Families & Community | Michigan Radio
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Families & Community

Shelly and Cory von Achen
Shelly and Cory von Achen

Big celebrations like graduation parties, family reunions, and of course weddings, are looking very different this year. Some engaged couples have chosen to postpone their weddings, others have had to reimagine their ceremonies and receptions to fit COVID-19 safety regulations.

a police car focused on the illuminated light bar
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The Lansing Police Department says it will no longer stop drivers for traffic violations that don’t pose a threat to public safety. 

The new policy means Lansing police won’t pull drivers over for so-called secondary violations.  Those include things like cracked windshields, loud exhaust and broken tail lights.  Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green says it’s an effort to protect the constitutional rights of citizens and eliminate bias-based policing. 

Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s going to be hard to enforce hard six-feet social distancing rules as kids return to school this fall. That’s according to the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In a statement released Friday morning, the group says in-person learning and school attendance is critical for many students, especially more vulnerable students who can get left behind in the transition to remote learning. Because of that, it’s tough to get as many kids as possible back in school when strict six-feet social distancing rules are in place.

 

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The northwest Detroit neighborhood near Sinai-Grace hospital was among the country’s most devastated by COVID-19. The hospital saw so many deaths at one point, it ran out of body bags.

Wikimedia Commons/Cklane90

The popular Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids plans to lay off half its staff at the end of the month.

Blandford has been growing since the 1950s, when Mary Jane Dockeray, a nature lecturer at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, convinced the land owner to donate 17 acres to start the nature center. Blandford now includes 264 acres of trails, fields, farmland and a school, operated by Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Blandford estimates 60,000 people visit the property each year, and those visits didn’t stop when the pandemic started.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Everyone learned about Independence Day in school: on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the United States to be a free nation.

But not everyone was free. Nearly a century later, Black people remained enslaved throughout the country.

And many Americans still haven't learned about the day that celebrates their freedom: Juneteenth.

Emergency room hospital
Pixabay

Today on Stateside, a conversation with a community activist in Grand Rapids looking to defund the police and what that would entail. Plus, four nurses have filed a lawsuit against the parent company of DMC and Sinai-Grace over what they say was negligence and mismanagement that led to unnecessary COVID-19 deaths.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Grand Rapids once again Friday, but this time it was to honor one of the city’s own.

Breonna Taylor was killed by police officers in Louisville, Kentucky in March, just a few months shy of her 27th birthday. Taylor was in her own room, in the middle of the night, when officers shot her while carrying out a “no knock” warrant looking for someone else.

Earlier this week, Louisville banned “no knock” warrants through legislation now known as “Breonna’s Law.”

a rainbow chalk covered sidewalk
Jasmin Sessler / Unsplash

Like most things during this pandemic, Pride Month is looking a little different this year. Many of the normal gatherings and celebrations have been cancelled. Meanwhile, protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd continue to spread across the nation. Amid the unrest and uncertainty, some activists see this Pride Month as particularly poignant. Stateside spoke with Erin Knott, executive director at Equality Michigan, and Selma Tucker with Public Sector Consultants in Lansing about the connections between the fight for LGBTQ rights and the fight for racial justice. 

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.  

woman holding a sign that says "black lives matter"
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The political will for police reform has made a big leap forward this year. But once we get to the point of acting on proposed changes, it will be important to have data that tells us what's happening. 

Brian Jennings stands at the front of a crowd of protesters who marched through Grand Rapids Wednesday.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids officials told residents the city is commited to implementing changes to make policing more accountable, and safer for residents, in an online update forum on Friday.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Update: Brian Jennings was arrested by Grand Rapids police Thursday afternoon. The Kent County Prosecutor's office initially told Michigan Radio Jennings was charged with destruction of property separately from the destruction that happened in the downtown core on Saturday night. Since then, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker says additional charges have been filed for rioting, breaking and entering and destruction of property at 82 Ionia on Saturday. The Kent County Prosecutors office is located in the building. 

Hundreds of angry people with no leader, and no plan.

A city, and a police department, on edge.

That was Grand Rapids again last night, less than a week after protests downtown turned to destruction and looting.

But last night, things turned out differently.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Protesters have marched in all 50 states to demand action against police brutality and mourn the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Stateside talked to two peaceful protest organizers in Grand Rapids and Detroit about what it was like demonstrating in their cities.

High school girls soccer match during the Flint Olympian Games.
Flint Olympian and CANUSA Games / flickr.com

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has updated their guidelines on summer athletics. This comes after Governor Gretchen Whitmer lifted Michigan’s COVID-19 related stay at home order. Now, groups of up to 100 can gather outside, as long as they practice social distancing.

people gathered around a campfire
Unsplash

Some parents and guardians staring down the prospect of a long summer with young kids cooped up at home are breathing a sigh of relief. When Governor Gretchen Whitmer lifted the COVID-19 stay home order, she loosened the restrictions on many businesses and programs. That includes children’s day camps, which will be allowed to reopen starting June 8.

A group of people marching with one arm raised in the black power symbol
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, what the Wayne State University police chief says needs to happen to regain public trust as the nation erupts in protest over the killing of George Floyd. Plus, a theater director speaks about the role of art in articulating black pain amid civil unrest. 

Garlin Gilchrist
Facebook video screengrab

Governor Gretchen Whitmer released a video statement Sunday in response to demonstrations across Michigan over the weekend against police brutality.

Whitmer was joined on the video by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. They both said anger over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis is justified. But they asked people to find non-violent ways to express their frustration.

people marching
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

For the fifth day this week, demonstrators gathered in Ann Arbor to protest excessive police force both nationally and locally. The protests were originally organized in support of Sha'Teina Grady El, who was shown being punched by a Washtenaw County sheriff's deputy in a video that spread across social media this week. 

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A proposed immigration detention facility in Ionia County will face opposition every step of the way. That’s the message from a group that’s been speaking out against the facility.

The Ionia County Commission had been considering a resolution to support the proposed facility, which could eventually house up to 600 people. But commissioners tabled the resolution after a number of people spoke out against it.

couple walking on a sidewalk
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Child care businesses in Michigan are still shut down as part of Governor Whitmer's "Stay Safe, Stay Home" executive order, except for those caring for children of essential workers. 

Rebooting this industry will be essential for the recovery of the state’s economy.  But child care administrators say it will likely be a painfully slow process, and require the creation of a “new normal,” for kids, parents, and workers.

hair salon
Guilherme Petri / Unsplash

Safe Salons for Michigan, a coalition of barbershop and salon owners and workers, is requesting that Governor Gretchen Whitmer allow them to reopen with “comprehensive health and safety measures” in place. Hair, nail, and tanning salons as well as barber shops were closed in late March in compliance with the governor’s executive order issued as a result of COVID-19.

In an email, the coalition lists eight steps to re-open, which it says are modeled after states with salons and barbershops that are already open.

Barber Karl Manke cuts hair at his barbershop.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan judge has denied the state’s request to shut down an Owosso barbershop whose owner continued cutting hair in spite of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order. The executive order, issued March 21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporarily closed hair, nail, and tanning salons, along with other businesses deemed non-essential. 

Mosques go virtual during a COVID-19 Ramadan

May 21, 2020
Three women in hijab and two men face away from the camera, praying
Courtesy Bushra Azom

For the first time in 25 years, Imam Abdul Latif Azom has closed the doors to the Islamic Center of North Detroit, or Masjid Al-Falah. It’s Ramadan, the month of fasting from dawn until dusk. Masjid means mosque.

“The greatest loss [to] our congregation is we can't go to the mosque,” said Azom.

A Catholic priest
Adobe Stock

Roman Catholic churches across Michigan will begin offering public Masses to the faithful this week. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all dioceses in Michigan had temporarily suspended public Masses. As different sectors of the economy begin to re-open, so too are religious services, beginning with very small, weekday and private Masses.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan has set aside $130 million from its federal CARES Act funding to help child care businesses - both those that have remained open to care for the children of essential workers, and those that have been forced to close due to the state's stay at home order.

Scarlett London and Cate Weiser

"Bored, exhausted, and restless" probably describes how a lot of Michigan’s kids are feeling these days. They have been stuck at home for nearly two months now, ever since the COVID-19 outbreak shut down schools and hangouts. This week, we spoke with two of the million and a half young people who are adjusting to this new normal. 

Protesters at the Michigan Capitol
Abigail Censky / WKAR

Religious leaders in southeast Michigan are calling on other faith and political leaders to condemn racist symbols displayed by some demonstrators at protests in Lansing. 

Hundreds of protesters gathered again on Thursday at the state Capitol in violation of social distancing rules to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay at home order. At an April 30 protest at the state Capitol building, some protesters displayed confederate flags, swastikas, and nooses. 

money
user penywise / morgueFile

The head of a Metro Detroit non-profit social services agency that’s in charge of distributing federal stimulus funds says the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people struggling to meet basic needs.

The Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency was allotted $11 million in CARES Act funds to distribute to households in Wayne County. $8 million of that is reserved for the city of Detroit.

Logan Chadde

In addition to cancelling sports, movie premieres, and the Olympics, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused a number of notable events in Michigan to cancel.

Here is a list of major festivals and events that have been forced to cancel or postpone due to the outbreak.

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