The factor that classifies someone as a refugee instead of an immigrant is a direct threat to their safety or the safety of their loved ones leaves no choice but to leave. Violence, natural disasters and other crises force people of all ages to flee; including some children and teenagers who leave behind their families and communities for a chance at life in a safe environment. The Michigan-based nonprofit organization Samaritas makes several areas in Michigan, including the Greater Lansing area, the safe haven for kids in such a situation. “We work only with youth that have been separated from their families so they’ve come over to the U.S. alone … we work only with people that have come into our program under the age of 18” says Mentor/Tutor Coordinator for Samaritas Celine Smith, explaining the focus demographic of the program she helps run.
At Michigan State men’s basketball media day in early October, head coach Tom Izzo recognized the public debate raging in the country. “There are problems in society,” Izzo said. “The issues involving race equality (are) important to me for a lot of reasons: One, my own household. Two, my own team here.”
That statement came two months after the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, and with growing racial tensions across the country. At the time, the members of Izzo’s team did not know what they were going to do.
Athletes and the sports media have gotten criticism for not “sticking to sports,” instead letting social issues and discussion creep into the sports media. Al Martin, host of WKAR Radio’s Current Sports since April 2013, joined Spartan Newsroom reporter Zachary Swiecicki to talk about the issue. Very cool moment here as @MatthewAbdullah @RoJeSoFly and @MichaelLynnIII receive a Skype call from @Kaepernick7 for deciding to stand with Kaep and take a knee during the national anthem before football games at @lansingcatholic this season. Mad respect. pic.twitter.com/khp1z38TCx
— Al Martin (@AlMartinWKAR) December 3, 2017
Martin has used social media, like Twitter, as well as his hourlong radio show to give his opinion on everything in and around the world of sports.
Back in October, four high school football players at Lansing Catholic Central High School kneeled during the national anthem. The players say head football coach Jim Ahern benched Michael Lynn III, Matthew Abdullah, Kabbash Richards and Roje Williams for their actions. But these students never thought taking a stance would end with a Skype from one of their idols. “I just got off a Skype with Colin Kaepernick, any negative comments that are thrown at me, literally, it couldn’t affect me,” Lynn III said. The video chat was on Dec.
On Nov. 11, the Lansing Immigrant Defense group hosted a Rapid Response Training at the Foster Community Center to discuss actions to support immigrants and their families in the event of a deportation. The training discussed direct action tactics, risk and safety assessment and an overview of how rapid response fits into the larger picture of immigrant support in Lansing. In Lansing, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has made no deportations. However, group members said they believe that ICE will begin to amp up their actions in the Lansing community over the next few months.
On Nov. 5, people from the Greater Lansing community attended the Refugee Appreciation Day event hosted by the Refugee Development Center (RDC) at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing. A reception was held to honor refugee stories from the Center and an art show was presented by the Niagara Foundation’s youth. High school students from the area participated in the art show creating displays based on the theme “Compassion in Action.”
These displays shared the many ways that people can cultivate compassion into their daily lives and the lives of others. Mariah Shafer currently works as the senior school liaison with the Refugee Development Center and volunteers in organization since 2007.
97-year-old Polish immigrant Irving Griffel came to the United States at 18, leaving his family and the old country for a better life. But when WWII broke out, his family never got the chance to follow. It was 1938. Irving Griffel was just 18 when he arrived in the new country. It had been a long journey from his native Poland that had started years prior.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Northern Michigan is not a very diverse region, which is reflected in the extremely small percentage of different ethnicities in Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS). Shown here are the total numbers of students of each ethnicity via Mary Beth Stein, a student services coordinator at TCAPS. Below are the numbers from the 2010 census year. Gina McPherson, a preschool teacher at TCAPS, has a lot of experience with this.
Since the beginning of 2017, there is a substantial decrease in the number of incoming refugees in Lansing. According to St. Vincent Catholic Charities, which is the designated refugee resettlement agency in Lansing and mid-Michigan, there were 248 refugees that arrived in Lansing during the last three months of 2016, but and there are only 83 refugees arrived STVCC in the first quarter of 2017. “We had around 776 refugees last year,” said Judi Harris, the refugee resettlement director at STVCC. “We expected the same number this year until the administration made all these changes, so now we will be lucky to get 450 this year.”
This change is not only happening in Lansing but all over the United States and it appears to follow the new presidency.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Human Rights commissioners of Traverse City are allegedly looking to make the northwestern Michigan city more “immigrant-friendly.” One way of doing so would be to declare sanctuary status, or making TC known as a “Welcoming City.”
“There are jobs in Northern Michigan that need immigrants to take them,” says Mark Dixon, who has been a citizen of Traverse City for over 60 years. “Faming here, especially with the abundance of cherry crops, attracts a lot of immigrants, as well as some jobs at Munson, the local hospital.”
“This had never been an issue before (President Donald) Trump’s presidency,” says Dixon. “I think this is because he initially campaigned with restrictions to countries like Mexico by ‘building a wall’ across the border.”
Early in Trump’s presidency, an executive order attempted to withhold federal grants to sanctuary cities. However, at the end of April, a federal judge in San Francisco put a nationwide end to this.
Ed and Naiah Holsey walked into her sister’s engagement party, hoping no one would make a scene about them being hand-in-hand. “Why didn’t you come alone?” her sister asked. The Holseys looked around the room to see her Korean family with disapproving glares and frowning faces. “That was two years ago, which means we were married for 10 years when that happened,” Naiah Holsey said. “And they still couldn’t accept that I married a black man.”
Interracial, opposite-sex married couple households grew from 7 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.