Black Lives Matter activist Jalen Ewing of Olivet College in Michigan.

5 years into #BlackLivesMatter, advocates say challenges remain

It’s already been five years since the death of Trayvon Martin, whose killing helped ignite the Black Lives Matter movement. Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old black male from Sanford, Florida, was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was acquitted of a second-degree murder charge. What started as a hashtag has drawn national and worldwide attention to African-American rights. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, general awareness of Black Lives Matter is common among black and white U.S. adults, but attitudes about the movement vary greatly.

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Trump deportation policy hits close to home

MSU freshman Pamela Quintana descibes her mother as hardworking, kind and community-oriented. “Everyone who knows her loves her,” said Quintana. “She’s known throughout the community…she’s a very hands-on mom, always taking care of her kids.” Every day, she wakes up at 5 a.m. She cleans as many as five homes a day to make ends meet. And she tries to return home at 5 p.m to see the kids she works hard to support.

African Americans opinions on media description

Names matter: Minorities unhappy with the way they are described in the media

“I think people should be more conscience and more sensitive to the fact that all people aren’t just black because they have dark skin,” said Kenny Lacy, an African-American student athlete at the University of California – Los Angeles. “ People need to learn that race is more than just colors.”  

Over the years, our perception of how we define race has been generally described by a color instead of ethnicity. Being African-American is being “black” while being Caucasian is being “white”. Racial identification is often viewed as a sensitive topic due to inappropriate or incorrect categorization of one’s ethnicity. Listen to the full interview with Lacy below:

Media portrayals of different groups also has an impact on how society views them and at times people will alert journalists of the way they prefer to be called, said Scott Pohl, a reporter and host of WKAR’s Current State.

Lansing residents stood outside of the city council meeting on Monday, Feb. 27 with a banner to show support for a sanctuary city resolution.

After months of dispute, Lansing is declared a sanctuary city

It is official; the Lansing City Council has unanimously voted and declared Lansing a sanctuary city. Prior to the meeting on April 3 where the vote took place, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero released an executive order that clarified policies in place for city officials and law enforcement to more effectively protect immigrant and refugees in the community. In Bernero’s executive order, he stated the following:

“We are confident these new policies do not violate federal law, but we are also prepared to take legal action to protect the prerogatives and powers of local government and local law enforcement,” Bernero said. “We do not want our local police to become de facto immigration agents— especially under the divisive and draconian direction of the Trump administration.”

The council agreed. “I think is one time that the city of Lansing has got it right; we are aligned and I think this addressed all the things we are getting in our emails, within our phone calls, within our conversations,” Council Member Judi Brown Clarke said at the meeting Monday.

Landscape view of the Michigan State Capitol in downtown Lansing.

Majority wants more protection from a Lansing sanctuary city proposal

The Lansing City Council voted to table a resolution that would reaffirm Lansing’s status as welcoming city to immigrants and refugees on Feb.13. The resolution was scrapped not because the council didn’t want to pass legislation, but largely due to public demand for more protection under the proposition. See below for the full proposal. The meeting drew a crowd so large that a viewing area was set up in the lobby to accommodate more people. “I’ve been on the council for a year and in that time I have never seen a crowd at a council meeting that large,” said Council Member Kathie Dunbar.

Lansing residents stood outside of the city council meeting on Monday, Feb. 27 with a banner to show support for a sanctuary city resolution.

“We are still on hold.” Sanctuary city resolution delayed in Lansing

 

The Lansing City Council continues to delay actions that would declare Lansing a sanctuary city. City Council Member Judi Brown Clarke says the council needs more time to look at the language and get legal opinion on President Donald Trump’s recent executive order. “We are still on hold,” Clarke said. While Lansing continues to hold off with a new resolution on immigration policies, earlier this month East Lansing affirmed a resolution declaring the city a safe haven for refugees. Clarke says that Lansing’s current policies are similar to East Lansing’s recent resolution.