The University of Michigan chose Hope House & Gardens as one site in a large ongoing study of allergenic pollen and its effects on children in Detroit. The study, funded by the National Institute of Health, is being conducted by Dr. Dan Katz, a postdoctoral fellow at U-M's School of Public Health.
According to Dr. Katz's website, the study focuses on the "intersection of plant ecology, public health, and aerobiology."
At Hope House & Gardens, U-M students will set up and monitor a pollen collection instrument each week during the growing season. Once a week, students will visit the site to record the pollen data the instrument collects.
"Partnerships like this one are an important part of what we do," said Voices for Earth Justice executive director BT Irwin. "By giving U-M researchers access to Hope House & Gardens, we're contributing to research that can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and to Earth."
L'Oreal Hawkes-Williams, a garden intern at Voices for Earth Justice in 2016 and 2017, will return as garden program leader in 2018.
As garden program leader, Hawkes-Williams will design and direct the master plan for gardens and green space at VEJ's Hope House & Gardens in Detroit. Gardening is the heart of VEJ's campaign to serve and teach 2,019 neighbors, students, and volunteers at Hope House & Gardens by June 2019.
"Few people know our garden or our neighbors better than L'Oreal," said VEJ executive director BT Irwin. "She has the experience and know-how to make the garden grow; she has the love and passion to help people grow along with it."
This April, Hawkes-Williams will graduate from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree emphasizing African American studies and sustainable food systems. She plans to focus her work on promoting and teaching food sovereignty--"the right of peoples to define their own agriculture and food systems and to produce healthy and culturally appropriate food through ecologically sound and sustainable methods" (Food Sovereignty Alliance).
VEJ is looking for special volunteers to be trained as garden crew leaders in 2018. Garden crew leaders will learn gardening plans and techniques from Hawkes-Williams and then coach and support groups of volunteers as they work in the garden. Garden crew leaders commit to 4 - 8 hours per month. Click here to sign up as a garden crew leader.
Support our 2018 garden program with a gift of money. Your donation will buy supplies and tools and provide support for people like L'Oreal and her team. Click here to make a donation (you may choose to make it in honor of L'Oreal Hawkes-Williams).
By Sister Janet Stankowski, OP
What are we doing to our dear Mother Earth?
Are you shaken by yet another environmental disaster looming ahead?
This one dips into the Great Lakes watershed along the Menominee River in Wisconsin and Michigan, with Native Americans begging us to stop it.
The wounding and bleeding of the planet continues. A mining company is moving fast to gain permits for underground and open pit mining of gold and zinc only 150 feet from the river. Bad idea. Why? Because the terrible likelihood remains that sulfides and other pollutants and toxins will leak into the river and neighboring wetlands. No mine with toxic sulfides to date has been able to stop toxic leaks into water sources. It was suggested we gather together in a spirit of solidarity with the Menominee Indians, raising communal awareness of the sacredness of the river and the threat to Native Americans, to local townspeople, and to all wildlife in the area.
We were urged to pray with good hearts and minds, and with gratitude for the created world that has been given to us. We were asked to light sacred fires and pray for protection of all life, with special remembrance of those sustained by the Menominee River.
Carol Hofer organized a prayer gathering for this purpose in January in Roseville.
Pictured are VEJ supporters and the toxic river.
As of this date, the court has delayed the decision on whether permission for constructing the mine will be granted. Holy Spirit of Creation, help us.
Sister Janet Stankowski, OP
Board member and co-founder, Voices for Earth Justice
Each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, more and more people around the world join millions of their family, friends, and neighbors in a celebration of generosity.
Now in its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is likely to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in donations for causes and nonprofits in communities around the globe on Tuesday, November 28.
We hope you plan to celebrate generosity on #GivingTuesday by making gifts of your own to the organizations you believe deserve your support. We hope that Voices for Earth Justice is one of those organizations.
This year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is pledging to match #GivingTuesday donations dollar-for-dollar up to $1,000 per individual and $50,000 per nonprofit. That means if you give $100 to Voices for Earth Justice on #GivingTuesday, the Gates Foundation will also give $100. It's like giving $200, but only taking $100 out of your wallet.
Imagine doubling the difference you make to programs like Hope House in Detroit!
To receive the Gates Foundation match, you must make your donation using the "Donate" button on the Voices for Earth Justice Facebook page (Facebook.com/voices4earth). Facebook will waive all gift processing fees on #GivingTuesday, so more of your money goes to Voices for Earth Justice.
Finally, the Gates Foundation set a limit of $2 million total for matching gifts on #GivingTuesday. That means when the $2 million is gone, no more matching funds will be left. The matching period begins at 8 a.m. EST on #GivingTuesday, November 28, so plan to make your donation early so you'll be sure to get the match.
To help you remember to "double your donation" on #GivingTuesday, we set up a #GivingTuesday event. Follow this link, sign up for the event, and we'll send you a reminder the day before #GivingTuesday. Then all you have to do is make your donation at Facebook.com/voices4earth on Tuesday, November 28, and the Gates Foundation will match it.
Please plan to be part of the global giving community on #GivingTuesday, November 28, and please double your donation by giving to Voices for Earth Justice at Facebook.com/voices4earth.
Naim Edwards, a familiar face to friends of Voices for Earth Justice, recently left his post as program director to take a position with the City of Detroit.
Naim first came to Voices for Earth Justice as part of the Capuchin Corps in 2014. That program placed and supported volunteers who lived and worked in underserved communities for one-year terms. Naim stayed on with Voices for Earth Justice after his Capuchin Corps service ended. Over the last three years, Naim coordinated and led many of the programs at Voices for Earth Justice. That included education programs, farming and gardening projects at Hope House, fundraising, interfaith relations, monthly potlucks, neighborhood outreach, and volunteer projects.
Naim remains with Voices for Earth Justice as the on-site steward of the Hope House property.
“A lot of people who know Voices for Earth Justice know it because of Naim,” said BT Irwin, Voices for Earth Justice executive director. “He made a deep impression on everyone, especially on our neighbors. Everyone who got a chance to work with Naim will miss him.”
As an environmental specialist at the City of Detroit, Naim will be responsible for enforcing laws to protect air, land, and water quality in the city. He will also review demolition, development, and environmental assessment permits.
“I am deeply grateful for my time at Voices for Earth Justice,” said Naim. “I have grown significantly spiritually, socially, and professionally. Voices for Earth Justice gave me both the opportunity and flexibility to combine faith, activism, and community service into a job. I learned how to garden, cook, care for community, and organize better. I learned how to be more vulnerable and proactive. I learned about Brightmoor and intimately became acquainted with many of the issues Detroit faces.”