Jackie’s Urban Farm and Micro Grocery

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

Please donate something to get this business going.

Huey D’s Goodies Scholarship Opportunity

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

The deadline is March 1st-May 1st, 2021

Kalamazoo & SW Michigan BIPOC Communities Safety Suggestions For the 2021 Presidential Inauguration

Kalamazoo & SW Michigan BIPOC Communities Safety Suggestions For the 2021 Presidential Inauguration

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:

  1. Take this weekend off of work.
    1. 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. 
  2. 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.
    1. Allies can be charged to help transport these items to vulnerable folks
  3. 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.
  4.  Keep all devices charged and limit use when unplugged to conserve battery
  5. Secure a battery-powered radio in case of cell phone disruption to use to hear emergency radio broadcasts
  6. Write down important phone numbers in the event of phone service disruption
  7. Identify the closest landline to you and a safe route to use for emergencies. Do not travel alone.
  8. In case of fire, have an extinguisher and smoke detector batteries on hand.
  9. Stock up on blankets and warming packs in the event of power failure. Fiberglass blankets, flashlights or lanterns, are suggested
  10. 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.

Respect and Power,

 

KPS Schools & Massive city-wide shutdown

KPS Schools & Massive city-wide shutdown

Kalamazoo Public School regular board meeting on Thursday, March 12 was shortly followed with breaking news of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order. All -12 school buildings are closed for the next three week and will re-open, April 6.

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.

La organización local organiza una película y debate sobre la reforma de la justicia penal

La organización local organiza una película y debate sobre la reforma de la justicia penal

Majyck Radio-Kalamazoo, MI

Escritor colaborador- Tandy Moore

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 seechangekazoo@gmail.com

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/

KPS Teachers Protest Outside Administration Building

KPS Teachers Protest Outside Administration Building

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.

Urban Democracy Feast Successful Crowd Fund Dinner Awards Three Socially Motivated Intitatives

Urban Democracy Feast Successful Crowd Fund Dinner Awards Three Socially Motivated Intitatives

First Congregational Church UCC Kalamazoo

March Urban Democracy FEAST

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.

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KPS Parents want to S.E.E Change in Districts Implementation of Policies

KPS Parents want to S.E.E Change in Districts Implementation of Policies

Kalamazoo, MI- S.E.E Change (Social Economic and Educational Change) a group of parent advocates
affiliated with Michigan United and JABS (Justice Against Bullying @ School) attended Thursdays school board

Parent Advocates

meeting to express concerns about student bullying and physical restraint of students (By staff) that have lead to cuts, bruises, muscle strains, and a concussion in the case of one student. S.E.E Change parents also expressed concerns with segregation (alternative schools) of minority students and medicating of students with disabilities.

Earl Moore spoke of an SWIS report initiated by the schools that characterized his son’s behavior in criminal terms and the report follows his son wherever he goes.  Earl also spoke of his son being bullied, which lead to a change in his son’s behavior, and the behavior change leads to physical restraint (by staff) of his son on numerous occasions and his son being suspended from school in excess of 30 days.  Earl also commented that “The school refused to allow my son to come back to school unless he took medication”.

Gwendolyn Hooker spoke of the brutal multiple assaults upon her granddaughter (Justyce) at the hands of two attackers. She also spoke of the seeming lack of concern from the district in addressing the issue of the assault of Justyce and other bullied students in the district.

Tammie Woods  spoke of her son’s battles with depression and anxiety after multiple restraints resulted in a concussion, cuts, and his arm being twisted., Tammie also spoke of the numerous services she pursued at SLD  Read/WMU to help him with his reading, services that the school should have provided but she could not get any assistance and now SLD read Director has said her child does not qualify for SLD Read services.

George White lead advocate spoke about bullying and the effects of bullying that can lead to depression, withdrawal, low self-esteem, poor grades, poor peer relationships, increases the drop out ratio and in rare cases can lead to death. Mr. White also commented on the need for Restorative Justice models that are gaining traction all around the country in addressing student bullying, Trauma Informed Care practices in classrooms and the need for improving student, parent, teacher relationships.

Kalamazoo School Board Meeting March 9, 2017

S.E.E Change is committed to returning to every upcoming school board meeting with more and more parents/parent advocate groups until there is the change that the parents seek.  S.E.E Change will lead the discussion in the community about policy reform needed to reduce bullying, expulsions, suspensions, restraint and medication dependence.  The goal is to return all of our children to mainstream classrooms.  It should be noted that school board member Lauren Freedman expressed an interest in working with S.E.E Change to resolve some of the issues. Dr. Rice also indicated his willingness to meet with the group.  No other board member commented or expressed an interest in meeting with the group.

It should be noted that school board member Lauren Freedman expressed an interest in working with S.E.E Change to resolve some of the issues. Dr. Rice also indicated his willingness to meet with the group.  No other board member commented or expressed an interest in meeting with the group.

 

Kalamazoo Promise 10 Year Update, 2006-2016

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With/Out – ¿Borders? ll Conference

With/Out – ¿Borders? ll Conference

Kalamazoo, MI-

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

Mothers of Hope Ultimate Family Reunion 2016

Mothers of Hope Ultimate Family Reunion 2016

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.

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