Category Archives: Events

Education advocates host first annual Kalamazoo schools year end celebration

Food, entertainment and an opportunity for “kids to be kids”

About 100 students and their parents were greeted by community leaders, volunteers and members of Social Economic & Educational (SEE) Change and Justyce Against Bullying in Schools (JABS) at the Kalamazoo Metropolitan Branch NAACP for their 1st Annual Expect Respect And Safe Education (ERASE) End of School Year Celebration. Participants took part in activities such as face painting, table crafts, hula hooping and  a water balloon challenge.

“As we continue to pursue equity and justice for our youth to ensure they are successful and Promise ready,” said Dr. Strick Strickland, Kalamazoo NAACP’s interim President, “we must strive as a community to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our youth completing a year of school. NAACP is proud to support SEE Change and stands in JABS corner as Sponsor of JABS Awareness Month”

“Every year, students in Kalamazoo Public Schools are denied their right to education because of ineffective and harmful school discipline policies.” said Elisheva T Johnson of Michigan United. “When they fail to recognize and address the trauma caused by unjust, biased, and broken social systems, our kids are effectively ‘pushed out’ of public education. That needs to end.”

Community member and environmentalist, Chris Wahmhoff also answered questions as many of the curious youth enjoyed time playing with baby ducks. “For Michigan, for us, I think Environmental Justice is one of the most important struggles we face” Wahmhoff said.

Capitol Day 2017 features grassroots protests around Lansing

Activists demand support for teachers,
clean air for residents of 48217

Senate Majority Leader, Arlan Mekhoff found his office filled with protesters opposed to his plan to take away teachers’ pensions in Michigan. Representatives of Michigan United say the move would not only deter good teachers from coming to the state but students would also suffer a shortage of professionals able to deal with childhood behavior issues and an increase in criminalization of it.

Bazsa Miller credits quality teachers for pushing him to succeed. “I came to a point in my life where I had to choose between success and failure “ said Miller. “My teachers were there to make sure I made the right choice at a time when I couldn’t see the path myself.”

“Teachers have an important influence over children of single family homes.” says Arthur Howard who graduated from 9th grade to juvenile detention to adult prison by the age of 16. They are not just educators,” said Howard. “They are character makers.”

When they left the Capitol building, the crowd of hundreds moved on to the nearby offices of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) where they held a rally outside accusing the watchdog of giving Marathon Petroleum permission to spew toxic pollution into their neighborhood near the refinery in Southwest Detroit.

Wendy Kyles grew up in the 48217 neighborhood, the most polluted in the state. She watched her mother suffer from a cirrhotic liver even though she never drank alcohol and ultimately die of lung cancer even though she never smoked cigarettes. “Countless MDEQ rubber stamp hearings merely let us know what atrocities are on the way.” Kyles was hopeful in 2010 when Marathon announced they would offer relief to their “neighbors”. But sadly her optimism was misplaced. “Imagine my OUTRAGE to learn that they were only buying out the handful of white people who comprised 48217. Our black subdivision, squarely situated in front of and downwind of their facility, was curiously and conveniently left out of that process. We weren’t considered their neighbors;”

Michigan United announces launch of Universal Family Care campaign at Capitol Day

Rep. Jon Hoadley presents Long Term Care Study bill to lay groundwork to support families

With new chapters springing up around the state, Michigan United and the Michigan People’s Campaign welcomed record numbers at their annual Capitol Day Event Tuesday in Lansing. The grassroots organizations scheduled dozens of meetings with state representatives and senators to discuss immigration, the environment and family care.

At a rally held at Central United Methodist Church, they announced plans to work with Caring Across Generations and other coalition partners, holding listening sessions over the summer to build out policy details this fall that will ensure the care of all Michigan family members and to help those who care for them. Benchmarks include:

  • Universal childcare up to age 4
  • Long term in home care for seniors
  • Protections for home care workers
  • A stipend for stay at home family caregivers
  • Paid family leave for workers who need time off to care for loved ones.

Many families are in the “sandwich generation:” providing care for young children at the same time they’re providing care for their parents. Sandwich generation families deal with two unaffordable systems, where the people who require care have significant and rapidly changing needs.

