Kalamazoo changes Columbus Day, keeps controversial fountain

Oct 17, 2017

Officials in Kalamazoo have agreed to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day, but the city hasn't decided what to do with a statue that some say celebrates the forced removal of Native Americans. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the Kalamazoo City Commission approved a resolution Monday to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October every year. The deputy city manager says the move is symbolic because Kalamazoo doesn't recognize Columbus Day.

Hundreds of students walked out of classes and blocked streets at University of Michigan as part of a planned weeklong protest against racism. The demonstrations at the Ann Arbor school began Monday morning and included people blocking roads and sitting on medians studying. Some buses had to be rerouted and students sought other stops. Traffic resumed within about an hour.

Some Lions kneel, team links arms in response to Trump

Sep 25, 2017

Several Detroit Lions players kneeled during the national anthem and linked arms with standing players, the coach and team owner - part of a unified protest against comments made by President Donald Trump. The team's actions came Sunday before the game against the Atlanta Falcons, which also had some players kneeling and team members locking arms.

Officials at Eastern Michigan University are removing fliers promoting a white nationalist group that were found posted on several campus buildings. University spokesman Geoff Larcom tells the Detroit Free Press the fliers violate school policies about such postings. And he says: "The fliers and the hateful, racist causes they promote run completely counter to Eastern's core values of diversity, inclusiveness and respect."

A federal judge must decide in the coming weeks whether to order Michigan State University to allow campus space to be rented for white nationalist Richard Spencer to give a speech this month. A lawsuit filed Sunday night against MSU in federal court in western Michigan seeks a preliminary injunction forcing the school to let a Spencer supporter rent a room or hall.

Man accused of online threats in Michigan gets probation

Aug 18, 2017

A man who authorities say posted threatening, anti-Semitic messages on Twitter has been placed on probation for two years in western Michigan. The Grand Rapids Press reports 31-year-old David Lenio of Grand Rapids learned his punishment on Thursday after being convicted in July of malicious use of a telecommunications device. 

In an effort to help victims of crime who may be reluctant to come forward, the Kent County Prosecuting Attorney’s office and the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan have partnered to create an on-site victim assistance program.

Courtesy Grand Rapids Police Department

The Grand Rapids Police Department is asking for the public's help with identifying a man who hung an American flag with a swastika painted on it from an overpass over Interstate 196. Police say officers were called to the overpass before 7 a.m. Monday on a report of a man who was seen hanging the flag from the overpass. 

Officers removed the flag about 10 minutes later just after arriving on the scene. Police say the suspect is described as a male in his 20s with black hair and wearing a leather jacket.

He was seen walking in the grass down toward the highway.

Daniel Boothe

In the aftermath of the chaotic and deadly white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, hundreds of people packed Rosa Park Circle in downtown Grand Rapids Sunday evening to stand in solidarity with “their fallen comrade” and protest white nationalism. On Saturday, 32-year-old Heather Heyer lost her life protesting a white supremacist march in Charlottesville when a car driven by 20-year-old James Alex Field Junior intentionally ploughed into the group of protestors.

A study released this week by the Michigan League for Public Policy concluded that while infant death numbers are down in the state of Michigan, African American infants have a death rate that’s twice as high as white infants. And Strong Beginnings in Grand Rapids is tackling the issue head on.