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.

Kalamazoo Defender | David Birkam

A year ago last month, Kalamazoo County got its first public defender’s office. Kalamazoo Defender Executive Director Joshua Hilgart says they’ve learned a lot in that year. That includes that roughly more than 60 percent of the 5,000 low-income criminal defendants it served are battling other issues, such as unstable housing, mental illness, joblessness and addiction. Hilgart tells us more in an interview that aired today.

Earlene McMichael |WMUK

Public defender’s offices provide free legal help for criminal defendants who can’t afford an attorney. But Kalamazoo County’s office also provides assistance with substance abuse, mental health, employment and other challenges. The approach is believed to be breaking new ground.

Courtesy photo | Shannon LaNier

Note: We're reposting WMUK's interview with Shannon Lanier to coincide with his appearance today on NPR. It originally published on Feb. 19, 2018.

When Shannon LaNier was a boy, he told his classmates that President Thomas Jefferson was his great grandfather. His teacher didn't see how that was possible. LaNier looks black. She instructed him to stop lying. Now, he says, DNA and other evidence supports the story that had been passed down in his family of its connection to Jefferson and enslaved woman Sally Hemings. LaNier speaks in Kalamazoo on Feb. 27.

Protesters in Kalamazoo after the death of George Floyd
Earlene McMichael | WMUK

Black and white people have protested in solidarity over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. But some Black residents wonder what happens when the demonstrations stop. 

Earlene McMichael | WMUK

This is the third in a three-day series. It aired Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

Across the country, African-Americans have protested with white allies in united outrage over George Floyd dying in police custody in Minneapolis last month. In Kalamazoo, most of the hundreds of participants at the larger protests are white. But as people of color start to plan next steps, some wonder: Will allies continue to work to end systemic racism once the big demonstrations stop?