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Families & Community

Women are seeing the fabric of their lives unravel during the pandemic. Nowhere is that more visible than on the job.

In September, an eye-popping 865,000 women left the U.S. workforce — four times more than men.

The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on households, and women are bearing the brunt of it. Not only have they lost the most jobs from the beginning of the pandemic, but they are exhausted from the demands of child care and housework — and many are now seeing no path ahead but to quit working.

a billboard with a picture of a Native woman and red hand print over her mouth
The Native Justice Coalition


kyo azuma / Unsplash

Stateside for Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Today on Stateside, we take a look at the troubling rise in COVID-19 cases in Kent County. Also, a conversation about Jackson County’s history as a birthplace for  Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party. Plus, we talk to two election attorneys about the possibility of contested election results after the presidential election.

Courtesy of Adrienne Lenhoff

If this were any other year, Michiganders could expect the usual costume parties, trick-or-treating, and corn mazes that signal the approach of Halloween. But now that COVID-19 is circulating, bobbing for apples is definitely out, and families might not be comfortable accepting candy from strangers this year. For holiday-driven businesses like haunted houses, the pandemic presents challenging questions about how to open up for the Halloween season safely.

Dylan Fereira / unsplash

The Michigan Department of Corrections is rolling out video visitation for inmates during the pandemic.

It's hoped that will help inmates stay connected with loved ones they can no longer see in person.   

MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz says it could be a long time before in-person visits start up again, especially as cases on the outside begin to rise.

Child looks at computer screen
Thomas Park / Unsplash

School has been back in session for more than a month now, and Michigan families and educators are beginning to settle into the strange new reality. Teachers and kids have shared how they’re adjusting to things like Zoom discussions, asynchronous learning, and masks in the classroom. Now that the back-to-school season is behind us and the rest of the year looms ahead, Stateside wanted to know: How are parents doing?

Courtesy of Malissa Clair

Malissa ClairLamphere Public Schools. Both she and her husband are essential workers for Consumers Energy. Before the pandemic, they both worked during school hours. But when Clair found out that her kids' school district was only going to be virtual this fall, she went into "mommy mode" and changed her schedule so she could be home during the day to help her youngest daughter, five-year old Sloan, with virtual kindergarten. Clair's hours are now 3:30pm - midnight, sometimes longer.

Life is hard for everyone during a pandemic. But in a global crisis, it is women who carry extra burdens, says Raquel Lagunas, director of the gender team at the United Nations Development Programme. "Because of their reproductive role in society, they are ones taking care of the kids, the house, the food, the survival of families."

A young Black child with curly hair writes in a notebook while sitting in the grass
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, we talk to a Michigan Teacher of the Year about how he creates an inclusive learning environment for LGBTQ students in his classroom. We also talk about how educators can challenge white supremacy and advance racial justice within schools. And we'll hear about a project that aims to tell a more complex, nuanced story of Native American communities in Michigan by hiring Indigenous reporters. 

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.

kids getting candy at someone's front door
Matt Olson / Flickr

Grab your broomsticks and cauldrons, witches. It’s time to start planning your pandemic Halloween. Of course, things will look a little differently this year. The Centers for Disease Control is advising against things like indoor haunted houses, boozy costume parties, and most heartbreakingly, door-to-door trick or treating.

A cell phone with the apps Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pulled up
dole777 / Unsplash

A new Netflix documentary has social media users rethinking the platforms they frequent. The Social Dilemma revealed some disturbing truths about tech companies and big data. In addition, the Federal Elections Commission recently published an op-ed for Wired magazine suggesting the integrity of the 2020 election is in the hands of Facebook and Twitter. With misinformation and disinformation running rampant on those platforms, the op-ed paints a bleak picture.

Mitigating misinformation

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.

Karen Woolstrum / Unsplash

The Autism Alliance of Michigan is setting an ambitious 10-year goal: for Michigan to be the first state in the nation to employ adults with autism at the same rate as neurotypical workers.

Alliance President Colleen Allen says that would mean placing roughly 101,000 people on the autism spectrum in jobs. She says reaching the goal will require the involvement of state agencies, the public education system, as well as employers.

Noah / Unsplash

On Stateside, a church in Romeo grapples with systemic and politically motivated vandalism. And, what six months of COVID have looked like. Plus, we continue a focus on Detroit Month of Design with a conversation with the winner of the Design in the City competition.

Angelique Speight-Marshall has come up with an ingenious idea to help the toddlers she looks after practice social distancing: She gave each of them a walkie-talkie. The kids squeal with delight as they run as far away from each other as possible, to talk.

