Recent Posts

Safety in the Time of Surveillance: Ban the Scan Ann Arbor Town Hall

Safety in the Time of Surveillance: Ban the Scan Ann Arbor Town Hall

Join us on Thursday, April 29 from 7-8:30 to learn about the dangers of facial recognition technology and to join efforts to ban its use in Ann Arbor. Register at tinyurl.com/vwa4yxwm. For more information visit banthescana2.com.

ICPJ’s 2021 Annual Meeting

ICPJ’s 2021 Annual Meeting

Sunday, May 23rd, 3 – 5 pm (Remote)

Registration Required: https://bit.ly/3d5Hkur (link is case sensitive)

Click here to see the bios of Board member candidates nominated by the current ICPJ Board during its March 2021 Board meeting. The nominees are:
Duaa Aljirafi
Trevor Bechtel
Kira Berman
Trische’ Duckworth
Bryan Foley
Kwame Hooker
Rev. Shonagh Taruza
Hillary Watson
Rabbi Josh Whinston

Compassionate Community Conversations:

Compassionate Community Conversations:

Flores Exhibit, with Voices of Youth in Border Detention
May 6th, 6:30 pm

Registration Required Here: https://bit.ly/3wuCXld (case sensitive)

US Border Patrol Racial Profiling in Michigan #100MileZone

US Border Patrol Racial Profiling in Michigan #100MileZone

The ACLU Of Michigan has released their report: The Border’s Long Shadow How Border Patrol Uses Racial Profiling and Local and State Police to Target and Instill Fear in Michigan’s Immigrant Communities. The report shows how U.S. Border Patrol, an agency within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is engaging in racial profiling throughout the state of Michigan and uses state and local law enforcement agencies to target immigrants and other people of color.

For activists, check out this media toolkit to help spread the research.

Film & Discussion: Colombia in My Arms, Part II | Tuesday, April 13th 7-8:30 pm

Film & Discussion: Colombia in My Arms, Part II | Tuesday, April 13th 7-8:30 pm

In this second part of a two-part documentary, different sectors of Colombian society give their perspectives after the peace agreement.

Registration Required Here

We will screen the second half of the film by Jenni Kivisto & Jussi Rastas featuring interviews with FARC guerrillas about to hand over their weapons, coca farmers trying to make a living, politicians and the aristocracy sharing their perspectives after the Colombian peace agreement was signed.

We will be joined by Elvira Sanchez-Blake. She obtained her PhD in Hispanic Literature and Latin American Studies at Cornell University and held academic appointments at Cornell and Michigan State University. A journalist, academic and writer, she authored numerous publications, including Spiral of Silence, a testimonial novel that breaks thirty-year silence about the traumatizing impact of Colombia’s civil war, and centers on the experiences of women who move through hopelessness, loss, and grief during this volatile era in Latin American history.

Film & Discussion: Colombia in My Arms, Part I | Tuesday, March 9th 7-8:30 pm

Film & Discussion: Colombia in My Arms, Part I | Tuesday, March 9th 7-8:30 pm

In this first part of a two-part documentary, different sectors of Colombian society give their perspectives after the peace agreement. Registration Required Here.

For this viewing, we look forward to having Maria Perdomo with us for discussion afterward. Maria is an Eastern Michigan University alum who has studied the multidimensional root causes and impact of the Colombian conflict. She has focused mostly on how the conflict has affected the rural areas of Colombia, as well as the grassroots movements and resilience of the Afro-Colombian, indigenous and peasant communities who face the challenges brought by the conflict before and after the 2016 Peace Accords. Maria is currently working as an analyst for the Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations, now focusing on the humanitarian, digitalization, crime prevention and criminal justice, and women’s issues portfolios, while also continuing to follow issues related to her dear homeland, Colombia.

Due to the length of this film, we will be showing it in two parts over two months.

America Without Racism: Making the Vision a Reality

America Without Racism: Making the Vision a Reality

Friday, February 5 | 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Saturday, February 6 | 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

WFR_AmericaWithoutRacism 2
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically exposed inequities caused by long-standing racism in the United States, revealing that the need for change is more urgent than ever.

Join us in a free, virtual, two-day community conversation as we imagine a world free of racism and explore what must be done to create this future. Experts will talk about the fundamental changes needed in the institutions of policing, work, health care, and the commons, with interludes by local musicians, poets, and artists. We’ll conclude with a visioning session for all.

