This week, violence and race have hit us in a way many of us have never seen.
Violence and race, though, are not new. The Detroit Journalism Cooperative has been looking at the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Some of the core issues then are some of the issues we're still struggling with today.
You've got to understand the history to really understand what's happened this week.
America struggles with race and those struggles are intensifying. As the white majority has been shrinking, racial tensions have been rising. You can see it in anti-immigration movements. It’s in the feeling among some white people that they’re being oppressed.
Meanwhile, a new generation of black protest organizations has been taking to the streets as black Americans feel a greater threat from white-dominated politics and police.
Race relations have changed since the civil rights movements of the 1960s and they seem to be changing again.
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission will investigate whether the Flint drinking water crisis has violated the civil rights of Flint residents.
The bipartisan commission unanimously passed a resolution yesterday to hold at least three public hearings, the first of which is expected to take place within 30 days.
"The Commission decided that under the state constitution, as well as the Elliott-Larsen Act, to conduct hearings to try to learn more if discrimination may have occurred," said commission co-chair Arthur Horwitz.
A state House committee adjourned today without voting on legislation that would add LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law, and it appears the effort has stalled as the Legislature grows close to wrapping up for the year.
A coalition of business and civil rights leaders is expanding an effort to lobby Michigan's Legislature to make it illegal to discriminate against gay and transgender people.
The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition consists of representatives from over two dozen local and national companies, including Google, Dow Chemical Company, and Zingerman's, as well as various local associations and chambers of commerce.
By now everyone knows, or at least thinks they know, something about Michael Brown. He was, of course, the unarmed black teenager shot to death by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson 10 days ago.
His death has reopened our eternal and eternally painful dialogue about equal rights and race. But what makes me sad is that a true civil rights movement giant died in Detroit two days ago, and almost nobody even noticed.
Fifty years ago this summer, a young black woman lawyer from Detroit named Claudia House Morcom arrived in Mississippi on a mission that really meant risking her life.
She was there to fight the system of institutionalized vicious racism that prevented black Americans from voting, and reduced them to subhuman status in virtually every way.
We are one week, halfway through, the trial in federal court in Detroit centering on the challenge to Michigan’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The arguments are supposed to go on for another week, and then we’ll wait for the judge’s decision. But the case’s mere existence, the fact that it’s occurring, is having an effect on the political landscape in Michigan.
There is also another federal case underway here in Michigan that is challenging the state’s refusal to allow live-in partner benefits for public employees. It’s the mechanism that was created to allow same-sex couples to use their benefits to cover partners and children who would otherwise be denied coverage under Michigan’s marriage amendment, approved by voters in a statewide election 10 years ago.
In 1963, Michigan voters approved a new state constitution which set up the first Civil Rights Commission in U.S. history.
The Commission works to ensure each citizen receives equal protection without discrimination
Today, fifty years after the creation of the Commission, Matt Wesaw runs the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. A former state trooper, Wesaw is the first Native American to lead the Civil Rights Department.
Wesaw met with us in the studio to discuss the future of civil rights in Michigan.
Michigan’s state constitutional amendment barring racial preferences in university admissions and other public institutions might be the next major case dealing with affirmative action laws in the United States.
Michigan State House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) could be opening the door to extending civil rights protections to gays and lesbians. That would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in areas such as employment and housing.
The state's civil rights act protects a variety of groups from discrimination. It includes protections for categories like race and age, but sexual orientation has yet to be included.
Just as his father did fifty years ago, Martin Luther King III will address an expected march of thousands in Detroit.
This year Detroit celebrates the 50th anniversary of the day Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood before 25,000 people at Cobo Hall in Detroit and declared, "I have a dream this afternoon." This was just two months before the historic March on Washington.
If you were looking for a quintessential solidly middle-class Michigan suburb, Royal Oak, Michigan might be it. Its 57,000 people are mainly white and solidly middle-class.
The downtown became somewhat of a magnet for the young, and trendy a decade or so ago, and hip twenty-somethings still mingle there with motorcycle bikers and teenage skateboarders on warm summer evenings. But by and large, Royal Oak is average middle-sized suburban homes, built around the baby boom era.
Royal Oak City Commissioners unanimously approved a measure to start drafting a human rights ordinance Monday.
Such an ordinance would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics not covered under state or federal law. A number of Michigan cities have similar laws on the books.
Royal Oak voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed human rights ordinance in 2001.
But City Commissioner Jim Rasor is convinced public opinion on gay rights has shifted drastically since then.