racism

Courtesy photo | Shannon LaNier

When Shannon LaNier was a boy, he told his classmates that President Thomas Jefferson was his great grandfather. His teacher didn't see how that was possible--LaNier looks black. She instructed him to stop lying. Today, he says, DNA and other evidence supports the story that had been passed down in his family of its connection to Jefferson and enslaved woman Sally Hemings. LaNier speaks in Kalamazoo on Feb. 27.


Brandon Burnett and Janai Travis rehearse "Flood Gates" for the Kalamazoo Black Lives, Black Words event
Rebecca Thiele/WMUK

“Do black lives matter?” That’s the prompt that award-winning playwright and activist Reginald Edmund uses in the Black Lives, Black Words project. It’s a multi-city performance with theatre, poetry, and music about the black experience. On Sunday, February 18th, Western Michigan University and Face Off Theatre will put on Kalamazoo’s show. 


Courtesy photo

Climbing a 30-foot flagpole is not easy. But Bree Newsome did (listen now, below).  She ascended the flagpole outside South Carolina's statehouse and lowered the Confederate flag in 2015, making headlines. Why did she do it?

"There was a moment that we were in as a nation," the film-maker-activist says today on WMUK's WestSouthwest news and public affairs show.

She says a white supremacist had just days before fatally shot nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, S.C., including its pastor who was a state senator. 


Kalamazoo Community Foundation

Kalamazoo is among communities participating in the second annual National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday, Jan. 16th. The city has recognized the day with a proclamation, says Lanna Lewis of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, who is a guest today on WMUK's WestSouthwest (listen now, below). 

The day has local roots. Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation started it last year to focus the country's attention on combating structural racism as it launched its new Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation long-term initiative in 14 cities, including Kalamazoo.


WMU University Relations

The city of Kalamazoo is hosting its 16th annual day of service for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. 

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