WCDP News: Help Us Celebrate National Reading Month

10 mins read

April 1st Meeting: Community Violence Intervention: The Washtenaw County Approach to Making Communities Safer and Saving Young Lives

We’re trying a hybrid in-person and Zoom meeting this month. For the in-person crowd, we’ll be meeting at our old stomping grounds, the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center where, at this time, masks are optional.
Many of the gun deaths plaguing our communities are not the result of the horrific, heart-breaking mass shootings that make headlines, but are because of suicide, domestic violence and gun violence in our cities driven by generational poverty, disinvestment in communities and young lives, structural racism and the hopelessness and despair they create. Gun violence has become the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in this country. The WCDP April 1st General Meeting Program will focus on Community Violence Intervention (CVI) and our approach in Washtenaw County to preventing gun violence in our cities and townships and saving young lives. 

CVI can include hospital intervention after a young person has been shot or community-based intervention by CVI workers who interact with those likely to be involved with gun violence, either as perpetrators or as victims, in order to prevent gun violence from taking place. In Washtenaw County we are using a hybrid approach, incorporating both the hospital and community-based approaches while including efforts to address the conditions that foster gun violence. 

The WCDP April 1st Program discussion will be moderated by Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton and include:

  • Billy Cole, CVI leader
  • Bryan Foley, CVI leader and representative of WeLive
  • Derrick Jackson, Director of Community Engagement, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office
  • Eli Savit, Washtenaw County Prosecutor
  • Justin Hodge, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, Chair

These subject matter experts who are doing the work, will explain local CVI efforts, why they are considered best practices and are supported nationally, on a state level and locally. Information on a state-wide CVI Summit hosted locally on May 1st will be provided for those who would like to learn more. 

Attend in person:
The Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center (LRC) is at 4135 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, 48108. The LRC is part of the Sheriff’s office complex. The most visible landmark from Washtenaw is St. Luke’s church, which shares a driveway with the LRC, immediately west of the church. Social hour with coffee and snacks begins at 9:15 am.

Attend via Zoom:
Join the meeting through Zoom beginning at 9:45:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89706412525

Meeting ID: 897 0641 2525
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+13602095623,,89706412525# US
+13863475053,,89706412525# US

Bring Joy and Learning into a Child’s Life! Buy a Book! 

In honor of National Reading Month, the WCDP’s Dems Care program has set up an opportunity for people to buy a book (or 3) for the young children in the Ypsilanti FLI Reading Tutoring program run by the WCDP’s own Caroline Nathan, who is an expert in early childhood reading.  The ability to read is foundational in so many areas, such as education, employment, healthcare, and quality of life. This reading program, focused primarily on 2nd and 3rd graders in the Ypsilanti Community elementary schools, is extremely impactful with children showing improvement even all online during Covid.  YCS has a very high family poverty rate and many of the children in the program rarely have the opportunity to get new books and are thrilled when this happens.

We are partnering with Black Stone Bookstore and Cultural Center, a small local Black bookstore in Ypsilanti. If buying the books online, please designate on your order that the books are to be held by Black Stone for the WCDP Book Drive. Choose in-store pick-up option (if given choice).

Black Stone Bookstore and Cultural Center
214 W Michigan Ave
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Phone: (734) 961-7376 

For those who buy on Amazon or other sellers, or shop in-person, books can be brought to the next WCDP General meeting on April 1st at the LRC or we can pick up from you. Questions: Katherineawyatt@aol.com and mhallthiamaka@gmail.com.

3rd Annual Louis Nagel Concert
April 23, 2023

Sunday, April 23, 2023 at 4pm

Join fellow Democrats for a benefit performance for the Washtenaw County Democratic Party by highly acclaimed concert pianist Louis Nagel featuring music by Beethoven. Includes a special introduction by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.

Attend in person at the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, or virtually by Zoom. For those who attend in person, light refreshments will follow the performance. Tickets are on sale now.

Meet Rep Jimmie Wilson for Coffee 

State Representative Jimmie Wilson Jr, who represents Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township, is holding his next coffee hour on March 25th at 11:00am at the Ypsilanti District Library-Main Branch.  There is a virtual option available. Please complete this form to register. 

U of M GEO Contract Update

Dear GEO Allies,

In a disappointing about-face, Academic Human Resources took a step backward in negotiations last Friday. After promising discussions on topics including trans healthcare and union rights at our bargaining session on Feb. 24, HR reverted to language GEO members expressed was unacceptable. They also packaged proposals where we were close to an agreement with those where we remain far apart, making the proposals dead on arrival. In an escalatory move, AHR also called for a state mediator to return to negotiations at our next bargaining session.

After months of bargaining, grad workers want to finish our contract – and yet it feels like we’ve never been further apart. How are we supposed to negotiate when the University won’t even consider our proposals? Grads are fed up. On Tuesday, March 7, 100+ grads and supporters picketed President Ono’s inauguration to draw attention to the University’s rejection of our proposals.

Next up: the possibility of a strike. To date, organizers have collected close to 1,500 strike pledges. GEO members will meet next week to decide on a strike authorization vote. Should a strike authorization vote pass, GEO leadership will be empowered to call a strike if the University fails to meet grad workers’ needs – most importantly, a living wage for all grad workers. 

Here’s what we need allies to do: 

  • Instructors/Staff: In the event of a strike, we ask that you do not pick up GSI/GSSA instruction, office hours, mentoring, committee work, or grading. All faculty, staff, GSRAs, grads on fellowship, and IAs are asked to sign:
  • Undergraduates: Attend the upcoming Undergrad Labor Solidarity meeting, Thursday, March 16 at 6 PM, 1511 East Quad (701 E. University Ave):
  • Everyone! Sign and share our open letter. To date, over 700 individual supporters have signed, and more than a dozen organizations have endorsed. Add your name and share widely! 

Mark your calendars! Important Solidarity Events

  • March 20: GEO Solidarity Meeting, 6 PM, meeting at the School of Social Work. Our next allies meeting will take place in person. We will be planning solidarity pickets, strike fundraising, and more. Message spacchair@geo3550.org if you can attend!    
  • March 21: Attend the U-M Community Strike Town Hall, 12-1, Zoom to hear about campaign developments, next steps, and solidarity asks:
  • March 23: Living Wage Now! Pack the Regents Meeting, 4-6 PM, Ruthven. GEO and allies will attend the Regents Meeting to #ShowUp for a living wage. RSVP at https://bit.ly/RegentsMeeting. All out! Wear purple!  Followed by the Undergrad Labor Solidarity meeting at 6 PM at 1511 East Quad (701 E. University Ave).
  • March 24: Show Up for Open Bargaining, 9 AM – 5 PM, at Palmer Commons/Zoom. All friends of GEO are invited to observe open bargaining between Human Resources and GEO Bargaining Team. This could be the last session before a possible strike, so it promises to be spicy! Wear purple!

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