Racism

Vestiges of racism and intolerance are slowly being moved and removed in Michigan and other northern states as calls continue in the South to take down such monuments.

Crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo have dismantled a nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy.

What is white privilege? 

“White Privelege is simple, it’s the benefits, the perks, it’s the rewards you receive simply because you have white skin.” 

That’s Eddie Moore, founder and Director of the White Privilege Conference. He says it was in Iowa, where he got his PhD in educational leadership, that he envisioned a conference to discuss social privilege around racial identity—although the Conference has a wider scope. 

Officials in Kalamazoo could decide whether a monument featuring a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American should be removed from a park. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that Kalamazoo city commissioners are to meet Monday night to consider plans for the Fountain of the Pioneers in Bronson Park.

Some residents say the piece is racist, while others argue that it's a work of art that can teach people about history. City Manager Jim Ritsema has said the fountain near the city's downtown should be removed and a new plan developed for the park.

Clergy and Jewish leaders in Michigan are forming a coalition to tackle racism and anti-Semitism. The Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC on Tuesday will announce the formation of the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity. Pastors' council president the Rev. Deedee Coleman says the coalition will keep open communication between black and Jewish leaders as tensions rise across the U.S. with an increase in hate speech and racial confrontations.

Michigan residents split over controversial fountain

Nov 21, 2017

Officials in southwest Michigan are considering how to handle a controversial fountain that some say celebrates white supremacy. The Fountain of the Pioneers in Kalamazoo features a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American. Some residents say the piece is racist, while others argue that it's a work of art that can teach people about history.

Kalamazoo City Commission saw a presentation from city staff Monday about the Bronson Park fountain's history.

A historic preservation commission says the city of Kalamazoo should keep a park display that some say celebrates the forced removal of Native Americans. The  city's Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday agreed to encourage the city to continue its $2.8 million plan to restore the 76-year-old "Fountain of the Pioneers" and improve Bronson Park.

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."

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