Earlene McMichael | WMUK

Earlene McMichael

Morning Edition Host

  Earlene McMichael became WMUK's local host of NPR's Morning Edition in August 2012. A former, long-time Kalamazoo Gazette editor, reporter, and columnist, she was a news anchor at WHCU-FM when it was owned by Cornell University, her alma mater.

Courtesy of Jermaine Jackson

Kalamazoo has a link to an African-American woman who, involuntarily, contributed to seven decades of medical breakthroughs in cancer, AIDS, polio, even the coronavirus vaccine: Jermaine Jackson is a nephew of the late Henrietta Lacks. He recently completed a traveling exhibit about her.

Courtesy of Donna Odom

During February, Earlene McMichael introduced WMUK’s audience to people making a difference in the Kalamazoo area. They are involved in areas such as theater, music, education, health and racial healing.

Courtesy of Monica Washington Padula

Monica Washington Padula is a trailblazer in Kalamazoo. The multi-instrument, classically trained musician and music educator of African-American and Indigenous descent operates her own piano studio. She’s on a mission to get more children of color fired up about playing instruments.

Courtesy of Kama Tai Mitchell

Kama Tai Mitchell, of Kalamazoo, never set out to create a nonprofit, but says she’s proud that more than five years later her Rootead Enrichment Center devoted to doula training and the healing arts is still around. And, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Stryker Johnston Foundation, the center is starting to explore having its own standalone building after sharing spaces. 

Courtesy of Sonya Bernard-Hollins

Sonya Bernard-Hollins once produced a coloring book about prominent Black graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools, among them former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Now she’s at it again—this time she’s created a coloring book of firsts of Kalamazoo African-American women and a similar coloring book of firsts about local African-American men. And she’s involved her all-girls Merze Tate Explorers travel and community-service group in the project.