Third World Organizations
For the first time this year, third world people at the University of Michigan got together to discuss their mutual problems, and find ways to work together. The three-day, Third World People's Conference brought in such speakers as Angela Davis and Clyde Bellecourt. The stress was on unity.
A wide range of organizations exist centering on third world people's problems in a white-dominant society. Probably the most important offices at the University in this area are the three existing advocate offices--The Black Advocate, The Chicano Advocate and The Native American Advocate. The advocates have been extremely helpful in putting pressure on the UM power structures to deal with some of the discriminatory practices which exist in all American institutions. The advocates also serve as a liason between student and community groups and the organizations. They are helpful for getting in touch with all the other organizations which exist around town.
The present Black Advocate is Richard Garland, but both the Chicano and Native American advocates positions are vacant. It is expected that both these positions will be filled before the end of this month. In addition, Asian-American students are pushing for a new advocate position, as Asian-Americans are the largest minority group on campus. Whether this will happen is hard to teil, as the University is currently trying to push the advocates out of the Special Services office, and back into other areas where they will have less power and influence (and of course, be less likely to join forces).
Because of the demands of the Black Action Movement during a strike several years ago, several other groups exist on campus primarily for black students. The most active and well-known is Trotter House, located in an old fraternity building out on Washtenaw just past South University. Trotter House sponsors a variety of activities throughout the year, including clubs and dinners. One of the best features are the jazz concerts, featuring some of the best local talent around. The concerts are open to the community. More information (like exact time and day) can be obtained f rom Trotter House.
Outside of the University, the best place to go with complaints about discrimination is the city's Human Rights Department. Under the city Human Rights ordinance, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, and this means prosecutions can be handled locally, with less red tape than if it must go through some higher level like the state or federal government.
The University also has its anti-discrimination department, the Affirmative Action Program, headed by Nellie Varner. Her office has been outstanding in dealing with complaints, particularly over jobs, salaries and promotions.