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.
Bill To End The Criminalization Of Students, Invest In Counselors, Safer Environment For Kids

Bill To End The Criminalization Of Students, Invest In Counselors, Safer Environment For Kids

 

Kalamazoo, MI –PACCT, a  local grassroots organization in Kalamazoo, MI calling for defunding police and reinvesting monies that are productive, supportive and healing for students in Kalamazoo Public Schools. A PACCT organizer shared, “Long overdue relief and liberation for our most vulnerable youth in our education system, BIPOC and LGBTQI+ youth.

https://www.change.org/p/kalamazoo-public-schools-end-police-presence-in-kalamazoo-public-schools

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), along with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), unveiled the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act, much needed legislation that would help disrupt the school-to-confinement pathway (school to prison pipeline), invest in safe and nurturing school climates that support all students and bring an end to the over-policing of our nation’s K-12 schools.

The legislation is informed by Rep. Pressley’s People’s Justice Guarantee, her visionary resolution to transform the American criminal legal system that calls for schools to create safe and nurturing environments that provide all students with the opportunity to heal, thrive and reach their highest potential.

“Every student deserves to learn in a setting free from fear, but when our education system is intertwined with the criminal legal system, students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities are disproportionately criminalized for normal childhood behavior and are put on a pathway to confinement,” said Rep. Pressley. “Our bill would address this by shifting federal resources away from school police and investing in culturally responsive nurses, mental health professionals, and other trauma-informed staff that are proven to help our youth grow and reach their full potential. We must root out systemic oppression everywhere it exists—including in our schools—and I thank my colleagues for their partnership in this effort.”

“Right now, too many students, and often kids of color or with disabilities, are arrested by police in schools. The classroom should be a safe place to learn, and the data shows that having counselors and other licensed professionals on staff actually leads to better educational outcomes,” said Sen. Murphy. “I’m re-introducing legislation that would give school districts new resources to increase the presence of support personnel in schools so kids are arrested less and have qualified professionals around to address disciplinary issues in a way that makes students feel supported. It’s just one way we can start to chip away at the racial inequities in our educational system and make sure all kids have a safe place to learn and grow.”

The data shows that counselors, social workers, psychologists and other trained professionals actually improve social and educational outcomes for kids in schools—whereas the involvement of police in schools leads to the criminalization of students, particularly students of color and students with disabilities. The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act would prohibit the use of federal funds to increase police presence in schools and instead provide $5 billion in new grant funding to help schools hire more counselors social workers, and other behavioral health personnel and implement services in schools that create positive and safe climates for all students.

The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act:

  • Prohibits the use of federal funds for maintaining police in schools: Since 1999, the federal government has spent more than $1 billion to support the increased presence of police in schools. However, evidence does not show that this investment has improved student outcomes and school safety. This legislation would prohibit federal funds to support the hiring, maintaining, or training of police officers in K-12 schools and instead divert that funding toward the many other uses related to school safety within applicable grant programs.
  • Invests billions to help schools hire counselors, social workers, and other trauma-informed support personnel necessary to create safe and inclusive learning environments: The legislation helps districts build safe and inclusive schools by establishing a $5 billion grant program to support the hiring of counselors, social workers, nurses, school psychologists, and other personnel. Further, the grant program helps districts implement strategies to improve school climate, such as school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports, and invest in trauma-informed services and professional development. As more school districts choose to move away from policies that criminalize students and push them out of school, this historic investment will ensure districts have the necessary resources to provide students with the supports they need to feel safe in school and thrive.
  • Incentivizes states and districts to bring an end to the criminalization of young people,  particularly Black, Native American and Latino students, immigrant students, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students and other historically marginalized students and instead invest in safe and nurturing environments where all students can thrive.

“Counselors, nurses, social workers, and educators belong in schools. Police do not,” said Senator Warren. “Our bill will bring us one step closer to ending the militarization of our public schools that disproportionately hurts Black and Brown students, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, and ensuring we give every child the resources they need to feel safe and thrive.”

