Detroit Evening Report: Gov. Whitmer issues letter to school leaders addressing rising antisemitism, Islamophobia

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a news conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. on March 13, 2023.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a news conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. on March 13, 2023.

Governor Whitmer sent a letter to school leaders across the state on Thursday, warning that antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise as conflicts in the Middle East continue.

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The governor urged superintendents to encourage students to stand up for what they believe while “standing up for each other.”

“As the situation in the Middle East continues to unfold, we cannot forget the values that make Michigan strong,” Whitmer said in the letter. “We respect our neighbors. We have each other’s backs. We believe every Michigander should be able to make their voice heard without fear of violence or threats. We can have difficult, constructive conversations rooted in respect without losing sight of what unites us.

“Unfortunately,” she continues, “we are seeing rising Islamophobia, anti-Arab discrimination, and antisemitism on our campuses. We cannot stand for it.”

She said the rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble must be protected and that educators must stay vigilant and informed. She also shared resources for reporting civil rights complaints to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights at, reporting concerns about threats of violence to the Michigan Student Safety Program at, and a list of resources from the Michigan State Police Office of School Safety. 

Other headlines for Friday, Nov. 3, 2023:

  • Four black-owned businesses recently opened inside a shipping container popup on Dexter Avenue on Detroit’s west side.
  • The Detroit Historical Society and the Great Lakes Maritime Institute are hosting the 24th annual Lost Mariners Remembrance program at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle next week.
  • Detroit will host the Vote Run Lead Action Run/51 Summit — a national event aimed at training women to run for office — later this month, Nov. 17-19.
  • Oak Grove AME Church is hosting an Expungement Fair for people who would like to have their criminal records expunged from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Johnson Recreation Center in Detroit.

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  • Sascha Raiyn
    Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.