July 27,2020 Your Source for Livonia Happenings
With the flourish of a presidential pen, years of hard work by an army of Americans bore fruit and a new law forever changed a nation's landscape. It was July 26, 1990 when over 2,000 people, many in wheelchairs, watched George H.W. Bush sign the American Disabilities Act into law.

On this day I smile thinking of my mom, Geraldine Jo Wood Joyner, who for 87 years wore a leg brace after being diagnosed with polio at the age of 3. She was a fighter all her life, from the time in 1959 when the library said she owed for a book never returned. She left the library in tears vowing to never pay for something she had returned. Two weeks later they called and apologized. The book had fallen between counters. This was her mantra throughout her life as if she was channeling Eleanor Roosevelt, "Do what you feel in your heart to be right for you will be criticized anyway." She held a place in her heart for special needs children, children in a wheelchair. For children. She never talked about the ADA but through her actions I always knew what it meant to her.
St. Mary Mercy Livonia receives $50,000 grant to support construction of biking and walking path
St. Mary Mercy Livonia announced that it has received a $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, through the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds, to help fund construction of the Stark Road Pathway. The planned biking and walking path along Stark Road is part of Bike/Walk Livonia, the city's non-motorized transportation plan, and would connect Hines Parkway and the Stark Road recreation area. The grant is a continuation of the hospital's support for Healthy Livonia, a citywide initiative to strengthen the health and wellbeing of everyone living and working in the community.

"We are excited to connect areas of our community with safe, dedicated pathways so that local residents can move and exercise with more regularity," said Dave Spivey, pictured left, president of St. Mary Mercy Livonia. "With the support of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds, area residents are being given the tools and opportunities they need to make healthy choices for themselves."

The proposed Stark Road Pathway is a north-south route between Stark Road recreation area and Hines Parkway. The Stark Road recreation area is located just north of I-96 and west of Farmington Road. It includes the Ford Field Complex, Eddie Edgar Ice Arena, the Livonia Family YMCA, Frost Middle School, and Stymelski Veterans Park. Hines Parkway weaves through the southwest section of Livonia. It is part of a larger Wayne County recreation greenway that connects Livonia to Dearborn Heights and Plymouth.

“This is a great step for our Bike/Walk plan,” said Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan. “Providing a safe pathway for people in Livonia to enjoy the Hines Parkway has been a priority for our community. We appreciate this grant for essentially expanding Livonia’s park system with new accessibility to Hines Park.”
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation established the endowed Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation to provide support to issue areas that were important to Mr. Wilson during his lifetime: Caregivers, Design and Access, and Youth Sports across the region, and Grosse Pointe Community Assets, to support projects in Ralph’s hometown. Endowment funds are designed to grow over time and provide funding in perpetuity for charitable causes according to the Wilson Foundation’s wishes. Since 2016, over $5.5 million in 234 grants have been awarded to nonprofits in southeast Michigan.
Healthy Livonia is a collaboration that leverages resources of the City of Livonia, Livonia Parks and Recreation Department, the Chamber of Commerce, Livonia Public Schools, and St. Mary Mercy Livonia hospital. This citywide initiative is intended to reach beyond the walls of any one organization to strengthen the health and wellness of everyone in the community. Started in July 2016, Healthy Livonia seeks to "Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice," with the mission, "To energize a community-wide focus on healthy living in Livonia, Michigan," and the vision, "To be the healthiest city in the United States."

This is the type of discussion that progressive communities
understand and encourage residents to be a part of.

A civil discussion with Tamara Oliverio and Del Shaw on Facebook
I try to stay up on current Livonia activities through Facebook. Many postings devolve into sophistry with little attention paid to what the discussion is actually about. This discussion caught my attention as it embodied how two mature, I hope neither of you object to that adjective, residents can discuss while listening and learning. So I share it with you today.

Tamara Oliverio  responded to the typewriters commentary on Livonia supports Black Lives Matter and Livonia supports our Livonia Police Department says that "You are 100% that progress takes time. I do think it is important to point out that progress did not begin in 2020...it’s been quietly happening all along. History is important. And it is important to recognize policies and practices of the past - the good and the bad. It is equally as important to recognize how the policies and practices have changed (quietly or not quietly) and the direct results from them.

"Livonia is a community comprised of residents, workers, worshippers, volunteers, and students- not Facebook groups. And it is comprised of many ages, genders, races, religions, incomes, jobs, causes, passions, etc. Any/all examination of the city’s progress should be done with a full picture of the entire community over time.

"Often times the the 4% black resident data point from the Census (which is an estimate based on growth trends from 10 years ago when that number was 0.2%) is used as evidence of Livonia being a racist, unwelcoming community. We will have updated data soon with Census2020 but until then I challenge people to look at some other data points and how they have changed over time for a complete picture:

*22% of LPS students are people of color...majority black (according to  Niche.com )
*About 1000 businesses in the city are minority owned (based on older Census data)
*Demographic breakout of the workforce? Churches? Organizations? Leaders in the community (not just elected leaders)? Neighborhoods?

"Anyone who looks into those numbers I believe will find they are - and have been- going up. To your point, progress takes time. But to assume progress is beginning now and hasn’t been happening all along would be inaccurate.

"As human beings, our actions are a direct result of what we believe. And those beliefs are formed based on past experiences and perceptions of what we believe to be true. This isn’t my opinion, it’s rooted in basic behavioral psychology and neuroscience.

"Perhaps Livonia needs to be louder about the progress that has already occurred. Build upon that to inspire more progress- because more progress is needed."
Del Shaw one of the founders of Livonia Cares Black Lives Matter responded by writing  " Tamara Oliverio  these are good points. It’s also critical to have a solid understanding of the differences between diversity, inclusion, and equity. Our school system is a great example. 22% of students at our schools are POC. That’s a great “diversity” or “representation” statistic.

"An increase in diversity numbers tells us little about our success with creating an inclusive environment. Listening to our children, parents and the adults who work with our children daily tells us.

"What does inclusion in our school system mean?

"What does being included mean for those “diverse” students. What does their “inclusion” mean for their peers in dominant demographics? How do those “diverse” students view their participation in our school system? And how is their participation viewed by other students, teachers, administrators, community members.

"Answering these questions requires listening to the experiences of others with open minds.

"If we’re not clear on the difference between diversity, inclusion, and equity (whether as ideals or initiatives) we could easily emphasize the wrong efforts and suffer the consequences."
Tamara Oliverio  responded to Del Shaw  with "all excellent points. All underscoring that progress takes time...it is linear AND multidimensional. We should look at ALL to measure and learn from past progress AND future progress."