FLINT, Michigan — On September 10, the Sarvis Park community hosted a neighborhood celebration honoring the many achievements of the area and taking a moment to salute Flintside’s Community Correspondent Class of ’22.
The mini graduation, a collaboration between Flintside and the Sarvis Park Neighborhood Association
, was held to celebrate the accomplishment and wish the graduates success in their writing endeavors.
Since the beginning of May, Flintside’s On The Ground
series has been in the Sarvis Park
neighborhood, telling stories of the park’s history and the people that live there.
Eartha Logan, Victoria McKenze, Milton Straham and his mother Dee Straham, and Tyonna McIntyre were the five members from the Sarvis Park neighborhood who participated in Flintside’s Community Correspondent Journalism Course.
The course is an intensive month-long workshop that allows participants to learn about journalism, study techniques and skills for writing articles and taking photos, and information about the greater Flint media landscape.
A culmination project includes writing an article to be published on Flintside beginning in late September. The course was facilitated by On The Ground’s project editor Xzavier V. Simon with assistance from Flintside’s managing editor Tia Scott and photographer Bryce Mata.
Below is a small introduction to Flintside’s Community Correspondent’s newest cohort.
“Life is beautiful” is displayed on the kitchen wall along with family portraits of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. (Bryce Mata | Flintside.com)
With witty humor, a rambunctious personality, and a nurturing spirit, Eartha Logan
is a Flint native who knows a thing or two about community activism and journalism. As the “first Black that moved on Canniff Street,” the history and abundant love she carries serves as the foundation for all her endeavors, whether it be taking care of family or being the secretary of the neighborhood organization Flint Residents Organized for the Good (or F.R.O.G.).
Through Flintside’s Community Correspondent Course, Ms. Eartha is finally following her dreams of becoming a journalist, having expressed how she “wanted to be a foreign correspondent — a Black journalist.” Her “purpose-driven life” has come full circle as she’s “right where I’m supposed to be.”
Milton Straham poses in downtown Flint on Friday, June 3, 2022. (Bryce Mata | Flintside.com)
Always calm, cool, and collected, business owner and financial consultant Milton Straham
is one of the many success stories from the Sarvis Park neighborhood. At twenty-seven, Milton holds three degrees without any student loan debt. He’s paying it forward in huge ways through his multiple businesses that help families navigate the realm of higher education and financial aid.
Yet, there’s a blossoming community activist within him. When he’s not focused on his businesses, he’s out in the Sarvis Park area, attending meetings, networking, and staying informed. For him, it’s about ensuring “that our voices are being heard about the issues that are affecting Sarvis Park” and “the City of Flint.”
Sarvis Park resident Dee Straham poses inside the Flint Public Library on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022. (Bryce Mata | Flintside.com)
Originally from Tennessee, Dee Straham moved to the Flint area right before she gave birth to her son Milton Straham and his sister. As a former business owner, Dee became the inspiration for Milton to begin his journey of entrepreneurship, being able to offer support and advice. However, she left that arena to focus on being a mother and instilling in her children the necessary tools for success.
In her spare time, Dee fancies writing in her journal which she calls a “soothing” experience. In addition, she’s also an avid reader with a particular focus on religious, spiritual, and “motivational literature.” On the advice of Milton, she decided to take the journalism class on a leap of faith to hone her writing skills.
Tyonna McIntyre is pictured at Sarvis Park detailing her passions and activism on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Flint. (Bryce Mata | Flintside.com)
With a life narrative that holds stories of being “born and raised in a dysfunctional home” to advocating for sexual awareness and domestic violence, Tyonna McIntrye
is a fighter. Even to this day, her journey is ripe with ups and downs, but it’s all about the “ebb and flow” that keeps her grounded and focused.
Where others would have given up and called it quits, Tyonna continues to rely on her ever-growing connection with God and unbreakable faith. These days she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and newly wedded wife. If there’s something she keeps close to her heart, it’s that “nothing in life is promised to you.”
Flint native Victoria McKenze sits with Flintside's Jarielle Nettles for an interview at her home on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Flint. (Jen Veloso | Flintside.com)Victoria McKenze
is one of Sarvis Park’s hidden gems and behind-the-scenes powerhouse. Her reputation in the Flint area extends in multiple directions: education, politics, activism, and religion.
McKenze’s experience with redlining, defined as a discriminatory practice that consists of the systematic denial of services based on race or ethnicity, and her memories of the passing of Flint’s bussing bill are a few life’s defining moments. These days she’s spending time educating the youth at Brownell STEM Academy, influencing a generation of future leaders, and ensuring parents stay informed.
Be on the lookout for the Community Correspondent's articles being published in late September.
Read more from Flintside's On the Ground — Sarvis Park: