Community in the news

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Report says some 2020 Census undercounted Detroit by 8%, costing city millions in funding

City leaders in Detroit say they’ve got proof that the city was severely undercounted in the 2020 Census, meaning Detroit likely missed out on tens of millions of dollars in future federal funding. Mayor Mike Duggan and researchers with Wayne State University and the University of Michigan outlined evidence during a press conference Thursday suggesting the city may have been undercounted by about 8%. The report used data from the United States Postal Service and a Wayne State audit of 10 block groups in the city shows the census may have missed about 964 residents in those areas alone.  
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Youth-led groups reach out to Oxford students to ‘grieve, heal, grow’

By Hani Barghouthi  Gun violence survivors, educators and students gathered on Sunday at a community healing event in downtown Oxford. The event, which was focused on offering mental health resources and resources to the Oxford community and others who were affected by the shooting, was organized by the Michigan chapter of March for Our Lives, a youth-led organization dedicated to gun violence prevention, and the Detroit Area Youth Uniting Michigan, a youth-led social and economic justice organization. Some the support comes from the Mental Health and Wellness Center and the Family and Mental Wellness Lab at Wayne State University, which has been providing in-person and telehealth therapeutic services to people in Metro Detroit who have been affected by the Oxford High shooting. “The kids we’ve spoken to are having a very wide range of feelings, and their feelings are changing all the time,” said Dr. Erika Bockneck, a professor of educational psychology at Wayne State University. “They’re experiencing grief and loss, then the next day they might be feeling really angry. And then there are some days where they’re kids, and I think they’re just not sure what to feel.” In addition to direct counseling, Bocknek and other counselors at the center are working with the Mala Child and Family Institute in Plymouth to develop a free text service where they send out messages of support and information about trauma response.  
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What Americans hear about social justice at church - and what they do about it

By R. Khari Brown, assoicate professor of sociology, and Ronald Brown, associate professor of political science.  On June 5, 2020, it had been just over a week since a white Minnesota police officer, Derek Chauvin, killed George Floyd, an unarmed, African American man. Protests were underway outside Central United Methodist Church, an interracial church in downtown Detroit with a long history of activism on civil rights, peace, immigrant rights and poverty issues. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the church was no longer holding in-person worship services. But anyone walking into its sanctuary that day would have seen long red flags behind the pastor’s lectern, displaying the words “peace” and “love.” A banner reading “Michigan Says No! To War” hung alongside pictures of civil rights icons Fannie Lou Hamer and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as labor-rights activist Cesar Chavez. In line with her church’s activist tradition, senior pastor Jill Hardt Zundell stood outside the building and preached about her church’s commitment to eradicating anti-Black racism to her congregants and all that passed by.
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Jail vending machine provides naloxone to discharged inmates

A jail in southeastern Michigan has a vending machine that dispenses kits designed to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. Naloxone nasal rescue kits are available free of charge to inmates being discharged from the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac. As part of the release process, deputies advise discharged inmates they can take the kits for personal use or for a family member who may be dependent on opioids. The narcan project is through Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and its Center for Behavioral Health and Justice.   
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Archeologists dug up MOCAD site: Here's what they found

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit partnered with Wayne State University's anthropology department to conduct an excavation on the museum's grounds as part of an ongoing art exhibit entitled "All Monsters" by Chicago native Jan Tichy. Random household items, including pieces of a clay pot and an old medicine bottle, were unearthed by Wayne State students and will be transformed into works of art. The exhibit is located in artist Mike Kelley's "Mobile Homestead," a full-scale replica of Kelley's 1950's ranch-style home in Detroit, which sits on a plot adjacent to the archeological site that was once a women's prison and a place that housed homeless women and children. Wayne State University professor of anthropology Krysta Ryzewski said the team wanted to incorporate the land's history into the exhibit. "He (Tichy) though that archaeology might be a really interesting way to connect with the art that's on display in his part of the homestead," she said. "So we thought it might be a way to dig underground and bring up the stories of this property and the people who used to live here and utilize the space and many of those people are not known to Detroit's history...We are literally excavating other histories that have been rendered inaccessible because of the changes to the landscape and Detroit over time." 

