April 2019


Welcoming Betsy Coffia to the rural organizing team!

Betsy is a rural organizer with We The People and is based in Traverse City. She is a political strategist, social worker and former newspaper editor. She currently serves as the only female-identifying county commissioner in Grand Traverse County. Betsy is proud to honor her working class rural roots, and credits her mother for instilling a strong work ethic. She is passionate about centering the voices, experiences, leadership and dignity of marginalized communities. Betsy is a feminist who found her way out of an upbringing of patriarchal, far-right religious fundamentalism. Of European descent and raced as white, she is learning how to show up for the work of dismantling systems of oppression. Betsy nurtures her introvert side by spending time alone with trees and water, or enjoying life with her sea captain social worker husband Brendan and rescue pup Pax.

Betsy is excited to bring to bear nearly a decade of grassroots electoral and issue organizing as part of the We The People Rural Organizing Team. "I have organized almost exclusively in rural spaces, so I’ve had a front row seat to the incredible can-do spirit of rural people," Betsy says. "I have seen and been part of so much scrappy, 'do more with less' work to make our communities more forward-thinking and more just. At the same time, I am also a big believer in the need for progressive organizations to contend everywhere for the future we all want to live in, and that includes intentionally and substantively investing in rural folks and communities. I am deeply excited by We The People's approach to truly build power with folks in all corners of Michigan, because in my experience, that approach is quite unique."Betsy adds: "In a poem I love deeply, the late poet Mary Oliver asked us all, 'Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?'

She says, "I want to spend my days building power and nurturing relationships based in dignity and shared liberation, in rural and suburban and urban communities across the state. I want to cast in my lot with those who are fighting for their children's futures, for clean air and water, for life with safety and dignity and a habitable planet. What better way to spend a life?"

Click the document to learn more!

Click the document to learn more!

We The People workshop coming to Charlevoix

If you have the imagination to see something better for your community and the desire to take action, you need to be at We The People's community organizer workshop in northern Michigan! 

So far, over 40 people seeking to create change in our region have attended We The People's first two intensive workshops in Marquette and Gaylord, and headed home to do powerful work in elections, food access, water justice, and a lot more. The workshops also serve as a powerful space to build connections and community with like-minded rural neighbors from across the region! 

The upcoming workshop will be May 17 - 19 in Charlevoix! 

Register here!

Opportunity to help the
Water is Life Festival in 2019

Every year, Jannan Cornstalk, a tribal elder who lives in Petoskey, organizes the Water is Life Festival in Mackinaw City. Through art, music, and culture, the festival celebrates the water and those who work to protect it. This year, We The People is supporting Jannan in this work!

For the 2019 event, we will be thinking creatively about how to protect the earth by sharing examples of what’s been done in other areas of the world, like Ohio, New Zealand and Bolivia.

Water is Life attendees will join together to develop a vision for the future through collective art and culture creation. We’ll also explore specific pathways to get there.

We believe it’s very important to build community around the water. Our work of caring for the planet will continue to require collective action, and we can only do that by building commitment to one another as well as the work.

Check out the event from last year and get excited for 2019

Want to help? Reach out to megan@wethepeoplemi.org.

WTP supports new advocacy
group in the eastern UP

The group, Center for Change (C4C), is rooted in the movement that swelled across the 107th Michigan House district during the 2018 campaign season with Joanne Galloway as their spokesperson. The team continues to grow with members staying engaged and involved to create progressive political change across the four-county area.

C4C is having a coming out party! We The People will be there — at 2 N. State Street, St. Ignace — as the group explores what comes next in their work. You’re invited! Read more details here.

Megan Collier Hess