Encore Magazine August 2020

Page 1

Youth Address Climate Change

August 2020

Incivility in the News

Zoning Creates Lines of Separation

Meet Sholanna Lewis

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

More Than Just Words Stories that reflect this moment

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not safari away The wildest and most natural zoo around is right here—within reach! Visit the snow leopard, black bears, lemurs and more. Have lunch at Beulah’s Restaurant and enjoy a tram ride to Wild Africa. See the lions and feed the giraffe.

Each day is different & wilder than the last!

Visit binderparkzoo.org for more information.

Go wild. Go often. OPEN M–F 9–5 Sat 9–6 Sun 11–6


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Youth Address Climate Change

August 2020

Incivility in the News

Zoning Creates Lines of Separation

Meet Sholanna Lewis

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

More Than Just Words Stories that reflect this moment


encore publications, inc.


marie lee


alexis stubelt

Photographer brian k. powers

Contributing Writers

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Copy Editor

margaret deritter

Advertising Sales janis clark celeste statler krieg lee


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Office Coordinator hope smith

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The staff at Encore welcomes written comment from readers, and articles and poems for submission with no obligation to print or return them. To learn more about us or to comment, visit encorekalamazoo.com. Encore subscription rates: one year $36, two years $70. Current single issue and newsstand $4, $10 by mail. Back issues $6, $12 by mail. Advertising rates on request. Closing date for space is 28 days prior to publication date. Final date for print-ready copy is 21 days prior to publication date. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by those interviewed and published here do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Encore Magazine or the official policies, owners or employees of Encore Publications.


From the Editor

It’s been nearly five months since the world went into shutdown mode because of COVID-19,

and Encore is proud to say we haven’t missed a month of publication during that time. Not that we haven’t experienced challenges because of the coronavirus — it has had a jarring impact not only on our business, but on our advertisers as well. I have been asked why Encore didn’t just stop publishing during the shutdown. The answer is simple: We believe the stories that Encore brings readers are just what we all needed during those bleak months of staying at home, working from home, doing everything from home. Being isolated from one another makes it hard to feel connected and part of your community. We would like to believe that the stories and images in Encore helped our readers to feel less isolated and maintain a sense of normalcy in a time when normal is hard to define. This month’s issue is another example of how Encore showcases our community in a unique way. The students in the Specialized Reporting course at Western Michigan University were given words to choose from, with directions to find a local angle to report on that word. The results are insightful and fresh, and we are so honored to be able to run several of those stories in this issue and in September’s. With each day that passes, journalists and the work they do are becoming more critically important to all of us and this work by aspiring reporters shows that they will wear the mantle well. As we approach autumn, there is once again a sense of uncertainty, anxiety and concern. We feel it, and we certainly know our readers feel it. But we also feel something else: gratitude. We are grateful for all those who continue to read Encore, for those advertisers who have stayed on board with us, and for those who have subscribed to Encore so they could have the magazine mailed to their homes or businesses rather than rely on public pickup locations. Encore can’t survive without this support and knowing that our content resonates with readers makes it easier to keep doing what we’re doing in a very challenging time. Whatever the next few months bring, please know that Encore is committed to continuing to be there for you. Stay safe and be kind. Take care of one another.

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August 2020

FEATURES More Than Just Words 12 In an unusual reporting project amidst a pandemic, WMU students give glimpses into how words reflect this moment





It’s ‘all about love in the end’

Lines of separation: How zoning is shaping Kalamazoo


Incivility is a big issue in the online news environment


Different backgrounds, different reasons: Immigrants in Kalamazoo share their stories

DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor

Up Front

20 22


First Things — A round-up of happenings in SW Michigan

10 Five Faves — Students offer ideas for fighting climate change 30 Back Story

Meet Sholanna Lewis — She’s leading a transformation in Kalamazoo by addressing the effects of racism

ARTS 24 Events of Note

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First Things Please Note: Due to the COVID–19 virus, some of these events may have been cancelled after press time. Please check with the venue and organizations for up-to-date information.

Something Edible

Food trucks take to the road If you aren’t a night owl but crave street food, the organizers of Kalamazoo’s Late Night Food Truck Rally have you covered. Each Tuesday this month the Food Truck Rally will take its show on the road, bringing a variety of outdoor mobile dining options to different Southwest Michigan locations. The Tuesday Food Truck Rally runs from 5-8 p.m., and the dates and locations of this month’s events are: • Aug. 4: Flesher Field, 3664 S. Ninth St., Oshtemo Township. • Aug. 11 (two locations): Oswalt Park, 109 N. Main St., Vicksburg, and Midtown Fresh, 1693 S Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo. • Aug. 18: Antwerp Activity Center, 24821 Front St., Mattawan. • Aug. 25: ChemLink, 353 E. Lyons St., Schoolcraft. COVID-19 protocols are in place. The food trucks will be separated by 15 to 20 feet, hand sanitizer is on site, and the ground is marked with “X’s” to ensure that those waiting in line are kept 6 feet apart. Attendees are asked to wear masks when not eating to ensure that everyone feels comfortable at each event. For more information, visit foodtruckrallykz.com or the event’s Facebook page: @Kalamazoo Food Truck Rally. 8 | ENCORE AUGUST 2020

Something Reopened Air Zoo features new exhibits The

Air Zoo has reopened with new and redesigned exhibits and new visitor protocols related to COVID-19 precautions. During the shutdown, which ended mid-July, two new exhibits were installed at the Air Zoo. The first, Alien Worlds and Androids, explores the search for alien life. It was on temporary display at the Air Zoo in 2017 but is now a permanent exhibit at the museum. Spanning almost 5,000 square feet, the exhibit explores nine outer space environments as well as advances in technology that have led to increased speculation on the possibility of life beyond planet Earth. The second new exhibit, Amelia: Adventurous Aviatrix, explores the legacy of pilot Amelia Earhart, who broke through gender barriers by becoming the first woman (and second person) to pilot an aircraft across the Atlantic and setting women’s world altitude, speed and endurance records. Due to COVID-19, a number of new visitor protocols will be in place, including new hours of operation and indoor amusement park rides, flight simulators, Missions Theater and several of the hands-on exhibits and stations being temporarily inaccessible for guest safety. To learn more, visit airzoo.org.

Something Helpful Got deer? Show these guys

The next time a doe deigns to take a healthy nibble of your hostas, snap a picture and share it with two Kalamazoo College students who are tabulating deer populations in Kalamazooarea neighborhoods for a school project. Jake Osen and Zach Brazil need volunteers to submit deer pictures through the free mobile app iNaturalist. The pictures will help the students identify where deer populations are reaching problematic levels in local neighborhoods. Osen, Brazil and scientists then will confirm what the app finds and use the location data to ascertain what’s attracting deer to those areas. You can find the iNaturalist app in the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android). After downloading it, create a free account using an email address, social media account or Google account. The app will ask to use your location. After confirming permission, use the “Explore” tab to find observations submitted by others. Click the “More” tab and search “Projects” for “Deer populations in the residential areas of Kalamazoo” to volunteer for Osen and Brazil’s project. After joining, simply upload pictures of deer you find in Kalamazoo.


Something Musical Catch an outdoor concert

You know you’ll miss outdoor music when

the leaves start to fall, so take the opportunity to catch a free concert before summer ends. The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo’s Summertime Live! program offers concerts in several locations throughout the region and people should bring and wear a mask.