Law student strives to ‘bridge the gap’

Growing up, Shanice Leach was always interested in shows and movies about mysteries, true crime, and criminal justice.  “At first, I thought I wanted to do forensic science or forensic psychology but then I was introduced to the legal side through my law and public safety class in high school,” says Leach, who earned her undergrad degree in criminal justice and corrections from Wayne State University and is now a student at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.  “I love the idea of being able to help people when they are going through a tough time in their life—bridging the gap between the community and the legal system is extremely important to me.” After graduation, Leach spent 9 months as a domestic violence advocate for the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project (AmUS) in Detroit, where she enjoyed the community interaction. Helping more than 800 victims of domestic violence receive assistance in their time of need, Leach said her work consisted of emergency planning and helping victims file personal protection orders.
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WDET's new transmitter goes live

By Neal Rubin  The static and buzz had become so severe at Joan Isabella's house in Farmington Hills that she had stopped listening to WDET-FM (101.9) on the radio. Since she is the station's program director, the annoyance must clearly have been considerable — and the relief was evident Tuesday as the public radio mainstay's new, $150,000 transmitter, funded by the Kresge Foundation, replaced one machine that's old enough to drink and a backup that's nearly old enough to run for president. As WDET served celebratory donuts and cider in the shadow of its 550-foot-tall Midtown tower, Isabella and other staffers said the lengthy replacement process helped tell a tale of both the condition of the station's city and the devotion of its listeners. Under previous and prescient leadership, said General Manager Mary Zatina, the station made significant digital investments in the past few years, crafting platforms such as podcasts and music on demand and hiring staffers to oversee them. While a new transmitter might seem like a giant step toward the past, she said, "We think about 80% of our listening happens on traditional radio. While people might have been well-intentioned to think about a digital future, we're not there yet."  
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Studies show Covid-19 worsens pregnancy complication risk

BY Jen Christensen  Pregnant women who develop Covid-19 symptoms risk emergency complications and other problems with their pregnancies, according to two new studies. The disease also puts their children at risk. Dr. Gil Mor, a reproductive immunologist who did not work on the study but reviewed the work, said it's also possible that the problems could be related to chronic inflammation caused by Covid-19. "Inflammation is extremely dangerous for both the mother and the development of the fetus. A chronic inflammation is now a fight for the survival of the mother and the fetus, and in every fight, they pay they pay a price," said Mor, who leads a research lab at Wayne State University that studies the immune system during pregnancy and the impact of pathogens. "We need to do everything in our hands in order to prevent the chronic inflammation." 
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Arab women have staked out college paths for themselves, as education became essential to community identity

There is little doubt that the Arab American community in Metro Detroit has made great headways in gaining political and economic security as it grows and evolves. Much of this momentum can be attributed to a culture of professionalization and educational attainment in Arab enclaves like Dearborn and Hamtramck. So much so that this drive towards education has shaped the identity of the population over time. The community has grown outward from its working class immigrant roots to gain footings in the local and national political arena, medicine, law, the arts and more. It is no doubt Arab families, like many other American families, hold education in high regards, just as its educational achievements affirm the thriving community’s hard work in building better futures for its generations. The demands of a competitive, globalized economy have made secondary and postsecondary education a need, like in any other American community. But the data also gives a glimpse into college preferences for many Arab American students, and indeed their families. As a significantly immigrant community, the need to stay connected within the local area is a factor in deciding where to apply for college, for many students. Many students take advantage of the area’s well known universities. Reports from Dearborn schools show most of the common colleges for graduates to enroll in are within the metro area, including Wayne State University, Henry Ford College, University of Michigan-Dearborn, or campuses a little further away like University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Eastern Michigan and other state schools. 
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Return of Dlectricity shines a light on new plans for Detroit's Cultural Center district

By Lee Devito  It's been quite some time since we last saw Dlectricty, Detroit's biennial-ish festival of eye-popping light-based art installations. First launched in 2012, the fest returned in 2014, but the 2016 edition was postponed by the construction of the QLine streetcar. Then a plan to return in 2020 was scrapped due to the pandemic. It could be the start of a new rhythm for the festival. "You know, there doesn't really seem to be a whole lot of rhyme or reason between these years," Annmarie Borucki, director of arts and culture at Midtown Detroit, Inc., tells Metro Times. "It could change over time, but I think because of the amount of time and the amount of money it costs to do this, it really will either be a biennial or triennial moving forward." Borucki says the proposal would complement a master plan for a reimagined campus for Wayne State University, and the two plans would share various design elements for a more cohesive whole. Some of Dlectricy's programming extends onto WSU's campus, including a Tron-like installation in WSU's Prentis Building by the Japanese artist Takatuki Mori, which covers an ultraviolet-lit space with a grid, making it look like you're walking into a virtual reality space.     
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New NIH research study to investigate psychosocial determinants of cardiovascular disease risk among urban African American adults

