Kalamazoo, MI- January 13, 2022, was the first Kalamazoo Public School Board Meeting of the year. The first order of business for the Board was to elect the President and Vice President. Once President Sholler-Barber and Trustee Harrison were unanimously voted to stay in their current roles, the meeting went on. A father of a KPS student was present to voice is dismay at the lack of training that KPS employees have breaking up student fights at school. His daughter suffering a concussion and no longer wanting to attend her school.
Others in attendance used their public speaking time to voice continued concern of rising COVID cases and lack of transparency with rate of exposure numbers. Public comments to KPS BOARD
Communities all over the nation are divided on continuing to stay in person or go virtual. In 2020 PACCT BOARD worked in solidarity with Demand Safe Schools, National Day of Resistance.
(1) No reopening until the scientific data supports it
(2) Police-free schools
(3) All schools must be supported to function as community schools with adequate numbers of counselors and nurses
(4) Safe conditions including lower class sizes, PPE, cleaning, testing, and other key protocols
(5) Equitable access to online learning
(6) Support for our communities and families, including moratorium on evictions/foreclosures, providing direct cash assistance to those not able to work or who are unemployed, and other critical social needs
(7) Moratorium on new charter or voucher programs
(8) Massive infusion of federal money to support the reopening funded by taxing the billionaires and Wall Street
We are grateful to those students who demonstrated courage in meeting with us to share their experiences in the school system here at their high school (Loy Norrix, Kalamazoo Public School system).
Their platform is to make demands for the administration to acknowledge and to stop dismissing the lack of safe protocols being enforced to reduce COVID transmission, the lack of transparent data regarding transmission or a way to measure this at the school, lack of free tests available, or requiring students regardless of vaccination status to be tested when having symptoms or when being exposed to those who are positive in order to stay in school.
They also were honest that culture of enhanced police presence and “force” exists there, including measures common in S2PP (school-to-prison pipeline) models, which is a violent conditioning of students that prepares them in school to behave and respond to stimuli in ways they would experience it in prison, and uses punitive measures to create a hostile environment in school.
The reported tensions between the students and the administration have caused students to feel they don’t have any other choice for their own safety and for the safety of BIPOC students.
They request community support for their attempt to reach administrative attention and serve their demands for a Safe School for All.
There is no ability to have a return to normal pre-pandemic, and they deserve to have their needs seen and accommodated.
Some have offered to bring water, extra masks, and amplifying devices.
Let us gather in support of the youth and as responsible partners in the safety of our families who are impacted by COVID and racist practices in our school system.
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.
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: 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.
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.
KALAMAZOO, MI – The following is an update from the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department (KCHCSD) for COVID19-related information:
Kalamazoo County Covid-19 Update
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Hours
KCHCSD continues to offer COVID-19 vaccines at the health department, located at 311 E. Alcott Street. Hours have been extended to Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
There is no cost to individuals for vaccination, no ID is required, and no appointment is needed. You will be able to select which vaccine brand you would like to receive: Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for anyone 12 years or older. Anyone under 18 years old needs to be accompanied by a parent or guardian when being vaccinated.
To date, 61% of Kalamazoo County residents over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of the COVID- 19 vaccine and 57% have completed the vaccination series.
Homebound COVID-19 Vaccinations
The Kalamazoo County Area Agency on Aging was awarded a grant to provide COVID-19 Vaccines to the homebound population living in Kalamazoo County. To Schedule a homebound vaccine appointment, please call 269-373-5239 or check the health department’s website, www.kalcounty.com/covid19vaccine for availability. Limited RSVPs available. Homebound Criteria: Individual who is normally unable to leave the home unassisted, and for whom leaving takes considerable and taxing effort.
COVID-19 Website Information
Community Vaccine Clinics KCHCSD has started to include available community vaccine clinic options on the website www.kalcounty.com/covid19vaccine under the Calendar & Events section on the right-hand side. People may also find where to locate a COVID-19 vaccine by visiting www.vaccines.gov. The COVID-19 Call Center is also available at 269-373-5200 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to assist with questions.
Report Out of State or Veterans Affairs (VA) Office Vaccinations If you were vaccinated in another state or at the VA Office and want to make sure “your vaccination counts here in Kalamazoo County,” you may now complete an online form with the health department. This will allow your vaccination information to be entered into the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). After completing the form, the health department staff will contact you within two weeks to collect additional information. If you are unable to complete the online form, call 269-373- 5200 and select the option for the COVID-19 Call Center for assistance. Veterans who receive care at a non-VA primary care office can also contact their personal physician to update their records. If you have registered for the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes, you will not be eligible to win unless your vaccination is registered within MCIR. Contact the local health department or your non-VA primary care provider so your vaccination can be entered into the MCIR database, where verification of vaccination status will be pulled. Register for the Shot to Win sweepstakes at www.mishottowin.com. The first round of winners will be announced this week
COVID-19 Vaccination Card Replacement If you have lost or misplaced your COVID-19 Vaccine Card, then you can request a copy of your immunization records from your primary care provider (doctor’s office) or the health department by completing an online form. The health department cannot replace your COVID-10 Vaccine Card, but your official immunization records will document information about the vaccines received.