Kalamazoo Concerts in the Park, Bronson Park Bring lawn chairs or blankets for these Sunday afternoon concerts that begin at 4 p.m. Social distancing measures will be in place and organizers ask that people bring and wear a mask. This month’s performers are: • Aug. 2: Outer Vibe, a three-piece rock band. • Aug. 16: Knific Quartet with Olivacce, a jazz quartet and vocalist. • Aug. 23: Airtight, offering Motown, blues, jazz and R&B music. • Aug. 30: Michigan Global Roots Celebration, featuring An Dro, the Samuel Nalangria Trio and Michigan Hiryu Daiko Japanese Taiko.

Al Hight & M6-West

In case of rain, the concerts will be held in First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park St., across from the park. Beats on Bates, Downtown Kalamazoo This Wednesday night series runs from 5-8 p.m. on Bates Alley, located between 200 and 276 E. Michigan Ave., and will feature: • Aug. 5: Strumble Head Band, a cover band performing music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. • Aug. 12: Zion Lion, a reggae band. • Aug. 19: James Reeser and the Backseat Drivers, an electric blues band.



Please send your questions to:



LAWYER A. recently. ASK He left a Michael J. Willis, LAWYER Q. handwritten note that J.D., C.P.A. Willis Law A. appears to distribute Q. 491 West South Street Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A. his property to Kalamazoo, MI 49007 family and friends. A. 269.492.1040 Is a handwritten www.willis.law document a valid Will? Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A. Willis Law 491 West South Street Kalamazoo, MI 49007 269.492.1040 www.willis.law

My husband is going into a nursing home. I’ve been told it is possible for me to create a trust and protect my assets from the spend down at the nursing home. Is that true?


Yes. Most often when folks talk on trust planning, they are referencing a revocable trust. In fact, that is the case probably more than 99% of the time. A revocable trust under Michigan law generally is set up only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there Please send your questions to: husband going into a nursing home.that I’ve told it is is anMy irrevocable trustisfor persons in your circumstances can been be established withtoyour assetsatotrust the extent they exceed protected possible for me create and protect my the assets from the spend Willis Law amount (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000). down at the nursing home. Is that true? 491 West South Street If the trust is irrevocable and the assets are effectively established in an Kalamazoo, MI 49007 MICHAEL J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., WILLIS annuity LAW income stream back to you per the terms of the trust, then in 269.492.1040 such Yes. a circumstance the trustwhen will no folks longer talk be considered Most often on trusta countable planning, they are www.willis.law asset, but instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid Please send your questions to: referencing a My revocable trust. Ingoing fact, that case probably more intois atheand nursing purposes. This is husband a sophisticatedis planning technique, I highly home. I’ve been told it is thanencourage 99% of you the time. counsel A revocable trust underthisMichigan law generally before implementing or possible toforseekme to create a trust andtechnique protect my assets from the spend is set only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there anyup other Medicaid planning. Willis Law MICHAEL J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., WILLIS LAW

Portage This month’s concert is “drive-in style” — attendees will listen to the music from the comfort of their own cars or while tailgating. It will feature: Al Hight & M6-West, an R&B band, 7 p.m. Aug. 6, Ramona Park, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road. For more information or to check for schedule changes, visit kalamazooarts.org.




ASK Q. My uncle died


Please send your questions to:

• Aug. 26: So Long Belladonna, a Kalamazoo singer/songwriter.

Michael J. Willis, J.D., C.P.A.

A. Sometimes. Although the best evidence of a Will is a document

drafted by a lawyer and signed in the presence of two disinterested witnesses and a separate notary, this is not necessary to complete a valid Will in Michigan. Michigan law allows handwritten documents to be admitted as Wills, although they must usually be dated and signed by the decedent. Michigan has also opened up a “Wild West” in answer to the question “what makes a Will?” and some will have success admitting electronic documents as a Will, or handwritten documents that aren’t dated or signed. Currently the law informs that if it might be a Will and it meets the decedent’s intent, it is worth offering it to the court.

Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, is licensed to practice law in Florida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America.




down at thepractice nursing home.and isyour Is thata certified true? 491 West South is andanCounselors irrevocable for persons Michael J. WillisStreet is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys at Law, is licensed totrust law in Florida and Michigan, in registered ascircumstances public accountant that can be in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, Kalamazoo,signifies MI 49007 established with foryour the Heextent exceed that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized the highestassets levels of skill to and integrity. is listed in thethey Best Lawyers in America. the protected 269.492.1040 amount (whichYes. under Michigan law will cap folks at a little Most often when talkover on$125,000). trust planning, they are www.willis.law If the trust is irrevocable and the assets are effectively established in an referencing a revocable trust. In fact, that is the case probably more annuity income stream back to you per the terms of the trust, then in than 99% of the time. A revocable trust under Michigan law generally such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable up only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there asset, isbutset instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid purposes. is a sophisticated I highly is an This irrevocable trust forplanning personstechnique, in your and circumstances that can be encourage you to seek this technique or the protected established withcounsel your before assetsimplementing to the extent they exceed any other Medicaid planning. amount (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000). Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys and Counselors atthe Law, istrust licensed toispractice law in Florida andand Michigan,the and isassets registered asare a certified public accountant established in an If irrevocable effectively in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognizedincome for the highest stream levels of skill and integrity.to He isyou listed inper the Bestthe Lawyersterms in America.of the trust, then in annuity back such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable asset, but instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid This is a sophisticated planning technique, and Ilaw highly Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneyspurposes. and Counselors at Law, is licensed to practice in Florida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent encourage you to has seek been counselrating before implementing technique or Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which lawyers forthisover a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. any other Medicaid planning. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America.

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Five Faves

Students offer ideas for fighting climate change by


A s a climate activist, I’m often asked: What one thing can we do that matters in regard to our climate crisis? My response is always, “Talk about it.” This helps spread awareness and normalizes talking about really hard things. Because young people are acutely aware of — and increasingly vocal about — the ways in which their lives are affected now and will continually be affected by the global climate crisis, I asked five students in our community the question that I am often asked. Here’s their responses:

Aida Amirul Aida is a Western Michigan University undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental and sustainability studies and earth science. She is active in Students for a Sustainable Earth, the Sunrise Movement and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. Aida is also an intern with the Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition.

Tyler Boes Tyler is a senior at WMU. He’s pursuing a double major in applied mathematics and economics.

The truth is that most people do not understand the severity of

the climate crisis. This enables corrupt politicians and corporations to get away with letting my generation’s future be destroyed. Those in power are not addressing these global problems. We need to organize in large numbers, nonviolently, to express how unacceptable this is. The No. 1 thing we can do is to engage in advocacy and activism and protest against the status quo.


The author Jonathan Safran Foer, in We Are the Weather, writes that we can do our part in combating the climate crisis by cutting down on eating meat. Animal agriculture accounts for one-third of emissions worldwide, and we often underestimate the difference we can make with our choices as consumers. It’s a common misconception that eating mostly plant-based (food) is hard and unaffordable. Vegetables and fruits are affordable, especially when bought locally; beans or tofu can replace animal protein and cost much less than meat. Those of us that are able to choose what to put on our plates can make an impact by making conscious, sustainable food choices.