The Biopsychosocial Health lab from Wayne State University has been awarded $3,590,488 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to conduct a project titled “Stress and Cardiovascular Risk Among Urban African American adults: A Multilevel, Mixed Methods Approach.”  The project, led by Samuele Zilioli, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at Wayne State University, aims to provide a fine-grained characterization of the psychosocial factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and inflammation among urban middle-aged and older African American adults.  According to Zilioli, despite the steady decline in CVD morbidity and mortality in the U.S. over the last few decades, African American adults bear a disproportionate share of CVD burden.” Most of the research in this area has focused on proximate medical risk factors — such as diabetes and dyslipidemia — for CVD risk,” said Zilioli. “Only recently, however, have researchers started to consider the role of more distal risk factors, such as psychosocial stressors.” 

Detroit confronting an infrastructure challenge

By Ari Shapiro  Before the month is up, the House is expected to vote on the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. There's funding to improve the electrical grid, provide internet access for rural areas and much more. And the widespread need for these funds is already clear and present. Each day this week, we will hear from people and communities who are experiencing the frequent, if not daily, obstacles of failing infrastructure that this bill hopes to address. Our co-host Ari Shapiro starts our coverage in Detroit, Mich., where the city is confronting a challenge that will only get worse as the planet keeps heating up. ARI SHAPIRO: The sentiment goes beyond just the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood. Professor Carol Miller of Wayne State University in Detroit has been studying water infrastructure for decades, and she tells me people used to ask her about contaminants, whether the local fish they caught were safe to eat. But these days... CAROL MILLER: The questions that are being asked at dinners and out with friends is a - questions relating to flooding - like, why is this happening? Why is it that disadvantaged people in the city have to go into their basements several times a year to pump out, or pail out, sewage that has gathered in the basement from a storm?SHAPIRO: And when somebody at that dinner party says - so is this big infrastructure bill going to make a difference? - what do you tell them? MILLER: I would tell them it should, that there's tons of money that look like it's going to be heading in that direction - so it should. I'd say it all depends on the people that are making those decisions. 
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We don’t know how many kids are in the juvenile justice system

By Garlin Gilchrist, Sheryl Kubiak and Melanca Clark  Missing data is missing people. Absent complete and accurate data, policies to improve the lives of Michiganders may not reach those who are not counted. The issues with data access, consistency, integrity, and transparency span across issue areas, but of particular concern is the prevalence of these data problems in Michigan’s adult and youth criminal justice systems. A new report released Friday by Wayne State University, Overview of the Criminal Legal System in Michigan: Adults and Youth, illuminates the data challenges Michigan faces to improve public safety and community well-being. As noted in the report, Michigan’s data problems impact thousands of young people, adults, and families that touch the justice system. For example, the total number of young people in the youth justice system is unknown because of data limitations at the county and state levels. 
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Wayne State basketball to host Michigan in exhibition to open new arena

Wayne State will open its new basketball arena with a flourish. The Warriors will host Michigan in an exhibition in the inaugural game at the new arena on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. It’s a collaboration between Wayne State athletic director Rob Fournier and Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel for a high-level opponent in the debut of the new arena for the Warriors, who play in Division II. "I truly appreciate the willingness of Coach (Juwan) Howard and Warde to provide this opportunity to open our arena with the state's premier Division 1 program," Fournier said in a statement.  "To me, it underscores their genuine support for the City of Detroit and our community.” Wayne State also has a partnership with the Pistons on the new arena, which also will house the Pistons’ G League franchise, the Motor City Cruise. The Cruise will begin their first season in the G League in the fall as well. In the past, Wayne State has played against Michigan in games at Crisler Center. This time, the Wolverines are returning the favor. "I want to personally thank Coach Howard and his staff for helping us open our new basketball arena," Wayne State coach David Greer said. "It certainly has been a long time coming (with the new arena) and the partnership with the Detroit Pistons made it happen. To have a Division I program in Michigan be a part of our celebration of opening our new arena will make it a big event for our young men since Michigan is a big part of Detroit basketball.”
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The war in Afghanistan: Michigan experts weigh in on what could’ve been done differently

On Monday, President Joe Biden addressed the American people after the United States began evacuating Afghanistan. The Taliban now controls the country and Kabul, its capital city, for the first time since the U.S. invaded the country almost 20 years ago. Saeed Khan is a senior lecturer of Near East and Asian Studies at Wayne State University. Khan says American involvement in the region has a history of nation-building, and many Americans do not realize that the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan predates 9/11. “American involvement, to be accurate, is not just the last 20 years in Afghanistan. It actually goes back to 1979 in our efforts to fight a proxy war against the Soviet invasion there.” He thinks that the U.S. insisting the Taliban not be a part of the new government in any way was a mistake. “So here we find them without bringing the Taliban to the table earlier, understanding that they were not only going to have a seat at the table but that they were going to be dictating perhaps what was going to be on the menu, what needed to occur.”
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WSU endowment scholarship community bolstered by alum

