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$30/month internet subsidy now available

APPLY HERE for AFFORDABLECONNECTIVITY.GOV

Or, go to GETINTERNET.GOV to learn more.

The announcement of partnerships with internet providers plus a $30/month subsidy for high-speed internet makes it free, or nearly free, for a large portion of Michigan families. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a U.S. government program run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices like a laptop or tablet.

You are likely eligible for the ACP if your household’s income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, or if you or someone you live with currently receives a government benefit like SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, WIC, Pell Grant, or Free and Reduced-Price Lunch. If your household is eligible, you could receive:

  • Up to a $30/month discount on your internet service
  • Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
  • A low cost service plan that may be fully covered through the ACP

Today, several internet providers, including AT&T, Charter-Spectrum, Comcast-Xfinity, Frontier, WOW!, Verizon, and more, have announced high-speed internet plans for $30/month or less. If you apply your ACP benefit to one of these plans, you will have no out-of-pocket cost for your household internet.

APPLY HERE for AFFORDABLECONNECTIVITY.GOV

Or, go to GETINTERNET.GOV to learn more.

Volunteer attorneys needed to assist at April 2 Grand Rapids expungement event

The City of Grand Rapids Office of Oversight and Public Accountability is seeking attorney volunteers to assist with its Free Expungement Event on April 2. As more than 400 community members have registered in hopes of obtaining an expungement, OPA is seeking assistance from lawyers across the State of Michigan to help during the event to address the overwhelming response.

Brandon D. Davis, director of oversight and public accountability for the City of Grand Rapids, said Michigan lawyers can volunteer for the April 2 clinic by clicking here or visiting: https://www.grandrapidsmi.gov/Government/Departments/Office-of-Oversight-and-Public-Accountability/Clean-Slate-GR-Volunteer-Form.

The expungement event takes place between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation, 1530 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507.

The Expungement Clinic will welcome and work with whomever arrives before 4 p.m. Attorneys are welcomed to work shorter shifts based on their availability. The volunteer form has three shift options:

  • Morning Shift (8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Afternoon Shift (12:30 to 5 p.m.)
  • All Day Shift (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Any attorney can volunteer, regardless of practice area.

“Any amount of time that one can give to this effort would be greatly appreciated,” Davis said. “We thank those who have stepped up or are considering volunteering for helping us to change the lives of the members of our community.”

OPA will be offering a one-hour virtual training session at 3 p.m. Friday, April 1 to provide attorney volunteers with the information needed to assist community members. Training is not required, but it is available for those who desire to attend.  OPA can make other arrangements to provide volunteers with the necessary information if they cannot attend training.  Attorney volunteers will review both Certified Records of Conviction, and ICHATS.  Attorneys will also assist participants with completing SCAO approved expungement forms.  Attorneys will not be expected to represent participants in court or in any other representative capacity.

Those who have questions about the event and their role as a volunteer can contact Davis at (616) 456-4OPA or via email at bddavis@grand-rapids.mi.us.

MLK Jr. Day 2022: Democracy Now posts “MLK Day Special: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in His Own Words”

Please enjoy this video and excerpts from Dr. King’s April 4, 1967 and April 3, 1968 speeches reposted from Democracy Now.

WATCH HERE

Today is the federal holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was born January 15, 1929. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39 years old. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor and organized the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of economic justice. Dr. King was also a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War. We play his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, which he delivered at New York City’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, as well as his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” that he gave on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated.

COVID-19 Vaccines Available to Children 5 to 11


The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is currently taking appointments for the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for this age group. In addition, extended clinic hours at all locations will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021 and Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 from 8 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. and from 12:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Appointments can be made for all three KCHD clinic locations during regular business hours by calling (616) 632-7200.

A parent or legal guardian is required to attend the vaccination appointment or send an attestation form with an adult who is at least 18 years old, stating they are legally allowed to sign on behalf of any minor child for the vaccine. This adult should be familiar with the medical history of the child.

“We are tremendously excited to be able to provide this next wave of vaccines to younger children,” says Mary Wisinski, KCHD Immunizations Supervisor. “We have seen an increase in the number of children being infected with COVID-19 since this summer. This vaccine not only protects them, but it will help slow the transmission of the disease in our community. Vaccinating just one child has the potential to save many lives.”

Like the adult version, this vaccine entails two shots of a vaccine, given at least three weeks apart. However, the dose is approximately a third of what adults received. Also, different packaging will be used to guard against mix-ups and smaller needles will likely be used.

Among its findings during clinical testing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that the Pfizer vaccine was 90.7 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 to 11. The vaccine safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children aged 5 to 11 with no serious side effects detected in the ongoing study. Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in children ages 5 to 11.
El Departamento de Salud del Condado de Kent (Kent County Health Department) ofrecerá la vacuna contra el COVID-19 a niños de 5 a 11 años
El martes, los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC) de EE. UU. autorizaron el uso de emergencia para la vacuna contra el COVID-19 desarrollada por Pfizer y su socio BioNTech a partir del viernes para los niños de 5 a 11 años.

