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black lives matter

Art is supposed to have a message – at least that's what several folks attending the annual Grand Rapids ArtPrize festival are saying.

The ninth annual ArtPrize festival officially starts today in downtown Grand Rapids. There are exhibits in more than 170 venues throughout the downtown area.

Several of the exhibits have politically charged messages at this year's open art competition.

One such piece,"Immeasurable Numbness" by Rachel Nanzer, illustrates the polarizing messages of "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter."

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing is not yet Michigan’s next "sanctuary city."

After two and half hours of passionate, though civil, public comment, the Lansing city council decided to table the resolution.  

The resolution actually stopped short of declaring Lansing a “sanctuary city." Instead, it describes Michigan’s capitol city as a “welcoming” city. 

"Black people don't necessarily need choice, they need power," Perry told us. "The reason why black communities' schools are not doing well is because black communities are not doing well."
Flickr user Bart Everson/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Proponents of publicly funded, privately run charter schools hail them as the way to keep public schools and public school teachers "on their toes" by creating competition. 

Here in Michigan we have roughly 145,000 students in more than 300 charter schools, according to Education Trust Midwest.

And a report that group released earlier this year showed that charter school enrollment in the 2014-2015 school year consisted of disproportionately minority and low-income students. 

Students holding signs at a protest outside of Ford Hall on Eastern Michigan University's campus.
Bryce Huffman

Eastern Michigan University students and faculty are frustrated with the racist graffiti discovered on campus earlier this week.

Hundreds of them gathered to peacefully protest outside of Ford Hall on EMU's campus, where a racial slur targeting black students was spray-painted.

This is the third separate instance of graffiti with a racist message towards black students within two months.

Sheriff Jerry Clayton is making changes that emphasize and strengthen the partnership between communities and their police forces.
flickr user Elsa Blaine / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The rise in police shootings of unarmed black people, and the sharp rise in ambush-style attacks on police officers, among other factors, have many law enforcement agencies taking a new look at the way they protect and serve their communities.

That's certainly the case with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, where Sheriff Jerry Clayton is implementing "fundamental" changes in staff training and in talking with the community. 

Black Lives Matter protesters Anthony Sammour, Shauna Jones, Michelle Bishop-Dawkins, Samona Dunn, and Jade Bishop in Ann Arbor.
Catherine Shaffer

The Detroit Journalism Cooperative commissioned a poll, asking people about race. It was conducted by Epic-MRA.

The sample was unique in that one-third of those surveyed lived in mostly black communities, one-third from communities which include different races, and one third from mostly white communities.

Metro Detroit racial divide is widest over police

Sep 16, 2016
Demostrators in downtown Detroit protest police-involved shootings that have killed African-Americans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

While black and white metro Detroiters are finding common ground on racial progress, there remains a gulf, shaped by vastly different experiences, in how the two groups view police.

And nowhere are those differences laid more bare than in the divergent views on the protest movement known as Black Lives Matter.

Roughly eight-in-10 African-American residents in metro Detroit express support for Black Lives Matter, according to to a survey on racial attitudes conducted this month for the Detroit Journalism Cooperative. BLM arose three years ago in reaction to the killing of unarmed blacks by police. Black support for the group (79% strongly or somewhat support BLM) is more than double that among white metro-Detroiters, 34%.

Protestors rally in Ann Arbor

Jul 13, 2016
Catherine Shaffer

About 700 protesters marched on downtown Ann Arbor Wednesday night to protest the loss of black lives in recent police shootings.

The protest, organized via Facebook by University of Michigan students, drew a large and enthusiastic crowd. Protesters lined State Street in front of the Michigan Union, chanting and waving signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. They then marched through downtown Ann Arbor with a police escort.

More than 300 people came to Ypsilanti High School to participate in a meeting on police-community relations.
Daniel Rayzel / Michigan Radio

Ypsilanti residents are calling for action to improve police-community relations following related nationwide events over the past week.

Screenshot of Facebook post by Det. Nate Weekley
Detroit police department

A white Detroit police detective has been demoted for his reaction to the Dallas shootings last week.

Detective Nate Weekley blamed Black Lives Matter for the murders of five Dallas police officers in a Facebook post, although the killer was not actually part of the otherwise peaceful protest. 

Weekley called members of Black Lives Matter "racists" and "terrorists." 

He was demoted to officer and is being reassigned. 

taliesin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

State Senator Mike Kowall plans to introduce legislation called "Uniformed Lives Matter."  

The bills make it a hate crime to assault someone in law enforcement.

It's Kowal's response to the murders of Dallas police officers last week.

Kowall says he doesn't intend to upset people in the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

Two days after the killings of five police officers in Dallas, there was an editorial in the Detroit News that began “The last thing we need in this country is a race war.”

Well, just about everybody who is sane would agree with that. But there are a lot of black people who could tell you that a race war has been going on for centuries. 

Demostrators in downtown Detroit protest police-involved shootings that have killed African-Americans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A nationwide wave of protest against recent police-involved killings hit Detroit Friday night.

A rally dubbed “Black Friday” grew from a gathering in Campus Martius park to a large march through traffic in the surrounding streets.

Detroit police had a heavy presence, but the protest remained peaceful until the end.

Participant Lee Qualls said the murder of police officers at a similar event in Dallas was on everyone’s mind, even as they expressed anger and frustration over police treatment of African-Americans.

Professor Eugene Roberts leads the U of M Men's Glee Club through their performance of "The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed"
screengrab

The names of men like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others have been thrust violently into our nation's history. Unarmed African-American men, all killed. Their deaths gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement and to badly-needed discussions about racial discrimination and social injustice. 

This spring, the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club added its voice in a singular way to this tough conversation. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University will release plans later today to show it is trying to address the needs of African-American students. 

But some black Spartans feel the university is not doing enough.

The federal agent who shot and killed Detroit armed robbery suspect Terrence Kellom was justified in doing so, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy said Tuesday.

Worthy said that following a lengthy investigation, there's no evidence to warrant charging Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer Mitchell Quinn with a crime.

From a Ferguson protest in New York City.
user The All-Nite Images / Flickr

Some Detroiters are taking part in a national day of action on Saturday to protest police brutality, especially against people of color.

Mahogany Dixon says she will be there. Dixon just graduated from high school. She and her friends found out about the event on social media, and they're using social media to encourage others to attend.