Category: Community Written by Patrick Keating
On April 29, 1992, riots broke out in Los Angeles following the acquittal of four police officers who’d been charged in the beating of a Black motorist named Rodney King. The beating had been captured on videotape.
This April 29, a commemoration service will be held at the former Olympic Grand Auditorium, now Glory Church, at 3:30 PDT.
“We are doing something called the Saigu campaign,” said Hyepin Im, campaign director. “And Saigu literally means 4/29, April 29 in the Korean language. Kind of like 9/11.”
Im, who is founder and president of Korean Churches for Community Development, is also a White House appointee to the Corporation for National and Community Service.
She said the goal was to take a day that was tragic and make it into one from which people could learn, and into something everyone could work towards.
“We took the acronym and we came up with these words: Serve, Agitate, Inspire, Give and Unite,” she said, adding that they’re calling it the Saigu Campaign for the 20th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots.
“We wanted to make it a campaign, because we recognize that there’s a chasm between the narratives and experiences of various individuals who experienced the Los Angeles riots,” she said.
She said they’re looking for “change makers” known as “Saigu heroes.” These agents or champions of change are people who have really made a difference through their contributions in lifting up the strengths and diversity of Los Angeles, both during the riots and as a result of lessons learned because of the riots.
Im said a Korean American took Korean barbecue, put it into a Mexican taco, and used the Armenian food truck and social media.
“Basically, he transformed the food truck industry,” she said. “It used to be called the ‘roach coach. But now, it’s become a very cool, hip thing when the food trucks come to town. That’s kind of an example.
“In that way, we want to help create a bridge of understanding. And I think there are many store owners who are struggling immigrants who have found themselves doing business in communities where there’s high crimes and high poverty, because that’s all they could afford as well. And I think in working in a very high stress environment with a high language barrier, and very little training or resource to reserve, it could create a path for misunderstanding.”
She said they’ve done a series of events, from prayer breakfasts to visiting the flash points, looking at what’s there, what has happened and what should happen.
“We’re doing a day of dialogue,” she said. “We’re also doing a commemorative as well as an art memorial project. So there’s a series of events to help foster that understanding.”
Im said the efforts to foster understanding involves everybody, but acknowledged that communities of color have a lot of shared pain and shared challenges.
“A lot of them are common challenges that many communities share, but particularly because of the amount of minority mix, the Asian community is often looked upon as a ‘they’ instead of a ‘we,’” she said. “So those are things that we do want to do, but at the same time we want to lift up the strengths of each community.”
More information is available at www.saigu429.com.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 10:59
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle
Senior citizens are cordially invited to the popular Dine with the Doc event. A physician will be on hand to teach seniors about healthy foods and healthy lifestyles. The physician will also take questions from the audience. Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano will be there to break bread and participate in the event.
A healthy lunch will be provided and there will be a raffle, gift bags as well as information and activities. Complimentary valet parking is available.
When: 11A.M. to 2 P.M. Tues. April 24, 2012
Where: Guardian Building, 32nd floor, 500 Griswold Detroit, MI. 48226
RSVP: (313) 224.0860
Sponsored by Hospice of Michigan and Wayne County Health and Human Services Dept
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 00:41
Category: Community Written by Andrew Losen, Chronicle Web Editor
It was unforgettable. They danced and helped cheer the Detroit Tigers to an exciting Opening Day victory against the Boston Red Sox.
“It’s nice, really nice,” said Corey Reed, 21, a DPS student, sitting in the Wayne County suite on Opening Day.
Reed and 14 of his classmates were guests of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.
The students, who have physical and developmental disabilities, are part of a Detroit Public Schools program called Project Search that places students in professional workplace settings for their senior year.
Wayne County sponsored 15 students last September. They have been working in 10 departments in the county, doing things like filing, data entry, mail distribution and other tasks.
“Opening Day, especially your first, is a memorable event,” said Ficano, who visited the suite, talking to the students and watching the ballgame. “These students are great and have worked hard this year at the county. I thought this was a nice way to say thank you.”
The students were treated to pizza, hot dogs, baked chicken, popcorn, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and soda.
Chantell Donwell, 21, who is assigned to the Wayne County Commission where she delivers mail and helps with other office work, was eating popcorn and watching the ballgame, her first ever.
“This is fun, I’m enjoying myself,” she said. “I’ve never done something like this.”
There are 17,543 students with development disabilities in the Detroit Public Schools.
According to the Arc, a national organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, nearly 80 percent of the developmentally disabled population is unemployed, which underscores the importance of a skill building and work-force development program like Project Search.
Shannon Person is a teacher with Project Search.
“I think this was good for the kids,” she said. “They’ve worked really hard this year, they deserved this, this is their reward. For some of them, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Justin Gayle, 21, worked in the communication office at the county doing clerical work and data entry assignments. He had a perpetual smile on his face all day. “This is nice. It’s like you are famous,” he said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 17:18
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle
On Sunday, April 29, the grounds of St. Patrick Senior Center will be filled with music, fun and family - as friends and neighbors come together to celebrate one of Detroit’s greatest success stories, and an anchor of the Midtown community.
The 35th annual Spring Festival will feature hundreds of Irish entertainers, authentic food and drink, and activities for the entire family. There will be sales, games, a kids carnival, drawings and raffles – including a $10,000 grand prize.
“The festival is a tradition in Midtown,” says Satrice Coleman-Betts, St. Pats Executive Director. “It’s a chance to see all our friends, not to mention our major fundraising event of the year, so the more the merrier.”
Founded by Sister Mary Watson in 1973, St. Pats serves over 2000 seniors with daily meals, transportation and advocacy services, and a tremendous array of classes and activities. Like many non-profits today, the center is more dependent than ever on support from its friends, patrons and the public.
The festival is from 1 PM to 9 PM at St. Pats – located at 58 Parsons, behind Orchestra Hall. Admission is just $3.00 - $1.00 for children - and parking is free.
For more information on the festival, or about St. Pat’s, please call the center at 313 833-7080.
Last Updated on Monday, 16 April 2012 13:18
Category: Community Written by Patrick Keating
Detroit Public Schools System Emergency Manager Roy Roberts recently unveiled a new action plan for the district. He said the biggest challenge will be getting people to accept change.
“I don’t think we are proposing anything that’s beyond the talent of our people,” he said. “It’s new; none of us woke up this morning and said ‘let’s change today.’ So, it’s going to take some good leadership, some good thinking to make sure people stay on course.”
The plan has four components: citywide accountability, local school stability, a redesigned central office, and a focus on financial stewardship.
Citywide accountability involves agreeing to a common definition of school quality for all schools, whether DPS, charters or Education Assistance Authority (EAA).
Roberts said there has been an ongoing war between Detroit Public Schools and charter authorizers. He also said the state legislature has removed the cap on charter schools and that DPS itself has 16 charter schools.
Recently, he called together all the charter authorizers across the state for a meeting at the DPS and announced that the war was over. He said the various organizations should instead jointly agree on a common language and a common way to access schools and appraise them.
Roberts also pointed out that they should agree on the conditions in which a company can come into the city and under what said company would be taken out.
“We agreed on that,” he said, adding that he told the group that he was assuming responsibility for seeing that every young person in Detroit gets a quality education.
“I don’t care what school they go to,” he said. “It’s the only way you’re going to turn the city around.”
They agreed that Excellent Schools Detroit would be the arbiter.
“They’re going to be the people keeping the information and feeding it back to us,” he said. “So we’ve all agreed on that, and that’s the first time in history that you get that group of people. That’s EAA, that’s Detroit Public Schools;,and that’s all the charter authorizers agreeing on a common approach forward.”
The second element of the citywide accountability aspect is taking swift action where underperformance persists, including school closures.
The third aspect is adopting common assessments to give families “apples to apples” comparisons of all schools.
The local school stability aspect involves making 10 schools self-governing, with each having oversight by a local governing council authority with respect to budgeting, operations, hiring and curriculum. Roberts indicated that the 10 selected schools were already somewhat on a path toward self determination.
He also said principals at two of the 10 schools approached him and were elated about the opportunities.
In addition to these 10 schools, an additional 16 DPS-authorized charter schools will be managed by the Office of Self-Governing Schools. Chief Innovation Officer Doug Ross will lead the effort. Some 7,500 students will be educated within these 26 schools.
Asked how the funds going directly to the school would be utilized, Roberts said it would be up to the Local Governing Council Authority at each school to make that decision.
“They’ve got to place the funds and the resources where they get the greatest return for academic education for kids,” he said.
Ninety-seven percent of state funds (after debt service and fixed cost obligations) and 100 percent of school funds will go directly to the schools.
Roberts also said this will be the first time in a number of years that there will be an opportunity to infuse the school district with new teachers and new thinking. Ninety-eight percent of all teachers in DPS qualify for retirement.
“Some of them are tired,” he said. “We’re providing them an opportunity to retire. And it provides an opportunity for us to bring some new blood, some new thinking into Detroit Public Schools. Some new energy. We think that’s a pretty powerful motivation.”
Roberts noted that both he and the system need to be challenged, and that teachers need to be retooled.
“We’ve got to got to give them what they need,” he said. “In this, we’re going to put colleges in place for principals and teachers, where we’re continually giving them training.”
He added that it would be individualized training, because just as not every student needs the same thing, the same holds true for the teachers.
Roberts also said the leadership teams of the individual schools would decide things like class sizes. He added that top-down management is unsuccessful in urban education.
“We’re going to break out of that mold,” he said, adding that he won’t sit up in headquarters and tell the schools what to do.
The third element, the redesigned central office, involves a shift to a more customer-service focused organization to better serve the schools, students and families.
The focus on financial stewardship includes a deficit elimination plan. Roberts said if the district takes in $1, it should spend $1, not $1.50. Otherwise it will never get out of the deficit situation.
In addition he said the deficit has gone from $327 million to $83.9 million, and that there’s a plan in place to eliminate it in five years.
“We will manage the budget this year and every ensuing year,” he said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 16:23
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