‘Local government is where the rubber hits the road:’ how local governments are responding to COVID-19

In Michigan, all eyes are on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to see how she responds to the COVID-19 outbreak. But when it comes to searching for an end to the pandemic, it’s local governments that are on the front lines, said Mason Mayor Russell Whipple.

“This problem will not be solved by the federal government, or the state government, or even the county government,” he said. “It’s going to be solved by local governments, because local governments are going to be the ones that have to actually deal with the day-to-day. We take directions from the state and county health departments. But we’re the ones that make it happen.”

Group works to get out Asian-American vote

In 2007, APIAVote-MI started as a small activist group informing voters about the harms brought on by a 2006 Michigan amendment, Proposal 2, that banned affirmative action programs in education. Since then, the group has registered thousands of Asian-American and Pacific Islander voters, held voter education events and reminded individuals via phone and mail to prioritize voting.

Bailey Hall government meets state representatives

MSU students with Rep. Julie Brixie, fourth from left and, next to her, Rep. Padma Kuppa. Michigan State students connected with state representatives on a personal level Feb. 25, as Bailey Hall Government hosted Michigan Reps. Padma Kuppa and Julie Brixie for a small group discussion and dinner at Brody Hall. 

“Seeing someone’s name on the ballot or reading about them online is a lot different than actually being able to interact with them,” Bailey Hall President Juhi Parekh said. “An event when students can ask questions with the people they actually elected themselves is a great opportunity to understand the impact your voting can have.”

Bailey Hall President Juhi Parekh.

Slotkin and Brixie deliver their take on the state of the district

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and State Rep. Julie Brixie spoke at East Lansing High School on Feb. 21 at the state of the district town hall meeting. Slotkin said she didn’t regret her decision on voting yes to impeach President Donald Trump. Slotkin, right, and Brixie take questions. “I made the decision to support the impeachment vote,” Slotkin said.

MSU Museum’s Teal Talks give survivors a platform

Images from the “Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak” exhibit. At the Michigan State University Museum, a series of Teal Talks is being hosted in the “Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak” exhibit. These talks take place on the second Friday of every month for an hour.  

The museum opened the exhibit in April 2019 to provide a healing and learning environment to raise awareness regarding sexual violence. The talks provide a forum for community members, students, staff and faculty all over campus to participate in facilitated conversations led by scholars and advocates about the exhibit and the important issues it raises,” said Elesha Newberry, campus outreach specialist.

Pope reaffirms ban on female ordination; Catholic women divided

Debrah MiszakLansing Diocese director of consecrated vocations Dawn Hausmann with an image of Pope John Paul II. Considered a saint by the church, he established the “theology of the body,” which states that people have different roles to play in the world according to their biological sex. As American women grapple with their role in society during  a Democratic primary which has featured a record number of female candidates, American Catholic women are struggling with their position in the church. In February, the Vatican released a document summarizing the 2019 Amazon synod — a meeting of bishops and stakeholders in that region. The document did not provide a final answer on the synod’s hottest topics: the ordination of women to serve as deacons and the ordination of mature, married men to the priesthood.

League of Women Voters celebrates 100 years of unity

League of Women Voters of Lansing Area board meeting on Feb. 5 (left to right): Margo Smith, Camilla Davis, Judy Culham, Barb Bidigare, Cele Friestater, Donna Mullins, Ellen Link, Bob Miller, Dorothy Engelman, Carol Swinehart and Bettie Menchik. Bertha Wallerstein, mother of 87-year-old League of Women Voters member Kate O’Neill, went to jail for protesting in front of the White House for her right to vote in Feb. 1919. O’Neill, former arts writer for the “Lansing State Journal,” described her mother as “passionate and outspoken,” while “dramatic in her approach to life.” 

Kate O’Neill’s mother Bertha Wallerstein (right) in 1913