People’s Lobby Day 2018 Attracts Local Youth to State Capital Building

People’s Lobby Day 2018 Attracts Local Youth to State Capital Building

Kalamazoo, MI- Hundreds of socially activated citizens from around the state descending to Lansing for, “The People’s Lobby, known in recent past as, “Capital Day”. 2018 makes the 7th year residents meet with their local legislators on issues ranging from Criminal Justice Reform, the Long Term Care Study Bill, Universal Family Care, Medicare for All, Water for Flint and Immigration.

S.E.E (Social. Economic. Educational) Change, group of families, students, educators, and community members working together to break the School to Prison Pipeline and dismantle
barriers to success through advocacy, education, empowerment, and action. S.E.E Change took a group of teen members from Kalamazoo’s area Girl Scouts and Kalammazoo Public Students and parents to meet with 60th House District Rep. Jon Hoadely and State Senator Margeret O’Brien.

Students were able to participate in a Direct Action Rally demanding a resolution for Flint residents and the water crisis that continues to this day.

S.E.E Change youth invited Representative Jon Hoadley to the 2nd Annual E.R.A.S.E Celebration on June 13, 2018 to celebrate all youth and the end of 2017/2018 academic school year at 1009 E. Stockbridge Street in Kalamazoo, MI.

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

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

Majyck Radio-Kalamazoo, MI

Escritor colaborador- Tandy Moore

El miércoles por la tarde, S.E.E. Change, defensores locales del cambio social, económico y educativo en Kalamazoo, se asoció con el Centro Arcus para la Justicia Social para presentar un documental que explora la respuesta actual y la perpetuación del trauma personal, intergeneracional, racista y de pobreza en el sistema de justicia penal. Nuestra sociedad. Producido y dirigido por la Dra. Shakti Butler, Healing Justice se basa en entrevistas con ex delincuentes, víctimas, artistas, expertos en justicia penal y practicantes de justicia restaurativa para proporcionar cuentas personales emocionantes, contexto histórico y cultural, y datos para ilustrar la filosofía y efectividad de utilizando un enfoque de sanación en línea con las Prácticas Restaurativas para reducir las tasas de delincuencia violenta y de reincidencia en las comunidades de todo el país.

Elisheva T. Johnson SEE Change Organizer

Durante la proyección, se invitó a los televidentes a participar en discusiones en grupos pequeños y compartir ideas entre la audiencia más amplia sobre cómo podemos trabajar juntos para abordar el daño causado por un sistema de justicia punitiva: una población en prisión cada vez mayor, estructuras familiares rotas, privación de derechos económicos, niños traumatizados, víctimas olvidadas, crisis de salud mental no tratadas y avance hacia un enfoque más efectivo y proactivo para lidiar con el delito y la delincuencia, uno que aborde las causas de los comportamientos dañinos y se enfoque en las necesidades reales de los delincuentes y las víctimas.

El evento del miércoles contó con la participación de activistas comunitarios, líderes, académicos y jóvenes, así como del Fiscal del Condado de Kalamazoo, Jeff Getting, quien según los informes está explorando la posibilidad de implementar la Programación de Justicia Restaurativa en el sistema judicial juvenil local. VER. Los organizadores del cambio esperan que esto sea solo el comienzo del diálogo continuo y la colaboración de buena fe entre los miembros de la comunidad, los funcionarios de justicia penal y los líderes electos en Kalamazoo.

Se anima a los interesados ​​en unirse a la conversación a conectarse con S.E.E. Cambiar a través de Facebook o correo electrónico seechangekazoo@gmail.com

Se puede encontrar más información sobre Healing Justice y otras películas de World Trust en: www.world-trust.org/films

Una lista completa de los próximos eventos en el Centro Arcus para la Justicia Social está disponible en: https://reason.kzoo.edu/csjl/

ProKazoo General Meeting: Intersecting Narratives

ProKazoo General Meeting: Intersecting Narratives

Kalamazoo, MI – First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo, MI is the current host site for ProKazoo’s monthly meetings. Local grassroots organizers and community advocates presented their work with the goals of connecting allies with marginalized communities in Kalamazoo County. Local community leaders, Prosecuting Attorney, Jeff Gettings, Kalamazoo County Commissioner, Julie Rogers and Sherine Miller, Kalamazoo Charter Township Treasurer, were among those present to hear from local activists and organizers. Gwendolyn Hooker, Co-Founder of JABS (Justice Against Bullying in Schools) shared that Michigan ranks number one in the nation for bullying in school. Not isolated to Kalamazoo, bullying is a huge problem for youth, especially ages, 6 to 12 years old. October is national bullying month and JABS will have announcements of their next events coming up. Dr. Strick Strickland, Interim President of the Metropolitan Branch of the NAACP, explained his involvement with the Citizen Public Safety Review and Appeal Board.  The members are appointed by Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema and serve two-year terms. The goal of the CPSRAB is to review complaints citizens have filed against the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and are unsatisfied with the result. If a  citizen wishes to appeal this decision, it is reviewed by Ristema with input from the review board. Lead organizer for SEE Change, Elisheva T. Johnson spoke in detail and passion, the construct of the “School to Prison Pipeline”. Racism, a social construct that is invisible, targets African-Americans and youth of color, especially males. Recent data show that K-12 students are 3.8 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white students. Johnson also shared that there is a lack of transparency between the school and parents and many of youth are “medicated and separated”.

Kelli Redman, the Restorative Justice Program Manager from Gryphon Place, shared out with the group, a presentation outlining the services that some KPS buildings have access too. Outreach to all KPS buildings is a discussion that is in the works. Amanda Miller, current KEA President shared insight on whats called a “bargaining crisis”. Negotiations stalled for KPS teachers and KPS Board on step raises and transparency. KPS teachers are asking for smaller class sizes and a proposed letter of agreement. Miller also urged members of the community to run for school board as two seats will be available December 2018. Ed Genesis, Rapper and community organizer shared first hand his experience going through the “school to prison pipeline” and his transformation and success story. The meeting concluded with a Know Your Rights Panel, consisting of SEE Change advocates answered questions from the audience. SEE Change is planning to Know Your Rights Workshop for parents, caregivers, and students, who wish to have additional support navigating through the educational system.

KPS Teachers Protest Outside Administration Building

KPS Teachers Protest Outside Administration Building

Kalamazoo, MI- Prior to the start of the regularly scheduled Kalamazoo School Board, dozens of teachers, parents and community members were seen holding signs protesting outside the administration building. Standing room only, recognizing area students for their athletic achievements. The meeting’s priority for many in attendance, t step raises for teachers after one year of service. KEA, President, Amanda Miller states, “the other way teachers receive compensation increases are when we bargain an increase on the step schedule. The money budgeted doesn’t even get us to the step that teachers earn for last year’s service”.

A very emotionally charged meeting, parents and former KPS students shared their experiences of support from a  KPS teacher that “took that extra time” or provide resources to them that they were not able to get on their own at the time. Teachers current and retired shared emotionally charged stories as well. Students that were able to move past a barrier or challenge in their lives and contributing part success to the dedication of KPS teachers.

George White,  Lead parent advocate for SEE Change a local group from Kalamazoo, states, “It appears there was an agreement in principle to a 2.2 percent step increase for teachers this coming school semester.  Recruiting and retaining quality teachers depends on stability/dependability of employment and step increases after their first year to assure that teachers feel valued and are able to support their families”.  

White has met with many KPS parents and working with them to “navigate” through the “chain of commands”. In addition, White adds, “80 new teachers last year aided by a very high turnover ratio in Kalamazoo Public Schools.  Kalamazoo Public Schools enrollment is thriving/growing over the last 10 years and students received an increase in per pupil funding this school year.  It is no secret the school board has never met with teachers and this action serves to even deepen the rift. Our pupils deserve a school board that visits the schools and talks to the students/teachers and places the value where it belongs”. 

The next KPS school board is scheduled for August 31, 2017, at 7 pm. The administration building is located 1220 Howard Street.

Protestors in Kalamazoo Rally for Health Care for All

Protestors in Kalamazoo Rally for Health Care for All

Kalamazoo, Michigan – The Upton-Long Amendment will not address the major shortfalls of the Republican Plan to repeal the ACA. The latest plan still takes away health care from 24 million people while giving $600 billion in tax breaks to the wealthiest. 

High-risk pools do not work to provide quality care for people with pre-existing conditions. Even so, $8 billion falls far short of what is needed to make high-risk pools minimally sustainable. The $8 billion reported increases represents a 6 percent increase in the $130 billion the bill already included for grants to states, funding states could use for high-risk pools. But experts have concluded that – even if all $130 billion were used for high-risk pools – that would still leave these pools underfunded by at least $200 billion (other experts have arrived at much higher estimates). Over 10 years, the $8 billion increase would be insufficient to fill the funding shortfall for Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, much less nationwide.

 Rep. Upton came out as a “NO” on the repeal plan on Tuesday, but since cutting a deal with President Trump, he has returned to supporting a bill that will kick 24 million people off of their health care. 

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Learn more about the Michigan People’s Campaign at our website: www.michiganpeoplescampaign.org

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

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

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

Parent Advocates

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

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

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

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

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

Kalamazoo School Board Meeting March 9, 2017

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

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

 

Kalamazoo Promise 10 Year Update, 2006-2016

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