Sarah Alvarez

Public Insight Journalist

Sarah is a reporter and producer for the State of Opportunity Project.

Sarah's job is to get readers, listeners and communities participating in reporting. She's also the founder of State of Opportunity's Infowire project. 

Before her work at Michigan Radio, Sarah was a civil rights lawyer in New York and a consultant to social justice organizations in California. She graduated from the University of Michigan, Columbia Law School and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

She has a wonderful husband and three wonderful, busy kids and no time for anything else.

Ways To Connect

see ming lee / flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court issued two opinions today that, in a practical matter, mean more to low-income families than to anyone else.

There is the Affordable Care Act decision, which protects health insurance coverage of those people who need government subsidies to afford the cost of health care on the exchanges.

ant tree art / flickr

Governor Snyder recently signed into a law a set of rules about absences from school. These laws don’t affect every kid and family. But families living in poverty who get cash assistance from the state can lose those benefits if their children are truant. The issue is that this new law, like the state Department of Health and Human Services policy it is based on, doesn't define truancy.

Tina P. / Flickr

Infowire fills the information gap and meets the news needs of families struggling to make ends meet. Get all Infowire alerts by texting INFOWIRE to 734-954-4539 or email

At State of Opportunity, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to share their story.

Elvert Barnes / flickr

There is still very little known about the suspected murderer of nine people inside of a Charleston, S.C church last night. Police say the suspect is 21 year old Dylan Roof and he is in custody. He is white, and several media outlets are reporting there are pictures of him wearing flags that represent South Africa under apartheid rule on his facebook page.

aapo haapanen

By now, many of you know about the tragic story out of the Bronx this weekend. 

Kalief Browder was sent to Rikers Island in 2010 when he was 16 years old. He never had a trial or a criminal conviction (the original accusation was that he took a backpack), but he was forced to stay there for three years anyway. Browder struggled after his release, and on Saturday he took his own life.

Chris Wieland / flickr

People in the city of Inkster are being made to pay extra property taxes for a settlement between the city and motorist Floyd Dent. Dent was beaten during a traffic stop in January, and the assault was videotaped. 

pikturewerk / flickr

Journalists try to stay away from editorializing, but I'm going to break the rule here and say I'm 100 percent comfortable calling CBS's new poverty porn offering, The Briefcase, disgusting. 

Everyone has their guilty pleasures. If you watch The Briefcase (and 6.8 million people did watch the premier episode Wednesday) I'm not saying that we can't be friends anymore.

Michael Rosenstein / flickr

I've learned a lot through my reporting on State of Opportunity, but the thing that really changed how I see almost every other issue is what I've learned about the effect of trauma on kids' brains (helpful backgrounder here for those of you wanting to know more). 

Up until a few years ago I'd missed this important work. I don't think I'm alone in that.

Alan / flickr

High school graduations are about a month away. Orders for caps and gowns have been made, and party planning is well under way for many families. Around 10 percent of senior students in Michigan won't make it to that milestone this year, however, because they drop out of school.

Mark Stosberg / flickr

I will be so happy when I don't have to start a story about college with what feels like this obligatory fact: Going to college makes climbing up that economic ladder a lot more likely.