“Every single student deserves a quality education, and the support to make that possible. But in districts across America, educational outcomes are radically unequal, particularly for children of color and kids with disabilities. In my hometown of Minneapolis, black students are 41% of the student population, but make up three quarters of all suspensions. At one middle school in my district, African American students are 338% more likely to be suspended than their white peers, according to the most recent data. Kids need support, not punishment. I am proud to join this bicameral effort to invest in social workers, counselors and personnel in schools to make sure our most vulnerable kids have the support they need,” said Rep. Omar.

“Stationing police officers in places of learning creates an environment of criminalization from an early age — making it more challenging for our children to focus on their learning, growth, and unlocking their full potential,” said Rep. Bowman. “When we put an officer in a school, we’re sending a message that our children require surveillance. When we put a counselor in a school, we’re sending a message that our children deserve nurturing and support. The emotional, mental, and social trauma of the past year and beyond makes the Counseling Not Criminalization Act even more urgent. Our Black and brown students have shouldered a disproportionate burden during the pandemic, and we know they face a disproportionate amount of policing and criminalization in school. Let’s act now to decrease police presence and provide our schools with resources for counseling and mental health support students deserve.”

“We need to root out systemic oppression in schools. This challenge might seem insurmountable, but there are clear next steps on the path forward,” said Senator Smith. “We should start by removing police from schools and hiring more school counselors, social workers, and other behavioral health personnel to improve school culture and outcomes for students. By transforming the way that schools approach discipline, we can decrease the criminalization of all students, especially students of color and students with disabilities.”

This week, Congresswoman Pressley submitted testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion in which she urged lawmakers to prioritize legislation that will dismantle the school-to-confinement pathway by reallocating funding from school-based law enforcement and investing that money in culturally responsive nurses, mental health professionals, and other trauma-informed staff.

The legislation has the support of a broad coalition of advocacy groups, including, at the national level:

A Black Education Network; A Little Piece of Life; Advancement Project National Office; Advocating for Kids, Inc; American Association for People with Disabilities; Alliance for Educational Justice; American Civil Liberties Union; Anti Police-Terror Project; Autistic Self Advocacy Network; Aztlan Media – Launch 2024; Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law; BiNet USA; Black Parallel School Board; Blacks in Law Enforcement of America; Blue Future; Blue Hills Civic Association; Breaking the Chains of Your Mind; CASA; Center for Disability Rights; Center for Learning Equity; Children’s Haven: A Place of Healing and Hope, Inc.; Children’s Defense Fund; Children’s Law Center, Inc.; Chispa; Church World Service; CLASP A New Deal for Youth Changemakers; Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues; Coalition of Labor Union Women, AFL-CIO; Committee for Children; Communities for Just Schools Fund; Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice; Critical Exposure; Deep Center; Defending Rights & Dissent; Dignity in Schools; Disability Rights Advocates; Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund; Drug Policy Alliance; Education Justica Alliance; Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; EveryBlackGirl, Inc.; Feminist Majority Foundation; First Focus Campaign for Children; Girls Inc.; GLSEN; Health in Justice Action Lab; Hispanic Federation; Hour Children; Human Rights Campaign; Intercultural Development Research Association; Justice for Families; Justice Strategies; Justice Teams Network; Juvenile Law Center; LatinoJustice PRLDEF; Los Angeles United School District; Leaders Igniting Transformation; League of Women Voters of the United States; Legal Aid Justice Center; Mommieactivist and Sons; MomsRising; NAACP; NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc.; NAMINYS Criminal Justice Committee; National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Learning Disabilities; National Center for Youth Law; National Council of Churches; National Crittenton; National Disability Rights Network (NDRN); National Down Syndrome Congress; National Education Association; National Equality Action Team; National Immigration Law Center; National Juvenile Justice Network; National Women’s Law Center; New Athens Creative, Inc.; Next Level Vision, Inc.; Open Society Policy Center; Parents Organized for Public Education; Polemics: Journal of the Workingclass Struggle and National Writers Union; Policing and Social Justice Project; Poverty & Race Research Action Council; Project KnuckleHead; Public Advocacy for Kids; Public Justice; RACCE; Rebuilding Independence My Style; Sociedad Latina; Southern Coalition for Justice; Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund; SPACEs In Action; Stand for Children; Strategies for Youth; Students for Sensible Drug Policy; The Advocacy Institute; The Black Police Experience; The Center for Law and Social Policy; The Center for Popular Democracy; The Choice Program at UMBC; The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates; The Daniel Initiative; The Education Trust; The Gathering for Justice; The Institute for Compassion in Justice; The Justice Roundtable; The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; The National Black Child Development Institute; The National Parents Union; The School Social Work Association of America; The Sentencing Project; United Methodist Women; Urban Youth Collaborative; Vday; Who Speaks For Me; Women’s Leadership Project; Working Narratives; Young Voices; Youth Over Guns; YWCA USA;

