Mutually Inclusive

A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Zach Linewski / WGVU

As part of GVSU’s MLK Day celebration, twitter maven and racial inclusion advocate April Reign came to west Michigan. 

April Reign is best known for her hashtags #OscarSoWhite and #NoConfederate—which trended globally and yielded real Hollywood results. We sit down for an interview and she offers some tips, some insights, and even issues a calling. First, I ask why she chooses Twitter over other platforms.

“You are the lowest form of human life that I have been able to observe and see. You are a monster, and quite frankly, you are evil. What you did was sickening and disgusting. You should never be allowed out of prison.”

Judge Mark Trusock of the 17th District Court issued these harsh words to 25-year-old Elis Nelson Ortiz-Nieves of Gaines Township as he handed him a life sentence for the murder of 4-year-old Giovanni Mejias. 

Weekly we focus on the work of area organizations advancing inclusion and equity in our community. This morning we hear from Alice Jasper, Associate Program Director with the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance, here to talk about their programming and events, including a joint activity with WGVU on January 25th, a “World Café,” focusing on race relations during the Vietnam War era, 1955-1975. Joining the discussion is WGVU grant writer, Steve Chappell, project director of WGVU’s grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in the area of racial equity.

Medical marijuana shop in Denver.
O'dea via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

Marijuana in Michigan is poised to be a big story for 2018. But what its legalization means to different communities is a complex question. 

Let’s start with the legal story. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act passed back in 2008. But who could sell, grow, or transport, it was not clearly outlined. Bob Hendricks is a legal expert with Wrigley, Hoffman and Hendricks, a firm with an established medical marijuana business practice. Hendricks says after the act passed, dispensaries started popping up everywhere.

As 2017 wraps up, WGVU’s Mariano Avila asked four questions of four West Michigan leaders working with our most vulnerable communities. As part of WGVU’s Mutually Inclusive, here is his interview with Tami VandenBerg.

[Mariano Avila] Tami Vandenberg owns The Pyramid Scheme and the Meanwhile, two popular Grand Rapids bars. Somehow, she also finds time to direct Well House, a housing-first nonprofit addressing homelessness. At a downtown coffee shop I ask what changed for her in 2017.

Mariano Avila

As 2017 wraps up, we asked four questions of four West Michigan leaders working with our most vulnerable communities.

[Mariano Avila] Hugo Claudin works at the Red Project helping folks living with HIV. He is also the curator of Mexicains Sans Frontieres—a gallery on South Division that brings jazz and Avant guard shows to Grand Rapids. He’s trim, middle-aged, wears black on most days and is a transplant from Mexico City. First I ask what changed in 2017.

Mariano Avila / WGVU

In the wake of community outcry over the Grand Rapids police officer who cuffed 11-year-old Honestie Hodges, Grand Rapids Area Pastors invited the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, and GRPD leaders and advocates to dialog yesterday at Abney Academy Elementary. 

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