Washtenaw Faces Race: Rescuing Democracy 2022

Washtenaw Faces Race: Rescuing Democracy 2022

Informed and educated citizens are essential to a working democracy. To this end, Ypsilanti District Library and Washtenaw Faces Race  present an evening conference of informative and thoughtful speakers who discuss how the issue of racism in the U.S. is currently and always has been entangled with threats against democracy. We invite you to attend this VIRTUAL community conversation.

Rescuing Democracy 2022 – Before it’s too late

Friday, May 13, 6-9pm

REGISTER AT http://tinyurl.com/wfr2022
.
MORE INFORMATIONAThttps://washtenawfacesrace.weebly.com/2022-conference.html.
FLYER IS ATTACHED

The January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection signaled the resurgence of the type of overt white supremacy that characterized most of U.S. history. Its aftermath affirmed a right wing subversion of the democratic process, facilitating a shift toward autocracy. 

America’s history of racism enables these threats. Our democratic ideals are in danger. Can we rescue them before it’s too late? PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Introduction and Overview

What’s So Good About Democracy, Anyway?

  • Kay Wade, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist, Ann Arbor Public Schools

Racism: Multi-Purpose Tool for Division and Conquest

KEYNOTE: White Supremacy, White Populism, and Christian Nationalism: Can Democracy Long Endure

Affirming Inclusive Democracy: Resisting media disinformation

Also featuring selections from the: 

Sponsors: Washtenaw Faces Race, Ypsilanti District Library, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

Connect & Act and 2022 Annual Meeting- May 21st!

Connect & Act and 2022 Annual Meeting- May 21st!

The gathering is free to attend, although donations are always welcome. Please register at the link here so that we can plan accordingly. Also, sign up to bring a potluck dish for the community meal or to volunteer for logistics for the community gathering.

This is an in-person event as we do our best to gather safely together. Please wear masks and respect others’ space. (We will have extra masks and hand sanitizer.)

Connect & Act (1-5pm) is an opportunity for the community to come together in order to learn, share, and act for justice and collective power. This year it will be run as an “unconference” (though with less technology than the article describes). This means that the sessions are determined by who is in the space and the conversations that happen allow everyone to bring in their expertise.

We’ve had some members already provide topics that they would like to share with others. These include:

  • Improved Medicare for All
  • Immigration Justice Issues & Driver’s Licenses for All
  • People’s Budget for Dignity & Justice
  • Organizing for Sustainability & Solar Power
  • Organizing for Environmental Justice
  • Sustainable Food, Farm Production, & Supply System
  • And more to be offered day-of!

What do you want to share?!? What conversations would you like to launch or expand?

The Annual Meeting (5:30-7pm) will be an opportunity to gather around good food with the ICPJ members and network. We will share an update and vote on ICPJ business.

You can register to bring a potluck dish for the Annual Meeting and someone will be in touch with you for more information.

The Struggle for Environmental, Racial & Human Rights in Honduras | Speaker Mary Anne Perrone Tuesday, May 10th, 7:00 – 9:00pm

The Struggle for Environmental, Racial & Human Rights in Honduras | Speaker Mary Anne Perrone Tuesday, May 10th, 7:00 – 9:00pm

Register for the (online) event here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228024355987
There is no cost for these events, but your donations to ICPJ help us to be able to continue this work of educating and mobilizing in our communities. 

Mary Anne Perrone 3

Mary Anne is an educator, an activist, and a spiritual guide. For over 30 years her area of focus has been on human rights in Latin America. She has worked in the U.S. to raise consciousness about the U.S.’s role in human rights violations in Latin America and the need for substantive change in our foreign policy.  In the last two decades, this work has taken her on multiple human rights delegations to several Latin American countries, connecting with and accompanying courageous people working in their own countries to defend those whose human rights are highly threatened.  She has been part of the Latin America Caucus of Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice (ICPJ) in Ann Arbor for decades.

Since 2009, Mary Anne has traveled to Honduras a dozen times or more on various human rights delegations, often with SOA Watch.  In the last few years she has been part of several SHARE Foundation delegations to Honduras addressing crucial moments in the volatile recent history.  Her most recent delegation was in December 2021 in the wake of the historic election process there.

