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Podcast: March 3, 2021

EMU hosts several events to commemorate Black History Month, Student Government accepts a new senator application and vetoes Resolution 107-05, and Ypsi Studio closes after sixteen years.

Liz Hornyak: On this week’s episode, The Journal of Narrative Theory hosts a competition to cultivate the culture of Detroit, EMU welcomes LaTosha Brown to be the keynote speaker for the university’s Black History Month Celebration, Eastern Michigan University’s Department of Africology and African American Studies hosts a virtual event called “The State of Civil Rights in America:What Does the Future Portend?” in honor of Black History Month, and EMU’s Student Government accepts a new senator application and decides on Resolution 107-05. In community news, the University of Michigan held a virtual town hall to discuss COVID-19 and the African American community, and Ypsi Studio closes after sixteen years. I am your host Liz Hornyak and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.

On March 18, The Journal of Narrative Theory (JNT), run by EMU’s Department of English, will host their 2021 dialogue event, “Detroit as a Narrative Space.” Established in 1971, JNT is an international journal that publishes three times a year and emphasises theoretical essays and discussing history. 

Prior to the event, JNT hosted a flash nonfiction writing competition for people who live and work in Detroit. Dr. Christine Neufeld, JNT editor and professor at EMU, had this to say about the event.

Neufeld: This year we decided that we wanted to have the dialogue focus on Detroit as a space where people are telling stories and where telling stories is really important. Also thinking about community values that are important and activism. In order to have this event we wanted to do something special and make it about more than people from EMU coming and talking.

So we thought this is the best time to think about what storytelling is doing because so much is going on in Detroit. So we thought, what if we have Detroiters come and talk about their stories?

Hornyak: The winner of this contest will be announced during the virtual event on March 18, will receive a cash prize, and will be featured on JNT’s website and social media. The keynote speakers for this event will be Desiree Cooper and Kim D. Hunter, who are both Detroit-based authors. 

To register for this event you can go to the link on our website.

In honor of Black History Month, EMU’s Department of Africology and African American Studies held a virtual event on Feb. 18, entitled “The State of Civil Rights in America: What Does the Future Portend?” The keynote speaker for this event was Mark Fancher, who is an attorney for the Racial Justice Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. During his speech, Fancher discussed the abolition of slavery, Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights Movement, as well as his personal experinces of being a black man in America. At the end of the event there was a Q&A session and, Dr. Okafor, who is the head of the Africology Department, discussed the programs that are available to students. To see what programs are available you can go to www.emich.edu/aaas/programs

On Feb. 24, Campus Life and The Center of Race and Ethnicity welcomed Latosha Brown as the keynote speaker for the university’s Black History Month Celebration, “The Founders of a New America.” 

Brown is the cofounder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, the founding project director of Grantmakers for Southern Progress, and a founding member of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health. Brown’s speech was entitled: ”Who will Save American Democracy? The Role of Women, Young Voters, and People of Color in American Politics.” Her speech focused on vision, voice, and victory.

Lastly in university news, Eastern Michigan University's Student Government met on Feb. 23 at 6:30. During this meeting, Jessi Kwek’s senator application was approved. As a senator, Kwek hopes to create a meal plan sharing program. This program will allow students to donate leftover swipes to students who experience food insecurity. 

After much deliberation, Student Government opted to veto Resolution 107-05, which would have gotten rid of parliamentarians’ right to vote. 

As of now there are sixteen senators. If you are interested in applying, the deadline is March 8, and the application can be found at www.emusg.com The next Student Government meeting is on March 9, at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

In community news, local fitness center Ypsi Studio has closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. For sixteen years, Ypsi Studio offered numerous services, including personal training and group classes for yoga and indoor cycling. Julia Collins, owner of the studio, shared her experience teaching classes in the space.

Collins: I saw the growing community. I saw a real need in Ypsilanti for a boutique fitness studio. There were lots of big gyms around but there wasn’t any place that was small and the classes were manageable; the teachers could see all of the participants to ensure they were learning something and doing well in class.

And the smallness really pushed that intimacy. I can’t even tell you how many people became friends just from going to the studio together. It was great.

Hornyak: Even though the physical location is closed, Collins will offer classes and  group sessions via Zoom. For more information on Ypsi Studio’s virtual classes you can go to Julia Collins’s twitter @ypsistudio.

On Jan. 16, the University of Michigan held a virtual town hall to discuss COVID-19 and the African American community. This event had three panelists, Bishop Harry S. Grayson, Kiela Samuels, and Jessie Kimbrough. 

Bishop Grayson, who is the pastor of Messisa Temple Church, talked about his personal experience with being diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Samuels, the Clinical Pharmacist for the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, discussed the coronavirus vaccine and possible side effects, and how she received the vaccine herself on Jan. 4.

Kimbrough, the adjunct professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine, discussed COVID and racial disparities. 

For more information about this event you can go Michigan Medicine | University of Michigan

As always thank you for listening, and we hope you have a restful wellness week. This episode was reported by Emily Bernabe, Catherine Lietz, Bianca Ramsey,and Emma Henri, scripted by Jasmine Boyd, and produced by Ashlee Buhler and Ethan Myers. I am your host Liz Hornyak and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.