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Fellowship for Awesome Daring to Doodle Foreign Students Antique Tools

Meet Simply Eight’s Meet Great Works Of Dance‘Junkless’ Snacks Cyekeia Lee Steve Keto

February January2017 2017

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

Remembering the Struggle The journey toward justice continues

STEPHEN CARVER Carrying on a family legacy at the Civic



Dr. Mae Jemison broke more than the sound barrier when she boarded the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992. She became the first woman of color to travel into space. At the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s 2017 Community Meeting she will recount her inspirational story and speak about the importance of STEM education — especially for girls and people of color. Please join us. The Community Meeting is free and open to the public.


“ The day I went to the hospital, I was working here on my farm. I started to feel a bit poorly so I went back to the house to see if it would pass. At first it just felt like a stomachache, so even with my family history of heart attack, it really didn’t occur to me I was having one. Unfortunately, the feeling kept getting worse, so my neighbor took me to my local hospital, Bronson LakeView. They quickly determined it was a heart attack and transferred me by ambulance to the cath lab at Bronson in Kalamazoo. From the time I was admitted to the time my heart was working right again, it took less than two hours. They were phenomenal. I’m really fortunate to still be here with my family. I owe that to the team at Bronson.” Joe, Paw Paw, Michigan To watch Joe’s story and learn more about heart and vascular care at Bronson, visit

Editor's Note encore

Fellowship for Awesome Daring to Doodle Foreign Students Antique Tools

Meet Simply Eight’s Meet Great Works Of Dance‘Junkless’ Snacks Cyekeia Lee Steve Keto

February January2017 2017

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

Remembering the Struggle The journey toward justice continues

STEPHEN CARVER Carrying on a family legacy at the Civic


n one of my more reflective moments last fall, writer Robert M. Weir and I were talking about the seemingly high level of intolerance, hatred and cruelty that exists not only globally, but amid our own country's citizens as well. “After all this, country has been through,” I said, “you’d think we would treat one another better.” Wise old sage that he is, Bob replied, “Throughout history, before positive change and evolution occurred, there was always a period of escalating chaos. We’re in chaos right now. There will be change.” But even when he originally asked me about reporting on what was then his upcoming Living Legacy Pilgrimage through the Southern United States for Encore to gain a better understanding of the history of the Civil Rights Movement, I was dubious about its local connection and interest. But after working with Bob on his story package — “Remembering the Struggle” — in which he includes stories of past civil rights struggles experienced by Kalamazooans, I realized that stories of our nation’s past struggles are relevant to its current situation and to our local community. We are no utopia of equity here. Kalamazoo has its challenges — unacceptably high mortality rates for black infants, 34 percent of our children living in poverty, and a police force that is working hard to overcome a history of racially profiling people of color. But Kalamazoo is a compassionate, concerned community, and there are many people here who work hard to change the status quo. It’s an effort that deserves support and commitment from each of us. But sometimes, as we do in “Remembering the Struggle,” we have to look at the painful past to impel us to fight harder for a better future.

Marie Lee Editor


encore publications, inc.


marie lee


alexis stubelt


brian k. powers, olivia stier, robert m. weir

Contributing Writers

kit almy, lisa mackinder, emily townsend, robert m. weir

Copy Editor/Poetry Editor margaret deritter

Advertising Sales tiffany andrus krieg lee celeste statler


mark thompson

Office Coordinator hope smith

Encore Magazine is published 12 times yearly. Copyright 2017, Encore Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Editorial, circulation and advertising correspondence should be sent to: 117 W. Cedar St. Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Telephone: (269) 383-4433 Fax: (269) 383-9767 Email: 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 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.

4 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

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contributors encore

Kit Almy

In addition to writing for Encore, Kit writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Although she prefers writing to visual art in part because it requires so few supplies, she has also long enjoyed art, so she was interested to learn how the participants in Alchemy: An Artists + Writers Initiative brought words and images together on the shared theme. That local project is the subject of her story this month in Encore. You can read more of her work at

Lisa Mackinder

For this month’s issue, Lisa spoke with Ernie Pang, the founder of Simply Eight, a company that produces minimally processed granola bars and cookies. The thing that stood out most to Lisa was Pang’s enthusiasm. “It’s hard not to feel excited as he talks about his company,” Lisa says. “You want to root for Ernie. He completely believes in what he is doing — making better snacks for consumers. And his nevergive-up, climb-that-hill attitude is inspiring.”

Emily Townsend

Emily spent her school days doodling in her notebooks, so she was thrilled to hear about Kalamazoo’s own doodling-and-drinking group, Kalamadoodle. “I had been to drink-and-draw events in other cities, but Kalamadoodle is different,” says Townsend. “The organizers and volunteers see the events as conduits of greater change for our community, and you can feel that in the air.” For more of Emily's work, visit

Robert M. Weir As Bob learned about the Civil Rights Movement of a half-century ago, he wished he had known more then and been involved in some way. So, in 2005, he attended the dedication of the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Alabama. A week later, he was at Rosa Parks’ funeral in Detroit. This month, he shares with readers his experiences on an eye-opening bus tour of civil rights history in the South that he says also broadened his perspective on human rights issues today. In a different historical vein, Bob also delved into the fascinating world of antique tools with the Brown Tool Auctions people of Watervliet. To read more of Bob’s work, sign up to receive his blogs at


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FEATURE Remembering the Struggle

A trip through civil rights history shows how the journey toward justice continues today


DEPARTMENTS 4 From the Editor Contributors 6 Up Front 8 First Things — Happenings in SW Michigan 12 Daring to Doodle — Drink-and-draw event brings out the nascent artists in all





‘Junkless’ Goodness — Simply Eight aims to make a better snack

Antique Tools — Watervliet firm sells the special, the rare and the still usable

46 Back Story

Meet Cyekeia Lee — The Learning Network’s director's heart is for helping students


34 Artistic Alchemy Writers and artists contribute to unique

collaborative project

38 Events of Note

On the cover: Silhouettes of civil rights marchers from 1963.

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First Things encore

First Things Something Red

Get a sunny outlook with Annie Fight those winter blues with the beloved musical that brought us that anthem of positivity, “Tomorrow.” Red-haired Annie, her orphan friends and dog Sandy will hit the Miller Auditorium stage 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16. Tickets range from $47—$72. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 387-2300.

Something Magical

Take a moonlight snowshoe hike Nothing says Michigander more than hiking on snowshoes by the light of the moon. And just such a magical experience is possible 6:30-9:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings. Two different hikes — 1.5 miles or 3 miles — on the institute’s wooded trails will be available. After hiking and howling at the moon (if that’s what you want to do), participants will find coffee, hot chocolate and a roaring fire in the cozy Visitor Center. All ages are welcome. The fee to participate is $6 for adults who are not members of the institute and $3 for children. For more information or to register and reserve a pair of snowshoes, visit or call 721-4190. The institute is located at 701 W. Cloverdale Road.

8 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

encore First Things

Something Riveting Partake in a tale or two

Ready to hear some great yarns? Then check

out the fifth annual Storytelling Festival, a two-day event starting at 6 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St., during Art Hop. Following the festival’s theme, “Searching for Peace,” storytellers from across the United States will come together to tell tales about unity, equity and inclusion. Storytellers come in all forms at this event, from children’s book author and illustrator Patricia Polacco to the unique duo of speed painter Martina Hahn and singer-songwriter Joe Reilly to performance poet Terry Wooten. The museum will also feature two exhibits that remind us that stories are told with more than words: And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations, an exhibit of African-American story quilts, and The Wizards of Pop, a pop-up books exhibit. The festival is free and open to all ages. For more information, visit or call 373-7990.

Something Musical

Admire acoustic music at Cooper’s Glen Music Festival The spotlight will be on acoustic music of all types Feb. 3–4 as the Cooper’s Glen Music Festival again graces downtown Kalamazoo. The annual festival, presented by the Great Lakes Acoustic Music Association (GLAMA) at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, 100 W. Michigan Ave., features performances, workshops and jamming for acoustic music lovers. This year’s lineup includes Linda Williams, Nashon Holloway, The Ragbirds and Joel Mabus. A honky-tonk dance Saturday night, with regional country-rock band Four Wheel Drive, will round out the festival events. Tickets are $55 for the weekend or $40 for a single day. If purchased at the door, they’re $65 for the weekend or $45 for a single day. Children 16 and under accompanied by an adult can attend for free. For a performance schedule or other information or to purchase tickets, visit

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First Things encore

Something Classic

Go on Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage Gather up your kids, your grandkids and your neighbor’s kids for a classical music voyage Feb. 19 with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. The KSO’s presentation of Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage is an opportunity for children ages 4 and older to view Mozart’s life through the eyes of his young son, Karl, via song, dance and interactive drama. The performance begins at 3 p.m. at Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., but if you arrive an hour earlier, you can experiment with instruments and meet the conductor, Daniel Brier. All tickets are $5. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call 349-7759.

Something Heroic

Take in The Toxic Avenger First, he was a nerd transformed into superhero via

toxic waste. Then he became the subject of an iconic cult movie and a Tony-Award winning musical. And now you can see the mean, green and obscene Toxic Avenger stop at nothing to clean up crime in the Garden State, all the while singing to ’80s rock. Farmers Alley Theatre presents the raucous musical The Toxic Avenger (be forewarned, there’s adult language, innuendo and campy violence) Feb. 3-5, 9-12 and 1619. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at Western Michigan University’s Little Theatre, 798 Oakland Drive. Tickets are $35, or $33 for seniors and students. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit or call 343-2727.

10 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

encore First Things

Something Good

Plan a Polar Plunge for Special Olympics If jumping into the chilly waters of an above-ground swimming pool surrounded by friends and local police officers isn’t on your short list of fun things to do this month, perhaps you could be enticed if there were local brews thrown into the mix. OK, how about if it was for a good cause? Michigan law enforcement and corrections officers are set to host a Polar Plunge Feb. 11 at Bell’s Beer Garden, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., to raise money for Michigan Special Olympics. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m., the plunge at 10:30 a.m., and the After Splash Bash immediately after the plunge. If acts of hubris are not your cup of tea, cheer those polar plungers on and help raise money for more than 23,000 Special Olympic athletes across the state. The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to sponsor a brave plunger. For more information or to donate, visit Kzoo17 or call (616) 583-1202.

Something Crafty

Learn to bind a travel journal If you have never taken a class at the Kalamazoo

Book Arts Center, it’s time. The center’s Bookbinding: Casebound Travel Journal workshop on Feb. 4 will teach you how to measure, cut and assemble components to create a hardcover journal, which you can then fill with your wildest adventures. The cost to attend is $75, and all supplies will be provided. The Book Arts Center is located in Suite 103A of the Park Trades Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave. For more information or to register for the workshop, visit or call 373-4938.

