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Former Three Rivers Middle School teacher Russell Ball joins Keep Your Voice Down to talk about his recent resignation after Three Rivers Community Schools staff were asked to remove Pride flags from their classrooms due to an “external challenge.” Ball details the events leading up to his exit, what the flag represents to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and why the flags should remain in classrooms not only in Three Rivers but around the world.

At the top of this week’s episode Alek and Doug address Monday’s troubling news that teachers within the Three Rivers Community Schools system were asked to remove Pride flags in their classrooms in response to an “external challenge” by an unidentified party.   

The hosts of Keep Your Voice Down are also joined by Sarah Lee, Director of Marketing Communications at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. The trio discusses Sarah’s role at KZCF, her upbringing in Malaysia and how she became deeply rooted in Kalamazoo, the importance of being “equity-minded” when addressing matters of social and racial injustice, the foundation’s efforts to support local journalism, and the story behind the formation of the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative.

“This surge is seemingly unending, and we’re told it might not peak until Christmas. If people are waiting for the system to break, I’d argue we’re probably there. We’re caring for so many people in the ER that people are leaving the waiting room before they get seen. People are going to three different hospitals to be seen.” — Dr. Rob Davidson, West Michigan emergency physician

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) approved its nine collaborative proposed maps and an additional six from individual commissioners for the state Senate, state House and congressional districts earlier this month. The lines will go into effect for the 2022 elections and be in place for 10 years. Now experts are weighing in on the maps as the commission — which is composed of four Republicans, four Democrats and five independents — prepares for another round of public hearings starting in Ann Arbor Thursday.