Volunteer to Canvass for WCAT-Endorsed Candidates!

WCAT is looking for community participation to support progressive candidates for the Ann Arbor School Board elections on November 4, 2014. Our endorsements are here.

We have canvassing opportunities most evenings for the next 6 weeks. You can volunteer to canvass for these candidates by sending an e-mail message to washtenawcatmedia at gmail.com.

Ann Arbor International Day of Peace – Sunday 9/21/14

Join the Washtenaw Community Action Team, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and other local organizations for the Ann Arbor International Day of Peace:

WHERE: Parking lot north of Ann Arbor Downtown Library, 343 S. 5th Ave, Ann Arbor
WHEN: Sunday 9/21/14, 9 AM – 11 PM
More Info: Facebook event

Gather with your peaceful friends, family and neighbors in Library Lane as Ann Arbor joins thousands of communities around the world to discuss, envision and celebrate peace. Featuring live music, dancing, art, food and more. **Interested in performing/volunteering? Contact: a2ybeat@gmail.com**

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples, and for “creating a culture of peace and non-violence for the children of the world.”

Join us for a full day of peaceful, inspiring events including spoken word, live music, peace workshops, a free speech soap box, the Megiddo Peace Table, food carts and much more. Details for these and other events to be posted as they are confirmed. **Please invite friends, family and neighbors!**

Music and Spoken Words to Turn the Heart
Confirmed acts include:
Detroit Music Awards winner, Grammy Award Nominee and original Woodstock alum Muruga Booker and the Cosmic Hoedown Band.

Paul and Claire Tinkerhess.

This very special event is made possible with the cooperation and support of: the Ann Arbor City Council, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, the Megiddo Peace Project, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Gray Panthers of Washtenaw, Jerusalem Garden, Downtown Home and Garden and the Center for Independent Living.

**Interested in performing, donating or volunteering your time for set-up, clean-up, etc…? Please contact: a2ybeat@gmail.com**“

WCAT to Endorse Candidates for AAPS Board Elections

Labor and community supporters of Ann Arbor Public Schools custodians, June 25 2014.


On Monday, July 28th, between 6 and 9pm, the WCAT will do half-hour interviews with candidates for the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education.   We will then issue our endorsements for the four positions that come open on November 4th and work to get the candidates we support elected.

The WCAT has agreed to serve as the organizational umbrella for a broad coalition of parents of school kids, teachers and tax payers who believe that the institution of our public schools is a sacred trust that we have inherited over many generations of struggle, and that the institution functions best when governance is shared among the administration, faculty, staff, parents, and community.

We also believe that there has been a sustained and systematic political and economic attack aimed at destabilizing and destroying our public institutions in recent years, especially our public schools, and that this has reached a crisis point for our students, our school families, and our regional community and economy.

Many of our members belong to organizations that have been actively organizing with allies statewide to change the makeup of the legislature and reverse short-sighted and damaging policies in Lansing.  These include the artificial and unnecessary crisis in public school funding, the expansion of poorly-regulated charter schools, and the failed experiment of the Educational Achievement Authority (EAA), all of which are seriously failing our students and the larger community.

Our coalition is united in our strong belief that schools are not businesses, but rather the heart of our community.  We are particularly opposed to any further moves toward privatizing services in our schools, since evidence is clear that reliance on for-profit entities generally reduces the quality of services provided; changes the personal relationships between staff and the children, parents, and teachers; and harms the entire community by pushing more working families out of the middle class and into poverty and reinforcing policies that deepen social inequality.

While we fully acknowledge the challenges facing public institutions in Michigan today as we work to ease these challenges, we also believe that local units of government, including public school boards, are not without options in the meantime that can avoid or limit damage to our children, schools, and community.

At this crucial point in history, we believe we need public school board trustees who can demonstrate a clear understanding of several realities:
1.    The times call for creative, foresighted solutions that do no further damage to the larger community and to the hard-won fabric of our local public school systems.

2.    Such solutions today and into the future can win the support of a very broad, unified, and rapidly growing movement of which we see our labor and community based coalition, organized around the Washtenaw Community Action Team and the Huron Valley Central Labor Council, to be a key component, both in grassroots electoral action during the upcoming election and policy-based action in the coming years.

3.    The combination of such new solutions and the presence of this grassroots political base creates a new and powerful context for reversing the grave and unacceptable damage that some in our state and community have chosen to inflict on our public schools and by extension on our students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, and the larger community.

WCAT Statement on Detroit Water Blockade

The Washtenaw Community Action Team (WCAT), a broad coalition of organized labor, faith and community groups, supports the people of Detroit in their pursuit of  affordable drinking water and sanitation in accord with the U.N.’s International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, a covenant issued in 1977, during the administration of President Carter.  In WCAT’s view, the water cut-offs in the City of Detroit unfortunately reflect the deep racial divides and intractable economic and social inequality within the United States.

The burden of paying for city services has unfairly fallen onto the residents who have stayed within this economically depressed city, most of whom are African-American. These residents have seen water rates rise by 119 per cent within the last decade. With official, understated unemployment rates at a record high and the official, understated poverty rate at about 40 percent, Detroit water bills are not affordable to a significant portion of the population.

WCAT supports the basic human right of access to clean drinking water for all our neighbors.  We view the present water shut-offs by the City of Detroit as a violation of a basic human rights.

Follow-Up Meeting on AAPS Privatization Monday 7-7-14, 8 PM

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Privatization Working Groups established last Monday are meeting tonight, Monday 7-7-14 at 8pm at the LEO/GEO offices (339 E. Liberty, Suite 340).
We will meet together as a general assembly so that everyone hears the updates.  If there are questions of strategy that need discussion as a result of what we learn in these updates, we can deal with that next.  Then we can re-assemble into our working groups and work out the next steps for each group.

Follow-Up Meeting and Background on AAPS Custodians

Join labor and community members for a follow-up meeting to strategize next steps in fighting for Ann Arbor Public Schools custodians:

Monday, June 30th, 8:00 PM
LEO/GEO Office, 339 E. Liberty, Suite #340, Ann Arbor

Here are two documents that provide some background. The first letter outlines the process that has been followed up to now, including what has happened since the Wednesday press conference. The second document contains the current worker co-op proposal.

Letter Re AFSCME Proposal (PDF, 435 KB)

AFSCME Coop Proposal (PDF, 7.8 MB)

Great Turnout for Ann Arbor Public Schools Custodians

On Wednesday July 24, a substantial and diverse group of people — union, community and religious leaders and activists, and a number of candidates running in local and state elections — gathered in front of Ann Arbor’s downtown library to demonstrate our support for the AAPS custodial workers of AFSCME Local 1182. This photo, contributed by Adam Zemke, captures quite a few of us.

It was a great rally, followed by an even more spectacular School Board meeting. Public comment, followed by a direct action Mic Check, won us a meeting Thursday morning 6/25

Labor and community supporters of Ann Arbor Public Schools custodians, June 25 2014.

Union and community members supporting Ann Arbor Public Schools custodians on June 24, 2014. Photo by Adam Zemke.

. We’ll keep you posted as to what comes out of that meeting and what our next steps will be.