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up front encore

Daring to Doodle

Kalamadoodle draws out nascent artists in all by



snowstorm rages outside, but inside Rupert’s Brew House there is a calmer storm — a brainstorm, that is. Tables are pushed together and covered in long sheets of paper off a roll. Dozens of people of all ages sip beer or coffee, chat and doodle together, on shared paper, creating one collaborative piece of art. This is Kalamadoodle, a drink-and-draw event that occurs each month at a rotating roster of local breweries. At one high-top table, three newcomers use pens and markers to draw cats and Christmas stockings and swirling designs. They laugh, chat and sit comfortably together, even though they just met. “I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I like to color, so I came,” says Sharon Brown, who describes her relationship to art as “pretty 12 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

Top: Kalamadoodle attendees sip beer and doodle together on communal sheets of paper at Rupert's Brew House. Bottom: Doodlers decorated more than 100 kids’ lunch bags for a food bank, including these by artist Paul Sizer.

encore up front

casual.” Brown works as an executive assistant to the president/CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. “I write poetry, but I’m not much of an artist … ,” Brown starts to say, before graphic designer Annette Shutty, sitting to her left,

an opportunity to get your pencil to paper, because really what this is all about is socializing and bringing people together.” Kalamadoodle started as a concept in Klok’s sketchbook in 2013, while he was living in Royal Oak as a post-graduate looking for

Community College and Western Michigan University, studying marketing. Along with his friend Nick Clark, Klok launched the first drink-and-draw event in August 2014. Since then, they have been throwing a drink-anddraw event at a different brewery every month, including Arcadia Brewing, Bell’s Brewery and One Well Brewing. Over the past two years the event has grown in popularity. Now the average Kalamadoodle attendance is about 60 people, according to Klok. However, in October, Kalamadoodle broke its attendance record, with 200 doodlers at Bell’s Brewery, according to Blake Eason, one of four volunteer “doodle specialists” who give their time and skills, working alongside Klok to put on Kalamadoodle events. Elena Campos, another doodle specialist who works as a cook at Olde Peninsula Brewpub, began volunteering with Kalamadoodle in 2015 as a way to stay Left: Kalamadoodle volunteers, from left, Elena Campos, Blake Eason, Mary Brownell and the event’s founder Mike Klok. Bottom: Kalamazoo College professor Chuck Stull draws on a lunch bag.

interjects, “Anything expressive is art! You do make art.” Thus ensues a good-natured and mutually empowering discussion on the label of “artist” among Brown, Shutty and Luke Albrecht, a home design furniture salesman, a discussion that is exactly what Kalamadoodle founder Mike Klok envisioned when he began holding the events two years ago. “No matter the skill level, we want people to find something to draw or doodle,” says the 28-year-old Klok. “If you come to the event and you are really hung up on what to draw, we have coloring sheets. This is

work. He imagined an event that would keep graduates in Kalamazoo. “The catalyst for creating these events was that growing up, and in college, I had a lot of friends leave Kalamazoo for other opportunities,” says Klok. “I consider our city, our bubble here, really special. I wanted to find a way to say, ‘There’s some really cool things that can happen here.’” The word “doodle” was chosen for the name to strip the event of intimidating fine art associations, he says. The idea sat dormant in his notebook, though, until he returned to Kalamazoo, where he had attended Kalamazoo Valley w w | 13

up front encore

connected to her background in art therapy, which she studied at WMU. “With my art therapy background, this was one way I could sit down and help people,” she says. “I love sitting with people and saying, ‘Draw with me.’ Here I see art benefiting people the way it benefited me. I think it’s so attainable for every person to get more creative expression into their life, whether they think they are an artist or not.” It’s not just participants who benefit from these monthly meetings of artistically inclined minds. Kalamadoodle provided the impetus for Klok to leave a full-time position creating publications at Kalamazoo College to start his own business, Stuffed Brain Studio, a marketing and advertising firm located in the Park Trades Center. “Kalamadoodle gave me so much confidence since moving back to Kalamazoo,” he says. ‘Being able to put an idea out into the world, see people grab onto it, see all these people through Kalamadoodle — it all gave me the strength to execute another new idea to step out on my own.” In an effort to harvest the events’ collective creativity for good, the organization’s doodle specialists have begun to partner with other organizations. In 2015, Kalamadoodle partnered with the City of Kalamazoo at Boatyard Brewing for an event called “Imagine,” where participants used craft paper, LEGOs and art supplies to show what they wanted Kalamazoo to look like in 2025.

14 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

Counter-clockwise from top: Doodlers draw an a communal piece of paper; colored pencils, crayons and adult beverages help attendees create their works; Annette Shutty is in the zone with her doodling.

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Additionally, Kalamadoodle has collaborated with the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts two years in a row during the annual Beer Week, in January. At the collaborative

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event, participants draw together on one sheet of paper and then the images from the collective drawing are cut out and presented in an exhibit. “At the event, we were able to say, ‘Not everyone is an acclaimed artist, but creativity in its own right is something to celebrate.’ So we cut out the pieces to give people the opportunity to say they have shown their art in a gallery,” says Klok. Mary Brownell, a lettering artist for Food Dance restaurant and the newest doodle specialist to join the group, attended her first Kalamadoodle event at the KIA. “All the artwork from previous months was hung up on the walls,” she says, “and there was one beautiful, long banquet table down the center of the lobby. There were just tons of people there. I instantly thought, ‘I am going to come every month.’” Brownell hasn’t missed a Kalamadoodle event since.

w w | 15

Savor encore

‘Junkless’ Treats

Simply Eight aims to make a better snack by

Lisa Mackinder

16 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

encore SAVOR

Powers BrianBrian Powers


rnie Pang says when someone who has eaten one of his Simply Eight snack foods says to him, “Thanks for making a better product,” it is the best compliment he could receive. Pang is the founder and chief simple officer of Simply Eight, a Kalamazoo company dedicated to offering minimally processed packaged snacks created with no more than eight simple kitchen pantry ingredients. Pang started the company after a shopping experience with his then-13-year old son in the frozen foods section of a grocery store. “My kid was a lot younger back then, and kids are curious,” Pang recalls. “One day he picked up a frozen dinner and asked me, ‘What are these?’” while pointing to the ingredients listed on the package. At first, Pang replied, “Just food.” Then he took a closer look. “I never looked at it (the ingredient list),” Pang explains. “It’s not something you look at, right? And then I’m looking at it going, ‘I don’t know what any of this stuff is.’ Like mono-diglycerides, methylcellulose, yellow 6 and red 40.” For a while, that revelation spun around in his mind, and then Pang — who had a 20-year career as a marketing executive at several consumer packaged goods companies, including the Kellogg Co. and Slim Fast Foods Co. — called a friend, Jeff Grogg, who had 20 years of research and development experience in the food industry. “Why is all that crap in there?” Pang asked Grogg. The answer: One, it makes the product less expensive to produce, and, two, it makes it taste great. Then Grogg offered a question in return: “Why do you ask?” Pang knew many people wanted a healthier snack product — one with real, not artificial, ingredients. So he read. He studied. And Simply Eight founder Ernie Pang holds one of his company’s ‘junkless’ granola bars.

he pulled together others with extensive industry experience — Grogg, now Simply Eight’s food magician; Jim Swoboda, the company’s sales guru; Phil Straniero, Simply Eight’s trade dynamo; and Larry Beyer, chief money man. (Yes, those are their actual titles.) Simply Eight has no brick-and-mortar location. Pang lives in Kalamazoo, while other team members live in Richland, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids. The team outsources everything to experts that they know and trust, and they meet every day via computer while their products are produced by a factory in upstate New York. “We have these meetings just like you would in a meeting room in an office — except we’re virtual,” Pang says. By choosing the name Simply Eight, Pang says, the company put a stake in the ground that its products would not have more than eight ingredients and that those ingredients would mimic those in recipes found in a made-from-scratch cookbook — such as real sugar, flour and chocolate chips. The company then went to work on creating a better granola bar and cookie. Pang likens the start-up process to playing baseball, explaining that you can’t expect to hit a grand slam the first time you get up to bat. “I could tell you some horror stories about the first time we made the bars,” Pang says. “It tasted fantastic — for three months — and then all of a sudden, one magical day, it all fell apart.” Literally. The granola bars crumbled. The team realized that an incompatibility among ingredients had occurred because they weren’t using the “traditional systems” to put food together. Pang explains that the “traditional systems” are what modern food science has developed over the last 30 years, systems that emphasize addictive taste and use ingredients and processing methods that keep costs down, for greater profit.

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For example, Pang says, instead of using “peanut butter spread” in their peanut butter granola bars — which many of the larger companies do — they use real peanut butter. Unfortunately, peanut butter spread contains additives that help the ingredients adhere to one another and facilitate easier mixing and forming of the granola slab on the line, Pang says. Real peanut butter, on the other hand, adds more moisture to a recipe, which may not be compatible over time with the other ingredients. So in order to use the natural ingredients Pang desired, the Simply Eight team had to go back to the drawing board. “It was very costly,” Pang says. “We had to pull a lot of the products back. We had to stop and rework completely from ground zero, and we finally got something we were proud of. It took about a year.” Pang takes these adjustments and setbacks in stride, saying that being an entrepreneur requires a mindset of patience and flexibility. Case in point: Pang paid a hefty amount to manufacture the peanut butter granola bars’ packaging, only to watch box after box pitched into the trash right off the production line. He learned that it takes many runs and adjustments for the machines to properly fold and glue the boxes of a new product. “It’s like a new car and you’re not familiar with where all the buttons are,” Pang says. “It takes you a little bit of time to figure that out.” Although he knew this, it didn’t make it any less cringe-worthy to watch those pricey boxes plummet into the garbage.

Brian Powers

encore SAVOR

Ernie Pang, and all the other Simply Eight officers, work from their own home offices.

Getting the granola bars and cookies — which are all named Junkless — into stores has been an uphill climb. Simply Eight competes with industry giants like Nabisco and Kellogg to earn space on store shelves. Pang says 95 percent of the shelf space in stores is controlled by a handful of companies, so if a company like Simply Eight does gain a spot, it is usually on the lowest shelf. “How do you shout like a beacon to shoppers going by, ‘Hey! I’m here!’ from down there? It’s a very, very challenging situation,” Pang says. Currently, Simply Eight’s Junkless lineup includes Real Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars, Real Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars, Real Chocolate Chip Crispy Crunchy Cookies, and Real Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crispy Crunchy Cookies, all of which meet the Non-GMO Project’s verification program standards. The company also recently rolled out two new granola bars — Cinnamon Roll Chewy Granola Bars and 100 Percent Real Strawberries Chewy Granola Bars. If shoppers examine the ingredients of some major brands’ strawberry granola bars, they might notice that there are no strawberries, but instead fruit pieces — generally apple — that are flavored to taste like strawberries, says Pang. That’s because real strawberries are expensive. “We just offer fewer strawberries in there in order to make it up,” Pang says. “We have to, but we’re not going to use any fake ingredients.” Junkless bars and cookies are currently available on Amazon and in some Family Fare grocery stores in Grand Rapids. The company also has cookies in 160 locations of Safeway and Albertson’s stores in Oregon, 60 Lucky stores in the greater San Francisco area, some Kroger outlets in the mid-Atlantic U.S. and all 48 Fresh Thyme stores, natural, organic grocery stores owned by Meijer Inc. Soon, Pang says, the D&W Fresh Market on Romence Road will carry Simply Eight’s chocolate chip granola bars.

