“Enough is Enough. We deserve better!

“Enough is Enough. We deserve better!

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
The crisis has deepened since 2020.
 Facebook Post from Black Lives Matter Kzoo/Battle Creek reads “Enough is Enough. We deserve better!”
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.

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.
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.

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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.

Who are Police in Detroit Targeting in the Gun Grab, and How?

Who are Police in Detroit Targeting in the Gun Grab, and How?

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 Goree, Grandfather of 2Otis, 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.

DEMOCRACY NEEDS YOU!

DEMOCRACY NEEDS YOU!

Kalamazoo, MI- UDF Organizers openly welcomes the community to attend the next spring virtual FEAST. Individuals and organizations that would like to present for the next FEAST, download the application and submit completed application to the People’s Food Co-Op by February 22, 2021. The People’s Food CO-OP is located at 507 Harrison Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.
Purchase tickets for the FEAST
For more information, visit: www.urbandemocracyfeast.org
Explosions Rock Tent City in Kalamazoo

Explosions Rock Tent City in Kalamazoo

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. 

 

 

 

 

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