March 2019

Hey fam!

I’d like to start with a gratitude and report back from the three Regional Summits that happened last month in Northern, Western, and Southeastern Michigan. We had 200 people from 23 counties across the state join us for powerful gatherings from Detroit to Kalamazoo to the Bay Mills Indian Community on the shores of Lake Superior.

Thank you to all of you that came out (through some treacherous weather) to continue building with leaders across each region. It was incredibly powerful to have people from cities, suburbs, and rural communities coming together to shape and sharpen the People’s Agenda and build campaigns and strategies to strengthen our movement in Michigan.

When Black, brown, white and native voices in working class communities continue building together, reject divide-and-conquer politics that pit us against one another, and build the trust and relationships required to build a Michigan where all of our families and communities can live with dignity, we can be an unstoppable force for justice. This work is about imagining what a Michigan oriented toward racial, economic, environmental, and social justice could look like and fighting to build it together. Gratitude to all of those that are building it with us. If you were not able to join the Summit in your region, please follow up with the regional organizers in your region to plug into the specific next steps in each region regarding campaigns, strategies, and resources.

Power Mapping

One of the things discussed at the Regional Summits was the need to engage in power mapping — getting a clear sense of the corporate actors that hold agenda setting influence in our state. We will be driving a process with our friends at Little Sis and the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) to build thoughtful, well researched, political education and power mapping capacity. If you are interested in being a part of Power Mapping Committees, please email our Policy and Research Manager, Gaby Santiago-Romero at gaby@wethepeoplemi.org.

Workshops

We The People will be hosting another round of community organizing workshops across the state. Final dates and registration links will be posted soon, but workshops will occur in Southeast Michigan in late April, in Northern Michigan in May, and in West Michigan in June. Feel free to reach out to me or to your regional organizer if you want to send a team.

State Budget

Governor Whitmer’s budget presentation to the state legislature is happening this week. It’s important that grassroots leaders understand the budget process, so we’ve partnered with some researchers at Wayne State University to create toolkits and modules for educating our communities on the budget process. We will have resources to share soon. Much like Lame Duck, many of our communities are left in the dark when it comes to understanding the process and learning how the State Budget process unfolds and impacts our communities. Stay tuned for resources on the state budget process.

We The People Team

We’re excited to announce that Betsy Coffia is joining We The People’s team as a Northern Michigan Organizer this month! Betsy is a long-time progressive organizer and activist based in Traverse City, and we are excited to welcome her to the team! Megan Collier is making the transition to become our Rural Organizer Director, leading the charge to build strong organizing and movement capacity in rural Michigan.

Finally, we’re still accepting application for our Learning Director position! Check out the job description here and feel free to reach out to me (art@wethepeoplemi.org) with any questions.

Much love and solidarity,

Art

Megan Collier