Simply Eight is ramping up its efforts to get into more stores. Pang says trends for healthy-concept products, such as the Junkless treats, start on the West and East coasts and move inland, so the company has “many irons in the fire” in those areas. Pang says that being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart and that many people have misconceptions that entrepreneurs make millions, while in reality very few achieve that level of financial success. “Some

of those senior executives (at big food corporations) have a contract, and they get a parachute (severance pay, stock options and/or cash bonuses specified in a contract’s golden parachute clause) when they leave,” Pang says. “As an entrepreneur, you don’t.” Despite the challenges of being an entrepreneur, Pang says making a healthier “junkless” snack is worth it, “because you know there’s something not right and you want to fix it.”

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enterprise encore

Antique Tools

Watervliet firm sells the special, the rare and the still usable Robert M. Weir


im Gehring talks tools. Old tools. Some are rare and valuable. Others, not so much. Gehring is the owner of two related businesses in Watervliet: Brown Tool Auctions and The Fine Tool Journal. He and his staff of Managing Editor Audrey Schilling, Acquisitions/inventory Manager Katyn Adams and secretary Teresa Rendell take antique hand tools on consignment and sell them in eight auctions a year. Approximately 4,000 items pass through their hands annually. Most are common tools: saws, hammers, chisels, braces, axes, adjustable wrenches and vintage product signs. Others are unique: a hand-held drill operated by laterally pulling a chain, a double-throated chairmaker’s jointer, a hand-cranked phonograph, surgical drills, a foot-treadle lathe, a log caliper with walking wheel and an octant (an instrument that was used in astronomy and navigation) made of ebony. Some are extremely old: a brace and a woodworking plane from the 1600s. Others are exceedingly rare: a three-arm plow plane made of ivory and ebony that sold at auction for a world-record price of $114,400, another plow plane made of solid ivory that sold for $41,000 and a pencil sharpener made of rosewood that sold for $17,000. Most of the tools come from collectors who wish to downsize their inventory or from



Top: Purveyor of antique tools, Jim Gehring collects antiques levels himself. Bottom and opposite page: Among the tools his firms have sold are, from left, a try square with a level made of ebony, a plow plane made of ivory, a plane from the 1600s, and a Stanley No. 1 Odd Jobs tool.

20 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

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families of deceased collectors who simply don’t know what to do with “all this stuff.” The Brown Tool Auctions people consult via telephone and, if appropriate, come to take a look at the items at no expense or obligation to the potential consigner. Sometimes the handoff is simply a matter of carefully transporting or shipping the items back to the operation’s warehouse in Watervliet, but sometimes detailed conversation slows the transfer. “One collection we consigned was owned by a gentleman who was on in years,” says Gehring. “His whole family was there, and we all went through the collection together with him, telling stories about various tools.” For many people, releasing heirlooms is an emotional challenge. “One deceased man’s daughter told us, ‘These remind me too much of Dad,’ so we left and came home,” Gehring says. “Another deceased man’s daughter wanted to keep certain things but didn’t know what to keep. I said to her, ‘Here are two things — this one’s worth $1,000 and this one’s worth $100.’ She decided she could be reminded of her father as much by the $100 item as the $1,000 item.” With a “good heart,” Gerhring says, “I tell people who are hesitant, ‘Don’t give me anything that you’re going to regret letting go of.’”

On the level Gehring himself is a collector, primarily of levels, of which he owns more

than 1,000, some dating to the 1600s. “Every available square inch of wall space in my home that doesn’t have pictures has levels mounted on racks with little wooden pegs,” he says. He also owns hammers, drills, braces, plow planes and orreries (mechanical models of the solar system). He is drawn to scientific and surveying instruments, especially if they have what he calls “a high ‘gizmocity’ factor.” He admits to having “gone nuts on eBay” for a time. When the opportunity to buy the tool auction business rose in 2012, he did so, remaining true to the founding owners’ intent “to provide services to antique tool collectors, old tool users, dealers, museums and other institutions interested in antique hand tools and related artifacts.” Managing Editor Schilling, who has a degree in resort management from Ferris State University, initially worked for Ronora Lodge & Retreat Center, on whose property Gehring’s business is located (he is also a Ronora partner). But being around all those antique tools piqued her interest, so she made the employment switch. Adams says her job managing acquisitions and inventory is a good match to her degree in anthropology and archeology from Western Michigan University. “I enjoy handling tools that helped erect historical buildings,” she says. Processing the consigned tools is a fulltime job for Schilling and Adams. Gehring provides supervisory expertise while also working as an

employment compensation and pension attorney in Chicago. The first part of the consignment process is to determine which tools are rare and valuable and which are more common and worth only a few dollars. Here, the benefit of two related businesses comes into play. The Brown Tool Auctions items are higher-end, clean, mint or near-mint collectibles, while The Fine Tool Journal items are likely to be sold to and used by craftsmen who eschew power tools and identify themselves as “unplugged woodworkers.” “When we consign an entire collection, we get some items that are rusty or broken as well as prized pieces,” Adams says. With two auction options, “we have a place to put all of them and market them effectively to the best audience.” Interestingly, the staff does very little cleaning of the tools or rust removal. “Collectors are very fussy about how their tools are cleaned; they like to do that themselves,” notes Gehring.

Creating catalogs Schilling uses her photography skills to take professional-grade, full-color photos of

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each tool. Adams and Gehring write descriptive copy, the details for which can be challenging for hard-to-identify items. They then create two high-quality catalogs, one for each business. The catalogs are printed and mailed to 2,000 subscribers, some of whom live overseas. The Brown Tool Auctions catalog is a semi-annual publication, while The Fine Tool Journal comes out quarterly. Each contains photos and descriptions of 700 to 800 lots; some lots contain a single item, while some are a group of related items. The Fine Tool Journal also publishes articles about antique tools and the craftsmen who invented them. The Summer 2016 issue, for example, includes a fascinating article about innovations to create carnage during the Civil War, such as the Gatling gun and land mines, as well as improvements in hand-held surgical instruments that, though crude by today’s standards, enabled field physicians to tend to the wounded with greater care and compassion.

The Fine Tool Journal is also the presentation venue for the company’s annual photo contest, for which people offer pictures and stories about their best or most interesting tool. The auctions held by Brown Tool Auctions are live events that Gehring describes as “exciting” and “a social thing because everybody knows everybody.” Brown Tool Auctions holds three a year: in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at the end of March and October and in York, Pennsylvania, at the end of January, in conjunction with an annual tool meet hosted by the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. Gehring and his staff provide an absentee bidding service for those unable to attend in person. Since 2014, the businesses have brought items to a mid-July farm auction at Tillers International, in Scotts, at which tools and implements related to blacksmithing, farriering and animal-drawn agricultural methods are sold. The Fine Tool Journal auctions are exclusively absentee, with all bids accepted by mail, telephone or email or through the company’s website. This format generates a flurry of activity for Gehring and his staff. Bidders

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Google Patents and a catalog of toolmakers published by the Early American Industries Association. The more information they put in their catalogs, the higher the bids are likely to be. Some collectors want to own complete sets of related items, and adequate information helps those who need a particular piece, Gehring says. Similarly, woodworkers want items they know will suit their needs.

The allure of antique tools

Items Brown Tool Auctions has sold include, from far left, a Harmon Inclinometer, a saw with a panther carved into the handle, and a Sandusky 1876 Centennial center wheel plow plane, which sold for $114,400, a world-record price for an antique tool.

often call to learn where their bid lies in comparison to other bids. On the final days of the auction, numerous bidders might call in, posing their queries and quite probably upping the ante, over and over. Gehring points out that each live auction involves a trade show in which antique dealers display their wares for direct sale. The auctions also have a “Whatzit Room” to which people bring obscure items for which no viable purpose is apparent. Humorously, he points out that inventors of the 1700s and 1800s didn’t have 21st-century collectors in mind when they made, patented and marketed their tools. Product descriptions weren’t necessary back then, he says, because “people who were buying the item already knew what it was and how to use it or they wouldn’t be buying it.” Today, when writing tool descriptions, Gehring and Adams look for a manufacturer’s name, patent number and year stamped on the tool. Then they utilize online databases posted by the U.S. Patent Office and

Speaking with reverence, Gehring discloses why he’s so interested in antique tools. “It’s hard to create a new physical object in the world today,” he says. “Everything is invented by employees, and patents are owned by corporations. But starting with the 1850s, tremendous innovations were made by individuals. Before one specific design could capture the market, people were coming up with every crazy idea they could think of to improve on somebody else’s idea.” Tool collectors today are intrigued by the mystery of tools they discover, sometimes unexpectedly at the bottom of a box of unrelated items. “It’s really exciting to find a tool that there’s a patent for but nobody has ever seen,” Gehring says. “Why didn’t it take off? The rarer it is, the more questions arise and the more value it has.” The thrill of collecting, then, is often not in amassing a huge assortment but in holding a one-of-a-kind tool in your hands and realizing it hasn’t been seen for generations.

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: E L G G U R T S THE continues

G N ustice j I r o f R h c E r B he ma M t , r E e t a l M s r yea RE 50


by tories

eir t M. W rober

Olivia Stier

Top: Civil rights protestors in the 1960s. Bottom: A Black Lives Matter rally in Kalamazoo in 2016.


he Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s engendered significant change in the United States. But now, more than a half-century later, our nation and our own community still grapple with issues of intolerance and inequity. To gain a better understanding of the nation’s journey, Encore correspondent Robert Weir embarked on a Living Legacy Pilgrimage in November, taking an eight-day bus tour to 13 locations in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama where key events of the Civil Rights Movement occurred. “I was too young to be involved during the 1950s and 1960s. Yet, those events happened within my lifetime, and I knew so little about them,” he says of his motivation to join this pilgrimage. In celebration of Black History Month, Encore takes readers along on Weir’s journey and also explores the struggles fellow Kalamazooans experienced, with one eye open to the fact that the struggle for human rights continues today. 24 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

In their footsteps, the march goes on

A crosswalk in front of the Alabama Capitol is adorned with shoeprints to honor the marchers of the Civil Rights Movement.

and associated with the Unitarian Universalist Church, is a personal journey of growth. As participants, we listened as veterans of the Civil Rights Movement related their experiences. We walked in their footsteps and visited graves of those who were killed in the struggle. And at one stop, we heard young activists tell their stories of fighting for equity in today’s world. Fittingly, the pilgrimage began and ended in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. In each location, we couldn’t help but examine the parallels between civil injustices then and ongoing human injustices now, such as:

Lorraine Hotel, where King was assassinated, and the boardinghouse across the road from which James Earl Ray fired the fatal shot. But this museum is also amazingly comprehensive. With a winding flow that takes visitors past the preserved Room 306 where Dr. King

Robert M. Weir

The Living Legacy Pilgrimage, hosted by the Living Legacy Project

• segregationists of the 1950s advocating sending black people back to Africa and today’s political rhetoric advocating for deporting immigrants, particularly Muslims and Mexicans; • blacks being beaten or killed for registering to vote in the 1960s and voter disenfranchisement through legislative machinations in current elections; and • police in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, attacking civil rights protesters with high-pressure water hoses and police using water cannons on environmental activists near Standing Rock, North Dakota, today. Yet, while these parallels are thought-provoking and disturbing, the stories we heard on the pilgrimage resonated with resilience and, ultimately, hope for human equality in the future.