Simon Swager Simon graduated from Climax-Scotts High School as valedictorian this year. He is heading to Northern Michigan University, in Marquette, to pursue a degree in elementary education, with a focus on science or music.

I live in a small farming town that is quite insulated, so often the grander scheme of climate change might not be as visible as in larger cities. However, this background, combined with high school environmental science education, provides me with a unique view, in that I can understand both the impact of climate change and the importance of farming and agriculture to our world. Every year Americans throw away nearly 40 million tons of food waste. This ends up in landfills, decomposes and turns into methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. My favorite way to combat this is by composting. Organic matter is kept out of landfills and creates natural fertilizers for gardens. It’s a simple thing to start and makes a big difference.

Oceanne Glover Oceanne, age 10, is a student at El Sol Elementary School. She helped start the school’s Climate Change Club in 2019.

What I think is the most important thing that people can

do is reduce the amount of CO2 we humans put in the air. We can stop burning fossil fuels by not traveling as much, using hybrid cars, and turning off lights. During this COVID-19 virus, some factories closed and people are driving a lot less, so not as many fossil fuels are being burned and the air is cleaner in many places.

Andrew Laxton Andrew is an activist with the youth-led Sunrise Movement, aimed at stopping climate change. He is majoring in English at Kalamazoo College and is scheduled to graduate in 2021.

Addressing racial injustices, particularly environmental racism, will go a long way in alleviating our climate crisis. So much pollution is allowed to occur because it happens in, and most directly affects, black and brown communities. If we, as a society, really valued all lives equally, it would be a lot harder for polluting corporations to get away with clouding our atmosphere with heat-trapping and other health-threatening particles.

About the Author Donna McClurkan is a Kalamazoo-based climate activist and freelance writer.

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More Than Just Aspiring journalists give glimpses into how words reflect this moment in time



t was a unique and creative assignment. Last January, at the start of the semester, Western Michigan University Professor Sue Ellen Christian gave students in her Specialized Reporting course a list of words and one phrase; they were to choose one of these and find an interesting local angle about it for a news enterprise story. The options — “ally,” “borders,” “civility,” “digital native,” “equity,” “immigrant” and “influencer” — each opened the door to interesting reporting opportunities. But finding a local tie to a word or phrase was the easy part; in March, COVID-19 shut down WMU’s campus mid-semester, and students returned to their hometowns, leaving Christian’s students to conduct their reporting online. “An aspect of reporting that we work on a lot at this level is observational reporting: What do you notice about a reporting scene or source and why did you notice that? What is relevant to the story at hand and why?” says Christian. “The virus shutdown curtailed that learning curve, forcing students into a different learning curve of developing reportorial resourcefulness: How do you find sources when you can't knock on doors or attend public meetings and chat with potential sources after it? Where do you find people when everyone is shut inside their homes?“ For one student, Qunicy Cox, whose reporting on the word ‘”ally” in relation to LGBTQ people appears in this issue, the disruption also brought growth. “The world being on hold gave me the time I needed to delve into the project in a new way,” Cox says. “Editing at home became reflective for me, and I realized the importance of words like ‘ally,’ ‘advocate’ and ‘accomplice’ in my own life. I put my all into this story, and I hope readers will reflect on the words defining their lives.”

Christian says she was intrigued by how the students each approached the assignment. “Of course, they had to do evidencebased reporting and fact-based research to report their stories, but I think their reporting angles were initially informed by their individual backgrounds, age, academic and personal interests — so we ended up with a rich package of stories no single reporter could have produced,” she says. Student Raine Kuch, whose reporting on the word “border” takes a look at how zoning creates borders on a local level, says that “to be given a word and told to find the story around it challenged my creativity and my understanding of this community.” “This project challenged my idea of what is newsworthy,” she adds. “It doesn't have to be a breaking news event. It can be a topic or issue that affects the community, and be beneficial to draw attention to.” Encore is proud to publish in this issue a number of the stories that resulted from the Reporting a Word Project. Readers will find stories on the words “ally,” “borders,” “civility” and “immigrant.” In addition, September’s issue of Encore will feature two additional stories from the project. “Regrettably, there were more excellent stories produced in this project than we could accommodate in a single issue,” says Encore Editor Marie Lee. “We are thrilled, however, to bring the community the stories that we can and that Professor Christian and the students were willing to share their work. Readers will find that these stories provide new, fresh perspectives on many aspects of our community.” WMU Professor Sue Ellen Christian speaks to journalism students.

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14 bo Ally: ‘All A 6 1 paration: oo e S f o s e in z L a : m s r la Borde ing is Shaping Ka How Zon 0 e in 2 a big issu y it il iv c In Civilitye:ws environment online n ds, 22 ackgroun b t n e r e f t: Dif share



the En ut Love in

Immigrarenasons: Immigrants different s ie their stor

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Participants in a Pride parade in Kalamazoo. Photo courtesy of OutFront Kalamazoo.

‘All About Love in the End’ by


On July 16, 2014, a Kalamazoo couple

came home to slurs and the words “Move or Die” written on the walls inside their home. Their wedding photos were destroyed. What this lesbian couple survived ultimately led to the formation of the Hate Crime Awareness Coalition in Kalamazoo. The group consists mostly of community members who occasionally hold public forums to discuss ending violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people. In Michigan, the current hate crime law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity in its protections. Additionally, the state does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, education or public accommodations. On the national level, the Human Rights Campaign — a national LGBTQ civil rights organization with over 3 million members — reports that 42 percent of LGBTQ youth 14 | ENCORE AUGUST 2020

do not believe the community they live in welcomes LGBTQ people. The Center for American Progress, a policy research group whose aim is addressing and promoting change, surveyed people who experienced sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination within the past year to see if they were negatively affected. According to the survey results, 68.5 percent reported a negative impact on their psychological well-being, 43.7 percent on their physical well-being, 52.8 percent on their work environment, and 56.6 percent on their community environment and neighborhood. These statistics show the LGBTQ community’s need for more support from people outside of this community — in other words, from allies. The term “ally” is used primarily by cisgender, heterosexual (straight) people who wish to show their support for the LGBTQ community. However, the word

“ally” has not been adapted to the new threats facing LGBTQ people, says one activist. Ronan Ler is a member of the LGBTQ community and has been a part of many Pride events and protests in Lansing during the past four years. Ler’s goal is to educate and change the socioeconomic and political systems working against LGBTQ people. “I think it's very easy for someone, or a company, who is not part of the community to identify as an ‘ally’ and then go on to reap the profits without contributing back to us,” says Ler. “Drag is mainstream, gay bars are hot spots, and Pride festivals draw in so much revenue for the sponsors and the cities who host them. At the same time, none of these corporate entities are putting anything toward the high rates of homelessness in our community or HIV education or the many other issues that are bound to affect a marginalized group of people.”

Ler sees the assimilation of LGBTQ culture into both mainstream media and communities around the world as a big way to promote inclusivity and friendliness in predominantly non-LGBTQ spaces. “It's all about love in the end,” says Ler. “I think it's so important for allies to be loud and proud in their support. Normalize it with friends and family. Show up for our protests, though always defer to the organizers. Flex your privilege in situations that you can.” To combat misinformation about being an ally of the LGBTQ community, some activists aim to educate the public on LGBTQ history. Chris Mattix studies queer history at Western Michigan University and is a member of the LGBTQ community who uses "they" and "them" pronouns. Mattix runs "The Queer Historian," an informational website, Facebook page and Instagram page where they use their access to WMU’s library and archives to make LGBTQ history more accessible to everyone. “In the past, ‘ally’ would be like what is considered an ‘advocate’ or ‘accomplice’ today,” says Mattix. “I absolutely believe that they (allies) need to take a bigger role. If you’re going to be an ally and call yourself an ally, then you need to show up for them (LGBTQ people).” Nathan Nguyen has been the director of the Office of LBGT Student Services at WMU since 2016. Before that, he worked


The number of LGBTQ youth who hear negative messages about the LGBTQ community


LGBTQ youth are more likely to be physically attacked

The 3 As

Ally - Cooperates and associates Advocate - Publicly demonstrates support Accomplice - Provides aid and collaborates

LGBTQ voices are heard,” says Nguyen. “An accomplice would be someone who is willing to risk their own safety, career or comfort to disrupt homophobia and transphobia.” He says supporting the LGBTQ community also involves recognition of one’s own bias, privilege and influence. “I think something to keep in mind is that, yes, it’s great that allies are supportive and are our friends, but it’s still a process. There still needs to be room to grow, learn and be humble,” says Nguyen. “Being an ally means being supportive of those who are most marginalized and understand that as a heterosexual or cisgender person that you are already given more opportunities and access than those who are LGBTQ.”

Souce: Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.com/youth)

for the LGBTQ community in many ways, including as an HIV tester and counselor for the Jacksonville (Florida) Area Sexual Minority Youth Network (JASMYN). Nguyen says he has seen the positive difference that allies, accomplices and advocates can make for the LGBTQ community but also says that there needs to be more support for the LGBTQ community from nonLGBTQ people. “An ally would be supportive, while an advocate would be vocal about changing policies to be more inclusive or to make sure

Quincy Cox Born and raised in Midland, Quincy is a senior at WMU, majoring in journalism with a minor in Spanish. Quincy says they chose the word "ally" because of “its incredibly important connotation for the LGBTQ+ community and its value in my own life.”

Connect from home.

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The southeast corner of Drake Road and Stadium Drive was the focus of a zoning debate.

Lines of separation: How zoning is shaping Kalamazoo by



alamazoo Planning Commission meetings are usually sparsely attended, but on a wintry day in January the meeting was standing-room-only. A crowd of hundreds filled both the City Hall chambers and the overflow room. The agenda item that brought out these concerned residents was the very unsexy topic of zoning — specifically, a proposed zoning change that would have allowed a Drive & Shine car wash to be located adjacent to Kalamazoo’s Asylum Lake, a popular recreational and natural area. “When there is a big issue about a beloved property like that, people will come out and speak out,” says Ben Gretchko, a student journalist who covered the event for the Western Herald, the student newspaper at Western Michigan University. 16 | ENCORE AUGUST 2020

Zoning is about borders, and borders can be created to keep something out or to hold something in. Zoning exists partly to keep everything organized in neatly assigned locations: residential (single family, multifamily), commercial (retail, office), industrial, agricultural, and so on. Zoning has shaped Kalamazoo in significant ways and this year has been at the forefront of both community reform and controversy. Along with facing conflict over environmental protection and the completion of housing projects set in motion years ago, Kalamazoo city planners are in the middle of overhauling the city’s entire zoning code for the first time since 2005.

Zoning shapes cities Zoning is a complicated issue for three reasons, says Greg Milliken, chair of the Kalamazoo Planning Commission. First, people do not enjoy change. Second, zoning is not easy for people to understand. And, third, people do not enjoy being told what they can and cannot do with their property. “Put all of this together,” says Milliken, “and it automatically becomes a negative conversation.” Despite people having unfavorable associations with zoning, Milliken says that zoning laws, which dictate how land can be used, were created to promote health, safety and well-being. Some of the earliest examples of zoning go back to New York City

in the early 1900s. The ever-increasing height of buildings and close proximity of factories to residential areas meant that city residents were cut off from sunlight and fresh air. Kalamazoo also has zoning laws that divide land by function. Each parcel has a purpose, and the strategic assignment of zoning to each parcel is meant to benefit residents. However, says Benjamin Ofori-Amoah, professor of geography at WMU, the fundamental nature of zoning is to exclude. “In every case, (zoning) doesn’t benefit everybody the same way,” Ofori-Amoah says, “and zoning has been used to benefit some segments of the community more than others.”

A car wash next to Asylum Lake? Kalamazoo residents were outraged when a business owner from Indiana sought to have three residential parcels of land on the corner of Stadium Drive and Drake Road that border Asylum Lake rezoned to commercial. The business had planned to use the land to build a Drive & Shine car wash and retail area, the second such business in Kalamazoo. The proposed car wash was similar to one opened by the same business owner on West Main in fall 2019, reportedly a $10 million facility with detailing and lube services. “In order to do what the applicant wanted, he needed commercial zoning, the highestintensity commercial zoning, similar to most of Stadium Drive,” Milliken says. The land adjacent to Asylum Lake has a Natural Features Protection overlay that went into effect in May 2019. The Kalamazoo City Commission assigns these overlays on parcels that have significant environmental features that the city sees fit to protect. Drive & Shine CEO Haji Tehrani sought to have the NFP removed and the land rezoned. Asylum Lake Preserve’s 217 acres are one of the last remaining “green spaces” in Kalamazoo. John Kreuzer, a member of the Asylum Lake Policy and Management Council, says it’s important for the city to hold onto its remaining natural areas. “Another store to shop at, another car wash to drive your car through — those things come and go,” says Kreuzer. “But places like

Asylum Lake, once they’re changed, they’re changed, and you can’t get it back.” Community outrage about the proposed Drive & Shine car wash was significant. Public comments at the Jan. 14 meeting lasted for three hours, with 58 people sharing their concerns about potential light, air, noise and water pollution from the proposed car wash. Ultimately, the Kalamazoo Planning Commission voted to recommend denying the request to rezone the land and remove the NFP overlay, and the City Commission followed that recommendation.

Housing reform made possible Though zoning conflicts similar to this one are not uncommon, zoning changes can be made to encourage positive reform. In 2018, the Northside Neighborhood Plan was created by the Northside Association for Community Development (NACD) as a framework for revitalizing the neighborhood. According to the city’s master plan, affordable housing is a key piece of the puzzle, but zoning can affect the types of housing available in a community. “Zoning itself doesn’t make something affordable or not,” says City Planner Christina Anderson. “It talks about what uses can happen on a lot. The way it can impact housing is if the uses restrict a variety of housing types. You are limited to only what it allows.” In November 2018, the Kalamazoo City Commission adopted a new ordinance to rezone properties in the Northside neighborhood. The commission rezoned the properties as “mixed use” to allow residents access to residential and commercial facilities in the same area. This amendment opened the door for Gwendolyn Hooker’s tiny house project. Hooker is executive director of the Northside Recovery and Resource Center. The need for more affordable housing was evident to her every time she passed people sleeping outside on her way to work. They used umbrellas to protect themselves from the elements. Finally, Hooker decided that enough was enough, and in 2018 she took

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the first steps toward helping people in her neighborhood find affordable housing. “I think everyone needs an advocate to stand up and speak for them,” she says. She created Tiny Houses for Hope, run through her organization, HOPE (Helping Other People Exceed) Through Navigation. Modeled after a tiny-house community built in Detroit, Hooker’s six 400-square-foot homes are being built specifically for people with a criminal background or history of drug abuse. The highest concentration of these people live in the Northside neighborhood, Hooker says. The houses will be built at the corner of West North Street and North Westnedge Avenue. The money for the land was donated by George Franklin, of Franklin Public Affairs in Kalamazoo. Groundbreaking was originally scheduled for March, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced postponement of the project. The original completion date was by this summer’s end, but now Hooker is uncertain of when the project will be completed. Despite uncertain times, this project would not have been possible without Northside zoning reform, according to City Planner Anderson. Hooker was glad that the zoning was changed prior to her project. She worried that people would be reluctant to help her, knowing the demographic she served. “It’s heartbreaking that, as a basic human right, people are denied housing based on their criminal background or the disease that they have,” she says.

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In what will be the first comprehensive zoning overhaul in 15 years, Kalamazoo planning officials are updating the city planning code as part of the city’s “Imagine Kalamazoo 2025” campaign. Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 seeks community input to create a vision for Kalamazoo’s future. Through information-gathering sessions and meetings with community leaders, city officials are creating a new master plan that seeks to satisfy community goals. The zoning code is meant to align with the city’s master plan, but in reviewing the zoning code, members of the planning committee found significant barriers that hindered the master plan’s community goals.

“One example of this is that the minimum lot width that existed in a lot of our residential districts was bigger than most of our lots are,” says Anderson. One major goal of the zoning overhaul is to improve street walkability, Anderson says. “If you are walking down the street and all the buildings are set way back behind the parking lots, your ability as a pedestrian to get to the door is kind of tricky if there is not a dedicated path.” The updated zoning code will require buildings downtown to be built closer to the street, with parking in the back or to the side. It will also require a front door for buildings that face the street. The Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 campaign allows the community to have a say in the city’s future. Though not everyone is aware of its importance, these changes to the zoning code will have a positive effect on everyone, says Planning Commission Chair Milliken. “The community has said that this is their vision, and the current ordinance doesn’t support their vision,” he says. “These amendments are designed to help lead us to that future.”

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We look after your computer network... Raine Kuch No matter the medium or capacity, Raine Kuch, a Kalamazoo native, has always loved to tell a story. Kuch graduated from WMU in April 2020 and now works as a community journalist for Public Media Network. She chose to write about the word “border,” focusing on local zoning issues. “The word ‘border’ may bring to mind borders separating the United States from other countries, but I wanted to talk about borders found right here in Kalamazoo,” she says. “Zoning creates invisible borders throughout the entire city and we never really think about it until it throws an obstacle in our way such as keeping us from putting up a tall fence, keeping a car wash from being built, or stopping a project in its tracks.”

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Journalists stay neutral in face of negativity by



n February, the Michigan news outlet MLive disabled public commenting on articles posted on its websites. Comment sections, meant to use the best of the open internet by promoting civic discussion and dialogue, had been a fixture of the outlet’s online stories since the early 2000s. However, the feature was not utilized nearly as much as MLive intended and had devolved into insults and attacks. Of MLive’s 10 million users, only 5,000 commented per month. John Hiner, the vice president of content for MLive, published a statement explaining the outlet’s choice to remove comments from its articles: “Conversations routinely go off-topic, the tone can get uncivil or even nasty, and our moderators (and a vendor our company hires) stay busy around the clock policing the conversations, addressing flagged comments and even going so far as to ban some users.” Such incivility toward the news media is evident not only in public comments but also those made by politicians who berate journalists for their work and attack them personally. At the same time, journalists are also being blamed by society for creating incivility through their reporting. 20 | ENCORE AUGUST 2020

A public concern Surveys show the public thinks national news outlets promote incivility. A study done in 2019 by Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm, showed that 68 percent of Americans see a major problem with civility in the nation today. The same study showed that 47 percent of Americans blame politicians for increasing incivility in the country, while 40 percent blame the news media. “I think we’re in a period where we have no idea how to cover the news in a way that promotes civility,” says Kathy Jennings, the managing editor for Second Wave Media, an online news outlet based in Southwest Michigan. Journalists, on their best days, serve as watchdogs of government, going to public meetings and reviewing public records to ensure elected officials are doing their jobs as outlined by law. At the same time, however, most news organizations are for-profit ventures that need to stay solvent.

Political Ideologies Affect Trust in News Sources 12,043 U.S. adults surveyed Partisan Divides in Levels of Trust for 30 News Sources 30



No opinion



20 10



3 0 Democratic Ideology Republican Ideology


% of Trust in News Sources Democates




Fox News


NBC News


ABC News


ABC News


CBC News


CBC News


Hannity (radio)



NBC News



0 10 30 50 70

0 10 30 50 70

Source: Pew Reasearch Center Survey of U.S. adults during Oct. 29- Nov. 11, 2019 “U.S. Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided”

Journalism as public service Yet Mickey Ciokajlo, regional news manager at MLive Media Group, says, “It’s not about clicks. It’s about public service.” Ciokajlo says that journalism is a public service, especially on a local level, because it is meant to provide accurate and informative news. Local journalism is held to a higher standard in Ciokajlo’s eyes, as he lives and works in the community his staff reports on. “We’re local people doing local reporting, so we can’t hide from what we print,” Ciokajlo says. “I saw a Kalamazoo judge at Kohl’s a couple weekends ago.” MLive Media Group’s decision to remove the comment section on stories is not meant to remove community input, says Ciokajlo. He says being held accountable for the news they produce is important, so MLive will still take any phone calls and emails about the reporting done in the stories it publishes, and the comment sections on its social media websites will remain open.

Political debates spark incivility The anonymity of online communication emboldens people to respond to news in any manner they choose. These comments

include attacking a story, a news outlet, a reporter or even the subjects of the story. Political debates are among the more common arguments had on social media platforms. In a 2016 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 53 percent of social media users agreed that online political arguments are less respectful than in-person debates. Michigan Democratic Sen. Sean McCann, of the 20th District, says he is concerned about increased disrespect in political conversation. “There absolutely has been a shift of increasing incivility, and it wasn’t shifting before four or five years ago,” McCann says. McCann attributes this state of disrespect and increased arguing to news outlets. He believes that news media are reinforcing uncivil talk among the public, with some highly partisan news outlets projecting their own political ideologies in an extreme manner that serves to promulgate uncivil dialogue. “Our own personal biases are getting reinforced by the messages around us,” McCann says.

Staying neutral amid negativity Andy Dominianni, the evening co-anchor for Kalamazoo-based News Channel 3, agrees. “Television news never used to be biased,” he says. “Now most national media outlets are biased one way or another and no longer apologize for it.” Dominianni says the news media’s job is to let viewers and readers decide their opinions without media manipulation. He doesn’t allow for negative reviews of him to change who he is, he says, even though he receives emails attacking him for the political views the public perceives that he has. “I want to present myself on TV as middleof-the-road and neutral,” Dominianni says. For some local journalists, however, the current state of incivility toward their work can often make them second-guess themselves. Jennings believes that fear of public response may create self-censorship for some journalists. “They don’t want to think twice about what they’re doing, but there’s gonna be something in the back of your head wondering who will come after you on your story,” Jennings says.

Solutions journalism In the ever-changing world of news media, finding a way to slay the monster of incivility is not easy. “It’s not just a media problem,” Jennings says. “It’s a people problem.” She says Second Wave Media is trying to take a step in the right direction by doing solutions journalism. “Solutions journalism looks at a problem and seeks out those who are working to solve it, which is much more engaging and less despair-inducing,” Jennings says. Solutions journalism is catching on nationwide. Changing the views and actions of an entire nation is not an easy task, but changing public conversations is a step. Jennings says another step is to remove media “noise,” where articles that spark heated debate tend to cover up other stories, making some topics trend more than others. “You get one story on national parks being opened up to drilling, but then you get 16 stories about the tweet of the day,” Jennings says. Unfortunately, in Jennings’ eyes, the stories that trend are ones that promote incivility. “If we don’t learn how to deal with the noise,” says Jennings, “our function as journalists will cease.”

Phoebe Cuthbertson As a student journalist, Phoebe got the opportunity to interview several local journalists about the influence incivility can have on their careers. She says speaking with Kathy Jennings, managing editor of Second Wave Media, and Mickey Ciokajlo, regional news manager at MLive Media Group, was enlightening for multiple reasons. "Getting to interview local journalists not only was valuable to the story I wrote, but it also gave me insight about the career I hope to go into. For a student journalist, it was a great experience to interview professionals to find out their opinions on the influence of incivility in news." Phoebe will be a senior at WMU this fall.

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Different backgrounds, different reasons: Immigrants share their stories DANNEISHA MCDOLE



tepping into a new country and culture that are entirely unfamiliar and trying to make this new place home — that is what it is to be an immigrant. In 2015, an estimated 652,090 Michigan residents were immigrants, representing 7 percent of the state’s population, according to the American Immigration Council. Two immigrants that currently reside in Kalamazoo and a son of immigrants were interviewed, and although their stories are different, they also share themes of resiliency, cross-cultural understanding and pride. Brian Powers

Wanting her voice heard Chien-Juh Gu, 50, is a professor in the sociology department at Western Michigan University. She was born in Taiwan, where she 22 | ENCORE AUGUST 2020

grew up in a 10-person household. The men in her family were dominant, leaving her and her mother not having a say in their lifestyle and choices, she says. “I felt like I didn’t have a role or a voice in my own home,” Gu says. “Due to three generations and the society I lived in, men had a say and more power, and it was difficult to go along with that belief.” After years of living in her country, and after marrying a Chinese man, she and her husband decided to move to the United States for a better life. “I have more freedom and choices I can make that not only best suits me but for my family,” Gu says. Although she obtained her Ph.D. in sociology, started a family and settled in

Kalamazoo, Gu still faced more challenges while living in the U.S. “The most challenging thing in my professional life is how to get my message across and to be taken seriously,” Gu says. “Maybe I am too soft-spoken or I’m a woman. There are multiple factors that I try finding the answer to, which can be frustrating.” Gu wants herself as well as fellow immigrants and minorities to be treated fairly and, most importantly, to have a voice.

Second-generation American For second-generation American Jonathon Chitaya, his experience in the United States is very different from his parents’. Chitaya, 21, a student at WMU, was born and grew up in Michigan, raised by Malawian

parents who immigrated to the U.S. in 1998. His parents came from Africa to the United States seeking a better life, especially for their family. “On behalf of my parents, their adjustment since moving here while raising a family, not seeing people that they are used to seeing back at home, was difficult on them,” Chitaya says. It took them some time to find employment, but it all eventually worked out. Chitaya’s dad has worked as a computer analyst for more than 20 years, and his mother is a nurse at Lakeland Hospital, in Watervliet.

Immigrants in Michigan

1 $

Undocumented ndocumen immigrants in Michigan contribute approximately

3 Fast Facts




of Michiganders are immigrants

86.6 million in state and local taxes a year


of immigrants arrived in the U.S. before 2000

“Micigan League for Public Policy.” Jan. 2019. “A SNAPSHOT OF IMIGRANTS IN KALAMAZOO COUNTY.”

Ritu Manandhar, left, and her sister Situ Manandhar Armiger.

After experiencing how much freedom and opportunity are available here, they do sometimes forget their culture, but not in a purposeful way, Chitaya says. “Back at home in Malawi, if you have just these two things, lights and a TV, you were considered successful,” Chitaya says. “Malawi is a very poor country, and having that constant reminder, even through phone calls from family at home, my parents humble themselves and remember their roots.” Chitaya himself has found it is hard to be reminded of and to maintain his Malawian culture while living in the U.S. “I identify myself as 100 percent Malawian in my blood but am identified by some of my family members in Malawi and my peers in Kalamazoo as an African-American

man, which is fine, but why not include Malawian?” Chitaya says. “I try to keep my Malawian roots, such as the language and culture, alive by speaking and practicing it with my parents when we have free time,” Chitaya says. It has been seven years since he last visited Malawi. In the meantime, he proudly shares with his friends and peers stories from the few visits he has made there, and stories from his parents about their homeland.

Facing the journey alone Ritu Manandhar, 21, came to the U.S. by herself. Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, Manandhar came to Kalamazoo after seeing her oldest sister move to the United States on her own. Manandhar believed she too could follow her dreams. “Moving here to the United States, or even in general moving, is always tough,” says Manandhar, a pre-nursing student at WMU. “When I first came to Kalamazoo, I didn’t have any friends. I moved everything and settled into this campus all by myself.” While there are 45 other Nepalese students at WMU, Manandhar says her advisor told her she is the only one living on campus. “I eventually had to come out of my comfort zone and fight my anxiety and meet

new people and make friends,” she says. “After two years of staying in Kalamazoo, I have made the most supportive friends that I could ever ask for.” Manandhar’s friends encourage her and give her motivation to keep going and to make her family proud, she says.

Danneisha McDole Born and raised in Saginaw, Danneisha graduated in June from Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s in journalism and a minor in sociology. She has decided to continue her education in journalism, hoping to earn a master’s degree at Michigan State University. She says she chose the word “immigrant,” because “whether as a student, teacher, etc., immigrants contribute to our communities in ways that go far beyond their impacts on the economy. It is significant to share their stories of the journey they went through to allow others to show them the respect and acknowledgment they deserve.”

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Please Note: Due to the COVID–19 virus, some of these events may have been cancelled after press time. Please check with the venue and organizations for up-todate information. PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all in-person theater events have been cancelled or postponed. Farmers Alley Theatre Online Events – Visit the theater’s website: farmersalleytheatre.com. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Outer Vibe — Three-piece rock band as part of the Concerts in the Park series, 4 p.m. Aug. 2, Bronson Park, kalamazooarts.org. Strumble Head Band — This West Michigan cover band performs music from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, 5–8 p.m. Aug. 5, Beats on Bates, Bates Alley, kalamazooarts.org. Gun Lake Live Summer Concert Series – Kari Lynch, Aug. 5; Blue Jay Bridge, Aug. 12; Union Guns, Aug. 19; Feel Good, Aug. 26; all shows 6–10 p.m., Lakefront Pavilion, Bay Pointe Inn, 11456 Marsh Road, Shelbyville, 269-672-8111, baypointeinn.com.


