Tag Archives: Michigan

My Impromptu M.L. King Day Moment

Posing for a picture with Yolanda King while getting her autograph in January 1991 in Flint, Michigan.

Yesterday was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.  I would say that I am a day late with this blog post but I won’t.  I attended Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Flint, Michigan.  Therefore, EVERYDAY is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Me.

I entered every essay contest I found about in grades K-12.  I won a couple of them.  I was even asked to read one of my essays during the Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration at my school in 6th grade.  I have never been camera-shy.  So speaking in front of the standing room only audience in the school’s gymnasium didn’t bother me one bit.

The best moment over the years was meeting Dr. King’s daughter, Yolanda.  She delivered the keynote address at a luncheon at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan in January 1991.  Yolanda King’s voice was loud, powerful, and soulful.

Lunch took place immediately after.  My mother and I were very excited to have sat at the same  table as Yolanda during lunch.  Yolanda had such a beautiful smile and talked to everyone seated at the table while we were eating.

When I told Yolanda my name (La Cracha pronounced Lacrisha), she smiled and said my name was beautiful.  She also told me how pretty I was.  After I thanked her, I turned and looked at my mother who was standing right behind me.  Her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.  I am sure mine did the same!

To be honest, I wasn’t going to post anything about M.L. King Day.  I was looking through some old pictures a few hours ago and came across the one above.  Besides my mother and siblings, no one else has seen this picture.  Until now.

Yolanda King transitioned into Heaven, but she will always be one of the greatest women I have ever met.

If I Can Then You Can

I went canvassing after I voted this morning.  I am a volunteer with the Michigan Democratic Party.  It was cold, windy, and raining.  Ponchos and hand warmers were provided for canvassers.

There is no excuse if you didn’t vote in the Midterm Elections 2018 today.  Especially Michigan.  If I can walk door-to-door in the rain, then you can get out and vote.

In case you’re wondering, yes I am holding a Deadpool umbrella.  Comic book nerds vote too, you know.

Michiganders: It’s Time to GOTV

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This is one of my NO BARS HOLD post.

Midterm Election 2018 is Tuesday, November 6.  If you live in Michigan, then you know how important it is to vote.  Michigan is a swing state, and it is time for us to turn it BLUE.

In order to end this swing state nonsense, we have to GOTV (Get Out The Vote).  The House, Senate, and Governor all need to be flipped.

We need to put people in office that are for Michiganders.  Someone that cares about:

  • Putting Michiganders first, and not their wealthy friends and special interest groups
  • Healthcare
  • Clean drinking water
  • The elderly
  • Public education (especially K-12 including special needs students)
  • Special needs community
  • Protecting our Great Lakes
  • Fixing the “damn roads”

I could go on.  But you get the picture.  Actually you should already know this.  So I am writing this blog post as a reminder.

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.

  1. Expect long lines at the polls on Tuesday.  This might be a historic election.  I am predicting a larger turnout than both of President Obama’s elections (2008, 2012).  However, experts are predicting what could be the largest voter turnout in 50 years.
  2. Donald Trump’s rhetoric has his followers thinking they can say whatever the hell they want to say to folks.  This shit doesn’t just happen in other states.  It happened right here in Michigan a few days ago.  My friend was talking to her young son in her language as they sat in a restaurant.  Some random man stared at her.  She ignored him.  He stood up and called her a stupid camel jockey and stupid sand nigger.  She continued to ignore him.  Then he called her a dumb camel jockey, and told her to go to her country.  The hate is real, y’all.  The hate….is….real.
  3. Voter suppression.  There will be NO straight-ticket voting for the first time in 127 years.  No more filling in the Democratic or Republic bubble.  We now have to fill in individual bubbles next to the candidates names.  They tried to ban it for the August primary election but was unsuccessful.  This is definitely voter suppression.  A way to discourage people from voting.  The lines are going to be extremely long and slow because a lot of people don’t understand how to read the ballot.  I have never had a problem reading the ballot.  I am a speed reader and I catch on easily.  So the language on the ballot is nothing to me.  Although this crazy ban on straight-ticket voting is going to frustrate a lot of voters, I sure hope they are able to complete it with no errors.
  4. Voter registration card is not required to vote.  All you need to know is your polling location and precinct number.  Live in Michigan and don’t know where to report on Election Day?  No problem.  You can find your voting location, precinct, and a sample ballot here.
  5. Photo ID is not required to vote.  You will be required to sign an affidavit (statement saying you are who you say you are).
  6. The League of Women Voters of Michigan published a 2018 Nonpartisan Voter Guide.  There is a form on the back page that you can complete, clip, and take with you to vote.  You will not forget who to vote for this way.
  7. Let me know if you need a ride to the polls.  I don’t care if you live in the Upper Peninsula.  I will be more than happy to make that 6 hour drive to beautiful northern Michigan and take you.