TENNESSEE Eerie view, sobering question It’s an eerie feeling to look through a bathroom window at an assassin’s sightline. But that’s one view we got at The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis because the museum includes the

The Lorraine Hotel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, is now part of The National Civil Rights Museum.

stayed the night before he was killed, it frames a picture not only of the Civil Rights Movement but also of the slavery and Jim Crow system of laws and practices that necessitated the movement. Consider, for example: • The trans-Atlantic slave trade, which brought 10 to 15 million abducted Africans to the Americas, was the largest forced migration in human history. • Americans viewed slavery as a “business necessity,” and profiteers included Northern bankers, shippers, distillers and textile manufacturers. • In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court established the concept of “separate but equal” in regard to education and public facilities, but even after that ruling white teachers were paid three times what w w | 25

Yet, Fannie Lou Hamer was resilient. An engraving on her statue in Ruleville proclaims: “… if I fall, I’ll fall five feet and four inches forward for freedom …”

black teachers were paid, and investments in school infrastructure favored white students by as much as a 10-to-1 ratio. For me, the most profound moment at the museum occurred when I rounded an interior corner and found myself only a few feet from a towering hulk of a burned-out Greyhound bus. It’s a replica of the Freedom Riders bus that was torched by Ku Klux Klansmen near Anniston, Alabama, on May 14, 1961, in an attempt to burn alive civil rights Freedom Riders, without regard that travelers who weren’t Freedom Riders were also on board. The documentary film Freedom Riders poses the question: “Could you get on the bus?” Having seen the savage brutality inflicted on those brave activists, filmed by news crews as it happened, I asked myself: “Could I?” Had I, a Northern boy, known what was happening in the Deep South in 1961, “Would I?” That’s a sobering question.

MISSISSIPPI Face to face with racist brutality While racism and segregation were pronounced throughout the South, Miss26 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

issippi holds the dubious claim of having been “the most racist and violent,” according to an article in the Mississippi Historical Society’s online publication Mississippi History Now. On the Living Legacy Pilgrimage, we visited many of these sites of violence and injustice.

Ruleville The Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden honors this wife, mother and sharecropper who, in 1962, attempted to register to vote. Two years later, she testified at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, about that experience: “The plantation owner came and said, ‘If you don't go down and withdraw your registration, you will have to leave. We're not ready for that in Mississippi.’ I had to leave that same night. Sixteen bullets was fired into the home (at) me. Two girls were shot in Ruleville. (Another) house was shot in. “I attended a voter registration workshop. The man told me I was under arrest. He kicked me. Three white men came to my cell. One, a State Highway Patrolman, said, ‘We're going to make you wish you was dead.’ They had two Negro prisoners. After the first Negro had beat (me) until he was exhausted, the State Highway Patrolman ordered the second Negro to take the blackjack.”

Money Here, in this rural village, on Aug. 24, 1955, America came face to face with racist brutality when Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black youth from Chicago made the mistake of flirting with Carolyn Bryant, a white store owner. Enraged, Bryant’s husband, Roy, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, abducted Till in the middle of the night at gunpoint from the home of Till’s great-uncle. When Till’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River three days later, it had broken bones, missing teeth, a missing eye, hatchet marks on the nose, a cleaved skull and a bullet hole in the skull and had been weighted down by a cotton gin fan tied with barbed wire around Till’s neck. The only recognizable characteristic was Till’s father’s distinctive ring on his finger. Till’s mother, Mamie Till Bradley, insisted that her son’s mutilated body be returned to Chicago and shown in an open casket at a public funeral, which was attended by an estimated 50,000 people. The Chicago Defender newspaper and Jet magazine published photographs of Till’s battered face. In Money, local attorneys defended Roy Bryant and Milam pro bono, extolling them as former U.S. soldiers and Carolyn Bryant as a former beauty queen. Townspeople donated $10,000 for the defense. The all-

Kalamazoo’s own stories of past struggles

Robert M. Weir

While the major civil rights struggles in the American South in the 1950s and ’60s were hundreds of miles away, segregation and racism still affected African Americans of Southwest Michigan. Here are a few of their stories:

Left: The Living Legacy Pilgrimage follows a circuitous route through Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Above: A statue of Fannie Lou Hamer graces a memorial garden named in her honor.

white jury reached a “not guilty” verdict in less than an hour, a decision that outraged the nation. Of Mamie Till Bradley, civil rights activist Al Sharpton said, “She was able to bring home what a thousand speeches couldn't.” Today, 40-plus fresh bullet holes puncture the historical marker that stands where Emmett Till’s body was found.

Greenwood Medgar Evers, a prominent civil rights activist, was shot on June 12, 1963, while standing under the carport at his home in Greenwood. There, our pilgrimage leader Reggie Harris said, “There were any number of places on any given day that he could be killed. And he knew that, so he just led his life. … Leaders of the movement (told) workers from the North, ‘They (segregationists) don’t want to talk to you; they want to kill you.’” Philadelphia Mrs. Emily Cole Calloway, of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church near Philadelphia, told us, “It took a small army of gun-totin’, tobacco-chewin’, snuff-eatin’ cowards to beat up my father.” She was referring to the Ku Klux Klan members who, in June 1964, thought her father might be harboring civil rights

Moses Walker, former executive director of the Douglass Community Association, retired executive director of community relations for the Borgess Health Alliance and former Kalamazoo city commissioner “My mother often said, ‘None of my sons will ever set foot in Mississippi.’ She had seen black men lynched there,” explains Walker, who obeyed — until he joined the U.S. Army in 1961. “We traveled in a large convoy from Kansas to South Carolina. When we stopped at public restaurants, the black soldiers weren’t allowed to go in, so some white soldiers brought food out to us.” Walker applied for Officer Candidate School, passing qualifying exams with more than adequate scores, but was denied entrance. “There was a lot of overt racism and discrimination from the top down,” says Walker, who received only one promotion, to private first class, in more than two years of service. Returning to Kalamazoo, he continued his education and became a respected community leader. Dr. Martha Warfield, vice president for diversity and inclusion at Western Michigan University As a student in Dowagiac, Warfield was among five black musicians in the high school band when it mar-ched at the 1955 Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Florida. Upon arrival, the black students were told they could not stay in the band’s designated hotel because it was owned by the segregated Dade County School District and used as a training facility for students in hotel management. Black chaperones, including Martha’s parents, threatened to take the black musicians back to Michigan but didn’t because all five, including the lead drummer, were first-chair players. The local NAACP

chapter arranged for the black musicians to stay in an integrated hotel in Miami Beach, where the Count Basie Band was performing. When the professionals learned of the students’ situation, they invited them to sit in on stage with the band. Interestingly, when the entire Dowagiac band was together, the white students dutifully pointed out which bathrooms and drinking fountains the black students were to use. “They so easily fell into the ways of segregation even though we shared the same bathrooms and drinking fountains at home,” Warfield says. Dr. Ben Wilson, professor emeritus and director of Africana Studies at Western Michigan University, author of African American heritage books and producer of educational programs on Michigan’s Black Experience Born and raised in Florida, Wilson, in 1963, was among the first African Americans to desegregate Ft. Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas High School football and basketball teams. He was the first black person to play in a particular district basketball tournament in Arcadia, Florida. On the court, Wilson was taunted by white spectators, including adults. “They began to catcall, ‘I thought Malcolm X was dead,’ (referring to the recent assassination of the black civil rights activist) and other nasty racial comments,” he says. Wilson’s participation in the tournament was so significant that it was featured in a local newspaper. Dr. Lewis Walker, professor emeritus and chair of the Sociology Department at Western Michigan University and founder of WMU’s Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations In 1966, Lewis Walker and three WMU faculty members flew to Jackson, Mississippi, to join the March Against Fear, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Seeking to connect with the rest of the marchers, the four stopped their rental car on a rural road and asked directions from two elderly black men. (continued on page 29) w w | 27

Robert M. Weir activists and stopped his car as he returned home from a meeting at his church. “The road was blocked,” she said. “Somebody jumped out of the woods with a bright flashlight. ‘Where them white boys?’ they asked. “They yanked the door open, yanked my father out of the car, and started beating him. Mother decided to try to get out. All of them had guns aimed at her head. They threw Papa in a ditch. (After they left,) Mama dragged him up the embankment. “At home, she washed him up. She put him on the bed. Then she got the double-barrel shotgun. She sat there all night with the gun on her lap.” Refusing to see a white doctor in Mississippi, Calloway’s father was treated in Chicago for a broken skull, five broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and a severely damaged leg. On the same night as the beating, the KKK burned the Mt. Zion Church to the ground. A few days later, three activists in the area — James Earl Chaney, a black youth from Mississippi, and white Northerners Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner — were murdered by the KKK.

Meridian James Earl Chaney is buried in a pastoral setting in rural Meridian, Mississippi. Two massive steel bolsters hold the tombstone upright because it has previously been vandalized and tipped over.

ALABAMA Delayed justice and progress

Marion Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was shot and killed by an Alabama state trooper while trying to protect his mother, Viola Jackson, and grandfather Cager Lee, who had already been bludgeoned by Above: A replica of the burned-out Greyhound bus Freedom Riders were on in when it was torched in 1961 can be found at The National Civil Rights Museum. Bottom: The writer’s view as he and other members of the pilgrimage walked across the bridge that was the site of “Bloody Sunday” in 1965.

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an officer’s club, is buried in a small plot of graves near here. The headstone has been chipped by bullets.

Selma After Jackson’s death on Feb. 26, 1965, local activists declared their intent to “carry Jimmie’s body to George Wallace and dump it on the steps of the Capitol.” This did not happen. But on March 7 that year, 600 civil rights marchers did assemble in Selma and attempted a 54mile protest march to Montgomery. Coming out of the city, they funneled across The Edmund Pettus Bridge, which is named for Edmund Pettus (1821–1907), a Confederate general, Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan and U.S. Senator who opposed citizenship and voting rights for freed slaves. Upon entering Dallas County jurisdiction on the other side of the bridge, the marchers were stopped, beaten and tear-gassed by Alabama state troopers and sheriff’s deputies, some of whom were Ku Klux Klansmen. The incident gained national attention as “Bloody Sunday.” Two days later, on “Turnaround Tuesday,” marchers led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. again crossed the bridge, were met by state and county police on the other side and turned back without violence. On March 21, with permission from a federal district court judge, nearly 8,000 persons, including Northerners, clergy, whites, Asians and Latinos, successfully crossed the bridge and began the march to the state capitol. (continued on page 30)

Kalamazoo Struggle (continued from 27)

David Johnson, left, and his father, Mabry Johnson, took part in the Van Avery Drugstore boycott in Kalamazoo in 1963.

One looked at them and said, “Two black men, a white man and a white woman. You’re going to get yourselves killed.” The four found the marchers gathered in a large tent for an evening meeting. They had to pass through numerous police officers armed with shotguns and rifles to enter the tent. After a while, tear gas forced everyone outside. The four ran for their car. A white reporter from New York City, afraid for his life, jumped in with them and refused to get out. The five then drove to a hotel very carefully because they could have been stopped and arrested for having too many people in the car.

for every child is to have a knowledge of themselves,” Washington says.

Dr. Von Washington Sr., founder of Washington Productions Inc. Von Washington was in the Air Force in Montana in 1963 when the car he was driving was forced off the road by a carload of white thugs, apparently because the soldiers in Washington’s car were both black and white. A fight ensued, and Washington was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and intent to do bodily harm. Through the intervention of a white major, the charges were dropped and Washington was reinstated into his military job. Desiring “to prove I was an American and deserved to be part of this society,” Washington volunteered for Vietnam. Later, as a playwright and thespian, he dedicated himself to educating others about the contributions of African Americans and about black historical and literary figures such as Shakespeare’s Othello. “The most important thing

Jacob Johnson, coordinator of marketing and outreach for the Society for History and Racial Equity (SHARE) Jacob Johnson’s grandfather, Mabry Johnson, was a member of the NAACP in Kalamazoo in the early 1960s, and his father, David, was part of the NAACP Youth Council. In 1963, the national NAACP suggested that youths attempt to get jobs in stores that had traditionally not hired blacks. David Johnson, Walter Jones II and Lois James went to Van Avery Drugstore, at 702 N. Burdick St. Even though blacks were the store’s primary patrons, owner Donald Van Avery had never hired a black employee. The youths were denied an application, so the local NAACP chapter decided to boycott the store. Picketers included clergy, women, Eastern Star Masons in uniform and others. The boycott lasted several months. Van Avery sold the store in 1964, and it closed a few years later. David Johnson and Walter Jones also served in Vietnam and represented what Jacob Johnson notes “is the great American contradiction of young black men not being able to get jobs in their own community but being sent into war against other brown people.”

Steps Forward:

Human Rights Efforts in Kalamazoo Kalamazoo has had its challenges in terms of achieving justice and equal rights for people of color. In the 1920s, for example, there was an active Ku Klux Klan chapter here; in the 1960s, the Van Avery Drugstore was boycotted for refusing to hire black people, and in the 1970s there was resistance to cross-town busing to achieve racial integration. But Kalamazoo is not complacent. Today, many local organizations have programs aimed at achieving justice and equal rights for all, including people of color and minorities. For example, Cradle Kalamazoo, facilitated by the YWCA, is bringing together organizations and stakeholders to reduce infant mortality among black babies in our county; ERACCE holds multiday workshops with a mixed-race training team on the topic of Understanding and Analyzing Systemic Racism; and the Kalamazoo Public School system is training school personnel to

be more aware and responsive to children of diverse cultures, including refugee children. Below is a listing of some of these organizations and the issues of inequity that they address. This is not a definitive list; there are neighborhood associations, churches, youth clubs and other human service agencies that participate in such efforts. Kalamazoo Community Foundation offers a more complete list at EquityResources/RacialEquityOrganizations. • NAACP: discrimination, police relations, equality, civil rights, voter mobilization • Black Lives Matter: racial dignity, justice, respect • Eliminating Racism & Claiming/ Celebrating Equity (ERACCE): structural racism, equitable antiracist institutions and communities

• Society for History and Racial Equity (SHARE): history and heritage of African Americans in Southwest Michigan • Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy & Action in the Community (ISAAC): community partnership, racial healing, affordable housing, youth violence prevention • Kalamazoo YWCA: racism, women’s empowerment, children • Kalamazoo Public Library's Antiracism Transformation Team: antiracism practices through community discussion • Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College: human rights and social justice leadership development • Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations at Western Michigan University: race and ethnic relations, cultural diversity, inclusive communities and institutions • Progressive Kalamazoo: progressive values, community inclusivity, collective action w w | 29

Footsteps (continued from page 28) As Living Legacy Pilgrimage participants, we walked across the bridge, on the sidewalk, in silence, two-by-two, just as the original marchers had done. The bridge is of humpback design, with a high arch over the Alabama River. My limited view, from near the back of our group, triggered my imagination; I seemed to hear the ghosts of history ask: “Who waits for us on the other side? Will they let us pass? Will we be beaten?”

Montgomery The Alabama State Capitol is only a block from the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where King served as pastor. Amid a sea of white stone government buildings, the red-brick church stands out as the only “building of color.” Government officials would not allow King to ascend the capitol building’s many steps to address protesters because they were afraid he might inadvertently trod on a bronze star dedicated to Jefferson Davis, the first president of the Confederacy, which is embedded in the top step. Instead, King stood on a temporary platform from which he addressed more than 25,000 people, saying, “We’re not about to turn around. We’re on the move now. No wave of racism can stop us.” The King family lived in a parsonage, a few blocks from the church, that is now the Dexter Parsonage Museum and is maintained in period décor. There, in the kitchen, the museum’s tour director, Dr. Sherry Cherry, told us, “Dr. King came home about midnight. He got one of those threatening phone calls that says, ‘Nigger, you’re next. If you’re not out of this town in three days, we’re going to blow your house up and blow your brains out.’ He couldn’t sleep. He started pacing. He ended up here in the kitchen. He warmed up a cup of coffee. And he sat there at that table with fear creeping up on his soul.

30 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

“By his own admission, he came into this kitchen to figure out how to get out of Montgomery before somebody killed his little baby, Yokie (Yolanda). He’s praying out loud, ‘Jesus, I’m losing my courage.’ He heard that inner voice say, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for truth. Stand up for justice. Stand up for righteousness.’ It was the turning point, a timely moment, a revelation, a word from God, an epiphany. And he heard it crystal clear. “The night before he was murdered in Memphis, he said, ‘I’m happy tonight. I’m not fearing any man. I’m just doing God’s will.’ Where he lost his fears (was) Montgomery, Alabama, January 23, 1966, right in this kitchen around midnight when he was 37 years old.”

Birmingham The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, was dynamited on Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963. Four girls, ages 11 and 14, were killed. Bob Chambliss, a Ku Klux Klansman, known as “Dynamite Bob” for having bombed numerous black churches and homes in the area, was tried in October 1963 for the fatal bombing. He was convicted only of possessing 122 sticks of dynamite without a permit and charged a $100 fine and six months in jail. In 1977, Chambliss was retried and, this time, convicted on four counts of murder. Disclosures during the trial showed that the 1963 investigation was directly hindered by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. In 2001, two accomplices to the bombing, Thomas E. Blanton Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry, were also convicted of murder. Critical Above: The parsonage for the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, where Dr. King and his family lived. King was pastor at the church, pictured on the opposite page. Below: This memorial to him stands at Brown Chapel in Selma.

Robert M. Weir

We listened as students Tysianna Marino, Jaylon Martin and Viviek Patel, members of the university NAACP chapter, related their recent successful effort to have the Mississippi state flag removed from all campus buildings. Their argument was that the state flag contains the image of the Confederate flag, which some view as a symbol of ongoing racism. People in favor of keeping the flag flying have advocated that the state of Mississippi cut off funding to the university, saying, “You take our money. You fly our flag.”

BACK TO MEMPHIS The importance of remembering

The Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where Dr. King was pastor, is only a block from the state capitol building.

evidence included taped conversations that the FBI had secretly recorded in 1964 and then withheld.

MISSISSIPPI (again) Old and new The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), in Oxford, was a study in old and new. Most notably, this is the historically all-white institution where James Meredith broke a collegiate color barrier in 1962. Professor Greg Johnson showed our group 1890s playbills from the university that described and depicted African Americans in derogatory stereotypical language and caricatures. He also showed us yearbooks from the early 1900s, when the Ku Klux Klan was an honored fraternity on campus. Even today the university struggles with its racist past.

The last 80 miles on the bus back to Memphis was a time of reflection, both conversationally and introspectively. At the outset of our journey, organizer Annette Marquis had asked each of us to write at least one blog post on the subject of resilience. I had written about the power of seeing and hearing directly from witnesses: “We can read that white supremacy dictated that a black man never, ever look a white woman in the face, but that’s different than hearing an a black activist, still energetic in his 70s, describe that crime as ‘eyeball rape.’ “We can read and know that racism continues today, but that’s different than seeing vandalism and bullet holes in the gravestones of murdered civil rights martyrs James Earl Chaney and Jimmie Lee Jackson. “We can read all we want, but reading is so different than learning firsthand from people who experienced violence in the 1960s — and who remind us that, yes, racism does continue today.” Prominent in my mind was the observation of the Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth (1922–2011), the outspoken pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, who, in 1964, stated so eloquently: “It was neither church prayers nor conciliating committees which brought about the Civil Rights Bill. It was nonviolent demonstrations — marching feet, praying hearts, singing lips, and filling the jails which did it.”

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Societal change is not a gradual uphill slope of incremental improvement. Rather, change comes as a sudden upward leap, but only after long plateaus of status quo followed by turbulence and chaos. History confirms this. The dehumanizing enslavement of Africans was the status quo in the Americas for more than 300 years. Then came slave uprisings and the Underground Railroad, as well as brutal suppression of blacks (beatings, whippings, lynchings) by the slave industry. The Civil War, with its unfathomable carnage, was the ultimate example of chaos. Then, in a moment of change, came the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 and the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery, in 1865. Over the following century, starting with post-war Reconstruction, the status quo featured sharecropping (which was indentured slavery), Jim Crow laws and practices that enforced racial inequality, more lynchings and institutionalized segregation. The corresponding movement toward justice included the Pullman Strike of 1894, formation of the NAACP in 1909, the Great Migration of black laborers northward from 1915 to 1960, desegregation of the military in 1948, and the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education that overturned the doctrine of “separate but equal.” To those comfortable with the status quo, all of these events seemed like chaos. Then, in a moment of change, came the evolutionary Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, required equal access to public places and employment, and enforced desegregation of schools and the right to vote. From left, Aerick Burton and Joy Elizabeth Morris help their daughter, Tiana, hold up a sign at a Black Lives Matter in Kalamazoo.

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Today, the status quo of injustice looks, in part, like this: • Enslavement of 45.6 million people in 167 nations, including the U.S., where an estimated 57,700 people are victims of sex trafficking or debt bondage, per the Walk Free Global Slavery Index. • Mass incarceration, primarily of dark-skinned people, through which, according to many sources, inmates work for pennies per hour for the financial benefit of major grocery/retail corporations and the U.S. government. • Nearly 900 active hate groups in the U.S., according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. • Disregard for human life in favor of financial gain, as exemplified in Flint, Michigan, where state officials created an unhealthy drinking water crisis that, according to Time magazine, was intended to save $5 million but will cost $400 million to rectify. • Racial inequity, which hurts the economy to the tune of $2 trillion dollars in lost earnings, lost minority purchasing power, avoidable public expenditures and lost economic output, per the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Kalamazoo, of course, is not immune to issues of racial inequality: • Statistics show that the infant mortality rate among black babies (up to one year of age) in Kalamazoo County is three times higher than the national norm and four times higher than that of white babies.

and asking city commissioners to participate in a forum to address racial inequity in the community. If left unquestioned and unchallenged, these and other instances will continue as the status quo, creating a further divide between the rich and the poor, between fair-skinned people and people of color. Fortunately, however, human rights activists are stepping forward with alternatives. In Kalamazoo, numerous service organizations are working to improve interracial understanding, equality and social justice. (See “Steps Forward,” page 29) In addition, there is movement toward healing by recognizing past injustices. Kalamazoo siblings Jon and Pat Stryker, in December 2016, donated $10 million toward construction of a memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, that will recognize the lynching of an estimated 4,000 to 8,000 African Americans from the late 1800s through the 1960s. These examples, of the good and the bad, illustrate that we, as a community and individuals, have choices to either condone the status quo of injustice or march onward toward a better, more humane way of life for all. We are like the child in a Native American parable who says, “I have two wolves fighting inside of me: One is fear and hatred; the other is love and compassion. Which one is going to win?” And the elders reply: “Whichever one you feed.”

• Two Black Lives Matter protest rallies were held here last summer in which organizers listed demands that included ending racial profiling by police of residents on the north, east and south sides of Kalamazoo

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Artistic Alchemy

Writers and artists contribute to unique collaboration by

Kit almy

A collaborative project involving more than 50 area artists and

writers that has been over a year in the making debuts to the public this month. Alchemy: An Artists + Writers Initiative brought writers and visual artists together to explore the theme of alchemy in their own creative work, supported by discussions, workshops and other group activities.

34 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

The results will be presented in a variety of forms and venues, including an exhibition at Western Michigan University’s Richmond Center for Visual Arts Feb. 16-May 26 and several poetry readings. The initiative has also published a companion book of art and writing as well as a series of broadside prints featuring the work of one poet and one artist.

encore Arts

Etymology: A Brief Conversation “No traffic. Let’s cut across,” he said.

Alchemy is the brainchild of Sydnee Peters, an artist and art instructor at Western Michigan University. It was preceded by two similar collaborations: 2013’s The Hours, which Peters also initiated and led, and 2015’s Home, organized by Mindi Bagnall, RCVA

“Kitty-corner,” she said, stepping off the curb. “Cater-corner.” “What does that mean? That makes no sense.” She stopped in the middle of the intersection. “Cater. I think it comes from the French. Quatre. Four corners. Cutting across a square.”

Look, the World Wants to Be Beautiful

“You think everything comes from the French.”

Take that girl, wading the river of her own life.

“Words have a history. Power,” he said and headed for the sidewalk.

The rocks hurt her feet. She’s not even, anymore, a girl. What is she then?

“I prefer the image of a yellow kitty-cat sauntering the shortest way, slinking lazily from one corner to the other,” she said, stepping up on the opposite curb.

Maybe a heron’s slow stalk. Or the finning of a brook trout in that shallow pool. Whatever she is, she’s more beautiful than a strip mine. Still—there you go, plotting another way to distill gold from the bones of the earth. The miracle of a fire log, the alchemy in your gut isn’t enough for you. You want every shiny secret dismembered, refined. You want to own it. My people, my people, look— the fields are full of goldenrod. Wade into them. Sip the dew-drip from the tip of each star-like flower. What will you become? — Amy Newday

Artwork (left): Mindi K. Bagnall, Conflagration, 2016, watercolor, graphite and colored pencil on paper

“I know you do,” he said.

exhibitions coordinator and curator of the WMU art collection. Those projects involved more than 30 artists each. According to previous Encore articles, The Hours drew its theme from the monastic practice of being quiet and aware of the passing of various times of day, while the Home project had artists and writers explore their understandings of home in both a physical and metaphorical sense. In mid-2015, Peters and Bagnall began looking for a concept for a third project. Peters says the alchemy idea came in part from a book she had read about German artist Anselm Kiefer, “who credits alchemy as a driving force in his work,” she says. “Once the word ‘alchemy’ entered the conversation,” she adds, “it was a done deal.” Alchemy “is about process,” according to the initiative’s website. ”As writers and artists, we trust that through process we will be led to the gold, the transformations that take us to new understandings of ourselves as makers,” it explains. Peters says this process is similar to what the original alchemists

— Deborah Ann Percy

Artwork (left): Vicki VanAmeyden, Opuss 54 in 4 Movements: Transmutation of the Artist, digital image

experienced when they combined various materials in hopes of producing gold and found unexpected results. In order to work with this challenging theme, Alchemy participants sought to understand the chemical, psychological and practical aspects of alchemy by focusing on its role as a precursor to modern chemistry, on Carl Jung’s idea of the transformative self, and on the four colors — black, white, yellow and red — that have long been used to symbolize stages in alchemical processes. From studying these colors, Peters says, “I came to see alchemy as a specific process of change. Such a transformation could be either personal or creative but begins from a place of disorientation in nigredo (darkness). The next stage is albedo (light), representing a breakthrough or insight into how to go forward. This awakened understanding of

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what is unfolding grows more powerful in the citrinitas (yellow) stage.” The final stage is rubedo (red), symbolizing completion. In Peters’ creative process, this is “where the work takes on a life of its own. There comes a point,” she says, “in which I am no longer bending the work to my will, but instead I am responding to what’s been created. This allows for surprise, even transformation.” Poet and artist Elizabeth Kerlikowske says it was creative collaboration that led to the transformative experience she had in an Alchemy workshop on encaustic painting led by Linda Rzoska. In it, Kerlikowske created a piece using collage material contributed by other workshop participants. “I went to this workshop with nothing, and everybody gave me stuff to work with, and I loved how it turned out,” she says.



Funding provided by

Snow Angels We know that snow plus limbs in motion equals snow angels. So one afternoon I made a dozen, forming a pyramid of shadowy figures on the hillside. At sunset, one by one, the angels took flight. Evening darkened into long shadows. In the light of the full moon, they floated past the treetops. Then I lost them among the stars. Maybe it was a trick of the shadows. But at first sunlight, I wandered the hillside. No new snow and no trace of those angels, only yesterday’s dark boot tracks and my memory shimmering, rising in the sky. — Robert Ed Post

Artwork: Autumn Brown, Industrial Wear #2, porcelain, silver, copper, bronze and quail egg

Back in the “Golden Age” of radio, weekly radio programs brought families to their living rooms to listen to adventurous, mysterious and comical tales. Dedicated to promoting this rich history, All Ears Theatre performs newly scripted radio programs for live audiences, complete with old school sound effects. Shows are later broadcast on 102.1 WMUK-FM. Performances are at 6:00 pm at the First Baptist Church and are FREE TO THE PUBLIC.

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36 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

encore Arts Kerlikowske became co-director of the Alchemy initiative when Bagnall had to step down due to other commitments. Collaboration has been at the very core of the initiative. Participants have been learning from and with each other over the past year, through presentations by experts on alchemy-related topics such as chemistry, through group discussions and through visits to artists’ studios. They have also engaged in workshops on subjects ranging from bread baking to equine therapy to creative practices such as writing, drawing, clay rattle making, printing techniques and book arts. Many artists and writers crossed over from one medium to another to produce work that was not in their usual art form. As a writer who has long pursued visual art as a “compulsion,” Kerlikowske says, “I’ve been influenced by the artists when we’re making art.” For example, she says she had a revelation about the importance of white space after having an artist critique her charcoal drawing. “That was great, and I hope that happened for people with writing.” Most workshops included a writing prompt provided by one of the participating poets. Peters says the workshops introduced participants to “a little sliver” of what each discipline was like. “The facilitators thought it through to such an extent that the sliver was thoughtful,” she says. “We could walk away with an idea, whether or not we’d even want to pursue (the particular discipline) further.”

Experience Alchemy Each component of the public presentation of Alchemy stands on its own and showcases different works created on the theme. While the companion book contains artwork and poetry by some of the participants, some of that work plus additional artwork will be on display at the Alchemy exhibit at the RCVA. Similarly, various poets will present their work at each of the four readings. A dozen artist-writer teams collaborated on the suite of broadside prints.

Exhibitions Feb. 15-May 26: The main Alchemy exhibit will be on display at the Netzorg and Kerr Gallery in Western Michigan University’s Richmond Center for Visual Arts, with an opening reception set for Feb. 15. April and May: The Alchemy suite of broadsides will be exhibited at the RCVA, along with the print suites from The Hours and Home. The Alchemy broadsides will also be available for purchase in limited quantities.

For Peters, one of the primary benefits of projects like Alchemy is that they bring artists and writers together. “We were able to create community around the workshops and collaborations where it didn’t exist with many

Readings • Echolocation, 6:30 pm Feb. 23, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts • Suite of Dialogues, 6:30 p.m. March 16, RCVA • Suite of Monologues, 6:30 p.m. April 20, KIA • Friends of Poetry Presents Alchemy, 7 p.m. May 9, Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St.

Publication The book ALCHEMY: An Artists + Writers Initiative will be available for purchase at the opening reception, Michigan News and other area booksellers.

Support Friends of Poetry is the fiscal sponsor of the Alchemy initiative, which is supported by grants from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Arts Fund of Kalamazoo County through the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, and several nonprofit cultural and educational institutions, along with donations from community members and participating artists and writers.

of the participants before,” she says. “And, actually, one meaningful challenge is: How do we keep that up? Because that experience was rich.”

A choir comprised of high school students from across the region performs at the 2016 High School Choral Festival.

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Annie — Broadway musical about an orphan, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.

Double Strung — Three-piece acoustic country and gospel band, 9–11 p.m. Feb. 11, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 276-0458.

Godspell — Center Stage Theatre presents the musical about the parables of Jesus, Feb. 24–26, Comstock Community Auditorium, 2107 N. 26th St., 348-7469.

Kalamazoo Male Chorus — 5:30 p.m. Feb. 12, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332.

The Women of Lockerbie — The women of Lockerbie respond to the tragic Pan Am 103 plane crash with an act of love, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3, 9, 10 & 11; 2 p.m. Feb. 5 & 12, York Arena Theatre, WMU, 387-6222.

Menopause the Musical — A musical parody with classic tunes from the '60s, '70s and '80s, 2 p.m. Feb. 25, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.

The Mystery of the Silver Cutlass — All Ears Theatre radio theater presentation, 6 p.m. Feb. 4, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 342-5059.

Fifty Shades of Shakespeare — Ten of Shakespeare's steamiest love scenes performed by four actors using comedic improv, 7 p.m. Feb. 14, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500.

Detroit ’67 — Face Off Theatre Company presents Dominique Morisseau's play about family survival in the midst of social unrest in Motown, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9–11, 2 p.m. Feb. 12, Epic Theatre, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Water by the Spoonful — A lyrical piece about everyday people trying to cleanse themselves from the struggle of substance abuse, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10–11 & 16–18, 2 p.m. Feb. 19, Williams Theatre, WMU, 387-6222. To Kill a Mockingbird — A coming-of-age story about the effects of racism and fear of the unknown, 7:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., Feb. 17–March 4, Civic Auditorium, 329 S. Park St., 343-1313. Chase Marlow: U.S. Marshall — All Ears Theatre radio theater presentation, 6 p.m. Feb. 18, First Baptist Church, 342-5059. A Raisin in the Sun — Lorraine Hansberry's story of family members who attempt to better themselves with an insurance payout from the father's death, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23–25, 2 p.m. Feb. 26, Balch Playhouse, Kalamazoo College, 337-7333. Musicals

Side Show — A musical about acceptance, love and one's uniqueness, based on the true story of conjoined twins, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3–4 & 10–11; 2 p.m. Feb. 5 & 12, Parish Theatre, 405 W. Lovell St., 343-1313. The Toxic Avenger — Farmers Alley Theatre presents a rock 'n' roll comedy about a gruesome and gooey crime fighter, 8 p.m. Feb. 3–4, 10–11 & 17–18; 2 p.m. Feb. 5, 12 & 19; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 & 16, Little Theatre, WMU, 343-2727. 38 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017


Crawlspace Eviction — Improv and sketch comedy, 8 p.m. Feb. 24–25, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 599-7390. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Live Music at Arcadia Ales — Dizzy Jupiter, Feb. 1; Calvin Hinds, Feb. 8; The Sam Pilnick Project, Feb. 15; The Brass Rail, Feb. 22; all shows 7–9 p.m., Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 701 E. Michigan Ave., 276-0458. The Class Acts — Local indie-rock/pianocore group, 9 p.m. Feb. 2, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. Taylor Hicks — Fifth season American Idol winner performs, 8 p.m. Feb. 3, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332. That 1 Guy — Mike Silverman performs as a one-man band using homemade musical instruments, 9 p.m. Feb. 4, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Soul-Filled Sundays at Arcadia Ales — Jimmy Philips and The Mortals 2 Band, Feb. 5; Reggaelution, Feb. 12; Lee Krahenbuhl, Feb. 19; Therron Kokales, Feb. 26; all shows 4–6 p.m., Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 276-0458. Kyle Hollingsworth & the Nth Power — Rock, soul, R&B, jazz and funk, 9 p.m. Feb. 10, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332.

