Women of Color Cook Eat & Talk: How White Allies Can Help Undo Racism

Cabbil & Roos
6 – 8 p.m. Thursday Feb. 11
Sherman Street Church,
1000 Sherman St. SE 49507
Free & Open to All!

Our Kitchen Table is merging two of its mainstay event series, Cook, Eat & Talk and Women of Color
Convenings into one series offered quarterly during 2016. Women of Color Cook, Eat & Talk kicks off with an exciting program facilitated by two veterans of the Civil Rights era who remain very active in their own fields today. The event organizers invite any and all community members to enjoy what is bound to be an empowering evening.

Lila Cabbil worked alongside Rosa Parks as the program director in the organization founded by Mrs. Parks to honor her husband (an activist), The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute. She has worked in the tradition of Mrs. Parks for more than 40 years, and is
now President Emeritus of the Institute. Lila was born in Durham, North Carolina and raised in Detroit. She continues to work for racial justice, environmental justice, water rights and food justice in Detroit. Lila co-edited the book, Accountability and White
Anti-racist Organizing
, which was published in 2010.

Barbara Roos  traveled to Mississippi to stand with African Americans working for civil rights, specifically voting rights. Then a filmmaker with the University of Michigan, she helped document the times, with the hope that the local people involved would be able to learn to create their own media. She joined academia from an award-winning career in public broadcasting, both television and radio.  She founded Grand Valley State University’s Film & Video Program, where she was a professor until just last year. Barbara currently facilitates a script writing workshop through the WKTV Digital Cinema Guild.

To begin the program, OKT cooking coaches will demo a healthy recipe and serve samples. Following the dialogue, OKT invites participants to remain for a session of Yoga Nidra, a relaxation practice offering deep rest and opportunity to set deep intentions as we work to create a better world together.

Our Kitchen Table presents its event at no cost to community members thanks to a grant from the W K Kellogg Foundation, which has again been renewed for the 2016 calendar year.

2016 Community Calendar of Free Events!

OKT is happy to announce another full year of enlightening and socially engaged events. All events are open to the public at no charge. OKT may be adding more garden education events as the growing season progresses so check back here and on our Facebook page. Better yet, contact us if you’d like to receive our monthly e-newsletter.

Community Calendar 2016 online 12 1

Check out our online resources

Food Policy for Food Justice WOMEN OF COLOR online 2OKT invites you to take a minute to explore the free resources available to you  here on our website. When you click on our “Education Resources” link, you’ll not only find information about our organization, but also a variety of handouts and healthy recipes that we want to share far and wide … and freely.

Food Justice Series

The OKT food justice series, “Food Policy for Food Justice” provides quick overviews on many food justice topics, everything from “What is Food Justice?” and “Women of COlor and the Fight for Food Justice” to “Food Justice and Farmers’ Markets” and “GMOs and Food Justice.” You can read the series online, share the links or download and print the printable versions to use in your own food justice work.

Recipes 

Asian ABbage Kale stir fryOver the past six years, OKT has hosted numerous events and cooking demos. For each, we develop our own healthy recipes using in-season, affordable, nutrient-dense foods. We’ll be uploading even more recipes soon!

Handouts & Zines

On this page, you’ll find great information on growing food gardens, composting soil and  saving seeds as well as information and suggestions for making the best use of fresh produce. For younger readers, there are zines about healthy snacks, seed sovereignty and “Loving the Girl Within.”

 

In the coming weeks, OKT plans to add many more resources to this page . After all, it’s our slow season and we might even have tome to get caught up! We hope you will check back here often and make FREE use of these resources we have worked hard to create. And, if you do use them, let us know how they helped your family or your work for justice where you live.

Michigan’s pollution crisis shows black lives do not matter

Detroit’s most polluted and predominantly black neighborhood is on the verge of a health catastrophe worse than Flint’s

rtx1z1ep-crop-promovar-mediumlargeJanuary 17, 2016 2:00AM ET  

On Jan. 15, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette vowed to investigate the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, to determine whether any state laws were broken, resulting in lead contamination.

“The situation in Flint is a human tragedy in which families are struggling with even the most basic parts of daily life,” he said in a statement. “While everyone acknowledges that mistakes were made, my duty as attorney general requires that I conduct this investigation.”

Schuette’s announcement came a day after Gov. Rick Snyder asked President Barack Obama to declare a federal emergency in Flint and for disaster relief assistance. Flint has been overwhelmed by a preventable lead-contaminated water crisis.

On Jan. 13, Snyder activated the state’s National Guard to help with his office’s response to the crisis. State health officials are looking to determine if a spike in Legionnaires’ disease cases in the Flint area is linked to the city’s drinking water.

None of these issues came as a surprise for residents of Detroit’s Boynton neighborhood. The 48217 ZIP code is the most polluted in Michigan. The crisis in Flint was compounded after the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) repeatedly dismissed complaints from residents about dirty tap water.

As in Flint, the DEQ has dismissed Boynton residents’ complaints about pollution and respiratory issues. Many of them sleep with surgical masks to block toxins from tar sand refining that engulf their homes daily. It is common for Detroiters to wake up with low-grade headaches; many rely on asthma inhalers to quiet persistent hacking coughs that are not from colds.

This is how we live in Boynton in 2016 — coping with irritating sores in the nose, constantly registering complaints to the DEQ about pollution to no avail, sharing dire news with neighbors about newly diagnosed health maladies — such as kidney failure, autoimmune diseases and cancer — and early deaths.

Boynton residents live with fear of early death due to chemical exposure from the nearby massive Marathon Petroleum Corp. refinery, which in 2012 underwent a $2.2 billion expansion and processes filthy bitumen and tar sands from Alberta, Canada.