This event is hosted by The Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice Latin America Caucus, the University of Michigan Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Wayne State University Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies, and Huron Valley DSA

EARTH DAYS DOWNTOWN ANN ARBOR ON THE COMMONS: APRIL 21-24, 2022

EARTH DAYS DOWNTOWN ANN ARBOR ON THE COMMONS: APRIL 21-24, 2022

Library Lane and Fifth Avenue Noon to 6 and into the evening with Drums and Dancing, weather permitting

THURSDAY April 21, 2022:
The Commons is Open, Cars are Gone. Tables and Chairs. carpets and kids toys, open Mic. Central Park Now!
noon > opening bell and Land Acknowledgement
12:30 >. “DecaDome” Commons office and information point, Set up opening
1-2 >. Discussion: The Commons is Commonly Pooled Resources Self-Managed by the Users:
What resources can we commonly pool?
2-3 > Discussion: Artists Brainstorming Public Art Ideas for the Center of the City
Murals for the walls and Elevator Building. Entry and Exit Signage
Chalking for fun—“chalk the walk you talk”
3-5 more chalking, open mic, music,…

FRIDAY…actual Earth Day April 22, 2022.
noon bell
noon-12:30 Land Acknowledgement : What Earth Are We on
Land Return. What can be done.? Potawatomi relations.
12:30-1:00 Opening Question : What Earth Day means to me …(reading from the “survey”)
Opening song. and sing along
Music [Jim Griff Griffin ]
1:-2:30 Mayoral Candidates discussion debate: All Candidates Invited
Climate calamities, social needs, mutual aid and the commons are all questions facing our tree town:
What do candidates have to say?

.#1 >> #2 >> #3
*speaking order by lot. time equalized

2:30-2:45***brief introduction. Green Brick Road to Sustainability and Survival,
Local climate and earth conscious organizations invited to be a “green brick”
with a table or easel giving visual program presentation, and a leaflet inviting
citizen participation, for those walking the Green Bricks, on a pathway through the commons

2:45-3:15. Earth Dance and plastic burial Megan Sims
Save Soil program
Music

3:15-4. The Green Team: reporting work: Growing the Earth, Community Garden, pollinators, composting, seeds and
volunteers,
4-4:30. A2 zero City Climate plan, Sustainable Energy Utility.

4:30-5. music: opening song again. Mary and Eric Fithian

5-5:15 Global Big Picture…The next COP Conference of Parties, Intergovernmental Report,
Deep Adaptation and Extinction Rebellion.
5:15. -5:30. “New Earth Manifesto” opening reading
5:30- 6… Game “Adapt”: Bridget O’Brien
Music band and drumming into the evening

SATURDAY: April 23
noon: bell
12-12;20 Land Acknowledgement and Knowledge from our relations
12:20-12:30 What Earth Day means to me…: Elected Officials and Candidates

12:20-:-12:30 -Exhibits open: The “commons” book and drawings table, City Energy Plan exhibit.
12:30 -1:30 John Heath band
1:30-2:00. Reports from the Green Brick Road to Sustainability and Survival: Fermi, Line 5, Prohibition Treaty, Public Power, Climate Lobby, Student Actions
2:00-3:00. Music and talk.
3- 3:30 Poetry. One Single Rose. Rose Marie Wilson

3:30 -4:00. Peter Linebaugh: The Commons in the world, Enclosure, Privatization and Theft: with time for Questions.
“Climate calamity as the ultimate enclosure.”
4:00 -4:30
Ann Arbor City A2Zero 2030 carbon neutral program, with time for questions Missy Stultz
Project Grow 50th anniversary Scott Richardson….
What Earth Day means to me: candidates : Angeline Smith
Council of the Commons : Lisa Disch

   Adam Zemke : introducer

4:30-6. MUSIC HEADLINER LAITH AL-SAADI

6:-7:00-ish PM on **** Drumming and drum circle, bring your drum

Dancing into the evening

SUNDAY: April 24
Noon. Bell.
12-12:30 Land Acknowledgement and Restoration draft Resolution? How!
12:30- 1:30 Sunday Prayers and words
What Earth Days Means to me: open Mic
open mic
1:30 -2:30 Sunday Band Steve Somers

2:30-3:30 One hour Thinking outside the box:
2:30 -3: New Earth Manifesto, concluded reading and 2022 vision Odile Hugonot Haber
3:- 3:30 Peace Table.. .Art for making Peace with the Earth Alan Haber

3:30-4:30 Sunday Band Ralph McKee

4:30 on. open jamming
>>> next actions. discussion tables and meet-ups
Bloomsday Party May 21-22
Juneteenth June 19 and the United Nations Decade for People of African descent, 2015-2024,
Reparations how! Ann Arbor-Asheville Alliance
Ann Arbor Bicentennial 1824-2024 To what future? Vision,History, Outreach, inclusive,
Flea Market in July…pass on your good old stuff,

6PM Clean up: aiming for zero waste, leave no trace.

JOIN US: Community Conversation:After the CREW Report Thursday, March 10, 6:30 – 8:00pm

JOIN US: Community Conversation:After the CREW Report Thursday, March 10, 6:30 – 8:00pm

In an effort to contribute to the goal of a criminal legal system that ensures equal justice for all participants, 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 any racial disparities and the impact of any disparity on members of our community.

ICPJ,WeROC and the Faith Leaders Forum are hosting a virtual community forum as a follow-up to the CREW report. What happened since it was released, what the response has been, and what still needs to be done will be discussed.

What you can do:

  1. Register in advance for this community meeting at the link here.
  2. Read the CREW Report on Racial Disparities in the Washtenaw County Criminal Legal System at the link here
  3. Read about the Judicial Tenure Commission (JTC) complaint The Detroit Free Press published an op-ed submitted by ICPJ’s Eleanore Ablan-Owen and AFSC’s Natalie Holbrook about the lack of response from the JTC regarding their complaint about Judge Archie Brown based on the data from the CREW report at the link here.
  4. Visit the Washtenaw Equity Partnership (WEP) website
Borders, Homeland Security, & Bridges | Speaker Todd Miller Tuesday, April 12th ~ 7pm

Borders, Homeland Security, & Bridges | Speaker Todd Miller Tuesday, April 12th ~ 7pm

Register for the (online) event here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228024355987
There is no cost for these events, but your donations to ICPJ help us to be able to continue this work of educating and mobilizing in our communities. 

BuildBridgesToddMiller
Todd Miller writes a weekly post for The Border Chronicle. He has researched and written about border issues for more than 15 years, the last eight as an independent journalist and writer. He resides in Tucson, Arizona, but also has spent many years living and working in Oaxaca, Mexico. His work has appeared in the New York Times, TomDispatch, The Nation, San Francisco Chronicle, In These Times, Guernica, and Al Jazeera English, among other places.

Miller has authored four books: Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders (City Lights, 2021) Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World (Verso, 2019), Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security (City Lights, 2017), and Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security (City Lights, 2014). Todd is a contributing editor on border and immigration issues for NACLA Report on the Americas and its column “Border Wars”. http://www.toddmillerwriter.com/

This event is hosted by The Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice Latin America Caucus, the University of Michigan Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Wayne State University Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies, and Huron Valley DSA

Provide Your Input: Washtenaw County’s Climate Planning

Provide Your Input: Washtenaw County’s Climate Planning

Be a part of the County’s process for developing its Resilient Washtenaw climate action plan! Join the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (www.icpj.org) in a zoom “listening” session with Washtenaw County’s Climate Plan developers on Wednesday, March 9 from 3:00-4:00 pm. (See description below). 

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87480741091?pwd=WHpmUFB5Z0Fkcld4YkdkbXdwdFlLZz09

Meeting ID: 874 8074 1091
Passcode: 703389
One tap mobile
+19294362866,,87480741091# US (New York)
+13017158592,,87480741091# US (Washington DC)
The meeting facilitators are Matt Naud (consultant for the project, [email protected]) and Andrew DeLeeuw (Dir of Strategic Planning and staff to the county’s Environmental Council, [email protected]). 

image

Climate Plan Listening Session Format:
1.    The county facilitators will provide a brief overview of Washtenaw County’s climate challenges, the 2022 initial Climate Plan timeline and how the public and ICPJ can participate in the process.*
Questions for participants:
2.Do you have existing recommendations that should be considered as part of the Resilient Washtenaw plan process?
a.    This is a rapid brainstorm to list basic areas for improvements such as: 
                                               i.     Environmental Justice for BIPOC 
                                             ii.     Offer a Zero Waste Challenge program to the whole County
                                            iii.     Make a Solarize program available to all County residents
                                            iv.     Promote urban farming efforts with permitting and access to intercity plots 
 and community gardens
                                             v.     Support and advocate regenerative agricultural practices
                                            vi.     Etc.

b.    After everyone has a chance to contribute topic areas, people with more in-depth experiences and suggestions can briefly summarize their projects and send/email longer descriptions to the facilitators in writing. (**See MAJIC example: https://www.majicnow.org/our-platform

3.As this work continues, do you have suggestions for ways the county government might continue to partner with ICPJ and/or congregations and other organizationsas the county seeks to become carbon neutral by 2035?