Kalamazoo String Collective — Valentine's Day celebration, 7–9 p.m. Feb. 14, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 276-0458. Love & Laughter Pt 3: Jagged Edge — R&B group, with Donell Jones and Kelly Price, 8 p.m. Feb. 17, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Less is More & Nashon Holloway — Alternative folk duo and soul, rock and R&B singer, 9 p.m. Feb. 18, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Kalamazoo Academy of Rock — Musicians ages 8–18 perform in annual benefit show for the academy, 1 p.m. Feb. 19, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Drumline Live — The show-stopping attraction of a marching band drumline, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 3872300. Knee Deep Shag — Pop/rock band, 9 p.m. Feb. 23, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Justin Moore & Lee Brice: American Made Tour — Country music, 8 p.m. Feb. 24, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125. Echoes of Pink Floyd — Live Pink Floyd tribute/ laser show, 9 p.m. Feb. 25, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More High School Choral Festival — Guest clinician Sandra Snow, director of vocal and choral studies at Michigan State University, 9:10 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Feb. 1–2, Light Fine Arts Building, Kalamazoo College, 337-7407. Western Wind Quintet — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. University Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Lab Band — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.

Friday Night DJ Winter Sessions — John Luna, Joel Oliver and special guest, 9 p.m.–midnight Feb. 10 & 24, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 276-0458.

Cooper's Glen Music Festival — Great Lakes Acoustic Music Association presents performances and workshops, jams and a guitar raffle, 7–11 p.m. Feb. 3, 1 p.m.–midnight Feb. 4, Radisson Plaza Hotel, 100 W. Michigan Ave.,

WIDR Battle of the Bands — Community competition with audience voting, 9 p.m. Feb. 11, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332.

Mahler 6 — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performs Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, 8 p.m. Feb. 3, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.

encore EVENTS

Pianist Christopher Atzinger — Guest artist recital, 8 p.m. Feb. 4, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer — Guest artist recital, 8 p.m. Feb. 17, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.

International Percussion Band — 7 p.m. Feb. 28, Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College, 337-7047.

University Symphony Orchestra — 3 p.m. Feb. 5, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.

Mozart's Magnificent Voyage — KSO's Family Discovery Series about a boy and a magic truck, 3 p.m. Feb. 19, with pre-concert activities at 2 p.m., Chenery Auditorium, 349-7759.


Western Winds — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Wet Ink — Part of the New Sounds Festival, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. The Danish String Quartet — Nordic folk music, a new commission by Wahlin and works by Beethoven, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 382-7444. Gold Company: Royally Dunn — WMU's vocal jazz ensemble pays tribute to retiring WMU President John Dunn, 2 & 8 p.m. Feb. 11, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. Horn Day: Final Concert — 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra: Romance — Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Stulberg bronze medalist, violinist Austin Haley Berman, 4 p.m. Feb. 12, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 337-0440. Concerto Competition Finals — 5:30 p.m. Feb. 12, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.

University Symphonic Band — 3 p.m. Feb. 19, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. Gilmore Rising Star Seong-Jin Cho — The pianist performs works by Berg, Schubert and Chopin, 4 p.m. Feb. 19, Wellspring Theater, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 342-1166.

Great Works Dance Project — Celebrating 20 years of masterful works by celebrated choreographers performed by WMU students, 8 p.m. Feb. 2–4, 2 p.m. Feb. 4 & 5, Shaw Theatre, WMU, 387-6222. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 KIA Exhibits

Advanced Jazz Ensemble and Birds on a Wire — Part of the New Sounds Festival, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.

Poetry of Content: Five Contemporary Representational Artists — Works of representational imagery by five painters, through Feb. 19.

Double Reed Festival: Final Concert — 5:15 p.m. Feb. 25, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.

Wadada Leo Smith: Ankhrasmation, The Language Scores, 1967–2015 — The jazz musician and artist exhibits musical scores composed of color, line and shape, through March 5.

Arabian Nights — Kalamazoo Concert Band takes a musical caravan ride, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25, Chenery Auditorium, 337-0440. University Chorale — 8 p.m. Feb. 25, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 387-4667.

Out of the Fire: Masterworks of Ceramics — Exhibition featuring works by some of the finest ceramics artists in the U.S., through March 12.

Sarkozy Brunch Concert — Featuring the KSO's Woodwind Trio, 11 a.m. Feb. 26, Sarkozy Bakery, 350 E. Michigan Ave., 349-7759.

Luminescence: From Salvage to Seascape — Sayaka Ganz’s sculptures created from repurposed objects, through March 19.

Cantus Femina and Collegiate Singers — 3 p.m. Feb. 26, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.

KIA Events


Kontras Quartet and the Kruger Brothers — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667.

Academy Street Winds — 8 p.m. Feb. 17, Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College, 337-7047.

Sunday Public Tour — Walk through the exhibitions with a docent: African-American

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FEBRUARY AT THE KIA Admission: $5/$2 students, free for children

BLACK HISTORY MONTH Sunday, February 5, 2 pm Tour: African American art at the KIA Tuesday, February 7, noon Video: Lost Kingdoms of Africa-West Africa Tuesday, February 14 , noon Artist’s Talk (free) Nigerian artist and educator Jimoh Bibilomo Wednesday, February 15, 2 pm: Book Discussion Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power by Susan E. Cahan Donna Odom, Executive Director, Society for History & Racial Equity

Thursday, February 16, 6:30 pm Curator Hamza Walker In and Out of Contexts: Wadada Leo Smith’s Ankhrasmation Scores Thursday, February 16, noon, Get the Picture!

In-depth look at Karsten Creightney’s Untitled (From Love Flower Series)

Thursday, February 23 6:30 pm The Alchemy Initiative

An Evening of Poetry and Music Inspired by Ankhrasmation

Sunday, February 26, 2 pm Tour: African art in the KIA collection


1-2 Day Workshops Friday, 2/3: Paint Together Friday-Sat., 2/10-11: Exploring Nuno-Felting Saturday, 2/18: Precious Metal Silver Clay Sundays 2/19+26: Winter Glass Workshop Saturday, 2/25: Art in the Greenhouse Sunday, 2/26: Figurative Monotypes 4-8 Week Classes Art on the I-pad Mechanics of Photo Composition Digital & Traditional Photo Processes Creative Camera Phone Photography 3-D Modeling & Printing Workshop Wearable Found Object Jewelry

KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS 435 W. South St. 269/349-7775

40 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

Artists of the KIA Collection, Feb. 5; Sayaka Ganz, Feb. 12; Poetry of Content, Feb. 19; African-American Art of the KIA Collection, Feb. 26; all sessions begin at 2 p.m. ARTbreak — A weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: Lost Kingdoms of Africa-West Africa, video, Feb. 7; Jimoh Bibilomo, artist talk, Feb. 14; NxMW Film Festival, talk and film screening, Feb. 21; Juror's Talk: Fiona Ragheb, juror of this year’s West Michigan Area Show, Feb. 28; all sessions begin at noon, KIA Auditorium. Unreeled: Film at the KIA — A film series presenting work from the WMU School of Communication, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9, KIA Auditorium. Book Discussion: Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power — Discussion of the book by Susan Cahan, 2 p.m. Feb. 15, KIA's Meader Fine Arts Library, 349-7775 x3166. Get the Picture: Karsten Creightney's "Untitled (Love Flower Series)" — Michelle Stempien discusses the work and artist, noon Feb. 16. Thursday Evening — In and Out of Contexts: Wadada Leo Smith's Ankhrasmation Scores, artist talk by Hamza Walker, Feb. 16; The Alchemy Initiative: An Evening of Poetry and Music Inspired by Ankhrasmation, Feb. 23; both sessions begin at 6:30 p.m., KIA Auditorium. Found Object Jewelry Lecture — Examining examples of found objects used in metalsmithing, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 17. Chase Away the Winter Blues: Drawing, Painting or Photographing in the Greenhouse — 12:30–4 p.m. Feb. 25, River Street Flowerland, 1300 River St., 342-9207. Richmond Center for Visual Arts Western Michigan University, 387-2436 Adriane Little: Mapping Mrs. Dalloway — Photography that represents a new way of visualizing text and image by incorporating data mapping, through Feb. 3, Netzorg and Kerr Gallery. NYPOP Emerging Curatorial Series IV: Worlding — Five artists' works examine alternate worlds with internal sets of rules and logics, through Feb. 3, Monroe-Brown Gallery. 17 Days: Vols. 8 & 9 — Works of 17 video artists play continuously on 50-inch plasma screens, through May 1, Atrium Gallery.

RCVA 10th Anniversary Exhibition: Curtis Rhodes & Jack Carney — Feb. 16–March 24, Monroe-Brown Gallery. Alchemy: An Artists + Writers Initiative — Works by local artists, Feb. 16–May 26, Nezorg and Kerr Gallery; opening reception Feb. 15. Other Venues Evelyn Greathouse: Pastel Arts — Through Feb. 24, Solo Gallery, Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, 329-4544. Art Hop — Art at locations around Kalamazoo, 5–8 p.m. Feb. 3, 342-5059. Annual Garage Sale Art Fair — Overstocks, seconds and leftover supplies, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 25, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library Film Screening: Alice's Ordinary People — A documentary about Civil Rights Movement heroine Alice Tregay, 7 p.m. Feb. 2, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 553-7806. First Saturday @ KPL — Stories, activities and door prizes for the family, 2 p.m. Feb. 4, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 553-7844.

Writings on the Wall: Overview and Discussion — Discussion of this year's Reading Together book by Kareem AbdulJabbar, 6 p.m. Feb. 13, Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle; 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15, Sarkozy Bakery, 350 E. Michigan Ave., 342-9837. Bringing Memoirs, Family & Community History to Life — Sonya and Sean Hollins of Season Press talk about memoirs and steps to self-publishing, 6 p.m. Feb. 20, Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle, 553-7810. Urban Fiction Book Discussion Group — Discussion of The Doctor Is In, by Carl Weber and Brenda Hampton, 6 p.m. Feb. 21, Alma Powell Branch, 1000 W. Paterson Ave., 553-7960. I Remember Kalamazoo: Lance Ferraro's Memories of Growing Up in Kalamazoo — Sharon Ferraro and her father lead a tour inside buildings from the 1920s–60s, 7 p.m. Feb. 23, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 342-9837.

Writings on the Wall: Dig Deeper — Discuss Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's thoughts about gender, 7 p.m. Feb. 27, Blue Room, Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, 601 W. Maple St., 342-9837.

Black Lives Matter Exhibit & Reception — Celebrate Black History Month with artists Gerald King & Kierstin Arnett, 6 p.m. Feb. 28, Alma Powell Branch, 553-7960.

Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544

They Built This City — Lynn Houghton discusses individuals and firms who designed and built local structures in the 19th and early 20th centuries, 7 p.m. Feb. 28, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 553-7806.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion: Romance — Discussion on some great pairings, human or otherwise, 7 p.m. Feb. 6.

Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747

Friends of the Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Feb. 4.

Winter Family Fun — Wintery games, crafts and activities, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9.

International Mystery Book Group — Discussion of Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Writings on the Wall: Overview and Galbraith, better known as J.K. Rowling, 7 p.m. Discussion — Discussion of this year's Reading Feb. 9. Together book by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 7 p.m. Introduction to Amateur Astronomy — Feb. 6. Richard Bell of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Second Sundays Live: The Duffield/Caron Society presents "Binocular Basics," Feb. 11, Project — Blues, boogie and ballads with and "Telescope Tutorial," Feb. 25; both sessions vocalist Lorraine Caron, pianist Tom Duffield 1–3 p.m.; registration required. and drummer Joe Bradley, 2 p.m. Feb. 12. Top Shelf Reads — A young professionals' Front Page: Donuts and Discussion — book group discussion of The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Current events panel discussion with local Plath, 7 p.m. Feb. 13, Latitude 42 Brewing media, educators, politicians and special Company, 7842 Portage Road, 585-8711. guests, 10:30 a.m.–noon Feb. 18. Open for Discussion — Discussion of The Yum's the Word: Honey Tasting — Sample Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman, local honey and get tips on how to keep bees 10:30 a.m.–noon Feb. 21. healthy, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22.

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Cook's Tour: Captain James Cook's Voyages of Exploration in the Pacific, 1768, 1772 and 1776 — The A.M. Todd Rare Book Room winter term exhibit, 1–3 p.m. Mon., Tues. & Thurs. through March 9, Third Floor, Upjohn Library Commons, Kalamazoo College, 337-7153.

Writings on the Wall: Overview and Discussion — Discussion of this year's Reading Together book by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 7 p.m. Feb. 9, Richland Community Library, 8951 Park St., 629-9085. Art of the Graphic Novel — Presentation by author and graphic designer Paul Sizer, 7 p.m. Feb. 16, Richland Community Library, 6299085. MUSEUMS Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990 Eclipse 2017 — A simulation of the total solar eclipse coming up on Aug. 21, 3 p.m. Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat. & Sun., through March 17. The Wizards of Pop: Sabuda and Reinhart — A pop-up book exhibit with 63 framed pieces, through April 9. And Still We Rise: Race, Culture & Visual Conversations — Works that draw on the tradition of storytelling through quilts, through June 4. Storytelling Festival Kickoff Concert — Poet Terry Wooten at 6 p.m.; Martina Hahn, speed painter, creates a live painting with Joe Reilly at 7 p.m. Feb. 3.

Austen, Jorden and Branden DeHaan with their father, DRS founder, Robert DeHaan

PDL Writers Workshop — Researching historical fiction with Richard Roach, 6–8 p.m. Feb. 21.

Storytelling Festival: Searching for Peace — Storytellers from across the U.S. explore unity, equality, diversity and inclusion, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Feb. 4. Story Quilts — Discover textile stories and create your own, 1–4 p.m. Feb. 18. Sunday Series: Michigan African-American Quilts — Donna Odom of Kalamazoo's Society for History and Racial Equity (SHARE) speaks on Michigan's African-American quilting traditions, 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26.

encore EVENTS Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute 701 W. Cloverdale Road, Hastings, 721-4190

The Golden Age of Sports Cars, 1949– 1967 — Sports cars of the 1940s–1960s, through April 30.

Farm to Table Dinner — Chef Paul highlights local farmers and breweries, 6–8 p.m. Feb. 4.

2017 Lecture Series — Crazy, Weird, Unique and Unusual Highway Signs, Feb. 5; The Golden Age of Sports Cars in Motion, Feb. 12; The Most Dominating Victory in the History of the Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 19; The Most Dangerous Man Alive in 1929: Fred “Killer” Burke, Feb. 26; sessions begin at 3 p.m. Pint with the Past — Beer-tasting with music from Big Boss Blues and Nathan Douglas, 7–10 p.m. Feb. 11. NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574 Winter Sports Demo Day — Learn new ways to enjoy the outdoors, 2–4 p.m. Feb. 5. Owl Love You Forever — Learn about Michigan owls, enjoy cheese and wine pairings and take a hike, 6–7:30 p.m. Feb. 14; registration required. Great Backyard Bird Count — Learn about this nationwide event, 2 p.m. Feb. 19.

Full Moon Snowshoe Hike — A guided hike through moonlit woods and prairies, 6:30– 9:30 p.m. Feb. 10; registration required. February Brunch — Olivet College professor Patrick Fields discusses a passion for chocolate and the cocoa tree, 11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m. brunch seatings, 12:15 p.m. program, Feb. 12. Other Venues Birds and Coffee Walk — View birds of the season, 9 a.m. Feb. 8, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510. Winter Tree Identification Workshop — Hike and learn to identify common Michigan trees, 1–4 p.m. Feb. 25, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, 6712510; registration required. Raving about Raptors — Kathy and Jim Bricker present an Audubon Society of Kalamazoo program, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27, People's Church, 1758 N. 10th St., 375-7210. MISCELLANEOUS

Owl Prowl: Great Horned Owl — Take a night hike and listen for owl calls, 7 p.m. Feb. 23.

Intro to Beer Tasting — Alex Mantakounis guides tasters through various beer styles, 7 p.m. Feb. 1, Brite Eyes Brewing Co., 1156 S. Burdick St., 220-5001; registration required.

Family Nature Club: Maple Syrup Treasure — Learn to tap maple trees and collect sap, 10 a.m. Feb. 25; registration required.

Ice Breaker Festival — Ice sculptures, chili cook-off, skating and cardboard sled race, Feb. 3–5, South Haven,

Winter Snow Party — Snowman-building and contests, noon–3 p.m. Feb. 4, Oakland Drive Park, 7650 Oakland Drive, Portage,

Strange Brew: The Movie — Kalamazoo Public Library presents this comedy about two brothers' quest for free beer, 7–9 p.m. Feb. 8, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 180 Portage St., 342-9837; registration and free ticket required. Kalamazoo's Vintage Market — Shabby chic, vintage, retro and salvaged items, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 12, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 903-5820. Kalamazoo Indoor Flea & Antique Market — New and used items, antiques and handcrafted wares, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Feb. 14–15, 21–22 & 28, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, 383-8761. Millennium Park Valentine's Skate Date — Private skate, live music and dinner on the ice, 6 p.m. Feb. 14, Millennium Park, 280 Romence Road, Portage,; registration required.. Traxxas Monster Truck Destruction Tour — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 & 18, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125. Portage Winter Blast Half Marathon, 10K & 5K — 8 a.m. Feb. 26, Portage Central High School, 8135 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage,

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44 | Encore FEBRUARY 2017

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BACK STORY (continued from page 46)

While it was an amazing platform, I was in 17 states. I’d be in Georgia for two days and then in Boston for a few days and then somewhere else. And while I learned a lot, I really felt the need to be in one place and one state, so I put my feelers out to see if I could find something in my own backyard of Michigan and lucked upon the job here.

What attracted you to this job? It’s a cradle-to-career continuum. I had been working to remove education barriers for homeless students primarily at the higher-education level, but I know you just don’t wake up one day and go to college, right? There’s all those formative years on the way and stops along the pipeline you have to make — high school, middle school, elementary school, preschool — and they all have an impact on your success. So when I saw this job encompassed all those, I knew that was where I needed to be, to work within the whole continuum.

initiatives going on with kindergarten” or “There’s this program for the fifth grade.” Unless you’re in the literacy inner circle, you don’t really know all the reading initiatives that are going on in the area. We need to have people come together. We are working harder, not smarter, if we’re working alone. My goal is to break down those silos and get people to meet regularly, talk about the barriers in different areas and get kids what they need.

American student in the program at the time. I faced some difficulty because students are young and young people will tease you about anything. I had a teacher, Miss Winters, who, when I would say, “I don't think this is a good program for me” or “I don’t belong here,” really advocated for me to stick the program out. That was an aha moment — I learned that you’re in the places you deserve to be in, you’re there for a reason and people will advocate for you to be there.

Have you found that people are receptive to this goal?

What’s been your biggest challenge?

Somewhat. The Learning Network has been around for seven years and has had some reboots and starts and stops, so I think sometimes people are like, “There they go again.” But at the same time, those folks that are really there to help the students tell us, “Give me a seat at the table and I’ll be there.” At the end of the day, those who really care about helping the students want to do whatever they need to.

What is The Learning Network?

What kind of student were you?

It’s a network. We don’t do direct service to students, but we are connecting with the educators and the community partners to best support students. We bring folks together who would not regularly be in the same room, and we are going to be the megaphone for what work is being done in the area. Take literacy efforts, for example. There are tons of folks working on reading initiatives in Kalamazoo, but they are siloed. We’ve been asked to “please be the megaphone on this,” to be the ones saying, “Hey, there’s these literacy

I was a bit of a nerd. I was one of those kids that read the dictionary for fun. My older siblings would ask, “What’s wrong with her?” They’d be watching Yo MTV Raps and I’d be asking them, “Hey, did you know the word onomatopoeia is one of the longest words in the English language?” And they’d be like, “What?”

What was the most influential experience in your life?

When I worked at Wayne State, I was part of the teachers’ union, so I had a lot of employment security. Literally, I could wear a jogging suit to work and no one could do anything about it, but I gave up that security to be a consultant. It was tough to go from having the right to wear a jogging suit to work to not having health insurance or job security.

Why did you want to do that? When I was at Wayne State, I had been working with a homeless student who was 19 and had become one of my favorites. One day I went to check on him and when I pulled his name up in the system, it said “Deceased” at the top of the screen. To this day I don’t know what happened to him, but I thought, “This is not OK for us to lose homeless students.” I could not sit comfortably with my job security knowing that students were being failed.

I was in a gifted program when I was in seventh grade and was the only African-

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Ceykeia Lee

Director, The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo C

yekeia Lee is a little bit like the hub in the middle of the spokes of a bicycle wheel. In her role at The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo, she must bring together the many and various educators, organizations and community efforts that are all working to help the area’s most vulnerable students succeed. It’s a job that’s a bit like herding cats, but the Romulus native says she stays focused on the ultimate goal of helping students. “I was once one of those students I am trying to help,” says Lee, who is 35. “From my lived experiences of being a lowincome student and being a first-generation college student, I know the supports that got me through. That’s why it is so important for me to bring the right people to the table, so somebody else will have the opportunity I had.”

How did you get where you are today? For the last four years I worked as a consultant for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, working in 17 states to remove education barriers for homeless students, particularly those in college.

Brian Powers

(continued on page 45)

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