End America’s Culture of Violence: A 2016 Freedom Tour youth’s statement on police brutality and violence

July 4, 1776, The United States of America declared its independence from the British Empire. Americans would come to celebrate this day as an ancestral symbol of freedom, as a metaphorical breaking of chains of which only a tyrannical oppressor held the key. Some Americans would not feel as lucky.

Snatched from their land, battered and enslaved, many blacks in America would argue that their chains have never been broken, just disguised. When the black man’s chains were taken from his ankles, a noose was thrown over his head. When the rope around his neck was cut, cuffs were wrapped around his wrists. When the cuffs were unlocked, he threw his arms up to rejoice, and felt bullets pierce his flesh.

Within two days of the Fourth of July this year, two black men were shot and killed by police. On July 5th, Alton Sterling was shot in his chest outside of a convenience store, and on July 6th, Philando Castile was shot multiple times in his arm during a routine traffic stop. Both situations were recorded and put on social media, where horrified people once again started the all too familiar conversation on police brutality, especially against black men in America.

Black Lives Matter is an organization dedicated to ending unfair treatment against black people, especially in the criminal justice system. Data shows that black men experience more incidences of police brutality and profiling than anyone else in the United States.

Black Lives Matter’s cause becomes especially prevalent in situations like these, when black men and women are left to wonder why a white man with a gun is so much less dangerous, less threatening, and easier to disarm than a black man with a gun.

Black men and women are left to wonder why a white man with a gun is exercising his rights, but a black man with a gun is a criminal.

Black men and women are left to wonder why a white man with a gun is left breathing, but a black man with a gun is left gasping for air, bleeding to death from a gunshot wound.

It has become more important than ever that people acknowledge the obvious flaws in the justice system as well as the existence of systematic oppression in America’s other institutions.

It is in the best interest of all that no more lives are senselessly lost due to violent retaliations. The shooting of officers in Dallas was an event that should have never occurred.

The goal should never be to end the lives of those oppressing you, but to come together and work toward ending the unfairness of the system and establishing proper punishment for officers who continue to exhibit unfair behavior.

It is the hope of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights that the citizens of America will properly come together to end our culture of violence, and create one of peace.

-Maiya Felan

Michigan Coalition for Human Rights

Age 16

Salem High School

Note on Author:

maiya

In June of this year, Maiya participated in the 2016 Freedom Tour sponsored by the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. The 10-day trip took 25 high schools students and mentors to the Deep South to experience first-hand the history of the civil rights movement with stops at multiple museums, monuments and landmarks.

Meet Jim Wallis, Bestselling Author and Activist

wallisMeet Jim Wallis, Bestselling Author and Activist

Sunday, September 1th at 4 pm

Gesu Church- 17180 Oak Drive at McNichols, Detroit

 

Cosponsors: Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Gesu Peace and Justice, Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance, Macomb Interfaith Center for Racial Justice, NAACP, IHM Sisters, Swords Into Plowshares Gallery, Pax Christi MI, Peace Action of MI, Citizens for Peace, Presbytery of Detroit, St Peter’s Episcopal Church, Fellowship Chapel.

#MCHRFreedomTour2016 Sing-a-long Fundraiser: Songs of the Movement With Matt Watroba

Join us for a singalong fundraiser with Matt Watroba supporting the #MCHRFreedomTour2016 on Thursday, June 9th, 2016 at 7pm:

Swords Into Plowshares Gallery, 33 E. Adams Detroit, MI

Donation of $20 to help cover the cost of 2016 Freedom Tour

Light Refreshments Included

50/50 raffle to also support the Freedom Tour

Free parking in rear. Entrance through parking lot only.

Matt Watroba is first and foremost a community singer. He has the knack for picking the perfect songs and stories for the audience in front of him. In concert, at a festival, in a library, in a school, or in the park, you can count on a performance that will get you singing, make you laugh, and leave you feeling a little bit better about the world we live in.

Matt brings his Songs of the Movement event to support MCHR as we organize a Freedom Tour; a bus full of high school students who will walk in the footsteps of the Freedom Riders of the 1960’s. Come support the Tour and sing with Matt!