"You have to think outside the box," Speight-Marshall says, "because the pandemic is changing the way health and safety practices have been used over the years."

During this pandemic, I've been worried about my grandma — Nanay, to me. That's Tagalog for mother.

Her name is Felisa Mercene. She's a Filipino American immigrant. She's 92. Since March, she's been living in isolation from most of our family in Southern California. Her relatives have been wary of visiting. What if they had COVID-19 and infected her?

3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C., where I live, I wondered: Is she feeling safe? Is she happy? Or ... is she lonely?

Philippe Bout / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, the Yemeni community in Hamtramck recently marched with Detroit Will Breathe protesters through the city and into Detroit. We spoke with an editor of the Yemeni American News about the community and their role in the protests. Plus, a new biography about Wendy Carlos, the woman who changed electronic music and reset the boundaries for composition.

people marching with a banner in Hamtramck
Simon Albaugh / Yemeni American News

Southeast Michigan – specifically cities like Hamtramck and Dearborn – is known as a hub of Arab American culture. But that group is not a monolith. Individual ethnic groups have their own cultures, cuisines, and stories about how they settled down in Michigan. That includes the more than 30,000 Yemeni Americans living in the region.

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.

titikul_b / Adobe Stock

A West Michigan-based child services agency says there’s been an increase in people looking to become foster parents. Bethany Christian Services is based in Grand Rapids, but places foster children throughout the U.S. It has seen a 55% increase in people attending foster care informational meetings from April through June compared to January through March of this year.

Native American protesters of the George Armstrong Custer monument dance in front of the monument
Katybeth Davis

Which historical figures deserve a monument? Many Americans are asking that question as the nation continues to reckon with racial injustice in the current moment. There are campaigns across the country to remove public monuments that honor people from America’s past who upheld racist systems, including slavery and the removal of Native people from their ancestral lands. That debate reached the city of Monroe this summer after a petition to remove its downtown statue of George Armstrong Custer received nearly 14,000 signatures.

The Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions canceled their practice Tuesday to protest police brutality, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday.

Blake was shot in the back multiple times by officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He is now paralyzed.

generic census form
comedy_nose / flickr

Detroit is mounting a final push to increase its all-important response rate for the U.S. Census.

The city's response rate right now is 49.3%, and the Trump administration has indicated the door-to-door phase of the census will end on September 30th.

The city has hired its own census workers - who will now continue their own door-to-door effort, in addition to federal census employees.   

group of college students wearing face masks
Valerii / Adobe Stock

The Washtenaw County Health Department has issued an order that limits the size of outdoor gatherings and events. The order applies to gatherings within the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

Those gatherings are now limited to 25 people, down from 100. The health department says it's issuing this restriction ahead of students returning to area universities.

Black woman in therapy sits with her head in her hands as her therapist takes notes on a clipboard
Adobe Stock

A new report shows Michigan falls short when it comes to mental health services. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan looked at several aspects, but one of the worst was a severe shortage of mental health professionals. An estimated 1.3 million Michigan residents have a mental health condition. About 38% of people who need help are not getting it.

Kalamazoo
Public domain

Members of the far-right Proud Boys group and counter-protesters clashed violently Saturday afternoon in western Michigan, resulting in arrests, police said.

Assistant Chief Vernon Coakley of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said a few people were arrested, but didn’t know exactly how many.

“A fight occurred, people were fighting, and that’s when we stepped in,” Coakley said.

back of child's head
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, the Michigan Senate will meet in a special Saturday session this weekend to make recommendations for school reopenings. We hear from two reporters about what factors lawmakers are considering as they plan for what a return to the classroom could look like this fall. Plus, a Detroit-born journalist discusses how racial profiling and police brutality complicated his relationship with the cars he grew up loving. 

Amber Marks, Nathan Marks, Paul Engel, Janice Engel stand in front of the minden city herald building
Courtesy of Nathan Marks

After decades at the helm of the Minden City Herald in Sanilac County, Paul Engel is passing control of the small town newspaper to his grandson Nathan Marks and his wife Amber. The publication has been in operation since 1889 and serves the communities of Minden City, Ubly, Harbor Beach, and Deckerville in Michigan’s Thumb.

Engel inherited the Minden City Herald from his own father, Bill Engel, who bought the paper in 1946. Before passing it on to Marks, Engel says he warned his grandson that taking on the paper would mean a huge lifestyle change.

a USPS mail truck
washjeff.edu

Today on Stateside, U.S. Senator Gary Peters joins us to talk about his plans to investigate delivery delays in the United States Postal Service. Also, a check in with a University of Michigan researcher on the impact of the pandemic on Michigan's many homeless students.

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