Food Is the Pathway to Peace: World Food Programme Wins Nobel Peace Prize & Warns of Hunger Pandemic

Reposted from Democracy Now!

The World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organization dealing with hunger and food security, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize today, with its executive director David Beasley warning that the combination of conflict, climate crisis and COVID-19 could push 270 million people to the brink of starvation. In his acceptance speech, Beasley said, “Because of so many wars, climate change, the widespread use of hunger as a political and military weapon, and a global health pandemic that makes all of that exponentially worse, 270 million people are marching toward starvation. Failure to address their needs will cause a hunger pandemic which will dwarf the impact of COVID.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Just before our live broadcast today, the World Food Programme received the Nobel Peace Prize in an online ceremony, due to COVID-19 restrictions, for what the Nobel Committee described as “its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict,” unquote.

The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization dealing with hunger and food security. It’s now warning the combination of conflict, climate crisis and COVID-19 could push 270 million people to the brink of starvation.

The executive director, the former South Carolina Governor David Beasley, accepted this year’s Nobel Peace Prize award on behalf of the organization from its headquarters in Rome.

DAVID BEASLEY: On behalf of the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, our board, our sister agencies, our incredible partners and donors, and on behalf of 19,000 peacemakers at the World Food Programme, including those who came before us and especially those who died in the line of duty and their families who carry on, and on behalf of the 100 million people we serve, to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, thank you for this great honor.

Also, thank you for acknowledging our work of using food to combat hunger, to mitigate against destabilization of nations, to prevent mass migration, to end conflict and to create stability and peace. We believe food is the pathway to peace.

I wish today that I could speak of how, working together, we could end hunger for all the 690 million people who go to bed hungry every night, but today we have a crisis at hand. This Nobel Peace Prize is more than a thank you; it is a call to action. Because of so many wars, climate change, the widespread use of hunger as a political and military weapon, and a global health pandemic that makes all of that exponentially worse, 270 million people are marching toward starvation. Failure to address their needs will cause a hunger pandemic which will dwarf the impact of COVID. And if that’s not bad enough, out of that 270 million, 30 million depend on us 100% for their survival. How will humanity respond?

What tears me up inside is this. This coming year, millions and millions and millions of my equals, my neighbors, your neighbors, are marching to the brink of starvation. We stand at what may be the most ironic moment in modern history. On the one hand, after a century of massive strides in eliminating extreme poverty, today those 200 million of our neighbors are on the brink of starvation. That’s more than the entire population of Western Europe. On the other hand, there is $400 trillion of wealth in our world today. Even at the height of the COVID pandemic, in just 90 days, an additional [$2.7] trillion of wealth was created. And we only need $5 billion to save 30 million lives from famine. What am I missing here?

A lot of my friends and leaders around the world have said to me, “You’ve got the greatest job in the world, saving the lives of millions of people.” Well, here’s what I tell them: I don’t go to bed at night thinking about the children we saved; I go to bed weeping over the children we could not save. And when we don’t have enough money nor the access we need, we have to decide which children eat and which children do not eat, which children live, which children die. How would you like that job? Please, don’t ask us to choose who lives and who dies.

In the spirit of Alfred Nobel, as inscribed on this medal, “peace and brotherhood,” let’s feed them all. Food is the pathway to peace.

AMY GOODMAN: “Food is the pathway to peace.” That’s World Food Programme executive director David Beasley accepting this year’s Nobel Peace Prize award on behalf of the organization from its headquarters in Rome, on today, International Human Rights Day.