4.    Given that the county is unlikely to be the solution for all of the climate mitigation and adaptation recommendations, do you have thoughts on how the county might use its ability to bring local governmentsand organizationstogether to implement solutions?

5.Questions you/your group has for the planning team.
We hope to see you there!

Nancy Stone, 
Volunteer with ICPJ’s caucus on Consumption, Waste and the Climate Crisis 
Desirae Simmons, 
Co-Director, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice
*P.S. If possible, please preview Washtenaw County’s one-year Climate Action Planning process as outlined at https://www.washtenaw.org/3465/Climate-Action.  An optional 20-minute video orientation provides Great Lakes climate concerns as well as Washtenaw County-specific climate project materials at www.resilientWashtenaw.org. An initial draft climate plan will be available for public comment by summer 2022, with the final draft report to be sent to the County Commissioners before the end of the year for additional public comment.

Current Realities in El Salvador| Speaker Danielle Mackey | Tuesday, March 8th ~ 7pm

Current Realities in El Salvador| Speaker Danielle Mackey | Tuesday, March 8th ~ 7pm

Register for the (online) event here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228024355987.  There is no cost for these events, but your donations to ICPJ help us to be able to continue this work of educating and mobilizing in our communities. 

Danielle, a member of The New Yorker‘s editorial staff, based in New York, lived mostly in El Salvador from 2008 until 2021 and was a freelance investigative, longform reporter. Her work has appeared online in The New Yorker, The New Republic and The Atlantic, among others. She still writes and speaks as an independent journalist.

Her ongoing projects include a series of investigations into narco-activity and corruption in Honduras, with Contracorriente, supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism, Columbia University’s Center for Mexico and Central America, and the Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística. Another project involves policing, gangs, and non-carceral and tertiary responses to violence in Central America and in U.S. foreign policy. She has conducted years of reporting on this, funded by grants from various journalism foundations. Danielle has worked as an adjunct professor in the journalism department at CUNY Lehman College and on the research team at The Intercept, among other media posts. Before journalism, she was an NGO-worker and horse trainer. She is an alum of the NYU M.A. in Global Journalism and Latin American Studies.

This event is hosted by The Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice Latin America Caucus, the University of Michigan Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Wayne State University Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies, and Huron Valley DSA

#Licenses4LovedOnes

#Licenses4LovedOnes

Monday, February 7th 8am-11am (in person)
Join ICPJ to send postcards to legislators!
Meet us at the Daytime Warming Center First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor, 517 East Washington, Ann Arbor

Monday, February 7th 10am-11am (Online)
Join ICPJ to send postcards to legislators!
Register via this link.

Wednesday, February 9th 7-7:30pm (Online)
Join ICPJ to call legislators!
Register via this link.

Visit our webpage for background information, FAQs, and other resources for this campaign.

Go to the Take Action Page for more daily actions. Visit Drive Michigan Forward for more information on the Week of Action.

Biden’s Approach Toward the Northern Countries of Central America | Speaker Lisa Haugaard | Tuesday, February 8th ~ 7pm

Biden’s Approach Toward the Northern Countries of Central America | Speaker Lisa Haugaard | Tuesday, February 8th ~ 7pm

Register for the (online) event here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228024355987.  There is no cost for these events, but your donations to ICPJ help us to be able to continue this work of educating and mobilizing in our communities. 

Lisa is the Co-director of the Latin America Working Group, has led advocacy efforts on human rights issues and U.S. policy towards Latin America for a coalition of human rights, faith, labor and nongovernmental groups for over 20 years. She collaborated with Colombian human rights groups to document, denounce and demand accountability for escalating extrajudicial executions, a collective effort that resulted in a dramatic drop in new abuses and hundreds of cases shifting from military to civilian courts. She has participated in international verification missions on human rights defenders, election monitoring and migrant rights. Lisa has testified before and headlined briefings in the U.S. Congress, addressed press conferences and led workshops in Latin America, and conducted advocacy at all levels of the State and Defense Departments, USAID, Southern Command and Congress. More information here.

This event is hosted by The Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice Latin America Caucus, the University of Michigan Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Wayne State University Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies, and Huron Valley DSA

Resident Race to Zero Waste

Resident Race to Zero Waste

ICPJ is excited to be participating in this week of environmental action, you can learn more about the challenge and sign up here: https://livezerowaste.org/resident-race-to-zero-waste/

Support Community-Led Unarmed Crisis Response

Support Community-Led Unarmed Crisis Response

TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT THE CROS PROPOSAL

The Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice works toward non-violence in our communities, knowing that this can only be achieved through genuine racial and economic equity and justice and by uprooting systems of oppression. Many in our communities have fallen into the misconception that we can only achieve peace through the use of guns and force. But we know that this path has only led to disproportionate violence and imprisonment of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, and further entrenches us into a cycle of violence. Our vision is for communities in which residents work together to heal the harms of past generations and create community-led responses to crises. Knowing that we have the experience and skills, and the compassion and creativity to solve crises in our community without replicating patterns of violence and harm, ICPJ enthusiastically supports the CROS proposal. We are ready to join with other community partners to create new solutions that move our communities closer toward our vision of justice and nonviolence.

Emergency Action: Sunday, January 16th, at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility at 12pm

Emergency Action: Sunday, January 16th, at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility at 12pm

Emergency Action, Sunday, January 16th, at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, at 12pm. It’s located at 3201 Bemis Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48197.Conditions at Michigan’s one prison for women have been problematic long before COVID. Overcrowding, lack of access to mental health and adequate medical services, lack of programming, major staffing shortages which lead to fatigue and outright abuse, antiquated buildings, sewage & heating and cooling systems, and more have plagued Women’s Huron Valley for years.

You can sign the petition to Address Inhumane & Dangerous Conditions at Huron Valley Women’s Prison to Governor Whitmer and MDOC Director Heidi Washington here.

COVID 19 has exacerbated existing problems at the Valley. A recent memo from Sen. Jeff Irwin, reporting from Prison Radio, and accounts from women held at the facility document reduced access to yard time and rehabilitation programs, overcrowding, lack of access to cleaning and sanitary items, and inadequate COVID protections. These conditions have led to a COVID surge at Huron Valley. According to the Detroit Free Press, the facility “constitutes 60% of all known cases [of COVID] among the incarcerated in the state.”This dangerous conditions at the prison require immediate action to address the crisis as well as long-term changes to improve oversight, remedy inhumane conditions, and release women who could safely return to their communities.

Sponsored by:
• American Friends Service Committee Michigan Criminal Justice Program
• Emergent Justice
• Huron Valley DSA
• Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice
• Just Us NOW
• Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration
• Michigan Liberation
• Nation Outside
• Prison Radio
• Southeast MI Pull Over Prevention
• Redeeming Kimberly
• Silent Cry
• Survivors Speak

How Can Ann Arbor Move to 100% Renewable Energy?

How Can Ann Arbor Move to 100% Renewable Energy?

Article written by Jan Wright & Joyce Stein

Moving to 100% renewable energy is essential for carbon neutrality!
It’s seemingly impossible due to DTE’s energy mix and current State laws.
But now there are two active possibilities for solving this dilemma!

Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) is a new and innovative type of municipal utility that is legal in Michigan. It would be “a 100% renewably powered, reliable, local, shared, and publicly owned municipal energy utility; built by the community for the community.” It could start very quickly and would not seek to provide all of Ann Arbor’s energy; though it could grow with demand to become much larger over time. Thus, it would be supplementary to (and competitive with) DTE’s energy offerings.
The Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovation (OSI) has worked with five technical advisors to explore the technical and financial feasibility of an SEU, with very positive results. Working with microgrids, an SEU could offer not only solar electricity but other carbon-reducing possibilities such as district level geothermal (i.e., shared among a number of homes), energy efficiency programs to renters as well as owners and energy justice initiatives. See the detailed proposal at this link: www.a2gov.org/a2seu. Individuals and organizations who want to indicate an interest in possibly connecting with the SEU, if it goes forward, should contact OSI at [email protected]

A vote of the City Council is all that would be required to move ahead with an SEU, depending on how the SEU is funded. It is also an option that would be scalable to other cities since it would not require huge amounts of capital up-front.

The OSI has held one public information session on the SEU possibility and will be holding others. Use this LINK to a recording of that session. (Access Passcode: z5tLp+Si)

A Municipal Utility
Municipalization is the process of a city acquiring ownership and assuming responsibility for the utilization and distribution of their city’s electric utility system. The establishment of a public power utility would allow the community to control its own power and focus on reliability, reasonable prices, and increased renewable energy sources.


Municipal utilities are legal under Michigan law and a significant number are currently operating in Michigan, although none have been incorporated since the early 1900’s. The first step in considering a transition to a public owned utility is a feasibility study to gain a better understanding of the costs and the process involved with such a transition. A local group, Ann Arbor for Public Power is proposing a Municipal utility and has created an information sheet here.


Ann Arbor’s Energy Commission, while exploring the feasibility of a public utility, invited representatives from Boulder, CO and Winter Park, FL to share their experiences with creating or modifying their transition to having more community control over their generation and distribution of electricity in their individual cities. Both communities offered the pros and cons and challenges along the way of establishing a municipal utility. Both are strong advocates for community control which allows for lower rates, better reliability, and the ability to redirect profits back to their communities. Both presentations can be found here: Winter Park / Boulder.
City Council has asked the Energy Commission to make a recommendation on a feasibility study to explore the creation of a public municipal utility by December 31. The concept of municipalization was raised before the SEU proposal was unveiled, so the path forward from here is still emerging.
These two possibilities are not mutually exclusive. Ann Arbor could start with the SEU, which could be up and running far more quickly than a full municipal utility, while continuing down the path for full municipalization. DTE has already pushed back against the idea of the city forming its own utility. It is not clear how it will respond to the idea of an SEU, which would not change DTE directly but would be in competition with it by providing 100% renewable energy, likely at a lower cost, given recent technological advances.


Next Steps for both options will require more opportunities for community input and education of Ann Arbor residents as well as further discernment by the Energy Commission and Council. Both options offer alternative methods for generating and distributing electricity that promise to reduce costs, become greener and more reliable, and allow profits generated to go back into our community.

U.S. Guns & Militarism in Mexico: John Lindsay-Poland 2022 Latin America Caucus Speaker Series Launches January 11th

U.S. Guns & Militarism in Mexico: John Lindsay-Poland 2022 Latin America Caucus Speaker Series Launches January 11th

Register for the (online) event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228024355987.  There is no cost for these events, but your donations to ICPJ help us to be able to continue this work of educating and mobilizing in our communities. 

John has written about, researched and organized action for human rights and demilitarization of U.S. policy, especially in Latin America, for more than 30 years. He left his studies at Harvard University to participate in international disarmament organizing and to accompany Central Americans threatened with political violence. From 1989 to 2014, he served the interfaith pacifist organization Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), as coordinator of the Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean, and as research director, and founded the FOR Colombia peace team.

John is the author or co-author of numerous reports on U.S. military policy and human rights in Latin America, including most recently Invisible Weapons, Indelible Pain: The Urgent Necessity for Transparency in the U.S. and Mexican Gun Trade and Deadly Trade: How Europeans and Israeli Arms Exports are Accelerating Violence in Mexico. He is also the author of Plan Colombia: U.S. Allies, Atrocities and Community Activism (2018) and Emperors in the Jungle: The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama (2003), both published by Duke University Press. His research has focused on the relationship between foreign military assistance and respect for human rights, foreign military bases, and military spending. Recently he has begun developing tools and curriculum for researching militarism on behalf of activist campaigns. He is currently co-director of the California Healing Justice program of the American Friends Service Committee, with a focus on police demilitarization.  He coordinates Stop US Arms to Mexico, a project of Global Exchange.

Warrant Resolution Day

Warrant Resolution Day

by Donnell Wyche, Senior Pastor Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor & Past President ICPJ

We had an amazing time at the Warrant Resolution event on Tuesday at the Freighthouse in Ypsilanti. After 12 months of planning, including recruiting 40 volunteers, we launched our first warrant resolution, expungement, and eviction prevention event in 14B District Court. Partnering with the County Prosecutor, the Public Defender, Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) we offered 125 guests, in-person and on the phone, resources to help determine and resolve outstanding warrants, expungement, and eviction prevention. The event was held at the Freighthouse in Ypsilanti, MI on Tuesday, November 16, 2021. 40 residents started the expungement process and the completed paperwork was filed on their behalf. 85 residents received legal advice from either the Public Defender or LSSCM to resolve outstanding matters before the Court. Several residents met directly with the County Prosecutor about outstanding concerns including a resident who was assaulted by a local law enforcement agency, the Prosecutor was able to remove the arrest record because no charges were filed. All residents who requested financial support to clear bench warrants, past due court fines or fees were granted.MLive covered the event at:https://www.mlive.com/…/ypsilanti-event-will-help…

I am so grateful to so many people, including Daniel Buckley (our project manager, who made everything happen) to Desirae Simmons , Eleanore Ablan-Owen, Sudha Myers at Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice, Jon Bartholomay, Melodie Dunbar Floro, Rick Rykowski from the Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, Delphia Simpson and her team from the Public Defender’s Office, Eli Savit – Washtenaw Prosecuting Attorney, Victoria Burton-Harris, Frances Walters from the Prosecutor’s office, and so, so many others!

Photo credits: Eli Savit – Washtenaw Prosecuting Attorney

Join ICPJ for the #DriveSAFE Brown Bag Wednesday, October 20th, 12pm-1pm

Join ICPJ for the #DriveSAFE Brown Bag Wednesday, October 20th, 12pm-1pm

Join us for a brief zoom meeting – to provide all the information you need to know about the #DriveSAFE effort to restore drivers’ licenses for all Michiganders, including undocumented immigrants.

Registration required here. https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0sce-prj8qGtAcsVNK4mM5TWTiFRQTsxJ2

We all want the right to care for our loved ones and to move freely without feeling like a target. To do that, we all need the right to obtain a driver license, regardless of immigration status or what documentation we have.

Undocumented immigrants in Michigan had been able to obtain driver’s licenses to go to work, get groceries and prescriptions, and drive their children to the doctor, with the same rights and restrictions as other Michiganders. This was ended in 2008. In May 2021, the Drive SAFE bills were introduced in the state legislature to correct that injustice.

Watch here for the Press Conference following the surprise cancellation of the hearing for the #DriveSafe bills on September 14th, including the planned testimony of former legislator, farmers, business leaders, and Michiganders from different communities. (At 16 minutes into the video, listen to Nelly Fuentes read her testimony about the importance of this legislation.)

Help spread the word about this Brown Bag and sign up here for more information about joining future Deep Canvassing events (phone-banking with time to talk with the person you are speaking with). ICPJ will be organizing a Deep Canvassing training and events to support the Drive Michigan Forward Coalition efforts. For the most updated campaign information or learn more about the coalition, go to: https://www.drivemichiganforward.com/

Please email House Speaker Wentworth and ask to give this a legislation a hearing!

For more contact [email protected]

Rally in Lansing to Support Second Look Legislation | Thursday, October 14th 12-3pm

Rally in Lansing to Support Second Look Legislation | Thursday, October 14th 12-3pm

Second Look legislation creates a pathway for sentencing judges to review cases to evaluate if people who have been in prison for 10 years or longer are a danger to the community. More information: https://bit.ly/SecondLookRally

Warrant Resolution Day: Sign Up to Volunteer for Tuesday, November 16th

Warrant Resolution Day: Sign Up to Volunteer for Tuesday, November 16th

The Warrant Resolution Project is a community-based restorative justice initiative in partnership with ICPJ seeking to create a safer community by assisting residents with information, education, and solutions to outstanding warrants before the courts in Washtenaw County.

On Tuesday, November 16th, in cooperation with the Washtenaw County 14B, which covers Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township, we will host a community-wide “Warrant Resolution Day” for people to clear outstanding non-compliance warrants. Plans are underway to include judges from 14A and 16th as well.

Bench warrants can be issued for many reasons (such a failure to pay parking tickets or to appear in court), but their impacts can be devastating. People with outstanding warrants can be arrested and jailed without notice, putting their employment and their families in jeopardy. Often, people are unaware that warrants have been issued against them.