Michiganders, I cannot stress enough how crucial it is vote this Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

Every election is important.  Primary.  Midterm.  Presidential.  But Midterm Election 2018 is serious business.  We have the chance to make history.

The upcoming election is so important to me that I signed up to volunteer with the Michigan Democratic Party.

I went canvassing yesterday.  I knocked on doors and spoke to a lot of people.

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I also plan to canvass, work the phone bank, or whatever is needed as soon as my children leave for school on Tuesday.

As I step down from my soapbox I would like to leave you with this.

It is time for a change.  There is massive chaos in our country.  There is chaos in our great state of Michigan also.  We need to elect those who will fight for us.  Don’t just vote in Presidential elections.  Vote in the primaries and midterms as well.

If you DON’T VOTE then you DON’T have a right to COMPLAIN.

If you live in Michigan, then it is time to GOTV.  It is time to turn our state BLUE.  So get up, get out, and VOTE.

Pontiac Silverdome Implosion: No Collapse but Still Fun

My oldest child fell asleep before 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night.  He is 15 years-old and it is rare for him to go to bed that early, even on a school night.

My youngest is 11 years-old and he fell asleep before 9 p.m.  My son is fighting osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and was discharged from the hospital Friday afternoon after a week long stay there.  But he wanted in on the action like his big brother.

Yes I am referring to the Pontiac Silverdome Implosion that took place on Sunday, December 3rd in Pontiac, Michigan.  I woke up at 5:30 a.m., got my sons and myself ready, and made the 45 minute road trip to Pontiac to join others in that historic moment.

Selfie taken in Pontiac, Michigan on December 3, 2017. The Pontiac Silverdome is in the background.

There was a designated parking and viewing area for the public so we left home extra early to ensure that we got a parking spot.  Excellent crowd control and there was even free coffee and donuts.

Leaving the boys in my vehicle at first (the youngest stayed inside my SUV the entire time to stay warm and recuperate), I got out to walk around and check out the environment.  It was as if we were at a funeral.  Some people (individuals and families) walked around and socialized with one another.  Others stood and stared at the Silverdome in silence.  There were times when there was complete silence because everyone was staring at the Pontiac Silverdome for the last time.

No one seemed to mind the 34 degree temperature with a wind chill of 28.  That is because we are Michiganders.  We are used to cold weather.

I found a great spot for viewing and tears immediately flowed from my eyes.  My surrounding was peaceful.  All I could hear were footsteps of others walking up to pay their last respects to the former home of the Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons, and a venue for countless other events.

It was nice to hear stories of who attended the Lions and Pistons games.  Others talked about concerts they attended.  Of course I had to share my story of when my sister and I attended the Jackson Victory Tour in 1984.  She was 14 and I was 12.  I did away with the jheri curl decades ago, but that sequin glove I wore to the concert is still packed away somewhere at my mother’s home.

As expected there was a huge turnout for the implosion of the Pontiac Silverdome.  Not everyone was able to fit into the designated parking lot.  Traffic became backed up on the expressway.  As a matter of fact, traffic literally stopped.  People got out of their vehicles and watched from the expressway.  Like I said, it was as if we were at a funeral.  It was a very emotional moment.

I did not record the first few seconds of the implosion because the blast from the explosives startled me.

Pontiac Silverdome one minute before implosion.
Pontiac Silverdome seconds after explosives were detonated.

The explosives failed to implode the Silverdome on Sunday.  Everyone stood and waited in silence for it to collapse (my tears were flowing heavily) but it wasn’t ready to be taken out just yet!

Although the Silverdome didn’t collapse, my sons and I still had a great time and I am sure everyone else had fun as well.  A man tossed a Nerf football back and forth to his young sons.  I saw a few drones flying around.  News helicopters circled overhead and came to a standstill minutes before implosion.

However there is always that ONE person that has to be a standout.  The guy I parked next to started talking to me before I even turned my engine off.  He said he was trying to get famous and wanted his 15 minutes of fame.  He said he was going to let the top of his truck down, climb up his ladder, and hold up a sign he made.

AND HE DID.

He told me a chilling story about something he and his friend saw when he was 15 years-old.  The story is too long to type in this blog post, but he said they saw a hand sticking out of a box.  They believe Jimmy Hoffa was in it.

I don’t know if that story was true or not, but he said that is the same story he’s been telling for years and it never changes.  A lot of people stopped and took pictures of that man and his sign.  Some of them even took selfies (I also took one) in front of him.  At times he even had a small gathering at his truck.  They were old schoolers like myself and I joined in on a couple of the discussions.  He held that sign up in the air the entire time.  Maybe his Jimmy Hoffa story is true, maybe it’s not.  But it was a heck of a story and generated a lot of talk.

The Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan was successfully imploded the next day.  I was okay with it because I had bid my farewell the day before, on its’ original implosion date.

Once Again Michigan Uses Voter Suppression Tactics

I stood in line a little over an hour to vote in yesterday’s Presidential Election 2016, and I can honestly tell you that voter suppression tactics in the battleground state of Michigan was in full force.  The powers that be worked their magic to try to discourage Michigan residents from voting.

Crowded polling sites.  There are four precincts at my polling site.  I vote at a church of a nice size but it is not large enough to hold a crowd we all know and expect on Election Day.  Some stood in line for a long time before realizing they were actually in the wrong line.  It was very crowded, and not only did voters threaten to leave, some actually left.  I am sure there was a poll supervisor somewhere in the mix, but said person was in dire need of assistance with crowd control.

It was so catastrophic at my polling site that I would have about-faced with a quickness,  and went home had I not been the strong person that I am.  I walked inside and had to ask several people whose line they were standing in just to find the line for my precinct.  There is no such thing as a straight line, by the way.  They all wrap around here, there, and everywhere.

Additional polling sites need to be put in place because it is ridiculous to have that many precincts in one room.  Did I mention that some sites has 5 precincts?

Some of the schools were closed yesterday, others remained open.  I am referring to schools that serve as polling sites.  I feel that all schools should be closed on Election Day and be used as polling sites.  The middle school and high school in my district both have two gyms.  Those are excellent polling sites.

By the way, schools that are polling sites and remain open on Election Day is dangerous, a safety issue.  You have hundreds, if not thousands, of strangers entering in and out of schools to vote.  But if I want to drop my kids lunch off at school on a random school day, I have to get buzzed in.

Not enough polling stations.  I noticed over the past few elections that my precinct always have the longest line on Election Day.  So it is upsetting to see that there were only seven polling stations per precinct.  I am sure you are wondering how I know all of this if the place was crowded.  Well that’s easy, I am an observant person.  Anyway, one of the election workers set up an additional polling station while I was in line.  Voters received their ballots and walked right past it because there was not a light attached to it.  It would have been difficult to read the ballot in the dimly lit room.

Older workers.  The poll workers are usually old.  Those lines moved so slow yesterday because all the workers were elderly, especially at my precinct.  It took the lady nearly forever to tear the bottom portion of the ballot off and you could hear voters sigh loudly.  My precinct always has the longest line so I knew in advance what I was in for when I saw the workers were all old.

One thing I was thankful for is the worker that greeted voters at the door.  He yelled out that you could just go over to your precinct if you already knew it.  He also handed out voter applications.  Receiving that application was a great time saver because it was already filled out by the time you got to the table.

Broken ballot machines.  The machines that you feed your ballot into kept breaking down at some polling sites.  Voters didn’t have a long wait time to vote, but they waited nearly an hour for the machine to accept their ballots after several tries.

No early voting.  I know a lady whose work shift begins at 8:00 a.m.  She showed up at her polling site when it opened at 7.  The line was moving slow and she was not allowed to move ahead.  She ended up leaving without voting so she wouldn’t be late for work.  There are a lot of registered voters that are unable to vote because their jobs are a good distance from their homes.  They drive at least an hour one-way to and from work.

Michigan does not offer early voting.  We have absentee voting but there are strict requirements.

I was voter #179 at precinct 7 in Flint Township, Michigan yesterday.  Michigan really needs to make the voting process easier to encourage registered Michigan voters to get out and vote instead of discouraging them.

But then again, Michigan is a battleground state.  Battleground means a place or situation of conflict.  I love challenges which explains why I love my battleground state of Michigan,  and I am always ready to tackle its’ wild and crazy voter suppression tactics.

 

Really?

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WHAT?  REALLY?  That was all I could say as I drove past the above sign, located at an apartment complex in Flint Township, Michigan, a suburban area located just outside the city of Flint.  I am a resident of Flint Township and I found the sign to be of poor taste, as if the city is under quarantine.

