Political Activism, Underground Music And Public Art In Kalamazoo's Vine Neighborhood

Jul 18, 2019

A free public concert at Davis Street Park in the Vine Neighborhood
Credit Taylor Scamehorn / Southwest Michigan's Second Wave

Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave On the Ground Kalamazoo Project Editor Theresa Coty O’Neil says the Vine neighborhood is different in many ways from the others featured so far. Over the next several weeks, O’Neil will report on the people, business, non-profit groups and more in the Vine Neighborhood.


O’Neil says there is a large underground music scene in the Vine Neighborhood and an emphasis on public art. She says it’s an activist neighborhood that makes for a vibrant community. One of those activists is Joetta Carr, who helped launch the Southwest Michigan chapter of the Extinction Rebellion.

The movement started in the United Kingdom to put pressure on leaders to declare a “climate emergency.” It spread to larger cities in the United States and now to Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan. Carr says they are trying to get local governments to declare a climate emergency. She says it’s time to pivot to mitigate the crisis created by a changing climate.

Extended interview in WMUK's WestSouthwest podcast

Carr says the group shies away from specific policy proposals, but wants a citizen’s assembly to oversee what actions government take. She says the group does have scientists who are developing policy recommendations.

O’Neil says like other neighborhoods in Kalamazoo, one of the main challenges right now for the Vine Neighborhood is affordable housing. She says rents are already creeping up. O’Neil says that’s causing problems for middle-class and lower income residents.

More from the On the Ground Kalamazoo series.