The Lone Bellow — Americana and indie folk band, 8 p.m. Aug. 5, Back Room, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332, bellsbeer. com. Al Hight & M6-West — Rhythm & blues band, part of Portage Summer Concert Series, 7 p.m. Aug. 6, Ramona Park, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road, 3294522, mypark.portagemi.gov. Zion Lion — Kalamazoo reggae band, 5–8 p.m. Aug. 12, Beats on Bates, Bates Alley, kalamazooarts.org. Knific Quartet Featuring Olivacce — Jazz quartet and vocalist perform as part of the Concerts in the Park series, 4 p.m. Aug. 16, Bronson Park, kalamazooarts.org. James Reeser and the Backseat Drivers — Electric blues band, 5–8 p.m. Aug. 19, Beats on Bates, Bates Alley, kalamazooarts.org. Airtight — Motown, blues, jazz and R&B band performs as part of the Concerts in the Park series, 4 p.m. Aug. 23, Bronson Park, kalamazooarts.org. So Long Belladonna — Singer/songwriter, 5–8 p.m. Aug. 26, Beats on Bates, Bates Alley, kalamazooarts.org. Joint Operation— Funky-rock four-piece band, with Rolling Zen as opener, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 27, Back Room, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332, bellsbeer.com. Michigan Global Roots Celebration —An Dro, Samuel Nalangria Trio and Michigan Hiryu Daiko Japanese Taiko perform as part of the Concerts in the Park series, 4 p.m. Aug. 30, Bronson Park, kalamazooarts.org.

Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More Virtually Gilmore — Access an ongoing series of live-stream performances by renowned jazz and classical pianists throughout the 2020–21 season. Also available are selected recorded concerts from the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival archives. For more information, visit thegilmore.org. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775, kiarts.org 2020 Young Artists of Kalamazoo County — Take a virtual tour of artwork by K–8 Kalamazoo County students. High School Area Show — View online a showcase of juried works by high school students from nine West Michigan counties. Other Venues Online Intern Exhibition — Kalamazoo Book Arts Center showcases the work of its interns, through August, kalbookarts.org. Virtual Art Hop – Art displayed online by area artists, 5–9 p.m. Aug. 7, 342-5059; visit kalamazooarts.org or facebook.com/acgk.359 for details. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Most libraries offer a wide variety of digital options, including e-books, e-audiobooks, e-videos, and e-music. To learn more, visit the libraries’ websites.

ENCORE EVENTS Comstock Township Library 6130 King Highway, 345-0136, comstocklibrary.org As of press time, the library is open with temporary hours. Curbside pickup of library materials is available. Visit the library’s website for information on new hours and for access to digital materials. Kalamazoo Public Library 553-7800, kpl.gov As of press time, all KPL locations were open with limited service at reduced hours. Visit the library’s website for information on temporary hours for each branch and for access to KPL’s digital collection of e-books, e-audiobooks, e-videos, e-magazines and e-music. Share Your COVID-19 Stories and Photos – The library’s goal is to preserve the stories and images of our daily lives during the pandemic. Visit the library’s website for details on how to contribute. Black Lives Matter – Visit the library’s website for links to the library’s Social Equity Collection and Law Library and for information on local activist organizations and the library’s Antiracism Transformation Team. Meet the Author: Arnie Johnston — Hear this local poet, author and playwright read from his new poetry collection, Where We’re Going, Where We’ve Been, online at kpl.gov/about/news/meetthe-author-arnie-johnston. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747, parchmentlibary.org The library is open with curbside delivery service every day. Visit the library’s website for new hours and more information. Library cardholders can access digital magazines, books, audiobooks and movies. Let’s Talk Baking on Zoom – Presented by Maria Brennan of The Victorian Bakery, 7 p.m. Aug. 24, parchmentlibrary.org/lets-talk-baking.

Detroit Shuffle: The Scandalous World of 1912 Detroit Politics and Women's Suffrage — Zoom presentation by author D. E. Johnson, 7 p.m. Aug. 17, parchmentlibrary.org/detroitshuffle. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544, portagelibrary.info As of press time, the library was closed, but curbside pickup of library materials is available. Visit the library’s website for more information and access to digital materials. Richland Community Library 8951 Park St., 629-9085, richlandlibrary.org As of press time, the library was open limited hours for curbside pickup and by appointment. Visit the library’s website for information on hours and access to digital e-magazines and e-audiobooks.

MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555, airzoo.org The Air Zoo is now open to the public. Visit its website for information on limited admission and hours.

Launchpad to Learning — Explore new games, activities and documentary clips online daily at airzoo.org/launchpad-to-learning. Alien Worlds and Androids — Join scientists in the search for alien life in and beyond our solar system through this new exhibit. Amelia: Adventurous Aviatrix — A new exhibit that explores the adventures and legacy of Amelia Earhart. Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089, gilmorecarmuseum.org The museum is now open to the public. Red Barns Lite – Stroll through the Red Barns to view a variety of vehicles, campers, military vehicles and fire trucks, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Aug. 1. Air-Cooled Gathering – Rare air-cooled cars, including Franklins, Frayer-Miller, VW, Corvair, Porsche and Citroen, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Aug. 8. Relix Riot Traditional Hot Rods & Customs Show – Traditional hot rods, custom hot rods and motorcycles, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Aug. 15. Pierce-Arrow Gathering – A gathering of Pierce-Arrow Society members and their luxury cars built between 1901 and 1938, 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Aug. 23. Vintage Motorcycle Weekend – Ride and swap meet, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Aug. 29; show, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. Aug. 30. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990, kalamazoomuseum.org

360 Virtual Tour – Explore all of the museum exhibits online at tinyurl.com/KVMtour. Click on the arrows to move through the museum. Call for COVID-19 Community Stories – Share your COVID-19 story online with the museum staff as they document experiences in our community. See website for details on how to submit your story. NATURE Binder Park Zoo 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, binderparkzoo.org The zoo is now open. Visit website for details. Binder Park ZooCam – Offers remote access to watch a variety of savanna animals go about their business in real time, binderparkzoo.org/ zoocam. Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574, naturecenter.org As of press time, buildings were closed but trails were open at limited capacity on a first-come, first-served basis, 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510, kbs.msu.edu Exploring with Scientists: Herpetology with Kyle Jaynes Online — Learn about amphibians, reptiles and conservation, 2:30 p.m. Aug. 4; register at birdsanctuary.kbs.msu.edu. Field Botany 2020 Online — Learn more about regional floras of Michigan, 6 p.m. Aug. 5, 12, 19, 26, Sept. 2 & 9; register online at birdsanctuary. kbs.msu.edu. Birds and Coffee Chats Online — Grab your morning beverage and join us to learn more about five bird species, 10 a.m. Aug. 12; register at birdsanctuary.kbs.msu.edu. MISCELLANEOUS

Tracing the Path: The 1980 Kalamazoo Tornado — An online exhibit at kvmexhibits.org.

Kalamazoo Farmers Market — 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Tuesdays, 2–6 p.m. Thursdays, 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays, 1204 Bank St., pfcmarkets.com.

W E ’ V E M OV E D !

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Lunchtime Live! – Food truck vendors, live music, retail vendors and activities, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Fridays, Bronson Park, kalamazooparks.org.

