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News & Notes - 12/6/23 Review

Royal Oak Review | Published December 7, 2023


Public invited to menorah lighting
ROYAL OAK — The Royal Oak Chabad Jewish Center’s fifth annual menorah lighting will be held in downtown Royal Oak at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at Center and Fourth streets by Eagle Plaza.

The event will include an ice menorah, a doughnut-decorating bar, a children’s activity zone, hot cocoa, latkes and the Grand Gelt Drop, where chocolate coins will be dropped from the top of a firetruck ladder.

The event is free to the public. To RSVP, which the center encourages, visit


‘Royal Oak Freedom Seekers’ presentation this Friday
ROYAL OAK — The presentation “Royal Oak Freedom Seekers” at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum, 1411 W. Webster Road, will remember Henry and Elizabeth Hamer, who escaped slavery and were early African American settlers in Royal Oak more than 160 years ago. The presentation will include their great-great-great-granddaughter, LaKeesha Morrison, research associate Donald Drife and a recorded audio interview from 1971 with granddaughter Edna Hamer Finch.

Tickets cost $15 at the door or at Seating is limited to 48 people.


Royal Oak Schools hires DEI coordinator
ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak Schools announced that it hired Ashley Phillips as its new diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator.

A native of Detroit, Phillips holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. She comes to Royal Oak with 17 years of experience in education from the prekindergarten to college levels. She recently was the diversity, equity and inclusion teacher leader for the Berkley School District.

“Royal Oak Schools remains committed to providing a safe and supportive learning community. With the hiring of Ms. Phillips as our new DEI Coordinator, I am very excited to welcome her as a new leader to the district to help move these efforts forward for all district members. Her passion and knowledge will be a great addition to our team,” Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick said in a prepared statement.

Phillips was described in a press release as passionate about being a voice for all children, and she wants to lead with a focus on “empathy, audience analysis, and effective communication.”

“I am elated to join this amazing ‘community of excellence’ as the new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator,” Phillips said in the release. “I am excited to build relationships with everyone in Royal Oak’s dynamic and exceptional community. I am committed to helping drive the district’s DEI efforts and initiatives forward.”


Museum to host holiday events
ROYAL OAK — The Royal Oak Historical Society Museum, 1411 W. Webster Road, will host some holiday events this month.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, there will be a free viewing of the movie “The Polar Express.” There will be popcorn, hot chocolate and cider provided for all attendees.

Santa Claus also will be visiting the museum from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16.

The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. For more information, visit


Garden club hosts silent auction
ROYAL OAK — The Royal Oak Garden Club is hosting its first silent auction from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, at the Leo Mahany/Harold Meininger Senior Community Center at 3500 Marais Ave.

According to a news release, club members will be auctioning off crafts, creations and baked goods to fund club projects and programs for the coming year. There will be refreshments, and people are asked to bring their own mugs.

For more information on the event or to make a donation, contact the Royal Oak Garden Club at or visit