Registration required, click on button below to register. Eventbrite confirmation email will include Zoom link and detailed schedule. See Washtenaw Faces Race website for more information or contact Joy at [email protected].

SCHEDULE:
Friday, February 5, 6:00pm-9:00pm
Introduction and Overview:

Policing Redefined (Panel):

Performance

  • Mikhaella Norwood, Founder & CEO of Freelife Productions, LLC. Motown award-winning Spoken Word Artist of the Year, actress, motivational speaker, emcee. Tonight reads two poems, “Still” and “Fragility of a Black Man’s Gentle” from her book of poetry, Fruit: Haiku of Haikus for the Blossoming Soul (2019). https://mimifreelife.com

Redefining Work:

  • Alford A. Young, Jr., Ph.D., Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Author of From the Edge of the Ghetto: African Americans and the World of Work (2019) and Are Black Men Doomed?: Debating Race (2018). https://lsa.umich.edu/soc/people/faculty/ayoun.html

Saturday, February 6, 1:00pm-4:00pm
Health Care for Everyone:

Defense of the Commons: Individual rights vs. the rights of the collective:

  • Thom Hartmann, Ph.D., Political commentator, radio host, and author of The Hidden History of the War on Voting: Who Stole Your Vote and How to Get It Back (2020) and The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream (2020). https://thomhartmann.com

Rescuing Democracy: The way forward (Short session):

  • Abdul El-Sayed, M.D., Physician, epidemiologist, progressive activist, educator, author, speaker, and podcast host. Formerly the Health Director for the City of Detroit and candidate for Governor of Michigan in 2018. http://abdulelsayed.com/

Visioning Session led by:

Sponsored by Washtenaw Faces Race , Ypsilanti District Library., University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, and Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice.
This program is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities.

ICPJ Response to the Far-Right Insurrection & Call to Action

ICPJ Response to the Far-Right Insurrection & Call to Action

As organizers and people who believe in the power of organizing for social and environmental justice, on January 6, 2021 we experienced great joy and incredible pain. In the morning, we learned about the results from the Georgia Senate runoff races where Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff both won. Their wins are historic not only because of their personal stories, with Warnock becoming the first African-American elected to the Senate from Georgia and Ossoff becoming the first Jewish Senator from the state and the youngest at the age of 33, but also because of the long-term organizing and vision of Stacey Abrams and so many others. Communities across the state fought back against voter suppression efforts and they expressed the need for change in leadership to address the real challenges they face. The direct work of activists won and that is something to be celebrated and emulated. 

Yet, by the afternoon, a mob of far-right insurrectionists attempted a coup to stop the certification of the electoral college’s presidential votes. They, too, were an organized group that wanted to exert power and to express their displeasure with the outcome of the vote, especially the votes in communities with large Black, immigrant, and Latinx populations. This was not a one-time event. We experienced the violence of white supremacist rhetoric on April 30 when those protesting the coronavirus state of emergency entered the Michigan State Capitol armed to intimidate lawmakers and in October when others plotted to abduct Governor Gretchen Whitmer. We know that we need to stay vigilant here in Michigan, and now the rest of the world has seen how easily the United States could fall to fascism.

Silencing the voice and vote of our communities is violence. Founded upon genocide, occupying stolen land, and built on the backs of enslaved people, this country and our systems are inherently violent. Violence comes in many forms — whether an armed insurrection, voter suppression, evictions, denial of medical care, educational inequity, etc. We must face these truths and take actions to build a more peaceful and just future. January 6th spotlighted the violence in our society and could have led our country closer to fascism. What happens moving forward, how we and our leaders react, matters.

We reject calls to turn the page and move on in the name of unity. We demand accountability; anything less than accountability is unacceptable! Accountability is the only way that this country will be able to address the systems and institutions that allowed this violent action to happen. 

We cannot ignore the difference in the response from law enforcement when preparing for the nonviolent #BlackLivesMatter protests and a coup attempt that was announced, publicly, weeks before. If the certification of a bedrock of our democracy doesn’t require protection, but protecting property and policing Black bodies is fair and just, then our values do not match. We cannot ignore that 147 senators and house representatives voted to disenfranchise the people and 11 of our state senators asked to delay the vote. Their political grandstanding diminished trust in the legislative branch, gave credence to unfounded lies by the President that he had won, and broke their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. The insurrectionists left feeling all-powerful because the lie of white supremacy was upheld by these complicit actors, and they have no reason not to carry that feeling back to their home communities where they can continue to cause harm.

