On this week’s episode, EMU Marching Band selects first Black, Indigenous, and People of Color drum majors to lead season 128, Ypsilanti District Library-Whittaker hosts 'Evicted' exhibit through March, Ypsilanti resident charged with animal cruelty.
I am your host Jacob Walter Kendrick and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.
Starting ff, the Eastern Michigan University Marching Band has selected Amara Booker and Noah Lopez to lead their 128th season as drum majors, becoming the band’s first Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) drum majors.
Drum majors are the leaders of the marching band on and off the field. Their job is to guide the band through the instruction of the band's directors and show the ensemble what qualities they should represent as a part of the band.
Booker, a junior who is double majoring in criminal justice and psychology, is taking the role of Head Drum Major for the Marching Band this season. This will be her fourth season as a part of EMU’s marching band and her seventh season being in a marching band.
Noah Lopez, a junior majoring in music education, is taking the role of Co. Drum Major for the Marching Band this season. This will be his fourth season as a part of EMU’s marching band and his eighth season as a member of a marching band.
The selection process for drum major included a few stages of auditions. Students had to submit an application, hold an interview with the director, and perform a live audition in front of the band.
Booker and Lopez were happy about being chosen for their new positions.
Lopez said in a written statement: “I remember Amara ran up and gave me a huge hug in that moment. I am very grateful to have been chosen.”
Lopez hopes to inspire other Black, Indigenous, and people of color to be band members and to show that anyone can be a drum major.
Lopez continued by saying: “I hope to give drive and inspiration to people of color, that they can be role models and be the face of change. I hope me being chosen as Drum Major will help people see it really doesn’t matter that Amara and I are of a different race than the traditional face of leadership on campus has been, but we are just two people that have a passion for being leaders and playing amazing music with an outstanding band.”
Booker also hopes that she and Lopez can inspire and represent other students of color through their new roles.
Booker said to the Echo: “I know from experience anytime you enter a space and you can look to members of your community that are in leadership positions, it changes your perspective on what you feel you can accomplish in that group or space. We can be that representation for people, so people can know it's not that far out of reach from them.”
Their goals for the upcoming season include wanting to fill the big shoes left for them by the former leadership, giving a sense of community to the band, and wanting people to be excited when they hear the EMU Marching Band.
For more information on the marching band’s plans for the fall, visit their website at www.emumb.org.
Next, The Whittaker branch of the Ypsilanti District Library hosts the 'Evicted' exhibit through March.
Ypsilanti District Library-Whittaker is hosting the “Evicted" exhibit through March 31 to spread awareness about the under-representation of evictions across the U.S.
Julianne Smith, the assistant director of YDL said to the Echo: “The ‘Evicted' exhibit is really based on the recession in 2008–2009. Visitors should be prepared to experience how eviction affects all of us. It brings home the fact that housing insecurity is a national issue, and the repercussions go throughout the community; it's just not individual people.”
"Evicted" showcases how evictions throughout the country have deeply impacted communities, notably Black women, and is a cause of poverty. The exhibit highlights personalized data from Matthew Desmond’s book by the same name and confronts the preconceptions of eviction.
Matthew Desmond’s book, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” is a significant work of inspiration for the exhibit. Elements from the book are showcased throughout the exhibit, reflecting eviction rates throughout the United States.
The exhibit consists of four houses, and the first house has audio and video of people talking about eviction-related stories. The second house highlights the different populations affected by evictions, and the third goes through eviction proceedings in court. The final house shows what happens during an eviction, including belongings being placed on the street.
“Evicted is sponsored by the National Building Museum in Washington DC, and it's based on Matthew Desmond’s book of the same theme and what he discovered; eviction is really a cause of poverty,“ Smith said. “It's very powerful, and it's very sad.”
Smith said the exhibit is meant to inspire its visitors and empower them to create change in their community.
Assistant Director Julianne Smith continued to the Echo: “There are some dangerous preconceived notions that people who are evicted are not working by choice or they're too lazy, or they don't pay their rent, and that's very rare. I want people to look at the back end of eviction and see this is a societal problem. It humanizes people who have been through eviction and helps people understand that many of the problems related are the results of poverty, not its cause. I think the alarming trends surrounding eviction such as the disproportionate number of Black women who are victims and how landlords have representation and the tenants don't warrant further discussion.”
Smith continued by saying: “The library just doesn't put exhibits up because they're interesting; the point of them is to continually deepen the dialogue to humanize situations, to be one of the institutions in the community that is here to help. Ultimately, when people attend our programs and exhibits, we always want them to affect change, so when you leave, we want you to feel empowered to make you want to do something whether it's in your life or somebody else's; it's to provide positive momentum, and we always hope that happens.”
For more information about the ‘Evicted’ exhibit, visit ypsilibrary.org.
Lastly, an Ypsilanti resident was charged with animal cruelty.
An Ypsilanti man is expected to be arraigned on animal cruelty charges Wednesday, March 16, for allegedly leaving his dog tied to a door with no food or water in August 2021.
George Clark was charged with abandonment/cruelty to an animal after Animal Cruelty Investigators from the Humane Society of Huron Valley reportedly found the dog in an apartment with feces, urine, and garbage following reports from concerned citizens.
Complaintants reported that Clark denied their offers to feed or take care of the dog, and that the dog was being punished for making a mess.
The Humane Society of Huron Valley seized the dog, an approximately 1-year-old black lab mix. The dog was reported to have visible ribs, protruding hip bones, an open wound near its tail, eye discharge, and muscular atrophy, according to the Humane Society of Huron Valley or HSHV.
After two months in HSHV’s care, the dog was adopted.
Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s CEO, said in a written statement: “We’re happy this had a good ending for the dog, but it could very easily have gone a different direction if people hadn’t stepped in when they did. Please remember how important your voice is for animals; they rely on our protection and need caring people willing to speak up for them.”
Washtenaw County residents can report suspected animal cruelty or neglect to the Humane Society of Huron Valley hotline at 734-661-3512 or by reporting it online.
Tanya Hilgendorf continued by saying: “It’s also important to remember that having a pet is a huge responsibility. They offer us so much love and companionship, but it takes time, money, patience, and understanding to humanely care for another life. Please don’t get an animal companion if you are not in a situation that enables you to provide a loving home.”
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode of the Eastern Echo News Podcast.
Reported: Meghan Forystek, Tori Walz, Marie White
Scripted: Tre Briscoe
Produced: Tre Briscoe
Host: Jacob Kendrick