The DEQ ignored numerous complaints about the refinery, saying, it “is in compliance with emission release numbers.” In fact, the agency may soon approve Marathon’s request for new permits, which would increase emissions for several air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, small particulate pollution and sulfuric acid mist.

As Michigan’s leaders grapple with the horrific effects of lead-poisoned water in Flint, they must also act to avoid an impending catastrophe facing yet another black neighborhood.

Industrial smokestacks surround the Boynton neighborhood. “The average toxic burden score among Michigan ZIP codes is 56, and the middle, or median, score of Michigan ZIP codes is 18,” according to an analysis of pollution levels by University of Michigan researchers. “The ZIP code with the greatest toxic burden, 48217 in Detroit, had a score of 2,576.”

In 2011 the Sierra Club’s environmental justice program coordinator, Leslie Fields, labeled an area including Boynton “a sacrifice zone for energy production.” It is tragic that the DEQ continues to sacrifice public health for corporations interested only in improving their bottom lines and for the state’s tax revenues.

Boynton is already in nonattainment” for federal standards on sulfur dioxide (SO2), one of the leading causes of asthma and other respiratory diseases. The neighborhood has the highest rate of asthma in the state, and Detroit ranks in the top 10 among U.S. cities.

This is why it is deeply troubling to learn that the DEQ is close to approving Marathon’s revised pollution permit. The proposal would increase SO2 emissions by more than 20 tons per year. Allowing additional SO2 emissions in Boynton, where children already cling to asthma inhalers, is preposterous.

Boynton residents hoped that the Environmental Protection Agency would not agree to increase SO2 emission levels. After all, Michigan is under federal mandate to lower its SO2 emission rate. But we were wrong. The EPA has approved Marathon’s request, claiming air toxins will increase by less than 1 percent. The EPA says 770 lives can be saved annually by 2030 if Marathon removes the SO2 in its reformulated fuel, which necessitated the increase in emissions. In effect, the agency is sacrificing our lives for others’.

There is a racial component to Michigan’s ongoing woes. As with Flint, Boynton’s residents are predominantly African-American and low income. It is inconceivable to think that the DEQ and EPA would make similar determinations in a wealthy, white neighborhood and sacrifice their children. The underlying message is clear: Black lives do not matter.

The DEQ must scrap Marathon’s requests to increase SO2 emissions in an already polluted community. As Michigan’s leaders grapple with the horrific effects of lead-poisoned water in Flint, they must also act to avoid an impending catastrophe facing yet another black neighborhood.

 

Emma Lockridge has lived most of her life in Detroit’s 48217 ZIP code, home to an oil refinery and major polluting industries. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera America’s editorial policy.

GVSU hosting community workshop with Patrisse Cullors Wednesday


Today, Our Kitchen Table remembers the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. May we all move forward in that spirit of justice and compassion throughout 2016.

cullorsIn conjunction with GVSU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week Celebration, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors, will facilitate a dialogue with local community activists about organizing for social justice  from 3 to 4 p.m.on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at Grand Valley State University Pere Marquette Room, Kirkhof Center, Allendale campus.

Community activists and organizers who would like to attend should RSVP to Melissa Baker-Boosamra, GVSU Office of Student Life (bakerbme@gvsu.edu). Your RSVP will also grant you a parking pass.

Following the community workshop, Ms. Cullors will present a 4:30 p.m. keynote presentation in the Grand River Room, Kirkhof Center, Allendale campus, which will be simulcast to an audience at Eberhard Center, Telecommunications Auditorium, Pew Campus, Grand Rapids.

On Saturday Jan. 28, Our Kitchen Table will host a group of GVSU students as part of the commemoration’s MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity. For a list of all the week’s events, click here.

 

 

 

 

Order bulk whole foods & pay with your Bridge Card

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Now you can order bulk whole foods and pay with your Bridge Card!

OKT’s Collective Whole Foods Purchase Group is placing an order with Country Life Natural Foods on Jan. 18. If you’d like to add high quality, whole foods to your meal planning strategy this winter, here is your opportunity. A supplier to food co-ops throughout the Midwest, Country Life offers a wide variety of bulk whole foods, everything from (bean) soup (mix) to nuts – and more. View the catalog here.

Simply make a list of the items you want to order and email it to Christina Flier, our Southeast Area Farmers’ Market manager. You can pay for your order when you pick it up on Jan. 28 at the Garfield Park Lodge, 334 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids 49507.

Here are all of the 2016 order and pick up dates:

order dates

MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity to include OKT Food Justice class

cullors

Patrisse Cullors, a founder of Black Lives Matter, will speak at GVSU on Jan. 20.

Grand Valley State University’s Community Service Learning Center is putting a broader spin on this year’s service day commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s work for civil rights. For one, it has an updated name, MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity. Traditionally, the event has had the goal of educating students about the Civil Rights movement and inspiring them to serve their communities in the spirit of social change. In addition, students will have opportunity to experience solidarity through some of the service projects being offered.

 

Our Kitchen Table is offering one of those opportunities. One group of Grand Valley students involved in the day’s activities will travel to OKT’s offices at Garfield Park where they will engage in a three-hour Food Justice class. OKT’s goal is to raise awareness of the Food Justice movement and enlist students to play an active role in it.

The MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity is one event in a week-long commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Patrisse Cullors the Los Angeles-based social activist who, with two other people, started BlackLivesMatter in 2013 will give a presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the Kirkhof Center on the Allendale Campus, which will be simulcast to an audience in the Eberhard Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Touré, well-known author and social commentator, will present the keynote speech on Monday Jan. 18 in the Fieldhouse on the Allendale Campus. Click here for a full schedule of events.