We need our elected officials to understand the depth of the harm and trauma caused to so many communities across this country and elsewhere. Black and indigenous people had to, once again, see the reality of unequal treatment and the extreme difference in the valuation of their lives in action in Wednesday’s  photos and videos. After sacrificing to travel to this country, Immigrant communities are treated as less-than human and see that their safety is threatened by far-right extremists and main-stream policies. Jewish, Muslim, and queer residents recognized the feeling of danger they experience at the hands of extremists and bigots.  When anyone now justifies inaction against the insurgents by saying they don’t want things to get worse, they disregard how bad it actually is and how bad it will get for these populations who are vulnerable to white supremacist violence. We need to rethink what safety means and to recognize the role that true accountability plays in rebuilding trust and belonging. If our elected officials choose to protect their colleagues from accountability, then they are deciding to continue the harm against the rest of us.

With this in mind, we join together to demand actions that in the short, medium, and longer terms:

  1. Focus on the public officials and governmental staff responsible for this coup attempt:
  • Impeach and remove President Trump from office immediately because he incited the insurrection!
  • Investigate and expel the Congress members and state legislators who participated in efforts to overturn the election!
  • Investigate the mismanagement of the response including those responsible for discerning appropriate responses and preparedness to protestors expressing First Amendment rights versus fascist insurrectionists wanting to overturn an election.
  1. Focus on anti-democratic institutions and policies that created an atmosphere for this kind of coup attempt:
  • Address voter suppression practices like gerrymandering
  • Abolish the Electoral College
  • Overturn the Citizens United ruling and address the need for campaign finance reform by co-sponsoring a Constitutional Amendment on the federal level and passing a resolution at the state level indicating that you would ratify the amendment. 
  • End Qualified Immunity and address other racist policing practices
  1. Focus on long-term structural change so this will not happen again by addressing the root causes of white supremacy and unbridled capitalism in our systems:
ICPJ Latin America Caucus: Searching for Disappeared Migrants Tuesday, February 9th at 7pm

ICPJ Latin America Caucus: Searching for Disappeared Migrants Tuesday, February 9th at 7pm


Registration Required HERE for online event.

The Latin America Caucus of the Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice invites you to the documentary screening of Ruben Figueroa’s work connecting disappeared Central American migrants in Mexico to their families.

For more insight and discussion, Hannah Zwolensky will join us. She is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University where she studied International Affairs and Spanish Language. Hannah currently works as an administrative intern and internship coordinator at Colibrí Center for Human Rights, an organization which advocates to end the disappearances and deaths of migrants and the militarization of our southern border.

Registrants will receive the zoom link / information to join the event email 2 days prior & 2 hour prior & 10 minutes prior to the event. If you do not receive one of these three automated emails, please check your spam and trash folders to see if the info is there. If these emails never got to you, let us know at [email protected]

For more information, contact [email protected]

Stopping the Prison Pipeline: Becoming a Youth Justice Advocate

Stopping the Prison Pipeline: Becoming a Youth Justice Advocate

Wednesday, Jan 13th: 7-8:00pm

An important part of ending mass incarceration here in Michigan is fundamentally reforming our juvenile justice system.    In this program, Mary King, the former Director of the Michigan Youth Justice Center, will be talking about some of the critical and time-sensitive reforms needed in Michigan’s Juvenile Justice System to address the horrendous racial disparities we find throughout this system.  If, following this program, you decide you would like to become a youth justice advocate, we will be having a more formal, two to three-part training, in the near future.  The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation is partnering with the Michigan Youth Justice Center and other organizations and faith communities to create a state-wide network that will promote the reforms our Juvenile Justice system so badly needs.

The zoom link to our gathering is: 
https://zoom.us/j/93150340210?pwd=bXNaS2kxMFJpTlhFS0pxNzdhSmI2QT09


Passcode: 510302

Car Caravan for Housing & Criminal Justice Reform January 11th — 10:30am in Lansing

Car Caravan for Housing & Criminal Justice Reform January 11th — 10:30am in Lansing

The Poor People’s Campaign of Michigan and the PPC Lansing Chapter invites advocates and allies across Southern Michigan to participate in the first PPC Moral Monday event of 2021 – a car caravan at the State Capital calling for fair housing for the poor and criminal justice reform.  The specific calls for action target Ingham County, so this Washtenaw County’s chance to stand with our Lansing friends to help them get action on housing and criminal justice reform.  Michigan has momentum to build on!  

Cars are gathering at 10:30 am at Union Missionary Baptist Church (500 S. MLK Jr. BLVD) in Lansing  before caravanning downtown. And please help by getting out the word. Even if people can’t participate, they can hear that housing and criminal justice reform are still social justice priorities for 2021. Here’s the link to the organizers’ facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/742875736325361.  

Board Members Share How They Connect with ICPJ Mission and Vision

Board Members Share How They Connect with ICPJ Mission and Vision

ICPJ is a broad network that is constantly in motion doing work in multiple areas at the same time. Some of our Board members share why they are motivated to do the work they do in the community, and why they support ICPJ.

Board President Emmeline Weinert
Board Member Finn Bell
Board Member Inés Jiménez Llorente
Faith Leaders Forum & ICPJ Host “Race to Justice” Town Hall

Faith Leaders Forum & ICPJ Host “Race to Justice” Town Hall

Thursday, December 3rd, 7 PM (Online)

The Town Hall is hosted by the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice and the Faith Leaders Forum

The Citizens for Racial Equity Washtenaw (CREW) is a group, co-chaired by Alma Wheeler Smith and  Linda Rexer,  that investigated  whether there are racial disparities in sentences by judges in Washtenaw County.  This one hundred page report found that Washtenaw County appears to have the same kinds of disparities in sentencing that we find nationally. We hope you will join us as we discuss the report and how our faith communities might best work to bring an end to this kind of discrimination. We would also appreciate your sharing this invitation with others that you think might be interested in joining us. Please register for the forum at this link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMucuCtrj4vH9PFXaSnoJnMpKsgDAyk6u4a

Join the Peace & Joy Poll Crew

Join the Peace & Joy Poll Crew

Join Us on November 3 as we do our part to make this election more democratic in process and to make it more fun for those standing in line! Fill out this link to join our crew. We will be sending more details on Monday! https://forms.gle/B6zcskXQs7rAopwp9.

Also, if you are at a polling place that could use our support, please call our helpline (855-VOTE-311) and we will send a team if we have one available.

Celebrate Community & Practice Democracy Count Every Vote!

Celebrate Community & Practice Democracy Count Every Vote!

Rally November 4th ~ 4pm Diag ~ UM Ann Arbor

ICPJ has been working with national, state, and county-wide partners over the last several weeks to organize and advocate to COUNT EVERY VOTE. We are part of the Washtenaw Action Council, a loose newly-formed coalition to protect voter rights, unified and organized to make sure that this election truly represents voter choices.

We want Michiganders to expect that results will not be confirmed on Election Night and reassure them that this should not be equated with fraud, but rather expect that we need to have patience to ensure that every vote is counted. We are preparing for a delayed announcement, and also preparing for the possibility of a contested election.

When everyone’s vote is counted and the will of the people is truly heard, we can have a better future for everyone. However, in recent memory, communities across Michigan, especially Black and brown communities, have had their votes taken from them and ignored. We will not allow that to happen again. 

This fight is about so many things, Black liberation, climate justice, an economy that works for everyone, and basic human rights for all, to name a few. What we are fighting for in this moment is breathing room and a better chance and the space to build the future we want. We need to work together to demand every vote be counted, the voice of the people be respected, and stand side by side to protect each other, our families and our communities.

Organize for Voter Rights Like Our Democracy Depends Upon It!

Organize for Voter Rights Like Our Democracy Depends Upon It!


Image Credit: Fuse Washington

ICPJ and W-PPC Support GEO’s Abolitionist Strike!

ICPJ and W-PPC Support GEO’s Abolitionist Strike!

The Poor People’s Campaign Washtenaw County (PPC), and the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ), are in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) in their strike and demands for a safe, equitable, and just work and community environment at the University of Michigan. GEO’s demands are consistent with ICPJ’s Principles and Practices and the Moral Policy Agenda of the National Poor People’s Campaign. 