If you can’t attend the event, DONATE HERE 🙂

MCHR Annual Meeting- June 16

The public is invited to sit in on MCHR’s Annual Meeting on June 16th at 7 pm at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Activity Center (13500 Oak Park Blvd, Oak Park).

Board elections will take place at 7 pm (only paid members can vote) and our annual report will follow at 7:30. After the report, join us for a talk by MCHR board member Abayomi Azikiwe on “What Role Should the Movements For Peace, Racial Equality and Economic Justice Have in the 2016 Elections?”  Respondees will be MCHR board member Kezia Curtis and her father, artist and activist Wayne Curtis. You need not be a member to attend the talk. 

Light refreshments. Donations accepted.

“This Changes Everything” film screening at DIA- May 26

MCHR is proud to co-sponsor a screening of the film This Changes Everything at the Detroit Film Theatre at the DIA (5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit 48202) on Thursday May 26.

Doors open/networking at 6pm

Film at 7pm

Filmed in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change. Directed by Avi Lewis and inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller This Changes Everything, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.Interwoven with these stories  is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.
Free to the public.

2016 Spring Film Series

MCHR 2016 Spring Film Series

Tuesdays in April – May 2016 – 7pm

First two films are at 7pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church- 11 Mile and Woodward, parking in rear off 11 Mile.

April 12th
Inside Assad’s Syria” is the most current film on Syria available. Correspondent Martin Smith goes inside Syria to report from government-controlled areas as war rages. With on-the-ground reporting and firsthand accounts from Syrians caught in the crisis, the film shines new light on the ongoing conflict. Facilitator will be Saeed A. Khan – Lecturer, Department of Classical & Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures Wayne State University

April 19th
“Disruption: Climate Change” ‘When it comes to climate change, why do we do so little when we know so much?’ Through a relentless investigation to find the answer, Disruption takes an unflinching look at the devastating consequences of our inaction. Facilitator will be Gloria Lowe, CEO-Founder of We Want Green, Too!

May 3rd
Moyers and Company, “The Fight – and the Right- To Vote” In this edition of Moyers & Company, Bill speaks with Sherrilyn Iffill of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Ari Berman, contributing writer for The Nation magazine, about Texas’ harsh voter ID law and the troubling issue of voter suppression. This is happening in states all over the country. Our facilitator will bring us up to date and discuss what needs to be done this election cycle.

 

Last two films at new location– St. Matthew / St. Joseph Episcopal Church, 8859 Woodward, Detroit 48202 – South of Holcomb, guarded parking adjacent.

April 26th
“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” More than 40 years after the Black Panther Party was founded, the group and its leadership remain powerful and enduring images in our popular imagination. This will weave together the voices
of those who lived this story — police informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, those who remained loyal to the party, and those who left it. Facilitator will be Gloria House – Professor of Humanities and African American Studies and Director of the African and African American Studies Program University of Michigan-Dearborn.

 

2016 Freedom Tour Poster Contest Results are in!

This year, MCHR opened a poster contest to young people across the state of Michigan to help promote our #MCHRFreedomTour2016. We received a ton of great revolutionary art from talented local young artists!

A panel of local artists, activists, and journalists judged the young revolutionary posters

 

MCHR is proud to announce the winners of the #MCHRFreedomTour2016 poster contest! The winners were awarded checks at our 36th Annual Dinner.

1st Place: Gregory Rochon Age 16 Eastpointe, MI $1000 winner

1st Place:
Gregory Rochon
Age 16
Eastpointe, MI
$1000 winner

2nd Place Theresa Zettner Age 24 Detroit, MI $500 winner

2nd Place:
Theresa Zettner
Age 24
Detroit, MI
$500 winner

3rd Place: Victoria Bayagich Age 22 Detroit, MI

3rd Place:
Victoria Bayagich
Age 22
Detroit, MI
$100 winner

Thanks to everyone who entered our poster contest and helped make it a success! There were lots of great entries (I’m glad I wasn’t a judge).

