Local author, Watershed Voice columnist, and limited licensed psychologist Charles Thomas returns to Keep Your Voice Down to discuss mental health options in Southwest Michigan, his book Headcase (The Remix), his daughter’s high school graduation party, the genius of Erin Schultes, and Josh Brolin and Al Pacino’s avid listenership of KYVD. Doug, Alek, and Charles also break down the lineup for the upcoming Watershed Voice Artist Showcase.

This story was originally published by MLive and is part of the Mental Wellness Project, a solutions-oriented journalism initiative covering mental health issues in southwest Michigan, created by the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative. SWMJC is a group of 13 regional organizations (including Watershed Voice) dedicated to strengthening local journalism. For more info, visit swmichjournalism.com.

The Latinx LGBTQ+ community in Michigan often faces the struggles of two communities at the same time. In the Latinx community, they find themselves ostracized and their identities a taboo, while in the LGBT community they find themselves underrepresented in organizations geared primarily toward white community members. Despite these struggles, several LGBT Latinx people have struggled to make their voices heard and their issues known, defying systemic bias and cultural taboos alike to be who they are.

City Manager Joe Bippus announced Friday that Ronald “Scott” Boling will be the next Three Rivers Police Chief, succeeding longtime Police Chief Tom Bringman who retired in November. Boling most recently served as police chief of the Schoolcraft Police Department where Bippus has previously been employed as a patrol officer in addition to his duties as city manager. It is unclear whether Bippus still serves in any capacity with the Schoolcraft PD.

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.