Tomorrow, a federal court will hear arguments in the Michigan case, DeBoer v. Snyder. The case challenges the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage, and the ability of same-sex couples to adopt children together.
No matter how it turns out, the case for and against gay marriage will probably run along a well-trodden path.
In 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional. That doesn't mean it's impossible for a young offender to get a life sentence, it's just not automatic.
The school-to-prison pipeline is a nationwide pattern of students being pushed out of schools and into the criminal justice system.
Groups like the ACLU argue young people, especially African Americans, are suspended and expelled from school at disproportionate rates, and research suggests that once they’re expelled, those students are more likely to end up in prison.
Now, a group of people most affected by the school-to-prison pipeline are working to end it.
We hear about the need for "wrap around services" for small children, but what about young adults who just need one more chance? Our publishing partner, Southwest Michigan's Second Wave, has an article this week about a successful Kalamazoo-based youth diversion pilot project. Working in conjunction with the juvenile justice system, a local spoken word program, Kinetic Affect, is piloting a program that they hope will be replicated in other communities. As Kirk Latimer, one of the program's founders told Second Wave, "The judge isn’t ready to give up on them and neither are we."
In any given month, approximately 1,900 Kalamazoo County residents are on probation. About 25 percent of those people are ages 17 to 20. These uncomfortable numbers come from Lynn Kirkpatrick, probation services director in district court, and these numbers make no one more uncomfortable than Judge Anne Blatchford of the 8th District Court.
In the slew of recent Supreme Court decisions there are people feeling like winners (LGBT married couples perhaps) and losers (voting rights and workplace discrimination advocates among them). American Indian tribes also had a decision come down in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl that could profoundly affect Indian children and families.
Next week Thursday at 3pm, and again at 10pm, State of Opportunity's Jennifer Guerra presents a special hour-long documentary on race, education, and opportunity in Michigan.
While some might say we're "burned out" with talk about race and racism, it remains a timely topic in so many ways. Before we bring it home with Jen's doc on race and Michigan kids, just a wide-ranging look at how race appears in the media last two weeks: