NEW White Paper: Detroit Water Shutoffs and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The RISE Lab is happy to release a White Paper detailing how institutional authorities in the State of Michigan and City of Detroit addressed water affordability and the mass water shutoffs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the first cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, were identified in the United States, community activists appealed to authorities to reverse this shutoff policy. Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urged people to wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds to prevent community spread of COVID-19 , activists pointed out that this was impossible for many Detroit residents who lacked running water in their homes. Their pleas were initially dismissed, however, and it was not until March 10, 2020, by when Detroit had emerged as a national epicenter of COVID-19, that Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued executive order EO2020-28 halting water shutoffs and restoring water to disconnected homes. In December 2020, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced that the City would cover outstanding payments through 2022 and permanently end shutoffs, but questions remain about whether these promises will be upheld, if they have not fundamentally changed their language and assumptions of the root problems related to water affordability.

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New White Paper: How Asian Americans Enact Resilience Against #COVIDracism

I’m privileged to be on a powerhouse team with my WSU colleagues Drs. Stephanie Tong and Elizabeth Stoycheff on a new project that examines racist harassment, both online and offline, against Asians and Asian Americans, related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and we just released a White Paper that is FREE for download.

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(Re)Crafting Narrative Fragments of Personal Sense-Making during COVID-19: Pieces from our 2020 MCQ Forum Essay

For the August 2020 issue of Management Communication Quarterly, the journal has published an OPEN-ACCESS forum essay where a multicultural team of organizational communication scholars, from different universities, reflected on our collective sense-making of the historic COVID-19 pandemic. The essay builds on personal narratives from each of us on different questions posed by the lead researcher, to create a beautiful mosaic from our words, ideas and feelings. Below, I try to another iteration, by crafting together my fragmented narratives from an earlier, unedited version of the essay, to re-present those forms of expression, to create a new/old essay rooted in praxis. Thank you for reading.

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New publication: What is “water privilege”? And how do we perpetuate it in our everyday language, to dismiss the problems of people who lack water access?

When I began work on the Detroit Water Stories project, back in 2017, I was puzzled why more people living in the city and suburbs were not aware of or perturbed by the mass water shutoffs that had already impacted close to 100,000 households, since 2014. This was, after all, an issue that the United Nations had condemned in no uncertain terms as a major violation of human rights, after the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department started disconnecting water for residents who could not pay their bills — and in the richest country of the world, no less!

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Charting new “Movements in Organizational Communication Research”: My first book is out in print!

Movements cover

I’m so proud and excited that this labor of love from my awesome colleague (and friend) Jamie McDonald and I is finally out in PRINT! “Movements in Organizational Communication” is available for purchase through its publisher (Routledge) website HERE.

This book is the culmination of our vision for a volume that tackled state-of-the-art organizational communication research and related them to everyday events, in a way that felt more accessible for students. In short, something that made organizational communication seem personal and relevant! Personally, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my amazing undergraduate and graduate students at Wayne State University and Purdue University, where I have taught classes on organizational communication, leadership, small group communication, professional issues, and communication technologies. Their questions and experiences helped stimulate the process for thinking about, designing, and creating this volume!

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Presenting research on Graduate Students’ Resilience and Stress Management at ICA 2019

The RISE Lab is thrilled to have our paper accepted for presentation at the 69th annual conference of the International Communication Association! The paper, titled Structurational Resilience in Graduate School: How Communication Graduate Students Manage Stress, was coauthored with Wayne State graduate students Kelsey Husnick, Alexei Berg and Caleb Mims, and University of South Florida professor Patrice M. Buzzanell.

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