When we come back, we look at the hunger crisis with Ricardo Salvador of the Union of Concerned Scientists. We’ll also ask him about President-elect Biden’s pick to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which could play a key role in feeding millions of Americans facing food insecurity during the pandemic. And then we’ll look at the crisis in Ethiopia. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: Richard Fariña’s “Birmingham Sunday,” performed by the University of California Riverside Chamber Singers, arranged for chorus by Gene Glickman. Lifelong activist and music professor, Gene passed away last weekend at the age of 86.The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

OKT’s Ms. Yvonne Woodard featured in news story

As awareness of racism’s role in infant mortality grows,
Michigan takes action
Reposted from SecondWave Media
Grand Rapids resident Yvonne Woodard has had several low birth weight children and grandchildren
This article is part of State of Health, a series about how Michigan communities are rising to address health challenges. It is made possible with funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

For Black infants, racism’s impacts begin at birth – and may be deadly.
In 2018 in Michigan, more than three times as many Black babies died before their first birthday as white babies. Black mothers fare even worse, with maternal mortality rates that are 4.5 times higher than non-Hispanic white women. An underlying factor in Black infant mortality is low birth weight (LBW). When LBW babies survive, they face a host of medical problems that often have lifelong consequences.

“When we take a long view, maternal and infant mortality across the U.S. has been declining but it is still an issue when the U.S. is compared to other wealthy nations. We are not doing as well,” says Amber Bellazaire, policy analyst with the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) and author of its report, “Thriving babies start with strong moms: Right Start 2020.” “… When we drill down further, we see those disparities in racial outcomes.”

“Racism is oftentimes an underlying value of the disparities seen,” adds Dawn Shanafelt, director of Maternal and Infant Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). “We have systems of care that have been built in this society, which is plagued with structural, systemic racism. The system for medical care continues to perpetuate these. It’s been evident in the experiences that have been published by families receiving maternal care. The bias is very clear.”

However, the link between racism and health impacts for Black babies is becoming increasingly better understood and acknowledged – and practitioners across Michigan are coming together to address it.
 The “weathering” effect of racism
 As a Black mother and grandmother, Grand Rapids resident Yvonne Woodard has experienced firsthand the way racial disparities have affected her children and grandchildren’s health. Her first baby weighed five pounds, seven ounces. Her fifth and last weighed four pounds, eight ounces.
 “They all came to term. My first was overdue,” she says. “They just kept getting smaller.”
Yvonne Woodard holds a family photo.Woodard’s first grandson weighed one pound, eight ounces. Now nine years old, he has just learned how to say “mama.” Woodard’s granddaughters weighed three and four pounds.

 “It’s not a good feeling,” she says. “A doctor had told me, ‘It’s because you are African-American and it’s in your family.’ I thought, ‘I am going to be sick because of my race and background?’ It doesn’t make sense that it’s hereditary.”

 Woodard’s experience reflects the results of “weathering.” As retold in Bellazaire’s report, University of Michigan professor and researcher Arline Geronimus found that exposure to chronic stress — like the stresses of facing racial discrimination day after day – leads to early health deterioration.

 “Continual attempts to cope with cumulative stress — not just one negative experience but a combination over the life course — leads to a high allostatic load or ‘wear and tear’ on the body,” Bellazaire wrote in the MLPP report. “This wear and tear leads to racial health disparities across a range of medical conditions, including disadvantages in pregnancy and childbirth.”

 As a woman who has deeply researched her own medical conditions, Woodard agrees. “Stress contributes a lot,” she says. “Your nervous system actually has a memory.”

 Geronimus’ research found that in the U.S., non-Hispanic Black women have the highest incidence of weathering. While Black women moving to the U.S. more recently have outcomes similar to white women, those who have lived here all of their lives fare the worst, no matter how much money they have or how advanced their education.

 “There are many factors that interact and inform pregnancy-related outcomes. Racial disparity and bias is one,” Bellazaire says. “This is borne out in evidence, not just in what people feel, anecdotes, or opinions. Consistent research suggests that when we hold things the same, education, socioeconomic status, and healthy behaviors, we continue to see these disparities by race.”

 When health care systems operate with racial biases, whether they are recognized or not, that stress can be intensified. Practitioners may assume that Black women have Medicaid insurance coverage, are single mothers, lack education, or are using illegal drugs. According to a 2019 American Progress report, the intersectionality of racism and sexism often results in women of color experiencing bias and discrimination in health care settings, leaving them to feel invisible or unheard when they ask their medical providers for help or try to communicate their symptoms.

 “When I had the last baby, I moved from New York to Virginia. I told the new doctor what’s going to happen … and of course he didn’t believe me,” Woodard says. “I was female and Black. He didn’t believe that I know my own body.”

 “If you do not have access to respectful and responsive care, your health is going to be affected,” Bellazaire adds. “It’s as simple as if you feel unsupported or unheard, you may be less likely to receive care. We know that not receiving consistent prenatal care certainly affects Michigan’s outcomes. We want to make sure we are encouraging respectful, responsive care for all Michigan women if we care to improve outcomes.”

 Respect and response
 Although the statistics on racial disparities in infant health are disheartening, awareness of the issue is growing and Michigan is taking steps to address it. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed expansion of Michigan’s Healthy Moms Healthy Babies program shines a spotlight on racial maternal-infant health disparities and establishes a plan to decrease them. The plan states, “As a part of comprehensive health care for women we will ask a woman what she wants, ensure she can get it in one visit, and provide coverage for it.”

Dawn Shanafelt.In developing the plan, MDHHS staff met with residents across the state in town hall-style meetings to learn about their experiences, needs, and suggestions.

 “I think we are transforming the way we are doing things,” Shanafelt says. “We made it clear that we don’t just want the state to come by and do its thing. We want open communication. We had our team of epidemiologists be a part of meetings so we could share data with communities and really show that we are invested in a partnership.”

 First and foremost, Healthy Moms Healthy Babies expands health care coverage for low-income new moms to a full year after giving birth. The plan has established nine Regional Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (RPQCs) comprised of health care professionals, community partners, families, faith-based organizations, Great Start Collaboratives, home visiting agencies, and others who will focus on improving birth outcomes through quality improvement projects tailored to the strengths and challenges of each region.

 Moving the first postpartum health care visit to within three weeks of birth and adding a comprehensive visit within 12 weeks will better support new mothers with postpartum depression and anxiety, breastfeeding challenges, or substance use disorders. Training in implicit bias will teach health care providers to better listen to women of color. Proven effective, home visiting programs will support women and babies in achieving better health while sharing information that will help them and their partners recognize developmental milestones, gain parenting skills, and access resources for housing, food security, or family planning.

 “Really, what Healthy Moms Healthy Babies does is improve systems so we have sustainable change, [with the goal of] zero preventable deaths and zero disparities,” Shanafelt says. “Whether you live in Detroit or Traverse City, we want you to have the best possible chance of having a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby wherever you deliver.”
 While racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality remain a problem, Michigan is actively charting paths towards health equity — with an emphasis on new moms and their babies. But as Woodard emphasizes, the long-term answer will go beyond policy change.
Yvonne Woodard.“Peoples’ hearts have to change,” she says. “… We Black women are no different [from white women]. The parts of our body are in the same place. It’s about domination. One day, people will realize this. One day, it’s going to be so much better.”

 Yvonne Woodard photos by Kristina Bird. All other photos courtesy of the subjects.

MiBlues Perspectives features OKT

Grant Funding Empowers Expanded Food Justice Efforts in Grand Rapids’ Neighborhoods  

One of our funders, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, shared this post about OKT.

For some Grand Rapids residents, growing a garden doesn’t just mean a bumper crop of tomatoes and greens at harvest time, it means taking back control of what’s on the dinner table.  

Since 2003, Our Kitchen Table has been empowering families in four Grand Rapids neighborhoods – Garfield Park, Southtown, Eastown and Baxter – to grow their own food. The organization formed to address high levels of lead in the area. Homes in the neighborhoods sit on land previously used for farming, with pesticides leaving concentrated levels of lead in the soil. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables has been shown to counteract the effects of lead.  