GEOs demands specific to COVID-19 and a disarmed and demilitarized workplace are wholly reasonable and should be met as soon as possible by the University by providing:

  • transparent and robust testing, contact tracing, and safety plans for campus;
  • support for graduate employees working remotely and an option to switch to remote from hybrid/ in-person;
  • flexible subsidies for parents and caregivers including those with school-aged children or care obligations for adults;
  • better International Center support for international students and the repealing of the discriminatory, termly international student fee;
  • unconditional support for all graduate students in the form of timeline and funding extensions, an emergency grant, and flexible leases and rent freezes at U-M housing.
  • a demilitarized workplace
  • diversion of funds from campus police (involving a cut of 50% to DPSS’ annual budget)
  • and ending any and all ties to local law enforcement (AAPD) and other agencies (ICE).

The Washtenaw PPC and ICPJ urge our members to support the GEO workers’ strike, to refuse to cross their picket lines, and to join in solidarity with the strikers in the call for the UM to accede to their contractual demands for justice now! 

Report Details Racial Disparities in Washtenaw County Legal System

Report Details Racial Disparities in Washtenaw County Legal System

CREW Releases “Race to Justice: Citizens for Racial Equity in Washtenaw’s Report on Racial Disparities in the Washtenaw County Criminal Legal System”

Download report here.
To easily send letters to elected officials online, go to the letter campaign page here.

Letter from Rev. Joe Summers
Episcopal Church of the Incarnation
ICPJ Board member
Washtenaw Poor People’s Campaign Steering Committee

Dear Friends,

Citizens for Racial Equity in Washtenaw (CREW) was formed to gather public data on the charging and sentencing of individuals in Washtenaw County and to assess whether the data reflected racial disparities and the impact of any disparity on members of our community. Though we have begun to have extensive discussions on problems with discriminatory policing practices in our county, we have had very little data or focus so far on discriminatory practices in our court system. We hope our report will be the beginning of such a conversation.

I was privileged to serve on this committee which was co-chaired by former state Senator Alma Wheeler Smith and Linda Rexer, who for 30 years was the Executive Director of the Michigan State Bar Foundation.

The report has just been released. The data shows clear patterns of the kinds of racial disparities that we find in our criminal justice system throughout our country. Our report is not an easy or quick read though there is an executive summary at the beginning with our key conclusions and recommendations.

My hope is that those of you who want to overcome these forms of discrimination in Washtenaw County will take the time to read through it so that we can come together as a community to determine how to transform our local justice system so that it might be more equitable and restorative in its practices.

Thank you,
Rev. Joe Summers

p.s. As I was writing this I learned that Chief Judge Carol Kuhnke, of the Washtenaw County Trial Court and Eli Savit–who is running unopposed for Washtenaw County Prosecutor–released a joint statement expressing “appreciation for the CREW report, and broad support for its recommendations.” Their joint statement can be found on Eli Savit’s twitter here.

Email, Call, Message Washtenaw elected officials

For years elected leaders have shrugged and claimed they lacked the data to do anything about the racial bias we know exists in the criminal legal system here in Washtenaw County. We don’t lack the data anymore.

Citizens for Racial Equity in Washtenaw (CREW) spent months documenting felony case records from the Washtenaw County Court website. They analyzed thousands of charging decisions by prosecutors and sentencing decisions by judges and found harmful racial disparities. The data is discussed in CREW’s just-issued report, “Race to Justice: Citizens for Racial Equity in Washtenaw’s Report on Racial Disparities in the Washtenaw County Criminal Legal System”. Download here.

ICPJ is supporting CREW’s call to action. Please contact elected Washtenaw County officials and urge them to act immediately on the recommendations in “Race to Justice”.

To easily send letters to elected officials in the legal system, go to the letter campaign page here, where we provide sample text (that you can modify as you see fit).

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/end-racial-disparities-in-washtenaw-county-legal-system
Support A2’s Proposal C to Fund Affordable Housing

Support A2’s Proposal C to Fund Affordable Housing

JOIN US: TOWN HALL on Prop C
Thursday, October 15 ~ 6-7:30pm
Registration Required: https://bit.ly/36iZzea

Flyer here

ICPJ joined the Partners for Affordable Housing and we strongly advocate for passing Proposal C on November’s ballot — the millage would support construction, rehab, maintenance, and acquisition of affordable housing units, and provide funding for related supportive services, for the lowest-income households in Ann Arbor – those earning between 0-60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

  • At 1-mill for 20-years, approximately $6.5 million would be raised per year for a period of 20 years.
  • It would support the development of approximately 1,500 units of affordable housing, housing up to 3700 people.
  • For every $250,000 in market value and $125,000 in taxable value, the millage proposal would increase taxes for homeowners by $125 per year.