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Today on Stateside, the Upper Peninsula recorded its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases this week, and Houghton County’s public schools will close face-to-face instruction starting Monday for two weeks. We check in with the Western U.P.’s health officer to find out more. Also, a documentary filmmaker’s first feature film, set in Michigan. Plus, a journalist and an organizer on Black voters’ roles in the upcoming presidential election.

Demostrators in downtown Detroit protest police-involved shootings that have killed African-Americans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Protests against police brutality have been a mainstay in the city throughout the summer. In the early morning hours of August 23, the flow of peaceful protest after peaceful protest came to a halt when police met protesters with tear gas and physical force.

Tristan Taylor is one of the organizers of Detroit Will Breathe, which has been leading the protests. He described the mood before the violence on August 23 as festive; a DJ played music as the protesters marched down Woodward Avenue, and the police response, he said, stood in stark contrast.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Across Michigan, local clerks are preparing for the challenges of November’s general election.

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving a sharp rise in absentee voting and concerns for the health of people who will be manning the polls on Election Day.

Eric Milikin

It’s been difficult to honor those who have passed due to COVID-19 with social distancing guidelines making memorial gatherings impossible. Rochelle Riley, the director of arts and culture for the city of Detroit wanted to change that.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Activists are taking the city of Detroit to court over the tactics used by the police department in breaking up Black Lives Matter protests in recent months.

The protests in Detroit started after the death of George Floyd. Floyd died while being restrained by several Minneapolis police officers during an arrest. 

Sonari Glinton with a Ford Bronco
Ford Motor Company

Ford's rollout of the new Bronco was one of the marquee online events of the summer. Millions of people tuned in for the online reveal, or at least caught some part of the vast advertising blitz as the grand dame of SUVs was reborn for a new generation of consumers. Ford also commissioned a new podcast, titled Bring Back Bronco: The Untold Story, to share the history of the iconic car.  The mind behind the series is journalist and former NPR reporter Sonari Glinton. 

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Detroit will try a new approach to help out some of its most vulnerable, isolated households, Mayor Mike Duggan announced Wednesday.

The Community Health Corps will send social workers and other professionals into people’s homes. There, they’ll assess a family’s immediate needs, and connect them to social services to assist with housing, utilities, and the like.

instagram/thegreenmilegrille

In March of 2019, Daqwan Fistrunk opened up The Green Mile Grille in Detroit. Prior to starting the restaurant, Fistrunk spent seven years in prison, mostly at Lakeland Correctional in Coldwater, Michigan. That's where he met Jimmy Lee Hill, the executive chef at Lakeland who eventually became his mentor.

officer in riot gear
Adobe Stock

President Trump says he’s preparing to send federal agents to Detroit. 

Earlier this month, the president sent federal agents to Portland, Oregon, to deal with what he called the city’s inability to stop nightly Black Lives Matter protests.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Police Chief James Craig defended the actions of an officer who shot and killed a man in an incident last week.

 

Craig said the man was one of three suspects in an investigation into the shooting of four teens that took place on July 19.

a still from a stop animated film about Sarah Elizabeth Ray
A still from "Sarah Elizabeth Ray: The Rosa Parks of SS Columbia," a video by Aaron Schillinger, with animation by Bec Sloane.

For many Michiganders, summer used to mean a stop at Boblo Island. Trips to the amusement park island on the Canadian side of the Detroit River ended in the early 1990s, but folks still talk about carefree days on Boblo, or riding one of the two ferries that took you to the island: the Columbia and the Ste. Clair. Those boats are the subject of a documentary underway, Boblo Boats: A Tale of Two Sisters. Within that documentary is the story of Sarah Elizabeth Ray, a woman hailed as “Detroit’s other Rosa Parks” for her experience on the Boblo Boats. 

Office of the Governor

Today on Stateside, Michigan Radio Sports Commentator John U. Bacon checks in on hopes for college sports amid COVID-19. Also, a conversation with an author whose new book digs into what the University of Michigan got right and got wrong in its diversity and inclusion efforts.  

(Subscribe to Stateside on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or with this RSS link)

Unsplash / Paul Bergmeir

Today on Stateside, a conversation with the founder of Detroit’s Concert of Colors about the world music festival’s switch to broadcast-and-webcast-only later this year. Also, in light of Governor Whitmer’s new executive order calling for the use of masks in all public spaces, an epidemiologist provides some tips for adjusting to life during a pandemic. 

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Protesters who have taken to Detroit’s streets in the weeks since George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police say Detroit police have brutalized them. Some recounted their stories at a self-styled tribunal on Saturday night.

Person after person gave testimony alleging that Detroit police taunted, pepper sprayed, and assaulted them at marches earlier this month – mostly for violating Detroit’s then-8 p.m. curfew.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit ended its week-long celebration of Juneteenth with a rally at the city’s Spirit Plaza on Friday.

Juneteenth—June 19—commemorates the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Texas learned they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Activists took to the streets of Eight Mile Road again Wednesday evening to draw attention to the Detroit area’s racial divisions. Eight Mile has long served as a dividing line between predominantly-Black Detroit, and its predominantly-white suburbs.

Organizers say that Black people often fear crossing Eight Mile because it can lead to negative encounters with police. And they say suburban residents often fear crossing Eight Mile because they associate Detroit with violence.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Tuesday's rally to inform protesters about what happened in a meeting with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan got off to a rocky start.

Joanna Underwood, an activist who helped organize the first Detroit protest against police brutality, screamed at, ranted, and angrily lectured the protesters, along with two other activists she accused of "hijacking," the movement she was leading.

Underwood said Tristan Taylor and Nakia Wallace, who'd met with Duggan, were not legitimate leaders of the movement, because they were relatively new to the protest scene, while she'd been working for justice in the city for 15 years.  

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the creation of a health corps to help Detroiters during the COVID-19 pandemic. The deputy mayor, Conrad Mallett, Jr., says various municipal departments will meet over the next thirty days and develop a plan for what the corps will look like.

Duggan says Detroit residents have expressed concerns about water shutoffs, evictions, job losses, and access to medical care during the pandemic.

“I really envision a corps of folks who work for the health department who can reach out to those of low income and say we will be there to help you on these issues,” says Duggan.

State of Michigan

More marches and rallies are scheduled for this weekend to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

And that concerns local public health officials who fear large gatherings may spread the virus that causes COVID-19.

Denise Fair is Detroit’s Chief Public Health Officer. She says she doesn’t want to discourage people from speaking out.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit city officials expect an 8 p.m. curfew will remain in place for a couple more days.

The curfew was put in place this week in response to confrontations between large groups of protesters and police.   

Dozens of protesters have been detained for violating the curfew. Although on Wednesday night, police did not enforce the curfew and protesters continued to march peacefully well after the curfew.

Detroit Free Press, used with permission

Day five of George Floyd protests in Detroit ended with a mass arrest of protesters.

In the week since Floyd died, as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest, protests have spread across Michigan and the United States.

Chanting “We don’t back down to bullies in shields,” hundreds of protesters linked arms and continued marching past Detroit’s curfew.

Ryan Patrick Hooper / WDET

Protesters marched for a fourth straight day in Detroit. But for the first time, there were no clashes with police.

Hundreds of demonstrators walked for miles on Monday, holding signs and chanting against police brutality.

Over weekend, similar protests ended with tear gas and arrests.

But Monday, protest organizers, including Stefan Perez, worked to reduce tensions within the group of protesters.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Following a weekend of protests in Detroit over the police killing of George Floyd, downtown businesses along Woodward Avenue took proactive measures to protect themselves against possible vandalism and looting. Storefronts, including H&M and Madewell, were seen being boarded up. Black-owned businesses on the stretch donned signs in their windows with writings including “Black owned. Please don’t loot.” and “As a black and women own [sic] business, we support the protestors.”

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Following two nights of protests in Detroit over the police killing of George Floyd, where police released tear gas on protesters in attempts to divide and separate the crowd, a mandated curfew seemed to help quell activity in the city on Sunday evening.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan cities are imposing curfews after clashes between police and protesters this weekend.

Detroit and Grand Rapids have been rocked by vandalism and violence after rallies against police brutality against black people.

Detroit's curfew will begin at 8 p.m., and lift at 5 a.m.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

What started out as a large peaceful protest in Grand Rapids against police violence during the day on Saturday turned chaotic at night and into the early hours of Sunday morning. Police fired tear gas at the protesters, trying to break up the group. The group broke up into many smaller groups, but then went throughout downtown smashing windows, looting stores and setting many police cruisers on fire.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel talks about plans to restart on-campus instruction in the fall. Plus, an epidemiologist's advice for navigating reopened public spaces.

(Subscribe to Stateside on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or with this RSS link)

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

City of Detroit

Starting Wednesday, any Detroit resident will be able to make an appointment to get tested for COVID-19.

Previously, free testing in Detroit was restricted to people with a doctor’s note, symptoms, essential workers and people over the age of 60.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged a Detroit man for allegedly making death threats against Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Robert Sinclair Tesh was arrested in April after allegedly using a social media messaging app to make the threats. He was charged with "false report or a threat of terrorism," a felony with a maximum 20 year prison sentence.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is ramping up COVID-19 testing, with a focus on testing ‘at-risk’ seniors. Since May 1, 84% of Detroiters who've died from the disease have been over the age of 60.

Because of that, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city wants more senior citizens tested for the coronavirus.

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