Senator renews push for African-American affairs commission

By CAITLIN TAYLOR
Capital News Service
LANSING — At 14 percent, African-Americans are the largest ethnic minority group in Michigan, according to census data, but there is no state commission dedicated to the needs of this community. “Currently in Michigan, we have a Hispanic/Latino Commission, an Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission and a Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs, but we have nothing in terms of civil rights for African-Americans,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I think this is a huge oversight.”
To bridge the gap, Jones re-introduced legislation this month to create an African-American affairs commission focused on improving equality and opportunity for African-Americans in the state. According to the bill, the commission would consist of 15 members who have a particular interest or expertise in the African-American community. They would be appointed by the governor.

Beauty supply store serves as both marketplace and cultural hub in Lansing

By Kevyn Collier-Roberts
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

If you drive along the streets of any predominantly African-American community, you’ll notice a plethora of beauty supply stores. But such places aren’t just about sales; they are also about helping to create community. In the Lansing community, one such gathering place is Cheryl Beauty Supply, at 1609 E. Michigan Ave. The store prides itself on maintaining strong relationships with their customers in order to keep them as loyal customers. “I think we have more of what our culture requires as far as hair products, skin products, and just an overall great shopping experience.

Diversity: can it be saved in small-town America?

By Courtney Kendler
Holt Journal staff reporter

When you walk into a coffee shop or beauty parlor in Holt, you may not be surprised to see a primarily white demographic. According to statistics gathered from the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, Holt is 86.3 percent white, 5.6 percent African American and 5.4 percent Hispanic. In that same year, the state of Michigan was recorded as being 78.9 percent white, 14.2 percent African American and 4.4 percent Hispanic. Compared with the state average, Holt has a significantly higher representation of white residents, while the number of African American and other minority groups in the area is lacking. Avni Tokhie, an Indian American and recent transplant to Holt, has taken notice of the lack of diversity in the area.

Racial disparities in adoption raise concerns

By BECKY McKENDRY
Capital News Service
LANSING – Decades later, Rhonda Roorda still becomes emotional. “Sometimes I still feel the trauma of knowing that but for the grace of God, I could have aged out of the foster care system,” said Roorda, an African-American woman who was adopted by a white couple in 1971. “I could have fallen through the cracks.”

The most recent national data by the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System suggests that many of these cracks in the foster care system are shrinking. The total number of children entering foster care has decreased by 18 percent since 2007. Fewer children are waiting for adoption placement.