It also has the support of a coalition of local organizations, including Arkansas Community Organizations; Baltimore People’s Climate Movement; Baltimore Police Free Schools Coalition; Brighton Park Neighborhood Council; Black & Pink Massachusetts; California Children’s Trust; Center for Children’s Advocacy (CT); Center for Youth & Community Leadership in Education; Clevelanders Against Federal Policing; Collierville Community Justice; CT Students for a Dream; DC Prep PrepNext and ANC 1A07; DeCarcerate Memphis; Disability Rights Oregon; Education Law Center (PA); End Mass Incarceration Georgia Network; Equality California; Faith in New Jersey; Faith in Texas; Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children; Family Law Practice Clinic (CUNY School of Law); Florida Student Power Network; Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline; Hilton Head for Peace; Institute for Compassion in Justice (KY); Just City Memphis; Kentucky Student Voice Team; Lehigh Valley Stands Up; LAUSD; Living United for Change in Arizona; Make the Road Nevada; Make the Road New York; March for Our Lives DC; Next Level Vision DC; Nollie Jenkins Family Center, Inc.; One Pennsylvania – Education Rights Network; Our Revolution Ohio; Pa’lante Restorative Justice; Reclaim Our Schools LA; Rights & Democracy VT and NH; Silver State Equality – Nevada; Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York; Southern Maine Showing Up for Racial Justice; Special Education Equity for Kids (CT); SURJ Ohio; Tenants and Workers United; Uplift MN LLC.

“Students, especially youth with disabilities and Black and Brown youth, continue to be overpoliced in our nation’s schools. The federal government must stop funding this school-to-prison pipeline. We must divest from school policing and reinvest in counselors, social workers, and nurses who support our students and communities,” said West Resendes of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“For years we have seen troubling patterns in our public schools: students with disabilities, students of color, and other marginalized students are more harshly disciplined, referred to law enforcement, and arrested. It is time that schools truly become a safe place for every child to learn and grow. The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act is a step toward helping every school can invest in what works: the use of evidence-based and trauma-informed services and increasing access to counselors, social workers and mental health professionals. Schools must have these building blocks to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students,” said Meghan Whittaker, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

“I grew up in a predominantly Black and brown neighborhood where I have watched the impact that policing has had in our schools,” said Mariet Leana, youth leader at Make the Road New York and Urban Youth Collaborative. “I have witnessed young people lose their hope and feel that schools are no longer safe places for them because of an overwhelming number of police officers and so few counselors, therapists and other support services that students need to thrive. The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act will invest desperately needed resources into the support that students need: counseling — not criminalization.”

“LGBTQ+ young people, especially those who are BIPOC and students with disabilities, are entering the school-to-prison pipeline at higher rates than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Discriminatory policies and practices—especially the routine reliance on school-based law enforcement—is at the root of this inequity,” said GLSEN Interim Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers (she/they). “GLSEN is proud to endorse the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act as a crucial step towards decriminalizing youth by investing instead in counseling and health services that foster positive, LGBTQ+ inclusive school climates and promote students’ wellbeing and academic success.”

“The cops in our schools are the same cops that control, terrorize, and criminalize Black, Brown and poor people on our streets,” said Katherine Dunn, Director of Advancement Project National Office’s Opportunity to Learn program. “It’s past time that we listen to young people who are demanding Police Free Schools and an end to the system that disproportionately harms and oppresses youth of color. Advancement Project National Office is proud to support this effort to shift federal resources away from school policing and towards the supportive, restorative resources that our kids need to learn, grow, and thrive.”