Though the warrant resolution process will be conducted by court personnel, we need lots of volunteer support to make the event successful. Please complete the volunteer form via this (case sensitive) link: https://bit.ly/3Ba0Kss

Bench warrants are commonly issued for failure to attend a scheduled court appearance or to fulfill the conditions of probation, but can also be issued for failure to pay child support, for misdemeanor offenses, failure to fill out a juror questionnaire, flagging a ride from a police officer, and even unpaid library fines. In 2019, an estimated 2300 open warrants in Ann Arbor for such minor offenses as disorderly conduct and driving with a suspended license.

People fail to address outstanding warrants for a variety of reasons as well. As expressed by an article in ProPublica describing the use of warrants to collect medical debt by predatory lenders, “debtors are arrested for not responding to a court summons requested by the creditor. But for many low-income people, who are not familiar with court proceedings, lack access to transportation, child care options or time off, or move frequently and thus may not receive notifications, it’s a distinction without a difference.” Because bench warrants are often issued for failure to pay things like parking tickets, child support, and legal debt, people who are poor may fail to appear because they fear incarceration for nonpayment or because they find it difficult to take time off work without loss of pay. (Sekhon, 2018, 1004).

As a result, warrants represent significant threats to the economic and social stability of Washtenaw County residents, and particularly those who come from historically marginalized and over-policed communities. The typical amount of a bench warrant in Washtenaw County is $50, but for those at the margins, the costs can be much higher. Having an outstanding warrant makes a person vulnerable to arrest at any time and hesitant to interact with any “official” entity that might require identification, not only the police, but also schools, government agencies, and hospitals. Non-compliance warrants that surface during traffic stops (which already disproportionately target people of color and people in poor neighborhoods) can lead to vehicle searches, additional arrests and additional criminal charges, which in turn create yet another set of non-compliance warrants and arrests. Poor people are disproportionately affected by warrants because marginal employment provides too little income to pay a legal debt or flexibility to take time off for court appearances. Failure to appear and inability to pay also make them more likely to be incarcerated and to lose their jobs (Gaston and Brunson, 2020, 108; Sekhon, 2018, 1003). An outstanding warrant also results in loss of federal welfare benefits, and because the warrant system is linked to Social Security Administration, benefits cease immediately when a warrant is reported to the system. People with outstanding warrants are unable to renew driver’s licenses, impacting their ability to seek and retain employment. Legal debt, like criminal convictions and mass incarceration, and also like consumer debt, is a driver of inequality in American society (Harris, Evans & Beckett, 2010, 1762).

How can I help?
There are three ways you can help with this effort:

You can make a donation to ICPJ and designate it for Warrant Resolution. Our participants and community members will need resources to pay fees and liens as a result of their outstanding warrants. The typical fee is between $50 – $75.

You can volunteer at our warrant resolution event on Tuesday, November 16th.

You can help us locate volunteer defense attorneys and lawyers to provide legal services to community participants.

You can contact the Reverend Donnell Wyche, senior pastor, Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor with any questions or partnership inquiries. Donnell can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone / text at (734) 649-6173.

Faith-Based Climate Witness in Ann Arbor Monday, October 18th | 11:30am

Faith-Based Climate Witness in Ann Arbor Monday, October 18th | 11:30am

Keep Oil in the Ground, not in the Water

Ann Arbor Friends Meeting (Quakers) invites you to bear peaceful witness to the urgency of the climate crisis. We will gather at 11:30am in the parking lot behind Blake Transit Center (William St), walk together around noon to the local branch of Chase Bank in downtown Ann Arbor (Main & Washington) and deliver a letter to the CEO of JP Morgan Chase asking him to lead Chase in disinvesting from fossil fuel and financing renewable energy businesses instead.

Chase is a major funder of Enbridge’s Line 3, a pipeline bringing tar sands oil from Alberta through Native American lands in Minnesota, and of the current and replacement versions of Line 5, a pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac.

This is part of an international witness by people of faith called together by Greenfaith (greenfaith.org) to make visible the concern of faith communities in anticipation of the U.N. Climate Talks. Please join us as individuals or groups, bringing your own letters if you wish and making clear your witness as people of faith with signs, banners, etc. For more information or to express your interest, please reply to [email protected]