Como resultado de este desarrollo, el Departamento de Salud del Condado de Kent (KCHD) actualmente está programando citas para la vacuna contra el COVID-19 de Pfizer BioNTech para este grupo etario. Además, todos los centros tendrán un horario extendido el martes 9 de noviembre y el martes 16 de noviembre de 2021 de 8 a. m. a 11:45 a. m. y de 12:45 p. m. a 6:45 p. m. Las citas pueden programarse para los tres centros del KCHD llamando al (616) 632-7200 durante el horario de atención habitual.

Se requiere que el padre, la madre o el tutor legal asista a la cita de vacunación o que envíe una certificación con un adulto de al menos 18 años de edad que indique que este cuenta con la autorización legal para firmar en nombre del menor para la vacuna. Este adulto debe estar familiarizado con los antecedentes médicos del menor.

“Nos complace enormemente poder ofrecer esta próxima ola de vacunas a los niños más pequeños”, expresó Mary Wisinski, supervisora de vacunación del KCHD. “Detectamos un aumento en la cantidad de niños infectados con COVID-19 desde este verano. Esta vacuna los protege a ellos y también ayudará a disminuir la transmisión de la enfermedad en nuestra comunidad. Vacunar a un solo niño tiene el potencial de salvar muchas vidas”.

Al igual que la versión para adultos, esta vacuna requiere dos dosis, que se administran con una diferencia de al menos tres semanas una de otra. Sin embargo, la dosis es aproximadamente un tercio de la dosis para adultos. Además, se utilizará un empaquetado diferente para evitar confusiones, así como es probable que se usen agujas más pequeñas.

Grand Rapids students invited to write about and celebrate the life of Rosa Parks

Annual contest offers prizes up to $500 Rosa Parks Essay Contest image

As part of their mission to provide continuing education on the impact that Rosa Parks had on this nation, the Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission (CRC) and the Office of Equity and Engagement are once again hosting the Rosa Parks Essay Writing Contest. Students in grades 6-12 attending a school in Grand Rapids are encouraged to write an essay and reflect on this year’s prompt:

“Healing Without Hate.” There will never be a time in American history where the heroism of Rosa Parks will be forgotten. Although she did not plan to become a hero, her heroic actions helped this nation fight racism and hate while creating pathways to healing. How will you practice acts of healing to combat injustices and inequities to keep the legacy of Rosa Parks alive? 

Winning student authors will be awarded $500-first place, $300-second place and $200-third place prizes for each group (6-8 grade, 9-10 grade and 11-12 grade).

Essay submissions are due October 21 via crc@grcity.us or must be postmarked by that date. The winning essays will be announced at 3 p.m. December 2 at Grand Rapids City Hall, City Commission Chambers, 9th Floor, 300 Monroe NW, Grand Rapids. For more details visit https://bit.ly/GREQUITY.

December 1 marks the 66th anniversary of the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama. In 2010, the City of Grand Rapids dedicated a sculpture to honor the life of this brave woman who changed American society in a monumental way. The bronze monument standing at the entrance of Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, is a message to those who continue her work, uphold her philosophy, and demonstrate dignity with the pride and courage with perseverance.

Students say “Thank you” for OKT-sponsored tutoring program

Thanks to Kent County COVID-19 relief funds, several of Our Kitchen Table’s Program for Growth families at GRPS Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy were able to connect their children with Mosaic Masterminds tutors during the ’20-’21 school year. We were honored to partner with you last year, and together we were able to double our impact of confidence-boosting while providing academic, student support.  The scholars worked hard to learn and succeed during very challenging circumstances, and several of them and their families showed their appreciation for our Mosaic Masterminds tutors. You can hear from some of them in this Mosaic Masterminds video.

April Ruiz, Mastermind’s owner and lead tutor, told OKT, “We were honored to partner with you last year, and together we were able to double our impact of confidence-boosting while providing academic, student support.  The scholars we were fortunate to serve worked hard to learn and succeed during very challenging circumstances, and several of them and their families showed their appreciation for our Mosaic Masterminds tutors.” 

COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)

CERA can provide rental and utility assistance for eligible renter households so that they retain their housing stability.

  • The tenant only needs to be in rental arrears, so no court notice is required for this funding.
  • Feel free to share the flyers with your clients. 
  • Updated information is available at www.kentrenthelp.org . Households in need of assistance can also call 877.ERA.KENT.
  • The Website redirects you to www.endhomelessnesskent.org if the above website does not work and the application  portal is up and running.
  • Paper applications can also be printed at MSHDA – COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) (michigan.gov)  and dropped off at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan (1204 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI), The Salvation Army (located at Fuller and Fulton St.), or the  Kent County Community Action Agency (KCCA) at 82 Ionia St., Suite 390.
  • Tenants can also walk into any of the agencies listed above for assistance with applying for the rental assistance.
  • Clients and agency partners can also scan & email applications to kent.rent@usc.salvationarmy.org.
  • The anticipated processing time for CERA funding is 30 days.
  • There is no receipt provided when an application is submitted to the portal. If clients have questions regarding their application, they can call 877-ERA-KENT to confirm the status.
  • CERA funds can be used to cover rent and/or utilities (gas, electric, water).  If the client is not behind on utilities, the payment will be made to give them a credit on their account.