County Data Dashboards The health department will be making changes to the COVID-19 data dashboards by linking directly to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19 Data Dashboard. The MDHHS COVID-19 Data Dashboard includes county-specific data for cases and deaths, including county-level demographics. This website change is occurring to make data more accessible for Kalamazoo County residents by having one resource to locate information, reduce duplication of the same data information publicly displayed, and better utilize county resources. The county health department already links directly to the MDHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard for vaccine administered information. The health department encourages residents to visit both MDHHS COVID-19 dashboards for state and county specific information.
Kalamazoo-MI- Rep. Pamela Hornberger of Macomb County has presented HB 4727, which would draw the lawful line of THC a driver can have in their framework to 5 nanograms for every milliliter of blood. Currently there is not limit what is considered being high or impaired to drive.
Rep. Hornberger is working with Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido to introduce this bill. Read more on this story
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 1, 2021 Contact: Dina Sutton, firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
Community organizers or activists
BIPOC community organizations
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
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
Making a virtual appearance in Wayne County’s 36th District Court bright and early on Friday, the man on the screen in a dapper grey suit and striped tie, salt and pepper hair and a gentle demeanor, hardly cast the figure of a gun-toting outlaw. Sitting upright and attentive from his homey living room, Otis Goree took his turn in front of Judge Kenneth King for a preliminary hearing stemming from his February arrest for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
Otis’ case was one many like it being heard that morning in courtroom 438. Though access to the public was limited (several were abandoned in the Zoom waiting room after attempting to log on using the public link), our from Majyck Radio was able to watch over an hour of the proceedings, during which dozens of individuals came before the court for concealed carry charges.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, gun sales across the country have been on the rise, and gun violence has risen alarmingly in many major metropolitan areas. In response, Detroit police are cracking down – focusing their efforts on identifying, stopping and questioning individuals they believe to be carrying weapons and making arrests when those individuals are unable to furnish a concealed carry permit – which, unlike the guns themselves, have become difficult to obtain. Getting a license requires a gun owner to successfully complete an approved training course – in person. While the pandemic rages on, many providers of the training have limited or entirely suspended their offerings due to public health concerns and social distancing requirements. Amidst an uptick in violence within their neighborhoods, citizens like Otis feel at risk, but unable to legally protect themselves.
Otis, 59, is a lifelong resident of Detroit. A hardworking family man and grandfather of 2, he enjoys working with his hands. Since heart attacks in 2018 forced him into early retirement from his job in building maintenance, Otis spends most of his time gardening, woodworking, and relaxing at home.
Prior to 2020, Otis had never owned or fired a gun in his life, and didn’t feel like his lifestyle necessitated a firearm. That changed with the onset of Covid-19 in early 2020, and the massive social unrest, racially motivated and politically sanctioned violence, and an increasing sense of fear and desperation among many of his neighbors that led to increased violent crime in his community. Otis no longer felt safe, and for the first time looked to equipping himself with a firearm for personal protection.
Otis is not alone. It is estimated that first time gun owners account for over 40% of gun sales in the country since early 2020 – more than double the average in previous years.
Otis purchased his small pistol from an authorized dealer and made sure to have it registered immediately. He didn’t know when he made his purchase that he would not be able to take a class locally to obtain his Concealed Carry Permit – information the seller didn’t share with him until after Otis had purchased and registered the weapon. So, while the gun would afford him some peace of mind at home, it would have to stay there. And it did, until one snowy day in February.
Normally, Otis relies on friends and family to drive him when he has errands to run. On February 17th, however, there was no one available to take him. Instead, he would have to walk to the stop on 7 Mile and take the bus. “I needed my vegetables”, Otis says, so he set out with his reusable grocery bags, his walking cane and, for the first time, his pistol. “Things had gotten pretty bad,” he explained, referring to violence in his neighborhood off 7 mile in Detroit. Indeed, homicides in Detroit rose 19% in 2020, and non-fatal shootings were up 53%. So when he left on what would have otherwise been a routine trip to the market, he tucked the gun securely into the waistband of his pants, underneath his heavy winter coat. Otis explains that he didn’t make the decision lightly, but that he felt the need to bring a weapon with him because he feared for his safety in the neighborhood and at the bus stops.
The shopping itself was uneventful, but while he waited, loaded down with bags of groceries, at the stop for the bus that would take him back home, suddenly two officers pulled up in a black stealth police SUV, got out, approached him (and only him) directly and immediately asked him if he had a weapon. Otis replied honestly that he did, and when asked if he had a CCW permit, told the officers he did not. Otis was relieved when after a few minutes, the officers then told him to go ahead and get on his bus and go home. Unfortunately by the time he gathered his bags from the sidewalk, the bus had already moved on. Not wanting to stick around, he decided to walk to the next stop and catch his ride from there. He made it less than a block down the road before another stealth police vehicle pulled aside him and two more officers questioned him – exactly as they had at the bus stop moments before. Otis replied as he had at the bus stop, and once again the officers told him to be on his way and pulled off.
Increasingly nervous and just wanting to get home, Otis walked on for another half a block or so before a third police vehicle pulled in front of him at the next intersection and blocked his path. He was bewildered. The exchange started out much the same – Otis shared when asked that he had a weapon, told them where it was, and explained he did not have a permit. This time, he was arrested.
Sitting in the back of the police car that day, Otis recalls that his arresting officers claimed to not know about his having been stopped previously, which surprised him. Surely it was more than coincidence that led to his being stopped by three separate police vehicles on such a short journey. And how did they all seem to know he had a gun? Were the police using some kind of detector tools on patrol? He asked his arresting officers, who laughed. “We’re just really good at our jobs” one said. The coy denial didn’t convince Otis. What would have otherwise prompted them to approach a greying older gentleman with a cane and bags of groceries at a bus stop? If they didn’t already know he had a gun, why was that the first question they asked at each stop?
Others agree with Otis’ suspicions – and the idea isn’t far fetched. For years, the department of defense and policing agencies in the united states have been developing and piloting technologies that can detect weapons from as many as 80 feet away, raising fourth amendment concerns about whether or not scanning a person’s body of personal effects absent a warrant constitutes an illegal search. Though public information on the use of these technologies in Detroit is difficult to find, we know they have been implemented elsewhere in recent years, including in New York, where after public outcry the city voted to require the police department to publicly disclose their use of surveillance technology – something they had been actively trying to keep quiet. Meanwhile, the Detroit Police Department has increased its surveillance on citizens in recent years, with the installation of cameras on city streets and audio gunshot detector software that uses cell phone audio to pick up gunfire and triangulate its location. And given the department’s partnership with federal agencies over the summer with Operation Legend – and the millions of dollars that came attached – it’s easy to imagine they may have gained access to even more tools like these.
Farooq Azizuddin says that even if Detroit Police haven’t acquired new technology, for over fifteen years they have employed a scanning device that can be aimed at individuals from a distance to pick up “unusual amounts’ ‘ of metals on a person. Azizuddin, a security expert and former Black Panther, says these devices were developed during the Iraq war to keep troops safe from armed insurgents overseas and eventually, as commonly happens with military tools, they became available to law enforcement agencies stateside.
When Otis was booked at the county jail after his arrest in February, he shared a cell with several others, at least 11, who were also awaiting arraignment on weapons possession charges. All had similar stories about their arrests. Over the course of his 3 day stay, the trend continued; those that bonded out were quickly replaced with others newly arrested under similar circumstances. The numbers aren’t surprising; DPD’s Chief James Craig calls his department’s efforts to crack down on guns “aggressive”.
There is no question that gun violence is a huge problem in our communities, one that has grown considerably in the last year. But rather than address the root causes of crime and violence in a community historically marginalized and poverty stricken, currently experiencing the worst effects of the current pandemic, the city is focusing instead on increasing surveillance of its citizens and casting a wide net to grab as many guns as they can. But who is getting caught up in it? Chief Craig has been a longtime advocate for an armed citizenry, stating his belief that “good guys”, law abiding citizens with guns create safer communities, reduce crime, and even deter terrorism. Thanks to the pandemic’s limiting effect on the registration and licensing process for firearms in addition to an increased need for personal safety, people like Otis, who has no prior criminal history, are finding themselves targeted – seemingly by virtue of being Black. The stealth units appearing in Black neighborhoods conducting these sweeps seem to be absent from more affluent white areas of the city. Maybe that’s where Craig believes the “good guys” are?
Now Otis, who has been looking forward to finally being able to spend time with his children and grandchildren once the threat of Covid-19 subsides, is instead staring directly at a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit – punishable by up to five years in prison. The process is slow, but Otis has a lot of questions about his case, and he intends to use this time to get answers. His preliminary hearing today was adjourned until June 30th on account of his attorney having only this morning received the discovery packet – containing documents and evidence necessary to develop his defense. In addition to working with a public defender, Otis has also partnered with Emergent Justice’s Participatory Defense Hub – a cooperative of individuals who come together regularly to review cases, strategize, and dismantle roadblocks to achieving just outcomes. The team will be working diligently in the coming months to support him and his attorney on this case in the coming months.
In the meantime, while the specter of “justice” hangs over his head, Otis plans to go about his business more or less as usual. He’ll ready his gardens for spring, do a little woodworking, practice the harmonica, and maybe even get around to restoring the old Corvette in his garage. And while his own fate is uncertain, he wants more than anything for the community to be aware of the tools and tactics of the police that patrol his city. “Everybody is safer when everybody else knows what’s going on”.
Majyck Radio reached out to the Detroit Police Department to inquire about their use of surveillance technology, and hopes to learn more about the circumstances that led to Mr. Goree’s arrest. We will continue to follow his case. More information about Participatory Defense can be found online at Emergent Justice’s Website: emergentjustice.org.
On Sunday evening at approximately 6:30 pm, a series of fiery explosions wreaked havoc at the site of Kalamazoo’s Homeless Encampment on Mills street near downtown. The Encampment, often unofficially referred to as “Tent City”, sits on a brownfield redevelopment site just east of the city’s downtown business district, and serves as de-facto “home” to 15 plus residents – some of whom were previously ejected from other locations such as Bronson Park when city leaders began cracking down on what they considered a nuisance – the presence of houseless citizens in close proximity to high rent business and residential properties. Setting up tents and other temporary shelters is more often than not a last resort for residents who have been unable to find a safe place to stay elsewhere as a result of the lack of resources afforded by the city of Kalamazoo and what many see as a failure on the part of city leadership as well as private organizations such as the Gospel Mission to adequately and humanely serve the city’s houseless citizens.
Reporting live from Tent City just after the area was declared safe, Majyck Dee spoke to residents and others who had come to help. The cause of the destruction is still under investigation, but those on the scene say that a fire began inside of one of the tents and quickly spread, igniting several propane tanks on the site that had been donated in order to provide some heat and cooking fuel to residents during the cold winter months. Tanks that remained after the fire were removed by the city, and many are concerned that propane will no longer be allowed on the property – a chilling prospect, literally, for this small community.
It is unclear how many people have been or will be displaced as a result of the fire, but individuals who spoke with Dee on Sunday night expressed a need for tents, sleeping bags and blankets to replace items destroyed by the flames. While fortunately no serious injuries were reported, many residents’ essential belongings were reduced to ash, or destroyed by water. The backened, soggy remains of blankets, clothing, tents, and other items dotted the encampment on Sunday night. For those that had little to begin with, the loss is great.
Those interested in donating are encouraged to reach out to local organizers who have already been working to provide basic needs to residents. Kalamazoo Coalition for the Homeless is one such group. On their facebook page, they keep an updated list of specific needs, offer guidance to those who want to help, and coordinate volunteers to collect items and deliver them to the encampment.
Kalamazoo, MI- A student-led and created survey, virtually shared and hard copies circulated in various communities throughout Kalamazoo with the support of community members and local organizations. Recently, newly hired Kalamazoo Public Schools, Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri recently created a one question survey to capture the “voice” of high school students opinion on the value of School Resource Officers (SRO’s).
During the summer of 2020 Students K-24 have engaged in community conversations police, school administration, local organizations and community leaders to discuss the reallocation of funds for School Resource Officers and provide more meaningful solutions that do not criminalize social, emotional growth of adolescents and young adults.
There are many students in the district that have been very outspoken about the trauma’s that connect with SRO’s in public schools and research and data that contradicts what are interested in hearing what other students opinions about their experiences as a student in Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS).
Student participation is confidential; and responses are not connected to student accounts or ID’s. Youth organizers plan to share student voices with KPS staff and the community the results. High school students from KPS are encouraged to respond. Students are eligible to register online for a free raffle.
For more information about ridding SRO’s from Kalamazoo Public Schools; bit.ly?KPSNOSRO
Kalamazoo Youth Development Network will be hosting a Youth LINK event Wednesday, December 16, 2020 to give the youth a chance to learn about what youth advocacy organizations are operating in the Kalamazoo area! This Youth LINK Event will be in a speed dating event where local youth can learn about different youth advocacy efforts in the community. Please use this link to sign up: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZMvdeqoqjMjHt3g1kqKLR724PpHM…