Out of her passion and devotion to high school and college students, Detroit philanthropist Carolyn Patrick-Wanzo is working to protect the future of social work and music through the creation of several endowment scholarships at Wayne State University with her late husband. Patrick-Wanzo, 76, became interested in the world of endowment scholarships when she and her husband, Mel Wanzo, a trombone player best known for playing in the Count Basie Orchestra decided to give back to the community. “He would say, ‘You can give your life to the music and in 10 years nobody would know you existed,’” she said of her jazz musician husband who played the trombone in the big band. “We would talk about, ‘Let’s do something sustainable,’ when we retired.” That sustainability came in the form of endowment scholarships in the music department at WSU – the first one in 2003.  
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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to challenge 2020 census results showing population decline

The number of Black residents in Detroit fell while the hispanic, white and Asian populations grew over the last 10 years, according to U.S. Census population results for 2020 released Thursday. Detroit's overall population dropped 10.5% in the last decade, the latest results show. "Detroit has been declining in population from nearly 2 million sometime in the (19)50s and the trend became really apparent with the 1960 census and has gone down ever since then. There’ve been signs that it might be declining in recent years," said Lyke Thompson, director of Wayne State University's Center for Urban Studies. "There's a lot of people that are moving into certain parts of the city ... when does the trend of people moving in offset the trend of people moving out?" Thompson said much of the historic decline was a result of the loss of manufacturing jobs and plants, particularly a decentralization of the auto industry, shifting outside of Detroit. On top of that, white residents left the city after 1950 and moved to areas such as Oakland and Macomb counties, and the draw of new housing in the suburbs contributed to Detroit's population decline, he said. In the latest census, for example, the non-Hispanic Black population in Macomb grew. "That’s something that can be turned around if you make significant efforts to do infill housing," Thompson said. "The housing is just so in need of repair that people keep moving out of those areas, and those houses get abandoned and they have to be torn down. It's really a race between repairing older housing, building new housing and overcoming the tendency for people to move out by making more attractive spaces for people to move into."
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The aching red: Firefighters often silently suffer from trauma and job-related stress

Arash Javanbakht, associate professor of psychiatry, wrote a piece for The Conversation. “Images of tragedy, loss of entire communities and the terrible destruction wrought by deadly wildfires in the West have sadly become all too common. But the public hears relatively little about the suffering of the firefighters who risk their lives and are away from their families for days and weeks at a time…While the choice to become a firefighter often stems from a passion for, and a mindset of, helping others and saving lives, being constantly exposed to death, injury and suffering comes with a cost. Cumulative stressors include the physical toll on the body, long working hours, work-related sleep disturbance and an inability to attend to daily family life. I am a psychiatrist and trauma expert who often works with first responders as well as refugees and victims of war crimes. While many people think of firefighters as the happy heroes, the real-life, day-to-day experiences of these heroes can have real consequences for their mental health that remain largely invisible to the public eye.”
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Detroit Public Schools to require masks for students, staff in new school year

Detroit Public Schools Community District will require masks be worn by all students and staff inside its buildings for the school year beginning Sept. 7. DPSCD had previously adopted a mask policy that would allow those fully vaccinated to not wear masks in classrooms but pushed for a change after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendations that all people, including those vaccinated against COVID-19, should return to wearing masks at crowded indoor locations including schools. Teena Chopra, chief of infectious diseases at Wayne State School of Medicine and a Detroit Medical Center physician, said schools, particularly those in areas with elevated community spread of the coronavirus, should be mandating mask wearing given the rising delta variant. "I think it is deadly and dangerous behavior to not require masks," Chopra said. "This virus is extremely unforgiving and elementary age children, they are completely unprotected. Mask mandates have to be there until community transmission goes down. That can happen as soon as people get vaccinated. This is not the time to dwell on breakthrough infections, but to increase vaccinations across the nation," Chopra said. "Our children are going to suffer the most. We are seeing severe infections in children. There are children that are in ICUs (intensive care units) and (on ventilators). The breakthrough infections are there. Vaccines are not there to prevent breakthrough infections. They are there to prevent severe illness and hospitalization and death."