The organization’s mission today includes addressing food insecurity, food justice, nutrition and oral health among women and their families through gardening and services supporting health.  


Demand for Our Kitchen Table’s services has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, said executive director Lisa Oliver-King. With families stuck at home and looking for ways to improve their health, Oliver-King said the number of households the organization served over the summer through a container gardening program nearly doubled.  

A $34,000 grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation will help Our Kitchen Table expand peer educator training, which will further help the organization keep up with increased demand. Oliver-King said empowering families with knowledge is a step toward food justice for underserved areas.       

“The closer you are to your food in its natural state, the more nutritious it is,” she said. “The closer you are to your food, the more control you have over it.”  


Through Our Kitchen Table’s Educate to Elevate programming, peer educators help families learn to grow their own nutritious foods and cook with them. They also show healthier ways to cook favorite dishes and introduce new produce to families so they can expand their palates and preferences for healthy foods. Peer educators also help expectant moms understand the relationship the food they eat has on the health of their growing baby. Greens with calcium can help babies’ bones grow strong, for example.  

Della Levi started growing veggies and herbs in small pots in 2018, inspired by Our Kitchen Table’s Program for Growth, which partners with local schools to teach children about gardening and where food comes from. Levi’s efforts expanded to raised beds in 2019 and designated garden space in 2020 with more raised beds.  

“Growing your own produce is magical,” Levi said. “Not only does food taste better, but it also looks better.”  

Her intense interest in growing her own food is rooted in heritage as well. “The other reason why I grow produce is to pay homage to my ancestors and elders. Black farmers were instrumental in the freedom movement for African Americans in America,” Levi explained. “I have pledged to give away produce from my garden every season to show gratitude to the ancestors and elders.”   

Oliver-King said stories like Levi’s are the reason Our Kitchen Table exists and she hopes to inspire more women and families passionate about home-grown food so they too can take charge of their own health and that of their families.   

“The work that Our Kitchen Table is doing in Grand Rapids is helping transform the relationship families have with their food, which will ripple through generations and lead to better health outcomes,” said Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. “We’re proud to support efforts that are addressing food insecurity, food justice and providing families the education they need to increase their consumption of healthy foods.”  

COVID-19 Testing at Garfield Park

New Neighborhood Testing Site Begins Offering COVID-19 Testing in Grand Rapids

LANSING, MICH. A new Neighborhood Testing Site in Grand Rapids opens today, bringing the total number of community sites offering COVID-19 testing to 21. The Michigan Department of the Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is working with trusted community partners including churches, community colleges and nonprofit organizations to launch the sites.  

The site, at Garfield Park Gym, 2111 Madison Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, will offer testing Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

“Neighborhood testing sites have proven to be a valuable resource for communities across the state to ensure free testing is available to all Michiganders,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy of health at MDHHS. “Since these sites were opened at the end of August, more than 16,000 Michiganders have been tested at one of the Neighborhood Testing Sites. Locations were chosen in part to help address racial and ethnic disparities that existed prior to the pandemic and were exacerbated by the virus.” 

“We are pleased to collaborate with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Kent County Health Department to bring COVID-19 testing to our Garfield Park neighborhood,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “Providing free health screening to our most vulnerable residents is critical as we all work together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  And this is another example of how we are working with partners to reduce health disparities in our community.”

The new sites join 20 other sites in Albion, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Ecorse, Flint, Graying, Lansing, Niles, Roseville, Saginaw and Wayne. Language translation is being provided at all sites, as well as assistance for the deaf and hard of hearing.

“As we continue to encourage the people of Kent County to get tested, we are grateful to have this additional resource in our community,” said Dr. Adam London, administrative health officer with the Kent County Health Department. “Ensuring access to quality testing is a key part of our strategy to identify cases and limit COVID-19’s ability to spread.” 

Testing sites are offering saliva tests, which are less invasive than nasal swabs and may make the testing process more tolerable for some people.  Appointments are strongly encouraged and can be made either by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and selecting “1,” or online. Walk-ins will be taken as space allows, but pre-registration is strongly advised. Online registration is available at

Test results can be obtained via phone, email or by logging into the results portal.  

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and    

OKT featured on “Thought About Food Podcast”

Listen in on the above link!

Ian’s Show Notes

Ian Werkheiser
  • Follow us on Twitter at @FoodThoughtPod, and you can drop us a line at ThoughtAboutFood on Gmail. Consider leaving us a review wherever you found us!
  • Lisa Oliver King and Estelle Slootmaker work for Our Kitchen Table, a grass-roots, nonprofit organization serving greater Grand Rapids.
  • Our Kitchen Table does amazing work, and they have resources for replicating those programs in your own organization or community. Check them out!
  • Our Kitchen Table was featured in the book Food Justice in US and Global Contexts: Bringing Theory and Practice Together, which I edited with Zachary Piso.
  • The intro and outro music is “Whiskey Before Breakfast” which is both a great traditional song and an increasingly common practice for parents helping their children with remote schooling. It was performed and shared by The Dan River Ramblers under a Creative Commons license.
  • Since we had two guests, we were lucky enough to get two recipes! Lisa Oliver King’s heartily endorses Bryant Terry’s recipe for greens in our episode. She also writes, “Bryant joined us for an event a few years back and has remained dear to our hearts. I always share his cookbook when we table at events.
  • And here’s Stelle’s recipe:
    “I love making this soup for my hubby and me. This big pot of soup lasts us two or three meals. I make and freeze vegetable broth from stalks, stems and leaves of vegetables we get from our CSA share all
    summer. If I don’t have sweet potatoes, it works just as well with winter squash, which we also freeze a lot of. This soup recipe launched my passion for making hearty soups, which have become a mealtime
    staple for us. I got this recipe when my daughter, Caitlin, worked at the People’s Food Co-op. I have lots of good memories of meeting her and her brother, Rob, there for lunch of coffee when I visit Ann Arbor.”

    People’s Food Coop of Ann Arbor West African Peanut Soup
    • 1⁄2 T olive oil This big pot of soup lasts us two or three meals
    • 1 1⁄2 C Spanish onion peeled and chopped
    • 1⁄4 T minced fresh ginger
    • 1⁄2 t sea salt
    • 1⁄4 t cayenne to taste
    • 1 1⁄2 C sweet potatoes, chopped
    • 2 1⁄2 C veggie broth (may need more)
    • 3⁄4 C creamy peanut butter
    • 3⁄4 C tomato juice1. Sautee onions in oil until transparent. Add carrots and spices. Continue sautéing about 5 minutes more.
    2. Add sweet potatoes and broth. Simmer until veggies are cooked through.
    3. Remove from heat. Add tomato juice and peanut butter. Process until smooth. Adjust consistency with more broth or tomato juice.
    4. Soup will thicken as it cools.

BruceMichael Wilson aims to shift the narrative for Black farmers

Reposted from Rapid Growth Media 9/23/2020

When a farmer’s first full year on the land falls in the midst of a global pandemic, that’s a pretty rough row to hoe. However, BruceMichael Wilson, owner of Groundswell Community Farm in Zeeland, has a rich history to fall back on. For one, he grew up on his family’s 160-acre farm in neighboring Allegan County. For an African American, this was a rarity. During the 20th century, as farmers became more dependent on credit to get started each spring, racist lending policies put Black farmers across the United States off their land. In fact, in 1920, 14% of all U.S. farms were owned by Black farmers. By 2012, that number had fallen to 1.4%. Sad to say, Michigan’s history tells the same story.

Wilson’s father purchased his farm in 1970. To ensure he would be allowed to do so, he kept his race a secret until he signed on the line at closing. Happy on the family farm, Wilson wrote, illustrated and published his first book, “Our Big Farm” at age six.

