Ypsilanti City Council Meeting Tues Aug 14

WeROC Members and Supporters —

We are looking for our fellow community members (both Ypsilanti City residents and other interested and affected community members) to speak out in support of maximizing critical funding for mental health and public safety services. Join WeROC leaders seeking commitments from City officials on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 7pm at the next Ypsilanti City Council meeting, at City Hall (Michigan Ave and Huron St.). More below about the Moral Values Agenda that has grown out of the past year’s collective work of local congregational leaders and allies to creatively address the major county-wide crisis in mental health services.

— Tad Wysor on behalf of WeROC’s Mental Health Equity Action Team

Ypsilanti Moral Values Agenda

WeROC Statement: Support for Mental Health and Public Safety Services:

WeROC is calling on members of the Ypsilanti City Council, the City Manager, and the Police Chief to commit to a meeting with WeROC members to discuss an amendment to the City Budget that would re-direct a significant portion of new funds the City is receiving from the Nov 2017 Mental Health/Public Safety millage toward the urgent County-wide community needs of crisis mental health services and mental health-related public safety services, including at a minimum funding for community policing and training in community policing and mental health response for all Ypsilanti police officers.

WeROC April Meetings

WeROC meetings Thursday (TomorrowApril 5 at Community Church of God, 565 Jefferson, Ypsi.
  • WeROC Mental Health Equity Action Team: 4:00-5:30 (Continue drafting our Moral Agenda around mental health funding, to present and discuss at the 5:30 meeting)
  • WeROC April Meeting of the Whole: 5:30-7:30, Light dinner provided.  (Next steps on Mental Health Equity, Veterans and Criminal Justice, Education/Youth, and Community Benefits Ordinance)
WeROC is also spreading the word about the Washtenaw Mass Meeting of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival — this Sunday April 8, 2:00-4:30, UAW Local 898, 8975 Textile, Ypsi Township. Building Washtenaw participation in upcoming massive statewide “Season of Action” in Lansing and 30+ other state capitals, beginning Mother’s Day.  Sadly, very topical this very day…Dr. King was of course murdered working to bring the striking Memphis sanitation workers into the original Poor People’s Campaign.

WeROC Letter to YCS Supt. Edmondson and Board of Education

February 19, 2018

Dear Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Edmondson and Board of Education Members:

We as clergy, leaders, and members of WeROC congregations and organizations and our WeROC Education Action Team are, as we expect each of you are, deeply disturbed by the vile racist and violent email that someone recently sent to YCS students.  We know that a community that stands together in unity against the perceived divisions that others seek to create and widen among us becomes less hospitable to the actions people like the perpetrator(s) of this distressing incident.

We continue to be committed to building that unity and solidarity in the school community and more broadly, including ongoing work with you on interrelated issues like reducing the damage of unnecessary suspensions and expulsions and expanding our students’ access to early and quality mental health resources.  We will monitor actions taken by the YCS administration and Board as you work with law enforcement agencies and others toward appropriate, effective, and permanent responses to this and other incidents.

Signed, to date, by the following (affiliations for identification only):

Pastor Jeff Harrold, New Beginnings Community Church of Washtenaw County and Chair, WeROC Education Action Team
Anne Brown, WeROC Ed Action Team
Rita Paye,  WeROC Ed Action Team
Peri Stone-Palmquist, Student Advocacy Center
Lois Richardson, WeROC
Carissa Collins Watson, WeROC
Jim Anderson, Strong Tower Ministries
Rev. Christine Thompson, Interim pastor, Emmanuel Lutheran Church (Ypsilanti)
Sheryl Kelly, Reach Church
Charlotte Tillerson, President YCEA
Pastor Keith Geiselman, Ypsilanti First Presbyterian Church
Nancy Heine, AFSCME/Washtenaw County
Martha Kransdorf, Beth Israel Congregation
Cindy Bodewes, Church of the Good Shepherd UCC
Valerie Przywara, WeROC
Erica Mooney, REDY
Tad Wysor, WeROC, First Congregational UCC Ypsilant

WeROC Statement on Mental Health Millage

A Note to WeROC Members and Supporters:

As many of you know, WeROC participants have been struggling together about how best to address the crisis that has resulted from the immoral de-funding of badly needed mental health services all around our county — especially for residents in eastern Washtenaw and other areas with larger numbers of underserved neighbors. WeROC’s Clergy Caucus and other leaders have now met with several key County elected officials, to inform a collective decision about supporting the County-wide millage on our ballot this November 7.

