Occupy Traverse City Newsletter January 2015

Happy New Year to All!


As the new year begins, it is natural to look back at the past year. Here are some articles that do just that…

From Nation of Change:  “10 Good Things about  the Year 2014”


From Common Dreams“10 Ways Human Rights and Democracy Won in 2014”


From Popular Resistance“2014 in Review”



Indigenous Peoples Day:

Last June, representatives from Idle No More Michigan presented a proposal to the Traverse City Commission, asking for Indigenous Peoples Day to be celebrated on the second Monday of each October. Since that time the proposal has been under review by members of the Traverse City Human Rights Commission. 

In October, the tribal council of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians passed a resolution recognizing the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day. The Band also encourages other local municipalities to adopt the resolution and drop Columbus Day, officially recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day instead.


Plan on attending the next meeting of the TC Human Rights Commission at 5:30pm, Monday January 12th to encourage a “yes” vote to endorse and forward this proposal to the Traverse City Commission for approval!



Black Lives Matter!


People have been standing up, raising their voices, marching, and holding “die ins” across the country, and here in Traverse City, to call for justice and an end to the murder of black people, often committed by our employees-the police.

To uproot our society’s systemic racism, there must first be a realization that it exists. Racism is not just what happens because of an individual's personal biases or prejudices. Much more devastating is when the power of institutions, systems and society is used to discriminate, oppress and even kill. The evidence that this occurs in our society is easily found, in our criminal "justice" system, and throughout our societyThis short video on Moving the Race Conversation Forward gives a brief discussion on the differences between individual and systemic racism.

Educating ourselves is an important first step in eliminating the devastating effects of systemic racism in our society. Many resources are available, such as these. Workshops are offered by several educational organizations, such as the Peoples Institute for Survival and BeyondCrossroads Anti-Racisim Organizing and Training, and here in Michigan-Eliminating Racism and Claiming/Celebrating Equality.

Perhaps we could bring an educational event, such as Undoing Racism, to our community. Please email   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , if interested in participating with or providing education on this topic. 


Martin Luther King, Jr Day will be celebrated on January 19th. Multiple events are planned by community residents, including members of Northwest Michigan Social Justice. A march and rally are being timed to coordinate with other activities, including the musical program to be held at the State Theatre.

Tentative schedule of events:

3:30pm Meet in front of State Theatre

4p-5p March and Sing

5pm Return to State Theatre. Speaker: Marshall R Collins, Jr 

5:15p Welcoming Remarks: Michael Moore

5:30pm Musical Celebration begins inside State Theatre

This musical celebration has been held in previous years and will be held again thanks to the State Theatre,  Building Bridges With Music and the Traverse City Human Rights Commission. Featured performance will be given by the Motown Legends Gospel Choir, with the NMCC Cantus Choir.

Embracing The Dream activities will take place in Traverse City on MLK day, as well as throughout the months of January and February. Here is an overview from the NMC Communique: "Now in its third year of programming, Embrace the Dream brings together many institutions throughout the Grand Traverse region to provide free or low-cost programming for the public to experience in early 2015. As its mission, Embrace the Dream is a collaboration founded upon the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., engaging the whole of our community through programming that inspires social justice and equality for all people. This year's partners include Dennos Museum Center; Northwestern Michigan College Student Life: Habitat for Humanity - Grand Traverse Region: Building Bridges With Music: Great Lakes Children's Museum, State Theatre: Traverse Area District Library: and the Traverse City Human Rights Commission. More info at embracethedream.org and Facebook.com/embracethedream.


Living Wages

Wages have failed to keep pace with the cost of living, for several decades. This has made it harder and harder for workers to earn enough to meet basic needs. Unfortunately, the current minimum wage is not the same as a "living wage", i.e. it does not afford the worker enough income to live on.  Initiatives have taken place to locally raise the minimum wage. An initiative to significantly raise the minimum wage in Michigan was recently circumvented by the Michigan legislature. The result, although the minimum wage was raised somewhat, it was much less than sought and did not include tipped employees.


Affordable Housing

One of the factors in determining what is a living wage, is the cost of housing. Currently in our area, there is a lack of affordable housing for workers. The Project for Civic Engagement-Northern Michigan recently created a video to highlight this issue. PCE reports that John Sych, the County Planner, is planning to show this "Workforce Affordable Housing" video to the Traverse City and GT County Commissioners - Joint Affordable Housing Task Force on Thursday, January 15 at 4pm. 


A member of Occupy TC, David Warren, plans to attend this meeting. He hopes to present some facts and statistics on how certain zoning ordinances prohibit the building of the most affordable types of housing, for example Tiny Houses.



Here are some dates to remember. Also, check the online calendar at Occupy TC's website here.

January 12th, 5:30pm Traverse City Human Rights Commission meeting, Indigenous Peoples Day on agenda

January 15th, 4pm, Joint Housing Task Force views Affordable Housing video

January 19th, all day, celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr Day

March 24th, FLOW presents the Wild and Scenic Film Festival

April 24th, Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council celebrates Environmentalist of the Year

Best Wishes to All for a Happy 2015!


For more information, click on the highlighted "hyperlinks"  that are found throughout this newsletter.


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