“The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act invests in students’ mental health and wellbeing and divests from racist and harmful disciplinary actions which impact young peoples’ health and livelihoods. The bill is an important first step to bringing about needed change in school climate, as all young people deserve to feel safe and supported,” said Olivia Golden, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

“The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act will mean that our nation has begun to invest in what actually works to keep our kids safe and in school – counselors, social workers, restorative justice staff, and other behavioral support personnel – and will also mean the nation is stepping away from what doesn’t work: harmful and punitive police in schools. We look forward to helping the bill’s sponsors to ensure this important legislation advances to enactment,” said the National Center for Youth Law.

In March 2021, Rep. Pressley re-introduced her Ending PUSHOUT Act, her bold legislation to end the punitive pushout of girls of color from schools and disrupt the school-to-confinement pathway. The bill, which she initially introduced in December 2019, is also informed by Rep. Pressley’s People’s Justice Guarantee and is a continuation of her longstanding history of working to address issues of criminalization during her tenure on the Boston City Council.

https://www.facebook.com/populardemocracy/videos/267519715154905

 

National Juvenile Justice Network Release One Year Update: Shut Down Sequel Progress Report

National Juvenile Justice Network Release One Year Update: Shut Down Sequel Progress Report

Kalamazoo, MI- Today, NJJN released its Shut Down Sequel Progress Report, a one-year look at the campaign that calls for an end to Sequel Youth and Family Services and harmful use of youth restraints.

Please read, share and #SayHisName #CorneliusFrederick #ShutDownSequel #JusticeForCornelius http://bit.ly/shutdownsequelprogress

Organizers Emergent Justice, PACCT BOARD, local grassroots organization is working in partnership with Troubled Podcast and various organizations from across the county to virtually gather to celebrate the short life of Cornelius Fredrick. Register for the virtual memorial by clicking on link: Remembering Cornelius Fredrick One Year Later

Streaming Live @ https://www.youtube.com/c/majyckradio

Checkout more social justice videos>>NO JUSTICE! NO PEACE!

Kalamazoo County seeks residents to serve on Reparations Task Force

Kalamazoo County seeks residents to serve on Reparations Task Force

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 1, 2021
Contact: Dina Sutton, dpsutt@kalcounty.com

Kalamazoo County seeks residents to serve on Reparations Task Force
Task force will examine historical discriminatory practices throughout the community, recommend next steps

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair and head of the Kalamazoo County Reparations Task Force Tami Rey announced the county is accepting applications from residents to serve on the Reparations Task Force. The task force was created earlier this year following the adoption of a resolution brought forward by the Kalamazoo County Board.

“It is vital for the Reparations Task Force to have input from residents from all walks of life and professions that run the gamut, from the community organizers to doctors and attorneys, which is why I am encouraging residents to apply to be a member of the task force,” Rey said. “This task force will take a critical look at the historical practices of racial discrimination throughout the community and have frank and open conversations to determine how to remedy the discriminatory practices that have led to disparities in wealth, housing, employment, education and health.”

The task force is seeking residents from professional fields including, but not limited to:

  • Health care
  • Education
  • Community organizers or activists
  • Workforce development
  • Legal
  • BIPOC community organizations
  • Finance
  • LGBTQIA+

Elected officials and county leaders have also been invited to join the task force, including Administrator Tracie Moored, Treasurer Thomas Whitener and county commissioners.

“I applaud Vice Chair Rey for taking the initiative to create this task force and reach out to community members so we can start having the important conversation about reparations in Kalamazoo County,” Board Chair Tracy Hall said. “The goal of this task force aligns with our vision of ensuring Kalamazoo County is actively working toward racial equity and to become a welcoming place for everyone to live, work and raise a family.”

Once the task force completes its examination, it will be charged with recommending appropriate remedies to the county board

.Residents who want to apply can fill out this form or contact vice chair Rey at Tami.Rey@kalcounty.com.

###

Kalamazoo County Identification Program Re-Opens

Kalamazoo County Identification Program Re-Opens

April 1, 2021
Contact:
Meredith Place Kalamazoo County Clerk & Register of Deeds
269-384-8141

.

Kalamazoo County Identification Program re-opens
County ID program has been closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
KALAMAZOO, Mich. –Kalamazoo County Clerk & Register of Deeds, Meredith Place today
announced the immediate availability of the Kalamazoo County Identification Card. Kalamazoo
County residents can now schedule an appointment to obtain a new county ID, renew an
expired ID or replace a lost or stolen ID. This service was shut down in March 2020 by then
Kalamazoo County Clerk Tim Snow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“From the moment I took office, I made re-launching this service a priority, which is why I am
overjoyed to finally be able to re-open this popular program,” Place said. “Kalamazoo County
residents need identification now more than ever, whether it’s to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,
access affordable housing or open a bank account. I’m proud of the work our staff and members
of the Kalamazoo County Identification Program Advisory Board have done to ensure this
program is open to the public.”
Proposed by former County Commissioner Larry Provancher in 2016, the County ID Program
officially opened to the public in May 2018. The Kalamazoo County ID is intended to recognize
all Kalamazoo County residents and ensure they can connect with public safety, civic and
community services. The county ID cards feature a card holder’s photograph, date of birth,
address, signature, a unique ID number and other descriptors, such as height, weight and
eye color. ID cards are good for three years.
Nearly 3,000 residents saw the value of the Kalamazoo County ID prior to the service
shutting down due to Covid-19. Over the last year, the Kalamazoo County Clerk and Register
of Deeds’ office received countless phone calls and emails asking when the ID cards would
be reissued.
“We live in a society that often takes personal identification for granted, yet we’re required to
have it on-hand and display it when asked,” said Francisco J. Villegas, chair of the Kalamazoo
County Identification Program Advisory Board. “Barriers continue to exist in ensuring access to
a Michigan ID. And, in the time of a global pandemic, the inability to produce an ID carries
greater consequences.”
In order to obtain a County ID, Kalamazoo County residents are required to prove their
residency status and identify themselves with several documents. Various types of identification
documents are valued on a point scale, and residents must provide 300-400 points worth of
identification to qualify.
“I want to thank Kalamazoo County Clerk and Register of Deeds Meredith Place and her team
for reinstating this popular program,” said Kalamazoo County Housing Director and former
Treasurer Mary Balkema. “Identification is key to receiving many of our services and our
houseless community members need the county ID to get back on their feet.”
The Kalamazoo County ID Program is open Monday through Friday by appointment in the Clerk
& Register of Deeds office of the Kalamazoo County Administration Building. For more
information or to schedule an appointment, please see visit our website,
www.kalcounty.com/clerk/id or contact the ID Office at (269) 384-8307.
                                                      ###
KALAMAZOO ORGANIZERS HOLD VIGIL FOR GEORGE FLOYD

KALAMAZOO ORGANIZERS HOLD VIGIL FOR GEORGE FLOYD

Kalamazoo, MI- Last night, youth and community organizers gathered to show solidarity and to continue to memorialize the short lived life of George Floyd who was killed by police last summer. Organized by Corianna McDowell and Quintin Bryant according to the Facebook post.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, knelt on Floyd’s neck for approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds after he was handcuffed and lying face down in the street.

Floyd complained about being unable to breathe prior to being on the ground, but after being restrained he became more distressed, and continued to complain about breathing difficulties. Officer Chauvin placed his neck on the neck of Floyd until medics told him to.

Today is the first day trial began for the officer, Derek Chauvin, accused of who killed George Floyd. “I feel that we can not allow our voices to be silent”. Organizers met at 8:00pm with signs, and solidarity to show our community & the world we stand together. In addition to the program, there was a moment of silence for 8:46 that same length of time that George laid on the ground pleading for his life as the officer left his knees pressed against his neck until he passed away.

LIVE COVERAGE OF Derek Chauvin case https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=744978849344129&ref=search

Check out Kalamazoo organizers and youth stand in solidarity for JUSTICE!  https://youtu.be/a-38ALEc5_I

Pin It on Pinterest