2016 Annual Dinner

NOTE: To purchase dinner tickets, program ads, or donate to be a sponsor of our Freedom Tour, please use our PayPal donate button on the left side of our Annual Dinner page. The button is labeled “Make a Donation” and is in the left sidebar of that page under the heading “DONATE”. Simply type a description of the item you are purchasing (eg: “Full page ad” or “table of 8, dinner and reception”) and enter the price and your credit card info. Thank you for helping support our 2016 Freedom Tour and advance the cause of justice locally and worldwide!

MCHR proudly extends an invitation to all for our 36th Annual Dinner on Sunday, April 3 at the gorgeous campus of Marygrove College in Detroit (8425 W. McNichols- east of Wyoming)! The reception starts at 4 pm and the dinner and program start at 5 pm.

This gathering represents a celebration of work throughout the year designed to implement the aims and objectives of this organization.

At this year’s Annual Dinner the keynote speaker is Vince Warren, the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). Mr. Warren’s speech is entitled “Emergency Managers, Structural Racism, Economic Repression and the Fight for Democracy”.

The winners of our 2016 Freedom Tour Poster Contest will also be announced at the dinner and the entries will be proudly displayed.

At our Annual Dinner, we reflect on the social justice events that transpired in the last year and recognize and thank those social justice leaders who have made a difference as we work towards a peaceful world without poverty and committed to environmental stewardship. Our honorees this year are:

            Lifetime Achievement Award- Dean Robb

            Activist Organization Award- Rosa Parks Institute

            Media Activist Award- Kate Levy

            Human Rights Activist Award- Charity Hicks (Posthumously)

 

The focus of our dinner will be our upcoming 2016 Freedom Tour, a 10 day inspirational and educational journey with 25 high school students from across Michigan and 10 adult mentors. Our group leaves via bus on June 19 and returns home on June 29. We will be visiting historic sites from the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

MCHR needs YOUR help to get kids on the bus! Can your organization, house of worship, or neighborhood sponsor a young person on the trip?

Make a secure and easy payment using our PayPal right now and help pass the torch of justice to the next generation.

MCHR Freedom Tour Sponsorship Levels:

Champion of Justice: A pledge of $10,000 or more for which the sponsor will receive 2 tables of 8 at Annual Diner; 16 reception admissions; full-page, inside cover, color program ad., and prominent recognition at event and on website.

Beacon of Freedom: A pledge of $5,000 to $9,999 for which the sponsor will receive 2 tables of 8 at Annual Dinner; 16 reception admissions; full-page program ad; prominent recognition at event and on website.

Torch Bearer: A pledge of $3,000 to $4,999 for which the sponsor will receive a table of 8 at Annual Dinner; 8 reception admissions; full-page program ad; prominent recognition at event and on website.

Legacy Builder: A pledge of $1,500 to $2,999 for which the sponsor will receive a table of 8 at Annual Dinner; 8 reception admissions; half-page program ad.

Trail Blazer: A pledge of $250 to $1,499 for which the sponsor will receive 2 Annual Dinner tickets with 2 reception admissions; recognition in program book.

Securely and easily purchase tickets on our PayPal (using the Make a Donation button at the top left sidebar of the page):

If you require a vegetarian meal, please indicate so in the purchase notes.

Reception only: $60

Dinner only: $60

Dinner & Reception $100

Table of 8 for Dinner $450

Table of 8 for Dinner & Reception $650

Securely and easily purchase Annual Dinner program ads via our PayPal:

Full page (7½” w x 10” h) $400.00

Half page (7½“ w x 4⅞” h) $250.00

Quarter page (3⅝” w 4⅞” h or 7 ½ “ w x 2 ¾” h) $150.00

Business card (3⅝” w x 2⅜” h) $80.00

Include all support graphics, fonts and photos. Ads must be paid in full by March 14th to be included.

Digital files – Ads ONLY in: PDF, EPS, TIF, JPEG, Photoshop, Microsoft Word.

Please E-mail electronic ad files to mchrdinner2016@gmail.com by March 14th.

2016 Freedom Tour Poster Contest Rules

Michigan Coalition for Human Rights
2016 Freedom Tour Poster Contest

Printable flyer (in Word doc format with clickable links)

Official Rules

______________________________________________

1. Basic Information

Eligibility

The contest is open to all Michigan residents aged 15-25.

