversación a conectarse con S.E.E. Cambiar a través de Facebook o correo electrónico firstname.lastname@example.org
Se puede encontrar más información sobre Healing Justice y otras películas de World Trust en: www.world-trust.org/films
Una lista completa de los próximos eventos en el Centro Arcus para la Justicia Social está disponible en: https://reason.kzoo.edu/csjl/
Kalamazoo, MI- Prior to the start of the regularly scheduled Kalamazoo School Board, dozens of teachers, parents and community members were seen holding signs protesting outside the administration building. Standing room only, recognizing area students for their athletic achievements. The meeting’s priority for many in attendance, t step raises for teachers after one year of service. KEA, President, Amanda Miller states, “the other way teachers receive compensation increases are when we bargain an increase on the step schedule. The money budgeted doesn’t even get us to the step that teachers earn for last year’s service”.
A very emotionally charged meeting, parents and former KPS students shared their experiences of support from a KPS teacher that “took that extra time” or provide resources to them that they were not able to get on their own at the time. Teachers current and retired shared emotionally charged stories as well. Students that were able to move past a barrier or challenge in their lives and contributing part success to the dedication of KPS teachers.
George White, Lead parent advocate for SEE Change a local group from Kalamazoo, states, “It appears there was an agreement in principle to a 2.2 percent step increase for teachers this coming school semester. Recruiting and retaining quality teachers depends on stability/dependability of employment and step increases after their first year to assure that teachers feel valued and are able to support their families”.
White has met with many KPS parents and working with them to “navigate” through the “chain of commands”. In addition, White adds, “80 new teachers last year aided by a very high turnover ratio in Kalamazoo Public Schools. Kalamazoo Public Schools enrollment is thriving/growing over the last 10 years and students received an increase in per pupil funding this school year. It is no secret the school board has never met with teachers and this action serves to even deepen the rift. Our pupils deserve a school board that visits the schools and talks to the students/teachers and places the value where it belongs”.
The next KPS school board is scheduled for August 31, 2017, at 7 pm. The administration building is located 1220 Howard Street.
Kalamazoo, MI- A diverse mixture of community advocates, allies, survivors, and organizations gathered to fellowship, collaborate, network and listen to projects that connect a need for change in the community of Kalamazoo.
Since 2015, UDF, which is comprised of a collective of community members wanting to create a face-to-face crowd funding opportunity for community projects. This process occurs over a meal while exchanging information about shared problems, common obstacles and ways to overcome them. Including money generated from this evenings FEAST, UDF organizers have raised more than $4000.00 to support social justice projects demonstrating direct democracy and accountability. Urban Democracy Feast defines social justice as equal access to all the resources and services.
Justyce Calvert, her younger sister, Jaide, and “Glam mother”, Gwendolyn Hooker started JABS. JABS stands for Justice Against Bullying at School. Justyce, a victim, and survivor of bullying shared that JABS was started because she did not have anywhere to go to talk about bullying when it happened to her.
Hooker shared at the opening of their presentation, “Children that are bullied are compounded and affected in a negative way. They are traumatized from the types of things that happen to them. If they are being beaten up, mistreated, being called names, they (students) internalize that stuff and it comes out in negative ways.” According to a study that was released in 2016, Michigan ranks #1 as the worst state in the country for bullying. WalletHub.com conducted a national analysis using 17 metrics, ranking states on data using three key dimensions: 1) Bullying Prevalence, 2) Bullying Impact & Treatment and 3) Anti-Bullying Laws. The National Education Association estimates that 160,000 children miss school every day to fear of some form of bullying or intimidation by other students.
Every 7 minutes, a child in the U.S. is bullied. Only four in 100 adults will intervene while 11 percent of the child’s peers might do the same. As for the other 85 percent, absolutely nothing will happen.
La Amistad Horticulture Training Program, an introduction to sustainable agriculture, market gardening, and horticulture for young people of color ages 17-21 in the Kalamazoo area.
The farm located just six miles north of downtown Kalamazoo. The farm grows veggies, herbs, and flowers on 10 acres of land as well as a children’s nature education program. Their principles, “we are recreating a model for thriving, inspiring and resilient community homesteading”. The program involves hosting youth ages 17-21 for 8 hours a week for 9 weeks. The training includes classroom activities as well as hands training related to horticulture and homesteading.
Jordon, a Graduate Student at Western Michigan University, conducting a research project on infant mortality disparities across the state. ” In Kalamazoo, if you have a black baby, it’s four times likely to die before it’s first birthday as if you have a white baby”. Researchers have asked the questions, ” What do black moms do wrong? What’s wrong with black people in general? What kind of DNA do they have that makes them die? Nothing to do with genetics, practices or medical conditions. Black children are more likely to die from the effects of stress.
Over $1000.00 was raised at the FEAST. JABS received 35% ($368.20) of the votes. La Amistad Farms received 21% ($220.92) and Infant Morality in Kalamazoo received 44% ($462.11) of the votes.
The goal of the organizers is to generate funds that kick start projects that might otherwise not get funded, or help them make a qualitative leap in their work. These three groups will report back at the next Urban Democracy Feast, what the funds were used for, a practice of direct democracy.
The next FEAST is scheduled for November 18, 2017. For more information about the FEAST or how to apply, visit www.urbandemocracfeast.org.