Two paraders are pictured with one of the protestors during the Michigan Pride March at the Capitol Building, East Lansing, Michigan on June 17, 2017.

Lansing a long-time center of Michigan LGBTQ advocacy

The well-known cities with gay history are always New York and San Francisco, however, the small cities, including Lansing, all play the important role in the process of legalizing homosexual marriage. Lansing is one of the most open-minded cities for the LGBTQ community in Michigan. A lot of LGBTQ groups and marches in Michigan were first started in Lansing. On June 17, a crowd was gathered at the Capitol Building to show their LGBTQ pride. The Michigan Pride March history goes back to 1990.

Within Grand Traverse County are City Limits. The area inside here would be affected by the policy's of sanctuary status. 
Photo by Amy Davis.

Traverse City dilemma: “Sanctuary City” or not?

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.

Lansing’s Annual 2nd Amendment Rally

For those who may disagree about ‘open carry’ should read the second amendment of the constitution: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” (“The Constitution of the United States,” Amendment 2). And “The right of the people to keep and bare arms,” is exercised annually in Lansing, at the city’s Capitol building. Wednesday, April 26 , nearly 400 activists stood strong behind the 2nd amendment by commemorating together in a peaceful protest amongst citizens and supporters. “It’s an open carry rally to educate the public on what your rights really are when it comes to fire arms,” said Sheriff Dar Leaf of Barry County. Leaf attends the rally each year because it’s important to him as a sheriff and citizen in the state of Michigan.

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.

Despite its headquarters residing in East Lansing, the Greater Lansing Jewish Welfare Federation supports Jewish community members from several surrounding cities.

Increase in threats and vandalism frightens some within Greater Lansing’s Jewish community

For many, Jewish Community Centers and similar organizations represent a place where people from all walks of life can go to feel safe and welcomed, no matter what color, gender or creed. For some, however, those places don’t feel quite as safe anymore. Over the past couple of months, there have been over 100 bomb threats made against JCCs and organizations across the United States. Although there have been no actual incidences of bombings stemming from these threats, there has been widespread vandalism against these centers. In addition to the bomb threats, there have been several incidences of headstones in Jewish cemeteries being toppled over and destroyed.

Screen Shot 2017-01-21 at 5.44.10 PM

Women, men and children march in Lansing

Pink was the color of the day at the Michigan Capitol as thousands rallied in support of a variety of causes and demonstrated against an equally large number of grievances and worries. We are focused on how First Amendment rights are used in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency.

Michigan State University student Jazmine Skala-Wade

Students work to overcome stigma around mental illness

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in 20 American adults live with a serious health condition, but people living with mental illness, believe there is a negative stigma attached to it. Michigan State University student, Jazmine Skala-Wade was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, when she was 11. “People have this idea that mental illnesses aren’t real, that you need to pray them away, that you are making it up or that you are crazy,” Skala-Wade said. “I have been judged and looked at as crazy. People have made up stories about my mental illness and I’ve been treated like I shouldn’t be smart.”

Skala-Wade said she’s doing things in college that people did not think she was capable of because of her ADHD.

Inclusion campaign aims to address discrimination on campus

Michigan State University has launched an inclusion campaign to address issues of race, gender and discrimination on campus. “Inclusion is defined as creating a living, learning and work environment where differences are valued, respected and welcomed,” said Paulette Granberry-Russell, senior adviser to the president for diversity and inclusion. “We’ve committed resources to the reducing the graduation gap between white students and black and Hispanic students, and we recognize there is more that we need to do to reduce the gap,” she said. In fall 2015, MSU launched the Office of Institutional Equity to oversee the university’s efforts to address discrimination and harassment based on factors such as race, gender and sex. The office allows students and faculty to file reports of discrimination on its website.

New student group works to promote health issues on campus

With more than 600 registered student organizations on campus, students at Michigan State University can find a group for just about any interest

The the leaders of Raising Awareness with Students believe they have a mission unlike others. RAWS promotes health issues, with a focus on preventable illnesses. It was created by Kady Cox, an interdisciplinary studies in social science student. The concept of RAWS started with her annual event, “Diabetes is Not Sweet.” “I got the idea for the ‘Diabetes is Not Sweet’ event because mom and my grandmother both have diabetes,” Cox said.