June 2019


We The People continues to invest deeply in northern Michigan

Nearly two dozen folks from northern Michigan communities including Sault Ste. Marie, Manton, Calumet, Cedar, Alanson, St. Ignace, Kalkaska, Traverse City, Buckley, Cedarville and Petoskey converged at Charlevoix Public Library May 17-19 for a We the People Organizing Workshop.

Participants spanned 3 generations and included students from Manton High School and Traverse City Central High School.


Teams came into the space with a commitment to ongoing projects in their communities, including work on reproductive justice, climate, criminal justice reform, immigration justice and more. They worked intensively for 2.5 days on a condensed version of a semester-long Harvard course on leadership, organizing and action. Each session blended up front teaching, modeling, small group work and individual reflection, building toward the following five practices:

1. How to articulate a story of why you were called to lead, a story of those whom you hope to mobilize, and a story of action: self, us, and now.
2. How to build intentional relationships as the foundation of purposeful collective actions.
3. How to structure a team with shared purpose, ground rules and roles for effective leadership.
4. How to strategize turning resources into the power to achieve clear goals.
5. How to translate strategy into measurable, motivational, and effective action.

“This was a transformative learning space where I was able to shake off my jaded bits and reset with a fresh look at national best practices for organizing.  Recommended for new organizers and seasoned pros alike!”
- Emily M., Traverse City

“I loved the workshop and I came in a bit skeptical. Not about working with you all, but I was concerned about not being able to meet the expectations and also about the pacing. Some of the work, I had done before so I had some preconceptions that proved wholly unfounded. It was a truly wondrous, affirming, and motivating experience.”
- John P., Kincheloe

We The People Michigan’s rural organizing team, made up of Megan Collier Hess and Betsy Coffia, are excited to continue working and building with the incredible teams who participated.

For information about upcoming We The People workshops across the state, email megan@wethepeoplemi.org or betsy@wethepeoplemi.org.

Help shape local Green New Deal work!

In the UP, we have the imagination to see a new Michigan with climate justice. In Marquette and beyond, we’re exploring what a local, Indigenous-led Green New Deal should look like, and then taking steps to achieve it!

Join other local leaders to help shape this work. We will plan to meet at Kawbawgam's grave site on Presque Isle at 10 am. After the discussion we will move to the Senior Pavilion next to the Moosewood Nature Center for a pot luck. Dr. Martin Reinhardt will facilitate the morning discussion with a focus on Indigenous identity, decolonization, and revitalization strategies. Follow-up strategic planning sessions are in the works! Visit this link to sign up for the pot luck.

Check out the Facebook event, too!

Megan Collier Hess