Michigan Advance’s Jarvis DeBerry writes, “(Republican lawmakers) don’t think officially recognizing June 19, 1865, the day Black people in Texas learned of their freedom, costs them anything or that it benefits Black people enough for them to get worked up about. Acknowledging Juneteenth definitely doesn’t mean as much as police reform, voting rights, a higher minimum wage, Medicaid expansion or other policies that Black people have been demanding.”

Michigan Advance’s David Hecker writes, “Michigan can and should be a place where every child, regardless of race or ZIP code, has the opportunity to get a quality public education that will set them on a path to success. But we’re not there yet, and it is incumbent on all of us to do the work necessary to strengthen public schools for all students, and specifically to ensure our classrooms are safe, empowering spaces for Black, Indigenous and other students of color.”

WSV’s Zoe Thomas writes, “But most of all, the money that you have is, overwhelmingly, the best indicator of how well you will do on the SAT. If you can afford the test prep books, and the fancy calculators; if you have the luxury of time not spent working to help your family or watching your siblings, it’s almost a guarantee you’ll do well on the test. Even the motivation to study and put in the hours it takes to learn to game the system comes from monetary privilege. When you have money in the bank just waiting to pay for your college, it’s easy to find the motivation to study— everything is right there for the taking, if you only do a few more practice problems.

“But if you already know that your future consists of joining the military, attending community college, or not attending college at all, why would you study? Why work at this test when you know that even if you score a perfect 1600, there’s always going to be a giant dollar bill shaped barrier between you and a quality higher education? The answer is that you’re not, which is exactly the problem I have with this test.”

Rob Schofield writes, “Here in the United States, it has taken many decades – indeed, centuries – for the tragic scope of what was done to Native Americans to slowly penetrate the consciousness of a population raised on cowboy movies and fanciful Thanksgiving stories.

“And so it is, perhaps not surprisingly, that many modern Americans continue to struggle with one of the most horrific of all episodes of oppression in human history: the forced enslavement of millions of people of African descent by white Americans. While no one denies the fact of slavery, millions still avert their eyes from its gruesome reality and, even more importantly, from its legacy.”

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “I’ve always imagined we would have a relationship like Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls but the image in my head and the reality of life is looking a bit different. I don’t want to be the mean mom. But I know I need to be the mom that parents with love and discipline, rather than the best friend. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you aren’t an effective mom if you’re close to your child, I’m just saying you can’t expect the respect that you deserve if you let them walk all over you. “

Jarvis DeBerry writes, “[…] in the U.S., neither a Black woman’s money, education or status serves as protection from mistreatment in labor and delivery. Financially secure Black women with Ivy League degrees have to worry just like those with less money and education if doctors or nurses will do (or not do) something that costs them their lives or their babies’ lives.”

WSV’s Charles Thomas writes, “I know a lot of people my age often talk about how contemporary music isn’t as good as it was when they were younger, but that hasn’t been my impression. There’s still a lot of great music being made in 2021. What has struck me, though, as I compare the music of my youth to the music of today is the general lack of musicianship in today’s popular music. I’ve sampled dozens of popular songs in the last few weeks and I’ve been struck by the total and complete lack of songs featuring a guitar solo, or any instrumental solo for that matter.”

Over the last two years, under the leadership of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director Robert Gordon, Michigan made it easier to get and keep important benefits. The state now provides additional resources to low-income individuals, seeks to treat residents with respect and has reduced pointless complexity. Many challenges remain and the department’s new leader, Elizabeth Hertel, has an opportunity to accelerate these improvements.

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “I like that April helps shine a light on autism by celebrating Autism Awareness Month but what I really wish they would celebrate is Autism Acceptance Month. With one in 54 people being autistic we really need to change our focus to acceptance versus awareness. Everyone should be aware by now. Autism is here and it’s not going away. But the acceptance part is when things start to change. Acceptance starts with you. When you accept the fact that life is different now and that your child will be living a life that you may not have been prepared for, your life will become easier.”

WSV’s Aundrea Sayrie writes, “One gets weary. Not including last week, Newsweek reports that an additional 181 Black people have been murdered at the hands of police since George Floyd, and it hasn’t been a year. When Derek Chauvin’s verdict was read last week, I did not rejoice. I did not feel excitement of any sort. I was in total shock witnessing the anomaly of accountability of a police officer. This never happens.”