Families & Community | Michigan Radio
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Families & Community

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.

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.

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order that placed a statewide moratorium on evictions lapsed on July 16th.  

A week later, federal unemployment payments of $600 a week ran out, after members of Congress failed to renew the benefits.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint religious leaders plan on taking to streets on Saturday to pray, after a recent spike in violent crime.

Kids These Days: Vaping resources and information

Jul 29, 2020

If you or a friend are trying to quit vaping, here are some resources to help. Learn more about the negative impacts of vaping and discover resources about how to help.

Library of Congress

Competing petition drives are fueling the debate over whether a statue of General George Armstrong Custer in Monroe should be removed. Statues of Confederate soldiers and leaders as well as statues of people who enslaved or murdered indigenous people, such as Christopher Columbus, are being removed in cities around the country as part of a movement to deal with racism.

Tom Rumble / Unsplash

On May 25, the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer set off protests across the country, as well as conversations about how racial discrimination and disenfranchisement are upheld by different sectors of American society. This summer, Stateside is conducting a series of conversations on what systemic racism looks like. This week we hear from a journalist, a landlord, and the director of a community center about how systemic racism affects housing, from property rental to the way neighborhoods are structured.

2020 Census
Adobe Stock

Every 10 years, the United States attempts a massive feat: trying to count every person who lives here. Not only is the census a huge undertaking, it has serious implications for communities across the country. It determines how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives, and helps determine the districts for state and local races as well. It also plays a role in the allocation of federal funding. 

James Colby Hook III, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Today on Stateside, a new ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court will have major implications on how counties collect money on tax foreclosed homes. As back to school season comes into view, how are teachers feeling about returning to work in uncertain times. Plus, how Sundown Towns across Michigan defined systemic racism in housing and neighborhoods.

public domain

Workers at five nursing homes in metro Detroit say they'll walk off the job today to protest working conditions.

Trece Andrews is a certified nursing assistant at Regency at St. Clair Shores. 

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