Summer Cinema — Enjoy a movie in the park, U-Pick the Flick; music begins at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7, with movie at 7:30 p.m., Bronson Park, kzooparks.org/programs.

Portage Farmers Market — 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sundays, Portage City Hall parking lot, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage, farmersmarket. portagemi.gov.

Movies in the Park — Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, 7 p.m. Aug. 7, with movie beginning around 9 p.m., grain elevator lawn, Celery Flats, 7328 Garden Lane, Portage, 329-4522, mypark.portagemi.gov.

Sunflower Festival at Gull Meadow Farms – Five acres of sunflowers, wagon rides, petting farm and family activities, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Aug. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16; 2–6 p.m. Aug. 7 & 14, 8 544 Gull Road, Richland, 629-4214 gullmeadowfarms.com. Food Truck Tuesdays: On the Road — Experience street food in a new location each Tuesday from 5–8 p.m.: Aug. 4, Flesher Field, 3446 S. Ninth St., Oshtemo Township; Aug. 11, Midtown Fresh parking lot, 1693 S. Westnedge Ave.; Aug. 11, Oswalt Park, 109 N. Main St., Vicksburg; Aug. 18, Antwerp Activity Center, 24821 Front St., Mattawan; Aug. 25, ChemLink, 353 E. Lyons St., Schoolcraft, foodtruckrallykz.com. Late-Night Food Truck Rally – Enjoy a variety of food options, 6–9 p.m. Aug. 7, Lume Cannabis Co., 3406 Stadium Drive, foodtruckrallykz.com.

United Kennel Club Premier Dog Show — Featuring conformation, agility, obedience, rally obedience, dock diving, and weight pull events, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Aug. 14–16, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 343-9020, ukcdogs.com. Do-Dah Parade — Fun floats and whimsical costumes, 11 a.m. Aug. 15, downtown Kalamazoo, 388-2830. Pig Out in the Park with Public Safety — Free back-to-school event with cookout, music, carnival games, and school supplies and backpacks for kids, 2–6 p.m. Aug. 15, Ramona Park & Beach, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road, Portage, 329-4522, mypark.portagemi.gov. Friday at the Flats — Enjoy local food trucks and vendors across from where the Movie in the Park will be shown (see Movies in the Park entry below), 5–8 p.m. Aug. 21, Ramona Park, 329-4522, mypark.portagemi.gov.

Movies in the Park — Drive-in showing of Onward, a computer-animated fantasyadventure film about two elf brothers on a quest to spend one more day with their late father, 9 p.m. Aug. 21, Ramona Park, 329-4522, mypark.portagemi.gov. Summer Cinema — Enjoy a movie in the park, Missing Link, a stop-motion animated adventure film in which Mr. Link tries to find his long-lost relatives in Shangri-La; music begins at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21, with movie at 7:30 p.m., Frays Park, 4400 Canterbury Ave., kzooparks.org/programs. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Aug. 22, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 779-9851, kalamazooreptileexpo.com. A Starry Night — Black-tie three-course dinner, drinks and dancing, 6 p.m. Aug. 22, Celery Flats Hayloft Theatre, 7334 Garden Lane, Portage, mypark.portagemi.gov; registration required. Ramona Beach Bonfires — Enjoy a summer night, bonfire and s’mores, 8 p.m. Aug. 22, Ramona Park, 329-4522, mypark.portagemi.gov.

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ENCORE BACK STORY Sholanna Lewis (continued from page 30) One outcome of TRHT Kalamazoo’s work so far is its Historical and Cultural Landscape Project, whose goal is to tell a history of Kalamazoo that focuses on injustices, cultural empowerment and resistance to racism. The project seeks to create a shared understanding of local history through archival research and community stories, ultimately creating educational resources, art, monuments and informational landmarks throughout the Kalamazoo community that reflect an inclusive history. What does your position entail? TRHT is intended to be collaborative. There are people and organizations in Kalamazoo that have been doing healing work but not necessarily working together and seeing what it would mean to transform on the community level. I think there are plenty of people who have thought about this, but I think that none of them were positioned to actually implement some of those ideas. TRHT is a framework to build relationships and create spaces for dialogues that will then spark the change we want to see. A lot of what I do is listen to people and try to integrate ideas and then bring those folks and more people to the table to implement different projects. I try not to make many decisions on my own. I think that's really important.

What is the focus of TRHT Kalamazoo? The five areas we work on are racial healing, narrative, changing laws and public policy, economy, and separation. It’s interesting how much these areas overlap. For example, separation is about how people are kept separate and why, and it includes housing, education and health care. People experience separation in those areas of life, but it’s all rooted in existing systems, policies and ways of doing things. Explain the concept of racial healing. Healing has to operate at multiple levels. There’s the dealing with the inner self, what we believe about ourselves and internalized racism, whether it's internalized superiority or internalized inferiority. For example, I've asked myself when I'm around white people, “Do I silence myself? Do I believe subconsciously or consciously that if I raise my voice or speak out that I will be ignored, punished, etc.? Am I dealing with past trauma of being silenced or receiving retribution because I spoke out and now I think the same thing is going to happen?” We have to address the same thing with white people. They need to ask, “Do I dismiss this person and what they're saying because they're a person of color? Am I afraid of this black person because they're black or is there something real there?” These are things we have to explore within ourselves.

Healing also has to focus on interpersonal relationships and having a shared understanding of our humanity and feeling connected to each other more. It's hard because people find safety in familiarity and having similar life experiences and culture. How do we bridge that? It’s changing belief systems, which is way harder than some policy change, you know? What’s the biggest challenge you have overcome? Fear. We started this in 2016, and you know what else happened in 2016? An uptick in hate crimes. I've known people who've gotten death threats because they spoke out and tried to do this work. There’s fear of retaliation, of pushback, of repercussions for challenging things. There’s an understanding amongst folks who've been doing this work a long time that if people aren't mad, then you're not getting at the real problem. I challenge myself every day to not let that fear hold me back and to keep getting at the real problem. For more information on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Kalamazoo, visit trhtkzoo.org. To keep up to date on the initiative’s events and activities, visit TRHT’s Facebook page at facebook.com/ TRHTKalamazoo. — Interviewed by Encore Editor Marie Lee and edited for length and clarity

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Sholanna Lewis

Director, Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Kalamazoo I

Brian Powers

n 2016, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation was chosen as one of 14 national sites to implement the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) initiative, which aims to bring about community change by advancing racial healing and addressing the historic and contemporary effects of racism. Stepping up to lead this complex, important and daunting task was Sholanna Lewis, who was formerly part of the foundation’s grantmaking team. Lewis, 31, was born in Kalamazoo but grew up in Texas and attended college at the University of Southern California. She returned to Kalamazoo after college and began working for the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College, where she served as the center manager, but her interest in social justice began as a child. “My mom was really big on pushing that narrative of ‘question everything,’ teaching me critical thinking from a young age and to explore different cultures and to question rules and policies,” Lewis says. “Being biracial, I saw firsthand the things that my white family members did or got away with and what was normal to them. Then I moved to live with my sister in Houston, and it was eye-opening to go from being the only black person around for miles to living in one of the most diverse cities in the United States. It really shaped my perspective on the world we live in and stirred my interest in doing social change work.” (continued on page 29)


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