“My earliest recollection of being on the farm was helping with chores, gardening, and feeding livestock,” Wilson says. “Farming has always been in my DNA so when the opportunity presented itself [at Groundswell], I made it happen.”

Groundswell Community Farm is a vendor at Holland Farmers MarketFarmers Market at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, and Southeast Area Farmers’ Market in Grand Rapids. The farm offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares and sells to Ottawa County food pantries and Doorganics.

Originally founded by food justice activists Katie Brandt and Tom Cary, Groundswell has a history that lends itself well to Wilson’s next endeavor: Dunyun, an enterprise that will train Black youth to be the farmers of a more equitable future. Named for the nickname his late brother gave him, Dunyun will transform the farm into an educational center where Black children from throughout West Michigan can dig into their African American agricultural heritage as well as into the soil.

“I’m going to promote being excited about being Black,” Wilson says. “Being proud of who you are is the single most important step. I’ve learned to be proud of myself and proud of my people.”

Wilson wants Black youth to grow up knowing about successful Black Americans in agriculture like Daniel Webster Wallace, who was born a slave in 1860, ran away to become a cowboy, and ended up owning his own ranch, where white ranchers stopped by for frequent advice.

BruceMichael Wilson, owner of Groundswell Community Farm in Zeeland“There are a lot of untold stories that young Black kids have never heard They need to picture themselves doing the same kinds of things to feel some worth,” Wilson says. “Learning about our people in general will move them one step further ahead.”

Being a Black farmer in Michigan has not been easy for Wilson. He feels that others in the farming community do not take him seriously. And, when a series of thefts happened on the farm, he chose not to report them for fear of the reaction he might get when law enforcement came out to take a report.

“I might get shot or killed,” he says. “I am afraid I would have a hard time convincing police that I was the farmer if they were to show up after daylight hours.”

The hope is that Dunyun will free future Black farmers from those very real fears.

“If you are designated a Black farm hand or laborer, then you earn more respect than being a Black farmer. That’s where most people feel you belong,” Wilson says. “Our mission to stay in business long enough to get the winning hand and change that narrative.”

When Dunyun starts bringing busloads of African American children to Groundswell Farm from Grand Rapids’ and the Lakeshore’s urban communities, that change will begin. Wilson concludes, “I can tell people that I might be the first Black USDA organic grower in the area, but I don’t have to be the last.”

Written by Estelle Slootmaker, Interim Innovation News Editor
Photos courtesy Groundswell Community Farm

City of Grand Rapids issues media release re: state of civil emergency

unnamed (5)Mayor Rosalynn Bliss today signed a proclamation declaring a state of civil emergency and enacted a curfew in the City of Grand Rapids for the next 48 hours. The measures come following a night of violent protests and civil unrest downtown that resulted in substantial property damage and imminent threats of harm to community members and public safety officers.

The curfew is in effect 7 p.m. today through 5 a.m. Monday and 7 p.m. Monday through 5 a.m. Tuesday. It prevents community members from walking, running, loitering, standing or motoring upon any alley, street, highway, public property or vacant premises within the city of Grand Rapids. Community members may travel to and from work during the curfew.

All community members are urged to adhere to the curfew to help protect public safety.

For more on the curfew, CLICK HERE.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has authorized the state of emergency and has deployed the Michigan National Guard to assist with curfew enforcement and the protection of property in Grand Rapids.

“Our city and our partners have taken numerous actions to respond to and protect against this threat,” Bliss said. “We implore our residents and visitors to abide by this curfew so we can restore order and protect our residents. What happened in our city last night is beyond heartbreaking and is unacceptable. Violence, chaos and destruction have no place in our city. This does not represent who we are.

“Despite the sadness that overcame me last night, I am heartened by all the volunteers, downtown business and property owners, DGRI employees and staff from our Public Works and Parks department who came downtown first thing this morning to start the cleanup. They brought brooms, buckets and a desire to take back our city – and we are forever grateful. This is Grand Rapids – people coming together to take care of our city.”

During an afternoon media briefing this afternoon, City officials provided a recap of Saturday night’s events:

  • No injuries to community members or sworn officers
  • No loss of life
  • Seven arrests
  • 100 businesses impacted
  • Seven vehicle fires
  • Three structure fires
  • Several dumpster/trash fires

“What happened last night was totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” City Manager Mark Washington said. “Our law enforcement officers will use every means of appropriate force to prevent another night of unrest.”

Washington addressed concerns alleging the Grand Rapids Police Department did not do enough to stop the violence and did not make more arrests.

“Our police headquarters was under attack last night. Protesters were trying to rush in and disrupt our command center. Our officers and partner agencies were focused on public safety and keeping protesters from impacting those operations. I am proud of our police department’s response to the events that transpired last night and I am grateful for their efforts to prevent injuries or loss of life – and they did this in a professional and respectful manner.”


Police Chief Eric Payne said he appreciated the overwhelming community support shown to his officers over the past 24 hours.


“Public safety is our top priority, and we are committed to keeping everyone safe at all times – especially under challenging circumstances,” he said. “I want to assure the community that we are using all of our tools to identify the perpetrators responsible for last night’s violence, put their faces out in public in the coming days and ask for the community’s help to identify them.


“I am very proud of the professionalism our officers displayed last night in light of some very difficult situations. I welcome the support of our partner agencies to enforce our curfew over the next couple of nights and trust the community will come together to end this unrest.”


Anyone with information about the criminal acts that took place Saturday are asked to contact the Grand Rapids Police Department at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 774-2345 or at


To read the full state of civil emergency declaration, CLICK HERE.


To read the temporary curfew order, CLICK HERE.


# # #


La ciudad de Grand Rapids declara estado de emergencia civil, promulga toque de queda


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –– La alcaldesa Rosalynn Bliss firmó hoy una proclamación declarando un estado de emergencia civil y promulgó un toque de queda en la ciudad de Grand Rapids por las próximas 48 horas. Las medidas se producen después de una noche de protestas violentas y disturbios civiles en el centro que resultaron en daños sustanciales a la propiedad y amenazas inminentes de daño a los miembros de la comunidad y los oficiales de seguridad pública.


El toque de queda está vigente a las 7 p.m. hoy hasta las 5 a.m., lunes y 7 p.m. de lunes a 5 a.m. martes. Impide que los miembros de la comunidad caminen, corran, merodeen, se paren o conduzcan por cualquier callejón, calle, carretera, propiedad pública o local vacante dentro de la ciudad de Grand Rapids. Los miembros de la comunidad pueden viajar hacia y desde el trabajo durante el toque de queda.


Se insta a todos los miembros de la comunidad a cumplir con el toque de queda para ayudar a proteger la seguridad pública.


Para más información sobre el toque de queda, HAGA CLIC AQUÍ


La gobernadora Gretchen Whitmer ha autorizado el estado de emergencia y ha desplegado la Guardia Nacional de Michigan para ayudar con la aplicación del toque de queda y la protección de la propiedad en Grand Rapids.


“Nuestra ciudad y nuestros socios han tomado numerosas medidas para responder y protegerse contra esta amenaza”, dijo Bliss. “Imploramos a nuestros residentes y visitantes que cumplan con este toque de queda para que podamos restablecer el orden y proteger a nuestros residentes. Lo que sucedió en nuestra ciudad anoche es más que desgarrador y es inaceptable. La violencia, el caos y la destrucción no tienen lugar en nuestra ciudad. Esto no representa quienes somos.


“A pesar de la tristeza que me supero anoche, me animaron todos los voluntarios, dueños de negocios y propiedades del centro, empleados de DGRI y el personal de nuestro departamento de Obras Públicas y Parques que vinieron al centro esta mañana para comenzar la limpieza. Trajeron escobas, cubos y un deseo de recuperar nuestra ciudad, y estamos eternamente agradecidos. Esto es Grand Rapids: personas que se unen para cuidar a nuestra ciudad “.


