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activism

J Curnow / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It's been 35 years this month since the murder of a young Chinese American man named Vincent Chin, who was beaten to death by two white men in Detroit.

His death, and the lenient sentences the killers received, sparked an Asian-American activist movement with protests in cities across the U.S.

water faucet
Laura Nawrocik / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A group of water activists who have had their trial delayed for over two years are ready for it to move forward.

The so-called Homrich Nine were charged with disorderly conduct after blocking the trucks scheduled to complete water shutoffs in Detroit from leaving Homrich Inc. back in July of 2014.

The activists wanted to go to trial to present a moral case against shutoffs, but the case was delayed for several reasons.

University of Michigan Professor Rosina Bierbaum says scandals like Flint's water crisis have eroded public trust in the safety of drinking water
Courtesy of Raiz Up

 


When does graffiti cross the line from artistic political statement to crime?

That’s the question raised in the criminal charges leveled against Antonio Cosme. In November 2014, he allegedly spray painted “Free The Water,” with the image of a fist, on the side of a water tower in Highland Park.

A year and a half passed, and Cosme was charged with malicious destruction of property and trespassing. His pre-trial date is this Friday. He is currently raising money to support the court fees.

Help Bring Hope met at a summer fundraiser in 2015. Over 30 volunteers showed up to raise money for the group.
Courtesy of Lena Juratli

Helping the homeless often comes from the hands of policymakers or researchers, rather than from one young person helping another. A new Detroit-area project hopes to make that change with a group of young volunteers aiding homeless youth.

Help Bring Hope is a volunteering project founded by Lena Juratli, a recent graduate of International Academy High School. The group has a one big goal: to help every homeless kid in America, starting with Michigan.

“Is that ambitious? Yes,” Juratli told Stateside. “But do I think it’s possible? Yes.”

Morgan Willis

The Next Idea

When Amber Williams and Morgan Willis talk about #ICantBreathe or #BlackLivesMatter, they aren't just talking about Twitter hashtags. For these black activists and many others in Michigan, digital technologies create important spaces of solace, solidarity, struggle, and connection. At a recent conference at University of Michigan called #UMBLACKOUT, Williams, Willis, and an array of local and national black activists discussed the myriad ways that black organizers use technology for both politics and pleasure, online and offline. 

Frances Kellor reading on a dock
Harvard University, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

As our nation continues to lay entrenched in the immigration debate, it might do us well to remember the life and work of a woman from Coldwater.

Frances Kellor rose from very humble roots in Michigan to become a nationally respected reformer. She worked in prison reform and for women’s issues, championed the cause of immigrants, rural and African American workers, and challenged the country to think about what it really meant to be an American.

Iggy Pop at the Grande Ballroom, 1968
Leni Sinclair

Leni Sinclair’s camera captured the music scene of Detroit in the ‘60s and ‘70s even as she played a seminal role in the growing countercultural movement in Southeast Michigan.

Sinclair was born in Königsberg,  East Germany, and escaped to West Germany three years before the Berlin Wall was erected. She was 18 when she emigrated to America in 1959, settling with relatives in Detroit. 

Sinclair photographed musicians from John Coltrane and the MC5 to Iggy Pop, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley and many, many more.

She and her then-husband, John Sinclair, helped to found the White Panther Party, later the Rainbow People’s Party. They fought against the Vietnam War and racism, and worked to legalize marijuana and reform the prison system.

Now Sinclair has been named the 2016 Kresge Eminent Artist. She becomes the eighth artist to receive the $50,000 award in recognition of her contributions to the art, culture, and people of Detroit.