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Detroit

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Afrourbanism, Detroit's Black history and future

A bustling area of the country’s most chocolate city razed to make way for Highway I-375. An idyllic “Black Eden” designed as a safe haven of relaxation and entertainment in rural Yates Township. Remembering Idlewild and Detroit’s Black Bottom is an important part of contextualizing Michigan’s Black history, and they can provide the blueprint for creating  future spaces with black people in mind.

Ann Arbor's Skyline High School. Ann Arbor Public Schools has been on the state's "significant disproportionality" list for over-suspending black students for five years, but says it's taken aggressive steps to correct that disparity.
Wikimedia Commons

Today on Stateside, confusion and frustration among Ann Arbor parents over the decision on whether to reopen schools. Plus, a look into the history and future of public spaces centered around Detroit's Black residents. And, if you’re starting to feel a little cooped up, may we recommend some winter bird watching?

unemployement insurance form on a clipboard
Vitalii Vodolazskyi / Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, frustrated Michiganders try to navigate an unemployment system overwhelmed by pandemic job losses. Plus, a Detroit festival celebrates the food of the African diaspora.

man in a mask gets a vaccine from health care worker in a mask
Adobe Stock

Today, on Stateside, we talked with photographer Leni Sinclair about her years of political involvement and her stunning photos of Detroit’s stages and people. Also, how Detroit leveraged help from a large and well-funded partner to coordinate its massive effort to vaccinate residents. 

Mayor Mike Duggan says the city is expanding options for Detroiters over age 65 to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Duggan says the city will be providing low-cost or no cost rides to a vaccination clinic at the TCF center.  And for the next four Saturdays, the mayor says the city will be providing special vaccination clinics just for seniors. 

a woman in scrubs puts on gloves in front of a car
Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

Undocumented immigrants in Detroit who opt to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the TCF Center, which serves as the city’s main vaccination site, will not be targeted by immigration enforcement according to the Detroit Health Department. 

Protesters stand in downtown Detroit the night of May 31, 2020.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit will dismiss most misdemeanor citations issued last spring during several days of protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Most of the tickets written May 31 and June 2 were for curfew violations as hundreds of people demonstrated in downtown Detroit.

HarpersCollins Publishers

 

 

Today on Stateside, what President Biden's executive order on deportation will mean in Michigan. Also, ready for some reads? The annual list of Michigan Notable Books might give you a new lens on strange times.

 

a woman in scrubs puts on gloves in front of a car
Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says that there are over 12,000 appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations scheduled at the TCF Center in Detroit in the coming weeks. The city wants to do even more, but doesn't know if it can count on a consistent number of doses.

"Everybody is having a tough week. In Detroit, we expected to get 9 to 10 thousand this week. We got 6000. We can work with 6000, but it is not what we had hoped to try to keep expanding eligibility," Duggan said in a press conference Tuesday.

protests, black lives matter, police, police force, police training
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

 

 

This time last year, the world as we knew it looked quite different than it does today. And although issues like police violence against people of color aren’t new, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many other Black Americans jolted our country in new ways last summer.

 

Stateside wanted to spend some time thinking about the activism that has shaped the past few decades, and the many parallels and differences between the civil rights movement of the 1960s and today’s movement for Black lives. 

 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Some people in Flint are turning to a higher power to deal with a rise in violent crime.

“We pray right now for protection, Lord. We pray for strength, Lord,” Pastor Chris Martin used a megaphone, as he led a small march from his church, past a city park where the city’s latest murder victim was found Saturday.

Photo taken from a BLM protest in Detroit this summer
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

This was a wrenching year of racial reckoning both nationally, and right here in Michigan. Detroit journalist Stephen Henderson has been grappling with these issues both on-air as a radio host on WDET, and also in writing. Many of his conversations about race and racial justice this year featured prominent American writers and thinkers, and those conversations became the basis of a new season of Henderson’s podcast “Created Equal”.

Polling station sign
user jaina / Creative Commons

The U.S. Justice Department will be closely watching Tuesday's election in seven Michigan communities.

The Department’s Civil Rights Division plans to have personnel in 44 jurisdictions in 18 states to monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are spending the weekend campaigning in Michigan ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Former President Barack Obama served as Joe Biden’s lead in at a pair of drive-in rallies Saturday in Flint and Detroit.  

Obama’s main message focused on voting.

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we talk about Detroit voters and what turnout looks like in the Motor City. Plus, a conversation with the Sheriff of Livingston County about Secretary Benson’s order against firearms at the polls.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s largest city is taking its first step toward opening recreational marijuana shops.

Detroit officials unveiled a proposed ordinance Monday that would allow entrepreneurs to apply for retail, grower, processing, and other cannabis business licenses. The proposed ordinance would reserve half of the licenses to Detroiters.

[For more Michigan news right on your phone, subscribe to the Stateside podcast on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts today]

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

What is Proposal N?

Proposal N (“N” stands for neighborhoods) is a measure Detroit voters have on their ballots this election year.

If voters approve Proposal N, the city will have the go-ahead to issue $250 million in bonds for blight remediation—that is, either taking down or rehabbing much of the city’s remaining stock of vacant homes. Proposal N proposes to tackle around 16,000 of those vacant properties, with around 8,000 salvageable homes targeted for rehab, and another 8,000 for demolition.

City of Detroit Facebook screen shot

Detroiters are without bus service for a second day, after drivers walked off the job Friday morning.

Union leaders say the city hasn't taken enough action to protect them from COVID-19 or from passengers who become confrontational when asked to wear masks.

Mayor Mike Duggan says he received no complaints prior to the strike, and it appears it was triggered by one incident that happened on September 8th.

A skyline of Detroit
Public Domain / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The architecture of cities, both visible and hidden, shapes the way that we move through our lives and our communities. It’s the job of urban planners to help design a city’s built environment—whether that’s a location for a crosswalk or the aesthetic for a new development project. But even in majority-Black cities like Detroit, those decisions are often made with very few Black voices at the table. Lauren Hood wants to change that.

Courtesy of Andrew Cohn

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. 

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