Ann Okwuwolu’s Sixth Annual Juneteenth Celebration Will Supply Leisure, Historical past, Assets in Othello Park Saturday

by Chamidae Ford

It takes a village – AMSA Edition, a local non-profit organization, will host its sixth annual face-to-face meeting June tenth celebration on Saturday, June 19, in Othello Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ann Okwuwolu, the festival creator, is a former medical technician who was inspired to start the celebration in 2015 when she realized the lack of black representation at New Holly community events.

“Everything was geared towards other people. And so we had no visibility, ”said Okwuwolu.

She decided to take the matter into her own hands and start an event to celebrate June 10th. In her initial organization, she soon realized how little people knew about the holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery in the US and is not often studied in schools.

“White Americans want to tell you the story. You want to be a storyteller. And when you are a storyteller you have the power to tell people who they are and what they should be and what they should be worth and what they should accept, you tell them where they are from, ”Okwuwolu, now Creative Director of It Takes A Village – AMSA Edition said.

Okwuwolu saw an opportunity to share the true story of Juneteenth through their festival. It has included opportunities to learn about the holiday and what it means to black Americans, while also providing an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate. Talking will allow participants to hear stories about their ancestors and the importance the holiday has to the community.

“There are a lot of juneteenth events and there will be more juneteenth events,” said Okwuwolu. She believes that her integration of education and instruction in the story of the holiday will help make the Othello Park event stand out from the rest.

The event will also feature music, food, and vendors. The food is prepared by Okwuwolu himself and a variety of caterers such as The Comfort Zone Kitchen and Vegan Spirit Food.

“Food was really important at Juneteenth,” said Okwuwolu. “Also the colors of food, with red being a very significant color for the blood and sacrifices of people and their ancestors and people who fought in war and the bloodshed that was shed on the plantations during slavery really important. ”

Okwuwolu also says the event is an opportunity to keep ancient and historic food alive, like a recipe her grandmother never wrote down for tea cakes. “That was one of the things she would do [make]before she died, for the Juneteenth. “

Ann Okwuwolu and her daughter in Jefferson Park in Seattle, WA. (Photo: Susan Fried)

DJ Remi, Logic Amen and DJ MIXX America will all be performing at the event. And Nikkita Oliver, a Seattle City Council candidate, and Elmer Dixon, a founder of the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party, will speak. Washington Diamonds Drill Team & Drumline will perform, and there will also be a twerk shop with Tricia Diamond.

The event is also unique in that it provides access to a wide range of resources, from health care to employment opportunities. King County Public Health will be one of the main vendors and sponsors of the celebration.

Daphne Pie, the Regional Health Services Administrator for King County Public Health, emphasized that the main goal of public health in attending the festival is to introduce attendees to the many resources available.

“It’s a really great way to reach out to the black community in particular,” said Pie. “In terms of public health, we just want to eliminate health inequalities, make sure the black community has access to health care, and really educate them about the services we offer.”

Public health will help people get health insurance, find out their eligibility for discounted Orca cards, and enroll people in food programs. There will even be a dental truck on-site to provide immediate dental assistance to those who need it. They will also be offering COVID-19 vaccines.

“To address health inequalities, we need to give people access to medical care,” said Pie. “One of the things we want people to do is get health insurance. We want people to know what options they have for health insurance. “

While the June 10th celebration was held virtually in 2020, Okuwolu looks forward to being in person again this year and helping her community get back on its feet. In addition to the available public health resources, Safeway and the Swedish Medical Center will be on hand to fill vacancies at the two companies.

“The main goal of my event is that we come together after this long, exhausting period of COVID so that the community gets the resources we really need,” she said.

Chamidae Ford is currently a Senior Journalism Major at the University of Washington. Born and raised in West Washington, she has a passion for giving voice to the communities around her. She has written for The Daily, GRAY Magazine, and Capitol Hill Seattle. You can reach Chamidae Ford at IG / Twitter: @chamidaeford.

? Featured Image: Ann Okwuwolu and her daughter in Jefferson Park in Seattle, WA. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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Ann Arbor space drag troupe to lift cash for pharmacy employees Friday

ANN ARBOR, me. – Play virtual bingo and help local pharmacy workers get gift cards.

Starting Friday night at 8 p.m., Boylesque Michigan will host a virtual bingo show to raise funds for gift cards issued to pharmacy workers in the area.

The event consists of three rounds of bingo and three rounds of entertainment by artists from the Ypsilanti-based drag troupe.

The bingo show is recommended for those aged 18 and over. Half of all show proceeds and tips go towards buying gift cards, according to the event page.

Participants will receive a personalized bingo card and a link to the event on the Friday before the event.

Tickets are $ 25 and can be purchased here through Eventbrite.

Bingo is played through zoom, so participants must have video and microphone capabilities on the device they are using Facebook event page says.


During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Boylesque Michigan has used the entertaining skills of its performers to raise funds for frontline workers, nonprofits, causes, and community members in need.

Over 150 virtual shows have been shown since the pandemic began. said Boylesque CEO Jadein Black in January. The troop previously raised money through fundraisers at local entertainment venues and restaurants, but switched to virtual shows to adapt to the pandemic.

Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

Ann Arbor figuring out areas for downtown-style improvement exterior of downtown

ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor planners continue to explore areas of the city for downtown-style development outside of downtown.

The city planner Alexis DiLeo proposed in a report to the planning commission on Tuesday evening, March 9th, four areas that should be redistributed.

These include portions of Plymouth Road, Washtenaw Avenue, West Stadium Boulevard and Maple Road, as well as State Street and Eisenhower Parkway.

The goal is to get some downtown-like street landscapes outside of downtown, DiLeo said.

“I think there was some concern in the community that every corridor would be lined with high-rise buildings, but we are talking about some very discreet areas of the city,” she said.

The city has been exploring the idea of ​​zoning with higher density for years in order to encourage more living space and mixed-use development along the major transit corridors. The initiative has taken up in recent months under the new city council.

DiLeo released an update on Tuesday, which explains how the proposed “TC1” zoning regulation is developing.

The Planning Commission’s Revision Committee reiterated the preference that buildings must be at least two stories tall, rather than requiring mixed uses, and that height restrictions apply everywhere in the proposed TC1 zones, DiLeo said. The idea of ​​”unlimited height” was there previously considered.

As now suggested, buildings can be up to 120 feet tall if they are more than 300 feet from a residential lot, up to 75 feet tall if they are more than 66 feet to 300 feet from a residential lot, and 55 feet high when they are within 66 feet of a home ownership.

“What we’ve done at altitude gives me a lot more comfort and I really like that,” said Sarah Mills, chair of the commission.

The first floor of a building in the proposed areas would have to be 15 stories high and 60% transparent for passers-by to look inside, whether through the windows of a retail store or office space or a gym or a common room for a residential building according to the design of the Suggestion.

Some commissioners pushed back and suggested allowing apartments or condominiums on the ground floor as long as there are verandas or front doors on the sidewalk. This could help create some accessible units, said Commissioner Sadira Clarke.

There is an emphasis on getting buildings in front of the public sidewalk, similar to downtown buildings, rather than having shopping malls with large parking lots in front of them.

Buildings would have to cover at least 70% of the width of the property under the proposed conditions, and no building could be longer or wider than 360 feet. The front requirement could drop to 50% if the street wall has at least three floors and there are squares or other well-designed spaces that support people in living, working, shopping and socializing.

“Just like downtown, the most convenient streets have downtown where it’s fully developed from corner to corner,” DiLeo said. “You go down it, it’s pretty comfortable, you have a sense of enclosure, you have the buildings there, there are things to do … it’s a comfortable environment.”

The boundaries of the proposed TC1 zones are Plymouth between Traverwood Drive and US 23, Washtenaw between US 23 and Platt Road, Stadium and Maple between Jackson Avenue and Pauline Boulevard, State between Oakbrook Drive and I-94, and Eisenhower between Main Street and railroad tracks .

The idea is to line these corridors with the kind of higher density development the city wants to see without “fingers” extending from the corridor, DiLeo said.

As suggested for these zones, the new TC1 zoning would replace existing zones for offices (O), research (R), office research for light industry (ORL), commercial peripheral areas (C3) and limited industrial areas (M1), but not residential areas. A 30 foot kickback from the rear or side would be required if it is adjacent to a residential property.

The new zoning would include other goals in the city’s master plan, including sustainability, land use, climate protection and non-motorized transport goals, DiLeo said.

“The district’s purpose is to get more density for better sustainability,” she said.

A couple built an apartment over their garage. Ann Arbor officials want more of this.

There would be no minimum parking requirements, but there would be parking restrictions and the proposed vehicle area would not exceed the size of the building’s footprint.

The commissioners gave a mixture of feedback on Tuesday evening, asking about a possible reallocation of additional areas.

Lisa Disch, representative of the city council on the commission, asked if the city might be leaving out other areas where the same development principles should apply. She mentioned corridors like Packard Road and the South Industrial Highway.

The TC1 zoning is not intended as a one-size-fits-all solution for every corridor, said DiLeo.

“I see this project as an intensification of our strong commercial and office corridors,” she said.

Other corridors like Packard and South Industrial work differently and are of different character, but they could still be zoned to allow for more density, she said.

Commissioner Alex Milshteyn inquired about the area of ​​Briarwood Mall which city officials believe is ripe for redevelopment as shopping habits change.

Brett Lenart, the city’s planning manager, said there had been no recent conversations with the mall’s owners.

“I just think with what’s going on there it may be worth including them in the conversation,” said Milshteyn.

No action was taken at the working session on Tuesday evening. A public hearing on the TC1 zoning proposal is expected at the commission meeting on April 6, before commissioners vote on making recommendations to the city council.

Commissioners also got an initial glimpse Tuesday evening of staff proposed changes to development project approval requirements, exempting certain types of projects from the full city map approval process.

As suggested, projects that would be exempt from city council approval to approve the site plan could include housing developments of up to six units, legal developments that do not require reallocation, building expansions no greater than 300 square feet, and solar systems.

Planning officials are still working on the details and some commissioners suggested changes.

For example, some advocated that only housing developments with up to four residential units should be exempted from the requirements of the site plan and not up to six. Since there could be up to six bedrooms per unit, some disagreed that a building with 36 beds should be exempt.

The projects would still go through the usual assessments of the city’s staff. And in the case of legal developments that do not require reallocation, they would no longer go to the city council for final approval, but would still go through the planning commission, which has the final say, similar to what the commission is already doing with exemptions for marijuana- Pharmacies and the like according to the proposal.


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Ann Arbor People Competition goes digital for 44th yr | Arts & Leisure

Folk music fans can’t flock to the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium for the Ann Arbor Folk Festival this weekend, but the show goes on – online.

The Ark turned the 44th edition of their annual fundraising show towards virtual space. 24 acts as well as the presenter Jeff Daniels will play on Friday and Saturday from January 29th to 30th at 7pm. The lineup includes Raul Malo, Colin Hay, Bruce Cockburn, Dar Williams, George Winston, Kiefer Sutherland, The War and the Contract and more, while Accidentals with Kim Richey are scheduled to play live from The Ark on Friday, with RFD Boys doing so on same saturday.

Tickets start at $ 25 about On Sunday, January 31st at 7:00 pm, 15 more acts will add “A Michigan Tribute to John Prine” for a separate $ 10 ticket.