Livonia woman walks to protest, spread awareness

Chase GoffProtestors gather outside of Michigan State Capitol. In a time where protests and marches have become commonplace, Livonia native Beth Navas decided to switch things up last month. Navas embarked on a three-day march to the state capital that would take her nearly halfway across the state. “I wanted to do something that was a little bit different than just the typical marches and rallies that have been going on,” Navas said. “I thought that it was a pretty significant walking distance, so I was hoping to bring a lot more attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Starting at 7 a.m. on June 27, Navas led a group on a journey that would take them from Navas’ house in Livonia to the capital building in Lansing.

Lansing workers return to new normal

Across the Lansing area, workers have faced different challenges since March because of COVID-19. But for recent Mason High School graduate Reagan Bercaw, she said going back to her job at Plato’s Closet made her feel just as at home as she did all quarantine. “For me, coming back (to work) was really nice to finally have something that I actually had to do,” Bercaw said. “I hated sitting at home.”

Bercaw, like many others, was laid off March 23 while Plato’s Closet in East Lansing was closed during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. Some employees resumed work May 14, but Bercaw came back June 1.

Lansing-area gyms adapt to survive shutdown

As soon as COVID-19 closed his gym, Justin Grinnell knew he had to make adjustments. Grinnell, who owns State of Fitness in Lansing, wanted to keep his door open, he just had to do it virtually. “We’ve had 300 virtual sessions,” said Grinnell. “We did a lot of private zoom meetings and usually 60 outdoor sessions a week, with a mix of indoor, outdoor and virtual.”

Gyms are among many businesses that deal with people being in close contact on a day-to-day basis, and have had to make adjustments for their own sake in order for their customers to feel safe, and stay in business. Grinnell also mentioned the process of the internship program that’s a part of the gym and how it contributes to the new wave of their gym that helps customers even when they can’t meet in person.

East Lansing City Council discuss resolutions for creating a temporary police oversight commission

The East Lansing City Council discussed public safety and police reform that led to lively four-hour council meeting on June 23 which was conducted via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. East Lansing councilmembers discuss new resolutions for new temporary overnight commission with input from the community. Issues ranging from an East Lansing Police Officer Andrew Stephenson, who was accused of using excessive force on a black man back December has been a controversial topic from Lansing citizens calling into the meeting. Police reform, public safety, and defunding the police were among many other issues that have no solution that was discussed in the meeting.

“The agenda item is certainly not the whole solution but it’s part of it, it’s an idea,” City Councilwoman Lisa Babcock said.

Tattoo shops ready for fall rush of students

It’s been three months since Ink and Needles West has opened its doors to the public after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer enacted the Stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. Ink and Needle west tattoo shop practicing social distancing throughout its shop to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Amber Watson, 23, a student at Michigan State University, said “I was really excited that Ink and Needles were opening up after being closed during COVID-19, three months is a long time to get a new tattoo.”

Ink and Needless tattoo shop closed on March 22 and was allowed to open their business on June 15. The state requires tattoo shops to have guidelines to reopen and to service customers including; wearing gloves, everyone being serviced have on a mask, social distancing of 6ft apart or more and cleaning the stations after every use. Moya Maffett, artist at Ink & Needles West and East in Lansing said, “It’s nice to get back in the groove of things, because we get to meet people and interact with them and see why they get the tattoos they get.”

She said, “we’ve marked everywhere six feet proximity so that clients can social distance, we have been using shields or face masks when we tattoo and speak to our clients to make sure everyone is safe.

Lansing citizens call for Mayor Schor’s resignation

Chase GoffChris Swope, Brian Jackson, Carol Wood, Peter Spadafore, Kathie Dunbar, Andy Schor, Patricia Spitzley, James Smiertka, Brandon Betz, Jeremy Garza and Adam Hussain during a Lansing city council meeting held via zoom due to COVID-19, Monday, June 22, 2020. During the Lansing City Council meeting on June 22, many concerned citizens of Lansing took the floor to express their opinion that Andy Schor should resign as Lansing’s mayor. Among them was founder and executive director of the Firecracker Foundation, Tashmica Torok, who was disappointed in how he has handled his mistakes. “I’d like to address our mayor, and just say that I have been incredibly disappointed with your leadership in terms of the anti-racism work that we need in our community right now, and from one leader to the next, when you do harm to a community, you acknowledge the harm, you apologize and then you take the steps to fix it,” said Torok. “That takes humility and it takes leadership, and if we’re moving into a season where we are naming racism as a public health crisis, then we need a leader who can take on that challenge with authenticity and integrity, and I don’t believe that Andy Schor is that person.”

Over the past weeks, people of Lansing have been calling for the resignation of Schor.

What’s next? Protesters get to work when marching ends

Cera PowellProtesters march down Capitol Avenue for justice for the murder of George Floyd and police reform on Sunday, March 31. Sharron Reed-Davis wants the protest in Lansing and around the country to continue. Davis, 21, a member of the Black Student Alliance at Michigan State University, is protesting in Lansing fighting for justice of black people who have been a victim of police brutality. She can’t stop, she says, protesting means fighting for her rights and the rights of her people, she knows that protesting has brought awareness like never before. Police brutality hasn’t stopped but has shown clear racism and brutality from the police to the world.

Lansing protests start conversation with citizens, police

It has been a busy year for protests at Michigan’s Capitol building — and it’s only June. Earlier this month, there were multiple protests supporting Black Lives Matters and seeking justice for George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who was killed by former police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin’s knee was seen pinning Floyd’s neck for eight minutes. Chavuin has been charged with second degree murder, and there have been charges brought against the other officers involved. 

James Henson, who protested June 5 said, “My general outlook is more like my people had enough of being treated the way they have been treated with 400 years of slavery, then 30 years of not being heard by doing protest and stuff like that.”

Henson said he doesn’t feel black people have received the same freedom in this country as white people.  

Austin HayneProtestors line up to march in Lansing. “When America was built, it wasn’t built for black people freedom, it was built for white people freedom,” he said. 

The protestors gathered with signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” “remember George Floyd,” and “privilege is why you think something is not your problem.”  

Austin HayneProtestors make their way through downtown Lansing.