Durante una sesión informativa de prensa esta tarde, los funcionarios de la Ciudad proporcionaron un resumen de los eventos del sábado por la noche:

  • Sin lesiones a miembros de la comunidad o oficiales jurados.
  • Sin pérdida de vidas
  • Siete arrestos
  • 100 empresas impactadas
  • Siete incendios de vehículos
  • Tres incendios estructurales
  • Varios basureros / incendios de basura


“Lo que sucedió anoche fue totalmente inaceptable y no será tolerado”, dijo el gerente de la ciudad Mark Washington. “Nuestros agentes del orden público utilizarán todos los medios de fuerza apropiados para evitar otra noche de disturbios”.


Washington abordó las preocupaciones alegando que el Departamento de Policía de Grand Rapids no hizo lo suficiente para detener la violencia y no realizó más arrestos.


“Nuestra sede de la policía fue atacada anoche. Los manifestantes estaban tratando de precipitarse e interrumpir nuestro centro de comando. Nuestros oficiales y agencias asociadas se centraron en la seguridad pública y en evitar que los manifestantes impactaran esas operaciones. Estoy orgulloso de la respuesta de nuestro departamento de policía a los eventos que ocurrieron anoche y estoy agradecido por sus esfuerzos para prevenir lesiones o pérdida de vidas, y lo hicieron de manera profesional y respetuosa “.


El jefe de policía Eric Payne dijo que apreciaba el abrumador apoyo de la comunidad mostrado a sus oficiales en las últimas 24 horas.


“La seguridad pública es nuestra principal prioridad, y estamos comprometidos a mantener a todos seguros en todo momento, especialmente en circunstancias difíciles”, dijo. “Quiero asegurarle a la comunidad que estamos utilizando todas nuestras herramientas para identificar a los responsables de la violencia de la noche anterior, poner sus rostros en público en los próximos días y pedir la ayuda de la comunidad para identificarlos.


“Estoy muy orgulloso de la profesionalidad que nuestros oficiales mostraron anoche a la luz de algunas situaciones muy difíciles. Agradezco el apoyo de nuestras agencias asociadas para hacer cumplir nuestro toque de queda durante las próximas dos noches y confío en que la comunidad se unirá para poner fin a este malestar ”.


Cualquier persona con información sobre los actos delictivos que tuvieron lugar el sábado debe comunicarse con el Departamento de Policía de Grand Rapids al 616.456.3400 o al Observador Silencioso al 774-2345 o al


Estzos documentos estaran disponibles en la pagina web de la Ciudad el domingo por la noche.


Heart of West Michigan United Way shares post about OKT Program for Growth

Reposted from Heart of West Michigan United Way Success Stories


OKT wins Community Spirit Award

123_1On October 10, women from Our Kitchen Table attended LINC Up’s Community Spirit Awards luncheon and evening program. During the luncheon, LINC announced OKT as winner of the 2019 Community Spirit Award for Health and Wellness. We are truly honored and humbled by this recognition.

LINC’s website says this about the award:
Neighborhoods are complex environments that are facing a series of complex issues. LINC Up understands that it takes many individuals and organizations with various approaches to achieve sustainable change. Each year, LINC celebrates and highlights the work of individuals and organizations influencing and effecting change in our communities. We believe in recognizing organizations with innovative ideas, those committed to advocacy work, youth making a difference in the community, and all of those working for neighborhoods that matter.

OKT receives $25,000 Amway Grant

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Amway has approved a $25,000 grant for Our Kitchen Table’s Program for Growth at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy. The funds will support programming that involves kindergarten and eighth-grade students and their parents and caregivers  in food growing and healthy eating education that addresses and helps prevent lead poisoning. The 49507 zip code is one of Michigan’s lead-poisoning hot-spots. Parents and caregivers involved in the Program for Growth meet regularly over the summer.