The apartment complex is located near the high school and across the street from a prominent subdivision.  The sign is huge, an eyesore.  Flint Township is an area of demand, so there is no need for this type of gimmick.

But I blame the media for the Flint water crisis hype.  People are not understanding what is really going on.  Yes the city of Flint, Michigan stopped using Detroit’s water and switched to the Flint River.  But lead is not in the water.  It is in the infrastructure, and the city failed to properly filter the water from the river.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, every residence in the city does not have brown and foul-smelling water.  It depends on the age of the pipes.  I know of a home in the city whose water was tested for lead.  The levels fell within the normal threshold, 0.01 and 0.03.  The couple lives in a section of the city that has newer buildings.

Please stop giving into all the gimmicks and misrepresentation.

My Two Cents Worth on Flint’s Water Crisis

I had intended on keeping my blogs free of any mention of the current scandal in my hometown, Flint, Michigan.  But after spending countless hours reading and watching the news, and skimming over hundreds of comments and political cartoons, I decided to pull out my soapbox and give my two cents worth of input on the Flint Water Crisis.

Although I currently reside outside the city, I still knew that problems would arise with Flint’s water supply before the switch from Detroit to the Flint River took place.  That’s  because I am a Flintstone.

I was born and raised in the city of Flint, Michigan.  I grew up on Green St., Edgewood Ave., and Birchcrest Dr.  I attended M.L. King Elementary, Longfellow Middle, and Northern High schools.  Therefore I know what contaminants are in the Flint River.  I know what has been pulled out of it, and what’s probably still in there.  Improperly treated,  contaminated water flowing through aging pipes will of course produce elevated levels of more than just lead.

The Flint River flows behind my subdivision in Flint Township. It's pretty much in my backyard.
The Flint River flows behind my subdivision in Flint Township.

Donations are pouring into the city by the masses.  I don’t care whether you are a celebrity or lesser known group or individual, I am beyond grateful for your monetary and water donations, and for your prayers and support.

A few days ago I read an article about how Bill Ballenger, a Flint native and Michigan political analyst, has come under fire for his opinions.  It’s a shame that you are criticized for having your own say, instead of following the popular crowd or opinion.  Well you might as well put me in the same boat as Ballenger because I have my own opinions formed and some of them are in agreement with his.

I find it disturbing that Flint is being misrepresented.  I have read so many articles and comments, both containing stereotypes and satire, that it’s sickening.  I saw the following cartoon online a few days ago.

Flint Water

That image pissed me the fuck off.   I rarely use profanity, so you know I’m furious.

Take it from me, an African-American female born and raised in Flint, Michigan.  This water scandal is NOT a RACIAL attack.  The media are brainwashing you into thinking the city is nothing more than a poor, black community and that is bullshit.

The news only show the lower-income sections of the city, depicting it as a mini third world country.  And I noticed they’ve been focusing heavily on the African-Americans.  Well, there’s more than just black people living in the city with low incomes.  The east side of Flint is heavily populated with low-income white people.

Not all residents of Flint are poverty-stricken.  There are still middle-income residents and neighborhoods in the city, but the news won’t show you those parts of the city.  I have yet to see footage of the College Cultural neighborhood, or the Miller Road mansions.

Not everyone in the city has dangerous levels of lead in their water.  There are homes with levels that are within the normal threshold, especially if their pipes are updated.

Not everyone’s tap water is coming out brown and foul-smelling either.  My mother lives in the city and her water has never been brown or odorous.  She moved to the other side of the city at the end of 2014 and the water in her current home is okay as well.  It all depends on the age of the pipes.

The city of Flint, Michigan is home to several prominent structures such as:

  • Mott Community College
  • Baker College – Flint Campus
  • Kettering University
  • University of Michigan – Flint Campus
  • Flint Cultural Center including the Longway Planetarium.  It was renovated last year, and it is the largest planetarium in Michigan.  It’s new projection system is the first of its kind in the United States and it is breathtaking.
  • McLaren Regional Medical Center
  • Hurley Medical Center (I work in the ER), the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center

As I step down from my soapbox, I would like to say that I hope this scandal serves as a wake-up call to all non-voters, no matter where you live.  I always stress how important it is to vote because you’re helping to put these jokers in office by NOT voting.

If you DON’T exercise your right to VOTE, then you DON’T have a right to COMPLAIN.

*Drops mic and walks off*