Reflections on MLK

A wonderful MLK Day post from one of my students!

A Purposeful Journey

When I first moved to Michigan, as I was finding my place in Ann Arbor and Detroit, a friend recommended the book Why We Can’t Wait by MLK. My friend, her husband, their four kids and dog all moved to a home in a neighborhood off of Livernois to live out their mission and dream of working in inner-cities. They’ve been living in this house for a few years now and are learning daily what it means to give themselves fully and unconditionally to loving their neighbor- regardless of socioeconomic, cultural, spiritual, and racial differences. The voice of MLK has provided the historical perspective for them to understand what has been fought for, and perhaps what work has yet to be done.

I was thinking a lot about the book as I participated in a couple of events on MLK Day. The legacy of MLK was infused with spiritual fervor…

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Indigenous Events at the SSWR Conference

American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Global Indigenous (AIANNH Indigenous) Cluster

For its 2018 annual conference, the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) established the American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Global Indigenous Populations Cluster to be facilitated by Dr. Tessa Evans-Campbell, Dr. Mike Spencer, and Dr. Karina Walters. As SSWR Vice President and conference coordinator for SSWR this year, Dr. Walters has been working to incorporate themes consistent with our cluster, including an indigenous opening to honor our Opening Plenary speaker, Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith of the University of Waikato and author of the acclaimed book, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. The three invited symposia for this year’s conference titled, The Grandest of Challenges: Unearthing the Deep Roots of Social Problems, also features AIANNH indigenous themes and speakers.

We would like to also thank all of you who submitted abstracts to our cluster and invite you to participate in the planning of the indigenous opening, SIG meeting, or other leadership opportunities within the cluster. We hope that these activities will offer an opportunity to meet and exchange with other indigenous researchers and those who work on behalf of indigenous communities. Please contact any of us if you would like to be involved. We also invite you to share this information with anyone who may be interested.


Indigenous Opening and Opening Plenary Session

Thursday, January 11, 2018: 5:00 PM-6:40 PM

Independence BR Salons D/E (ML 4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)



Linda Tuhiwai Smith, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand/Aotearoa



AIANNH (Indigenous) Special Interest Group (SIG)

Saturday, January 13, 2018: 12:30 PM-1:30 PM

Chinatown (ML 3) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC).



Indigenous Cluster Oral Presentations

Thursday, January 11, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM

Treasury (ML 4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)


The Added Value of Traditional Native Hawaiian Healers in Primary Care
Michael Spencer, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Mary Oneha, PhD, Waimanalo Health Center; Leina’ala Bright, MA, Waimanalo Health Center

A Trail of Transformation: The Meaning of Place in Health for Indigenous Women
Angela Fernandez, MSW, LCSW, University of Washington

Environmental Changes, Indigenous Experiences, and Health Outcomes
Assistant Professor Billiot, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Understanding and Decolonizing Maternal Health in Ethiopia through Indigenous Methodologies
Aissetu Ibrahima, PhD, Miami University of Ohio

Culture Matters: The Protective Roles of Traditional Practices in the Relationship between Historical Trauma and Alcohol Use
Ciwang Teyra, MSW, University of Washington



Indigenous Cluster Roundtable  

Friday, January 12, 2018: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM

Independence BR B (ML 4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)


Toward a Research and Practice Model for Empowering Child Welfare-Involved Native Families: Moving Beyond Icwa (Independence BR B (ML 4)) 

Speakers/Presenters: Claudette Grinnell-Davis, PhD , Melanie Sage, PhD , Bryn King, PhD and Dallas Pettigrew, MSW 



Poster Presentations All sessions held at the Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)


Thursday, January 11, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM

Culturally-Informed Interventions for Substance Abuse Among Indigenous Youth: A Systematic Review
Jessica Liddell, MSW/MPH, Tulane University; Catherine Burnette, PhD, Tulane University


Thursday, January 11, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM

Factors Associated with American Indian Mental Health Service Use in Comparison with White Older Adults
Heehyul Moon, PHD, University of Louisville; Soonhee Roh, PhD, University of South Dakota; Yeon-Shim Lee, PhD, San Francisco State University


Friday, January 12, 2018: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM

Indigenous Clients’ Perspectives on Delegated Child Protective Services
Amanda Neufeld, MSW, University of British Columbia – Okanagan; Crystal Mundy, MA, University of British Columbia – Okanagan; Susan J. Wells, PhD, University of British Columbia – Okanagan


Friday, January 12, 2018: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM

Resilience within Indigenous Transition Age Foster Youth
Sumer Al-Ahdali, University of Kansas; Nancy Jo Kepple, PhD, University of Kansas

American Indian child welfare, indigenous family and child wellbeing


Post-Separation Coparenting and Its Effect on Stepfamily Quality Among American Indian Stepfamilies
Jordan Bybee, MSW, Brigham Young University; Nathan Porter, MSW, Brigham Young University


Friday, January 12, 2018: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM

Trauma Experiences of Urban American Indian Parents/Caregivers Involved with Child Welfare Systems
Nancy M. Lucero, PhD, University of Denver; Shauna Rienks, PhD, University of Denver


Friday, January 12, 2018: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM

An Age-Friendly Community with Intergenerational Dynamics
KyongWeon Lee, MSW, Ohio State University


Friday, January 12, 2018: 5:15 PM-6:45 PM

Historical Trauma, Discrimination, and Alcohol Use Among Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan
Ciwang Teyra, MSW, University of Washington