No shared work or entries are allowed.

Entry Limit

One poster per student.

Entry Deadline

Sunday, March 20, 2016 is the submission deadline. Entries must be postmarked by this date.

Address for Poster Submission

Entries must be submitted to:

MCHR Freedom Tour Poster Contest, 117 West 4th Street,

Suite 200, Royal Oak, Mich. 48067

Digital submissions are also acceptable and should be emailed to “support@mchr.org” with the subject line “Submission for MCHR poster contest”.

Back of Poster Must Include the Following Information (if  submitting a digital file, this information should be included in the submission email):

-Student Name

-Student Age

-Student Address (home and e-mail)

-Student Phone Number and/or E-mail Address

-Student School

Awards

A $1,000 first prize and a $500 second prize will be presented for the selected poster designs. The winners will be announced in early-mid April 2016 (date TBA).

2. Poster Requirements

Theme/Message

Posters must have a theme or message representing civil rights and/or the civil rights movement, the history, places and monuments of the civil rights movement and/or the meaning and importance of the 2016 Freedom Tour. (See “What is the 2016 Freedom Tour?”) All subject matter must be in good taste.

Copy

There is no word limit, but submitted posters must include, at minimum, the following copy/words:

– “2016 Freedom Tour”

– “June 19-29, 2016”

– “Civil Rights”

– “Michigan Coalition for Human Rights”

A credit line on front of poster with student’s name will be allowed.

Size

Poster must measure approximately 18”x 24.”

Poster presentations can be horizontal or vertical.

Poster must be mounted on matte board. (or foam core, etc.)

Digital submissions must also conform to these same size specifications.

Media

Any mixed media suitable for print reproduction as a poster is allowed, including

computer-generated graphics.

All artwork must be camera-ready.

Posters must be two-dimensional.

All posters must be original art.

Digital submissions must be print-ready (proper resolution) and must also follow all of the above requirements.

3. Rights

All entries become the property of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. Except as used by the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, all artists, including contest winners, will retain the rights to their work. Entry in the contest constitutes full permission to publish the name and photo of the winner and reproduce and sell copies of the poster without further compensation. The determination of eligibility of entries and any interpretation of these rules is at the sole discretion of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights and shall be final and binding upon all entrants.

By participating, the entrant agrees to abide by and be bound by these rules.

For additional information on poster contest, send e-mail to support@mchr.org.

#                 #                 #

Additional Information on 2016 Freedom Tour and U.S. Civil Rights Movement

What is the 2016 Freedom Tour?

The 2016 Freedom Tour is a ten-day educational trip (June 19-29, 2016) for Michigan high school students to learn and experience the history of the U.S. civil rights movement.  It will also enable students to become knowledgeable and deeply engaged with the civil rights movement and its rich history – and what it means for them, their peers, and their communities today.

The bus tour will take students from Michigan to the states where much of the country’s civil rights history was made, including Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The 2016 Freedom Tour will visit multiple cities and sites, including:

*The King Center & Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

*Rosa Parks Center, Southern Poverty Law Center & Viola Liuzzo Memorial in Montgomery and Lowndes County, Alabama.

*Edmund Pettus Bridge & National Voting Rights Museum & Institute in Selma, Alabama.

*Tougaloo College & Medgar Evers House & Museum in Tougaloo and Jackson, Mississippi.

*National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

*Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center in Henning, Tennessee.

Media Coverage of 2013 Freedom Tour

*“Trip to Selma Connected Local Students to Civil Rights” from Detroit Free Press.

*“Michigan Youths Follow Freedom Riders’ Civil Rights Journey” from Toledo Blade.

*“Local Attorney Leads Local Teens on Freedom Tour of South” from Legal News.

Additional Information on U.S. Civil Rights Movement

*American Civil Rights Movement

*“The Abolitionists” online video from PBS’ American Experience

*“Freedom Summer” online video from PBS’ American Experience

*Civil Rights Movement at History.com/History Channel

*Honoring Detroit’s Revolutionary Civil Rights Fighter from Detroit Free Press

Downloadable resources:

Printable flyer (in Word doc format with clickable links)