Michelle George, an advanced practice registered nurse is one such person. She has a 97 year old aunt with two broken hips. Although she has good health insurance, she won’t be eligible for a new wheelchair to help her get to much needed appointments. “Many families are stretched thin, have to cut back on work, or quit a job to care for aging family members.” said George. “We need better solutions, and the time is now for us to research and fight for them.

Rep. Jon Hoadley also announced that he would introduce his Long Term Care Study bill later that afternoon as the first step in this campaign.

Immigrant families at risk if Trump keeps promises

Don’t despair. Organize!

Join Michigan United and our partners as we work to resist deportations.

Michigan Sanctuary Movement 

Are you or your congregation interested in providing sanctuary for immigrants in danger of deportation? CLICK HERE  to become part of the statewide movement to protect immigrant families.

 Michigan United statewide strategy summit-December 10th

We have a lot of work to do, and we need to get organized. Please cjoin our statewide strategy summit, co-sponsored with the Michigan Immigrants Rights Center. CLICK HERE to be part of the discussion on how we can resist the deportations, support families, and develop strategies for how we can stand up for justice and dignity for all. 

Strategy Summit

Saturday, December 10
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Trinity Lutheran Church
1400 W. Stadium
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

If we stand together, they cannot divide us.

An evening of prayer and reconciliation with Michigan United’s Detroit Pastoral Alliance for Change

A religious event hosted by the Michigan United group Detroit Pastoral Alliance for Change (DPAC) took on added significance with the shooting of two black men by police and the shooting of five police officers by a black man last week. DPAC had hoped to confront the rising racial tensions brought on by divisive political rhetoric when unresolved issues of systemic racism reared their ugly head yet again.

“If we stand together, they cannot divide us” will feature a performance by the predominantly white Refuge Youth Choir of the First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, MO at the Triumphant Life Christian Church in the predominantly black community of Highland Park, MI. Pastors of both races will directly confront how racism affects us all.

WHAT:
“If we stand together, they cannot divide us” racial reconciliation service

WHO:
Deacon Charles Thomas,Evangel Ministries
Pastor Harvey Presberry,Canfield Church of God
Rev. Sharon Buttry,Associate Dir., Training and Education International Hope Center
Pastor Kevin Johnson, Calvary Presbyterian Church
Apostle Velma Clopton,Victory In The Truth, Mesa, AZ
Apostle Joseph Hobbs, Triumphant Life Christian Church
Bishop Herman Starks,Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit
Refuge Youth Choir of the First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, MO

WHEN:
7PM July 11th, 2016

WHERE:
Triumphant Life Christian Church
13254 Thompson, Highland Park, MI 48203

Interfaith Vigil for Orlando Victims, Families, Survivors

Diverse gathering of LGBTQ, faith leaders, community leaders and elected leaders

Detroit’s LGBTQ community was joined by a variety of clergy, community leaders and an elected leader at Clark Park Monday evening in the wake of the recent tragedy in Orlando. Islamic and Christian clergy spoke and prayed together along with community leaders from ACCESS, Sugar Law Center and State Representative Stephanie Chang. The theme of the event was to promote unity, love and faith based values to counter bigotry, hatred and extremism. 
The prayer vigil will take place at 6 this evening at the Clark Park Band Shell near the west side of the Park. 

 

Rashida Tlaib of Sugar Law Center
Rashida Tlaib of Sugar Law Center

“We must embrace one another across divides of faith, gender identity and color to counter violence and extremism,” said Rashida Tlaib of Sugar Law Center. “We gather here today to pray for the victims of the Orlando mass murder and for their loved ones in this very grim hour and we gather to say we will not succumb to bigotry and hatred no matter the source whether it’s from outside or inside our nation.” 

The prayer vigil in Southwest Detroit featured a wide slate of speakers including Rev. Dr. Jill Zundel, Central United Methodist Church Rev. Jack Eggleston, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Southeast, Rev. Marcia Ledford, Episcopal Church of Detroit, Hassan Sheikh, Michigan Muslim Community Council, Rachid Elabed, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services Adonis Flores, Michigan United, State Representative Stephanie Chang and Detroit City Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López

 

Rev. Juan Perez Latino Missioner for Episcopal Diocese of Michigan
Rev. Juan Perez Latino Missioner for Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

“As a person of faith and a member of the LGBTQ community it’s very heartening to see people from across the spectrum of faith, color and gender identity stand against the type of intolerance and destruction we saw devastate the Orlando community,” said Rev. Juan Perez Latino Missioner for Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. “The intolerant, no matter their ideology or origin, cannot prevail against us as long as we are unified. Americans that are Muslims, Christians, Americans of Asian, Latino, Arab and African descent, we have power when we stand together and speak out to sustain one another beyond the devastation and work to prevent violence and division with unity.”  

Capitol Day 2016

Join hundreds of Michigan United leaders and allies from across the state as we take over Lansing in the name of economic, environmental, and racial justice!

Click here to register for Capitol Day 2016 NOW!

We will meet with our legislators to push for grassroots solutions to injustices our communities face. Following the meetings, we will join with allies from across the state to amplify our voices against those causing pain in our communities by carrying out a DIRECT ACTION.

Michigan United will provide buses for transportation from Detroit and Kalamazoo. Detroit will depart from 6451 Schaefer Rd, Dearborn & Kalamazoo will depart from their office at 1009 E Stockbridge Ave, Kalamazoo. A logistics email will be sent to all registered attendees a week before the event with many details, including depart times and locations.

Please click here to register if you plan to attend. A space to enter attendees’ names will appear once you choose how many places you would like to reserve. Please include the names of everyone for whom you reserve a spot.

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Please indicate any dietary restrictions when registering.

Childcare will also be provided. Please indicate if you will require childcare, along with their names and ages. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide childcare for children under the age of 2 years.

This is a FREE event. However, we greatly appreciate donations to help offset the costs. Click here to donate now! A donation of $60 more makes you an official member in good standing!

For additional information about Capitol Day 2016, please contact our office, 877-507-7774, ext 725 or email branden@miunited.org.

Fair Chance for All ‘Tailgate & Takeover’ the Kalamazoo City Commission

Area families tell stories of incarceration, urge City Commission to vote on non-discriminatory hiring policy

While tailgating is nothing new to Kalamazoo, a ‘Tailgate & Takeover’ party held Monday night outside city hall wasn’t to support the Broncos. Rather, residents were there to cheer for their families to have a fair chance at turning their lives around and land good jobs once they’ve paid their debt to society. The event’s host, Michigan United’s ‘Fair Chances for All’ (FC4A) campaign has delved into mass incarceration and the effect that it has on families, specifically, on Kalamazoo families’ access to educational and economic opportunities.

The city of Kalamazoo took a step to address this issue in 2011 with a policy that removed questions about criminal history from municipal employment applications.  FC4A hopes to see it expand to the private sector as well.

IMG_7105“Banning the box in Kalamazoo has been great for low income communities and not just for residents returning from serving their sentences.” Said FC4A member, Katryce Brown.

“It’s time for the City of Kalamazoo to take up our ‘Fair Chance Policy’ and carry that success forward. We’re not the only ones who want to see this expand into the private sector.The private sector does too! Building healthy communities is just good business.”

“Imagine if our community valued people based off the sum total of their accomplishes as opposed to the mistakes that they made during a period of their life when they were broken,” Kalamazoo City Commissioner Erin Knott said, “I am supporting the fair Chance policy, because this the right thing for individuals and families in Kalamazoo.”

“Kalamazoo has a reputation for being a leader in equity.” Brown said. “Let’s continue to be a place where all families have equity and opportunity. That is what Kalamazoo is really all about.”

‘Tailgate & Takeover’ party Monday night at Kalamazoo City Commission

Local families to tell stories of incarceration, seek vote on non-discriminatory hiring policy.

Residents will come together Monday to push for better employment for family members in Kalamazoo who have already repaid their debts to society. Several candidates for City Commission ran with the intention of putting “Fair Chance” legislation on the agenda. The issue has yet to come up since their election.

Those Commissioners and the people they represent will grill and chill before the city’s next meeting. Participants will then go inside to speak during the public comment period and encourage the Commission to take up legislation prohibiting employers who receive city tax benefits from requiring criminal background checks in order to work in most occupations.

WHAT:
Kalamazoo Commission Meeting tailgate party

WHO:
Kalamazoo residents with local economic concerns.
City Commissioners
Shannon Sykes,
Erin Knott,
Don Cooney,
Jack Urban
Matt Milcarek

WHEN:
Party at 5:30PM, Public Comment at 7PM

WHERE:
Kalamazoo City Hall,
241 W South St
Kalamazoo, MI 49007