Saturday, January 13, 2018: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM

A Suicide Prevention Approach in an Urban American Indian Community: Gatekeeper Trainings for Community Members and Providers of Service
Sandra Momper, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Rachel Burrage, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor


Saturday, January 13, 2018: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM

Culturally Relevant Risk and Protective Factors Related to Depression Among U.S. Indigenous Peoples: Why Historical Oppression and Family Resilience Matter
Catherine Burnette, PhD, Tulane University #8906; Lynette M. Renner, PhD, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; Charles Figley, PhD, Tulane University


Sunday, January 14, 2018: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM

The Impact of ‘compassionate Disruption’ Policies on Indigenous Populations: The Criminalization of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Houseless in Hawaii
Sarah Soakai, MURP (Masters in Urban and Regional Planning), University of California at Los Angeles – Luskin School of Public Affairs; Susan Nakaoka, PhD, University of Hawaii at Manoa


Invited Symposia: The Grandest Challenge: Unearthing the Deep Roots of Social Problems

Session 1: Session 1: Excavating Constructs for Grand Challenges: Unearthing White Supremacy, Neoliberal Racism, and Neocolonialism  

Friday, January 12, 2018: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM

Capitol (ML4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)

Speakers: Sean Joe, Laina Bay-Cheng, & Debora Ortega

Chair: Edwina Uehara


Session 2: Building Authentic Alliances: Addressing the Denial and Significance of Race, Whiteness, Gender, and Indigeneity in Research Partnerships

Saturday, January 13, 2018: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM

Capitol (ML4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)

Speakers: Bonnie Duran, Roberto Orellana, Darrell Wheeler, & Tessa Evans-Campbell

Chair: Susan Kemp


Session 3: Decolonizing Research: Generating Community-Grounded Inquiry

Saturday, January 13, 2018: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM

Capitol (ML4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)

Speakers: Waldo Johnson, Michael Lindsey, Michael Spencer, & Laura Wernick

Chair: Karina Walters



Relevant Special Interest Group


Close the health gap (Grand Challenge) (Marquis BR Salon 12 (ML 2)) 
Michael Spencer, PhD and Karina Walters, PhD 



MLK Jr. Holiday Events

January 15th 2018

“The Other Detroit”  Urban and Regional Planning Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium 
Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Thursday January 11, 20186:00pm-7:30pmrefreshments to follow 
Please join us for a panel discussion followed by refreshments and networking to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

In his speech, The Other America, Martin Luther King Jr. laments that “every city in our country has this kind of dualism, this schizophrenia, split 

​into​ so many parts, and so every city ends up being two cities rather than one.” In some ways, the trajectory of contemporary development in Detroit is indeed creating this tale of two cities to which King alluded. Our panel will discuss the implications of unequal development patterns in Detroit and explore community-based strategies for redirecting investment in favor of the city’s most disadvantaged, longstanding residents.
Monique Becker, Development Associate, The Platform
Sonya Mays, President and CEO, Develop Detroit
Sarida Scott, Executive Director, Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD)
Kim Sherobbi, Community Practitioner, James & Grace Lee Boggs Center 
Marc Norman, Associate Professor of Practice, Taubman College 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Taubman College

Rackham Graduate School Faculty Allies
Taubman College Urban and Regional Planning Department

Michigan Community Scholars Program Presents: MLK Circle of Unity

On January 15th, 2018 from 3-4 PM at the University of Michigan Diag. Join hundreds of University and community participants for this annual event celebrating the life of Dr. King and his legacy of racial justice, nonviolence, and unity. There will be performances from students, organizations, and community members. All are welcome: students, staff, faculty, families, and children, as the audience is encouraged to participate as we honor Martin Luther King Jr. through song, dance, and spoken word. The Michigan Community Scholars Program and event co-sponsors from across the university hope to celebrate MLK and his legacy with the community at our 12th Annual Circle of Unity. More details can be found in the flyer and press release attached below.

The co-sponsors for the event include: the Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs Office (MESA), Spectrum Center, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), Ginsberg Center, University Housing – Diversity and Inclusion, Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR), the LSA Honors Program,  Health Science Scholars Program (HSSP),  Women in Science and Engineering Residence Program, Michigan Research Community, The Residential College, Comprehensive Studies Program, Global Studies Program, Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, and University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)



Innovative programs for youth and young adults 

w/ Broderick Johnson, Luke Shaefer, and Brian Jacob

Monday, January 15 
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Annenberg Auditorium, 1120 Weill Hall

Free and open to the public. Lunch will be served starting 11:30 a.m. 

This event will be live webstreamed. Please check the event page just before the event for viewing details.

About the event:

In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, the Ford School will host a panel discussion of the importance of investments in youth and young adults, with participation from national and university experts. Broderick Johnson, former Obama Administration Cabinet Secretary, will speak of his work mentoring young men of color to help them reach their full potential through the White House’s My Brothers Keeper Task Force. Luke Shaefer, Director of Poverty Solutions, will discuss a summer employment program for marginalized youth launched in summer 2017. Brian Jacob, Co-Director of the Youth Policy Lab, will speak about the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program which launched in early 2017.

About the speakers:

Broderick Johnson, former Obama Administration Cabinet Secretary, and Chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force

Brian Jacob, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy; Professor of Public Policy; Professor of Economics; Professor of Education

Luke Shaefer, Associate Professor and Director, Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan

For more information, please visit

Erin Flores (she/her)
Administrative Assistant
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
University of Michigan