This has been a tough decision, but the decision by the leaders present to support a YES vote on this millage was unanimous. With little expectation of more funding from Lansing or DC any time soon, the consensus was that we need strong action, and now. The millage would also maintain the Sheriff’s Department coverage of police services around the County, while also supporting jail diversion programs to get people the services they need, when the need them, not a criminal record. The tax increase for the average home (and usually passed through to rentals) would be about “a cup of coffee a week”, as the “YES” campaign says.

Many of us wish the proposal had been less complex, but the need is great and urgent. Plus, if it passes, WeROC is prepared to be on the front lines of pressuring County decisionmakers — the Sheriff, the Board of Commissioners, the Community Mental Health Director, and others — to direct the money where it’s needed most, and with full transparency — including increasing the embarassingly low pay of mental health workers in our County.

WeROC leaders hope you will vote YES for the millage, and encourage you to pass the word to your congregations, organizations, networks, families, and friends.

More information from the campaign is at this link: https://www.facebook.com/yesonwashtenawmentalhealth/

Tad Wysor, Volunteer WeROC Organizer

Support WeROC Allies EMUFT!

WeROC friends and supporters — 

First, an important announcement:  We’ve decided it makes sense to cancel the September WeROC Meeting of the Whole.  In the meantime, our Clergy Caucus has been taking the lead in exploring how WeROC might best participate in the November county-wide milllage vote for mental health and public safety funding.  Expect a report soon from meetings with key County Commissioners happening this week, which may be leading to a major public meeting before November.  Please begin thinking about how we all would turn out big numbers from our organizations and networks for such an event.  More to come about the October 5 Meeting of the Whole..

Now here’s the urgent request:  Our good friends — and WeROC co-founders — EMU Federation of Teachers needs our help at an especially frustrating point in their many months of bargaining.  At the very time when WeROC is ramping up our narrative about moving toward greater equity across Washtenaw County, EMU’s administration is suddenly digging in on a position that would be another blow not just to employees of the University, but more broadly to the the economy of our County, especially in the eastern part that EMU calls home.
Please read below about the administration’s misplaced priorities and their short-sighted effort to “balance the budget on the backs of the lowest paid teachers.”  Then take 5 minutes to call the offices of the President and the Provost as soon as you can.  Say you’re a taxpayer, and you expect your tax dollars to go toward boosting, not draining, the economy of the communities around EMU — which clearly includes a fair contract for part-time lecturers.
We can all be proud of the work we’ve done to build WeROC to this point.  Now let’s show the EMU administration what community solidarity looks like!
Tad Wysor, Volunteer WeROC Organizer   tadwysor@gmail.com
[From David Hecker, President of AFT of Michigan]
 Support EMU Part-Time Lecturers, Call EMU President and Provost
After six months and more than 120 hours of negotiations, EMU administration’s proposals continue to slash job security for Part Time Lecturers, who teach 45% of the courses, and give clear financial incentives to hire new lecturers over existing PTLs.  Lecturers are represented by the Eastern Michigan Federation of Teachers.
EMU’s lead negotiator insisted that monetarily the proposals are “literally everything we have.” and that they need to “establish an entry level tier that [they] can balance the budget on”.
–      This “entry level tier” is a pay cut of $450 per course taught.
–      This “entry level tier” is below the first bargained rate by EMUFT in 2011.
–      Since 2011, tuition at EMU has increased 37%
–      Only 7% of the tuition revenue generated by a typical class goes towards PTL pay.
President Smith’s bio begins: “President Smith has led an active initial year at Eastern, undertaking many positive strategic initiatives.”
–      Are gutting job security and cutting pay for the lowest paid teachers both positive and strategic initiatives on campus? Call the President at 734-487-2211 and insist that a fair contract for Part Time Lecturers is a positive and strategic initiative on campus! 
Provost Longworth said upon her appointment, “Our committed faculty, staff and leadership team serve and inspire students day in, day out with their dedication and commitment.”
–      Does this explain why we should accept devastating cuts for the lowest paid teachers on campus? Call the Provost at 734-487-3200 and demand her dedication and commitment to Part Time Lecturers through a fair contract!
By the way, head football coach Chris Creighton last month was offered a 2.5% raise every year until 2022, bringing his current base salary to $425,000, and President Jim Smith received a $60,000 raise over his predecessor when he was hired for $400,000 last summer. EMU is trying to balance the budget on the backs of the lowest paid teachers on campus while putting athletics and administration first!

Protest Trump in Ypsilanti

WeROC leaders welcome whoever may be able to show up at this protest at Willow Run Airport tomorrow (Wednesday 3-15). As you may know, the president is coming to town to drop his announcements about his plans for EPA and our climate change programs.
Our friends at Michigan to Believe In have quickly put this together, gotten the Sheriff on board, and are now looking to build the numbers.  Hope you can come.

American Red Cross Opening Two Warming Centers

Posted for those in the WeROC community who may still be without power after this week’s wind storm or otherwise need emergency shelter:

The American Red Cross will be operating two overnight warming centers in Washtenaw County beginning today.
Washtenaw International High School
510 Emerick St, Ypsilanti, MI 48198
Bates Elementary School
2704 Baker Rd, Dexter, MI 48130
Both of these overnight warming centers will open at 6PM this evening
In addition to these warming centers, the Lincoln School district will be operating a temporary warming center at the high school.
Lincoln High School
7425 Willis Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
(Enter through the east entrance by the Main Office)
Open today from 11AM until 9AM Saturday morning
This location will provide a warm space, bathroom facilities, running water, shower facilities, and meals. In partnership with Aramark, free meals will be served to anyone who is at the building during the following times:
Dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. Showers will be available at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. You must bring your own towel and toiletries. In addition, anyone who would like to remain in the building overnight will need to be at LHS by 10:30 p.m. and leave by 9:00 a.m. If you leave the building after 10:30 p.m., you will not be able to re-enter.
• Children must be accompanied by an adult the entire time they are in the building
• No pets
• Red Cross will provide cots & blankets along with basic hygiene items
• Bring your own pillows
Further availability of these locations through the weekend will be determined based on need
Please call 734-971-5300 ext. 213 with any additional questions

International Women’s Day Activities

danGaiMarchFor those who might want to participate, there are activities around the International Women’s Day Strike in Ann Arbor today, March 8 2017:

Rally and March – 5 PM, Liberty Plaza (310 S. Division St), Ann Arbor
Facebook event

Historical background:

The origins of the holiday can be traced back to March 8, 1857, when garment workers in New York City staged a protest against inhumane working conditions and low wages, according to the United Nations. The police attacked the protesters and dispersed them, but the movement continued and led to the creation of the first women’s labor union.

“Fast forward to March 8, 1908: 15,000 women marched in New York City for shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights, and an end to child labor. The slogan “Bread and Roses” emerged, with bread symbolizing economic security and roses for better living standards.

“Many of those who protested for working rights were young immigrants from Europe who came to the United States seeking better opportunities, says Carol Rosenblatt of the Coalition of Labor Union Women.”


Local Solidarity Rallies With Immigrants

Progressives in Southeast Michigan have 3 opportunities today to demonstrate solidarity with immigrants and oppose Trump’s Muslim Ban:

  1. Peaceful Protest Against Immigration Ban (And Everything Else)
    Where: Federal Building, 200 E. Liberty St, Ann Arbor
    When: 12 PM, Sunday Jan 29
    Facebook event
  2. Emergency Protest Hamtramck: We Stand in Solidarity with Muslims
    Where: Hamtramck City Hall, 3401 Evaline Ave, Hamtramck MI 48212
    When: 2 PM, Sunday Jan 29
    Facebook event
  3. DTW: Emergency Protest Against Muslim Ban
    Where: DTW Airport – McNamara Terminal- International Arrivals
    When: 4 PM, Sunday Jan 29
    Facebook event

Last night, unionized taxi drivers with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance used their power in an inspiring demonstration of solidarity with the rally against the Muslim Ban. Labor and faith communities in Southeast Michigan should do the same and stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters.