We Are Seeing History Unfold

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PEG 12th Congressional District Newsletter 259

On Today, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the first black woman Supreme Court Justice in the United States.

Remember these names! They misunderstood their assignment

All 11 Republican members of the Judiciary Committee voted against moving Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Senate. Remember these names:

Chuck Grassley (IA), Lindsey Graham (SC), John Cornyn (TX), Mike Lee (UT), John Kennedy (LA), Thom Tillis (NC), Marsha Blackburn (TN), *Ted Cruz (TX), *Ben Sasse (NE), *Josh Hawley (MO), *Tom Cotton (AR)

*Four of these Senators are (NYTimes) are known to have political aspirations towards the White House.

And, as noted in the NYTimes, the “Republicans’ hostile interrogation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and relentless re-litigating of past Supreme Court feuds marred a historic moment.”

The money behind the petitions, part 2


Backers of this proposal claim that the program would open access to quality education for Michigan children.

These two petitions would establish the Student Opportunity Scholarship program to pay for K-12 public or private school tuition and fees, home-schooling materials and online learning programs for those with financial needs; and allow taxpayers to claim a tax credit for contributions made to the scholarship program.

Refer to this Bridge MI article to gain a more thorough understanding of the previous unsuccessful attempts at establishing a voucher system in Michigan, the prohibition in the Michigan Constitution to fund private education, and the amount of money that would be diverted from funding public education. An analysis by the non-partisan Senate Fiscal Agency is under For MI Kids For Our Schools petition below.

Major funders: December 3, 2021, filings provide a list of donors that have supported these petitions. Among them are DeVos, along with family members, whose contributions total $350,000. The group also received $800,000 from Get Families Back to Work, a group sharing the same office address as the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C.; $450,000 from State Government Leadership Foundation, a D.C.-based conservative nonprofit; $25,000 from Lansing nonprofit Great Lakes Education Project’s advocacy arm; and $100,000 from Michigan Guardians of Democracy.

The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) states it is “a bi-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization supporting quality choices in public education for all Michigan students. GLEP strongly supports efforts to improve academic achievement, increase accountability and empower parental choice in our schools.” Executive Director Beth DeShone was previously a legislative staffer and/or campaign consultant for Dick DeVos for Governor; Dick Posthumus for Governor; the Michigan Republican Party; and State Senators Michelle McManus, Bev Hammerstrom and Mat Dunaskiss.

Michigan Guardians of Democracy, which was discussed in last week’s Newsletter, is a newly formed dark-money group linked to Heather Lombardini, a longtime Republican who has spent more than 2 decades in Michigan politics and is a GOP political consultant. In fact, Lombardini is the registered agent for Michigan Guardians of Democracy. This group gave $750,000 apiece to Secure MI Vote and Unlock Michigan II and $100,000 to private school funding initiative Let MI Kids Learn. None of those groups are required to disclose their donors. 

To Do: Make sure you share this information widely to discourage signatures.


The For MI Kids For Our Schools coalition consists of teachers unions, public school boards and various other education advocacy organizations. Educators within the coalition argued that the measure would drain money from a public education system and offer tax breaks to wealthy donors. The program is estimated to cost the state $500 million in lost taxes in its first year and $1 billion by the fifth year, according to a Senate fiscal analysis on a similar legislative proposal.

Supporters: The coalition includes several education groups, including 482Forward, a Detroit education advocacy group formed in 2016. The nonprofit opposed directing public funding toward private schools in past years and pushed in 2020 for divestment in police on campus, urging school districts to shift those dollars toward school counselors. Other groups include: K-12 Alliance of Michigan, Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators, Michigan Parent Teacher Association, Middle Cities Education Association and Michigan Education Justice Coalition. Partners for Michigan Education Justice Coalition can be found here.

Major funders: In November, For MI Kids For Our School formed a ballot committee to raise funds for its operations. The committee had not received monetary contributions as of the end of December, but received in-kind help from its members Michigan Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers Michigan, according to its latest campaign finance report. Further analysis should be forthcoming.

To Do: Sign up to collect signatures; educate others on the need for getting this petition on the November ballot.


The measure would make reproductive freedom a right and amend the state constitution to allow abortions, nullifying a 1931 law that makes it a felony to perform the procedure unless it is necessary to preserve the life of the mother. The law was nullified by Roe v. Wade in 1973 but would go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the decision. The proposal would protect women’s choice to end pregnancy without “political interference.”

SupportersACLU of Michigan, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and Michigan Voices, a progressive nonprofit.

Major fundersThe committee is not required to file a campaign finance report until April. Further analysis should be forthcoming.

To Do: Sign up to collect signatures; educate others on the need for getting this petition on the November ballot.


Rust Belt Rising Spring 2022 Leadership Training

     Rust Belt Rising is looking for Michigan’s most promising candidates to join our 2022 cohort of Democratic leaders. Sign up here.

     Their spring course, Run a Strong Campaign in Our Region, allows leaders to learn from top practitioners via Zoom sessions on making the different elements of a strategic campaign as effective as possible today—such as communications, digital, organizing, and fundraising.

     Rising also provides individual coaching and mentorship focused on helping candidates cultivate their authentic, resonant message and campaign strategies to get that message out. Participants receive access to Rising’s messaging, polling, and effective communication examples.

     Who: Join a network of more than 500 Democratic leaders who are making Democrats the party of working people to win and create change in our communities.

     Where: Rising works with candidates and those who are assisting them at any level (local, state, and federal) in Michigan (as well as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.)

     When: Applications are due April 4, but are accepted on a rolling basis afterward. Weekly sessions begin in April and run through June.

Apply now if you are running for office, working on a campaign, or are a local volunteer leader.

This table demonstrates the use of dark money by petition. It is readily apparent that most of the funding for these petitions is not easily identifiable.


Visit the PEG website for the full list of Upcoming Events

April 10. Conversations: Support the truth and Ukrainians

The Russian invaders of Ukraine are utilizing social media to influence public opinion by promoting a narrative to deny their war crimes and justify their unjustifiable actions. They do this by employing an army of bots, dupes and paid amplifiers to reach millions of individuals in Russia and around the world. They do this because they know that their best hope for a victory in Ukraine is for the liberal democracies to ratchet down their support for the courageous Ukrainians. They can do this by persuading the citizens of these liberal democracies that the Ukrainans don’t deserve the sacrifices that they are making by paying more for fuel and other items.

A citizen army is fighting on the digital front in support of the truth and Ukrainians. Without employing paid amplifiers or bots they have reached over 440,000,000 individuals around the world. To learn more about them go to the Digital Front and attend a live interview with digital warriors in Ukraine and the United States.

Conversations from the United States and Ukraine are intimately involved in the fight. They will be asked our questions about the importance of the fight, how it is going, what is being done and how ordinary people can enlist. Click here to register for this important event. Sunday at 1 pm ET

Ballot cure training

Call voters who need help ensuring that their absentee ballots are counted. This is a critical service to voters in Michigan whose special election ballots are in danger of not being counted. You will learn about what errors require curing, how to guide a voter through the process of submitting the necessary information to their clerk, and how to record that information. Sign up Here.

Times available:

  • Sunday, April 10. 11:30 am–12:30 pm
  • Saturday, April 16. 1–3 pm
  • Sunday, April 24. 11 am–noon

Voter protection volunteer recruiting   

Save these dates to help balance the Michigan House, protecting Michigan Voting Rights. April 10, April 21. Calling all phone bankers to GOTV for the May 3 special election to fill four vacant seats in Michigan House Districts. District 15District 36District 43, and District 74Register and get more information

April 13. End gun violence Michigan lobby day

Join Michigan United on April 13 from 8:30 am to Noon for “End Gun Violence Michigan” Lobby Day. Lobby sessions will be held both virtually on Zoom and in-person in Lansing. (The BEST way to participate is to be in Lansing.) The meetings will last between 30 and 45 minutes. We will be demanding that Michigan politicians pass gun safety laws that:

  • Require safe gun storage
  • Include universal background checks
  • Ban guns in government buildings
  • Mental health support for schools and other critical reforms

Gun violence impacts all Michiganders. Since 1970, Michigan ranks 4th in the nation with 70 school shootings. This total includes last year’s tragic Oxford High School shooting where four students were murdered and many others were injured. Despite these preventable tragedies, the Michigan legislature refuses to take action. But, you can.

     These common-sense demands are reasonable, popular, and don’t infringe on second amendment rights. It’s time the Michigan legislature does its job by enacting these demands and protecting Michigan children from gun violence.

Visit the PEG website to view the comprehensive listing of Upcoming Events!

Things to do

Call your Senators (find yours here)

Hi, I’m a constituent calling from [zip]. My name is ______.

First, Clarence Thomas’s failure to recuse himself in a case involving texts from his wife to Mark Meadows about the attempted coup is unacceptable. The federal law on recusals is clear: “Judges should not participate in proceedings in which their spouse has ‘an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.” Now that we know that Ginny Thomas does have such an interest, Justice Thomas can no longer participate in matters relating to the insurrection and attempted coup. If he refuses to recuse himself, he needs to be impeached. [H/T]

Also, please confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson immediately. Thanks.

Call your House Rep (find yours here)

Hi, I’m a constituent calling from [zip]. My name is _______.

I’m calling to make sure that the Congressmember is co-sponsoring HR 7018, the Green Postal Service Fleet Act. This bill would force Louis DeJoy to cancel his purchase of 160K new gas powered, non-union-built trucks and instead order at least 75% electric vehicles that are union built. This issue is incredibly important to me.

One more thing: I want the Congressmember to support the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, HR 3617. I know the House will vote this week.

from Chop Wood, Carry Water by Jessica Craven

Things to read, watch, and listen to

In the video above, a black athlete is forced to remove her hair beads in order to participate in a competition or be disqualified. Friends and other competitors joined in to help her remove the beads in time to compete.

The CROWN Act is for ending hair discrimination. Read the latest news.

Imagine being penalized for characteristics of your hair that just come naturally. The CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) was created in 2019 to ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists, and knots in the workplace and public schools.

The U.S. House on March 18, 2022, passed the Act in a vote of 235–189 along party lines. With the passing of The CROWN Act in the House of Representatives, the federal bill now advances to the U.S. Senate for the second time.

Earlier the President also extended official support for the Act.

What happens next? The companion bill now heads to the Senate, where Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has sponsored the chamber’s version of the bill.

  • The law has been passed in 14 states and 36 municipalities.
  • Nineteen additional states have introduced the legislation this year.
  • The inaugural CROWN Act was signed into law by Governor Newsom in California on July 3, 2019 and went into effect January 1, 2020. It made California the first state to prohibit discrimination based on protective hairstyles and hair texture associated with race.
  • National CROWN Day (July 3) is a special annual holiday commemorating the inaugural signing of the first CROWN Act legislation in the United States in 2019 to “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.”
  • The Massachusetts State House also passed the CROWN Act by a unanimous vote on Thursday, March 17, 2022, and will now go to the State Senate for consideration.

Learn more HERE. Find the latest HERE. –NBCnews.com and TheCROWNAct.com

Whitmer signs $4.7 billion bipartisan bill for infrastructure and housing securityLast week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 565 that allocates $4.7 billion to improve state drinking water, sewers, parks, roads, dams and internet service, while helping renters and homeowners financially harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support. “Once again we’ve proven that in Michigan, Republicans and Democrats can work together to get things done,” Whitmer said.”This plan will help us continue fixing the damn roads — and the dams and roads.” The Detroit Free Press reports that most of the money is federal — about $3.1 billion coming from coronavirus relief funds and an additional $945.4 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress. The largest allocation, about $1.8 billion, is for various projects to improve the quality of drinking water. State Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, said in an earlier news release the legislation leverages “one-time federal funding to make generational improvements” across the state. “By spending these dollars wisely, we will benefit Michiganders for decades to come,” he said.

This week 63 Republicans voted against support for NATO

In a report from Business Insider, the House overwhelmingly approved a resolution expressing support for NATO on Tuesday. Entitled, “Calling on the US Government to uphold the founding democratic principles of NATO and establish a Center for Democratic Resilience within the headquarters of NATO,” the resolution passed 362 to 63, with support from 143 Republicans and 219 Democrats. Sixty-three members of the GOP caucus voted against the measure. The Republicans opposing the measure included most of Trump’s loyal supports, including Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado; Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina; Matt Gaetz of Florida; Paul Gosar of Arizona; Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia; and Jim Jordan of Ohio. For a complete list of the Nays and Yeas, click here.

Stay in touch with your Michigan Representatives: 

Find your county commissioner here:

State Senator Jeff Irwin has a regular Virtual Coffee Hour — To receive the Zoom access code and the next date, please fill out this form:https://senatedems.com/irwin/coffee-hour-sign-up/
State Rep. Yousef Rabhi, 53rd House district: yousefrabhi@house.mi.gov, Phone: (517) 373-2577. https://housedems.com/yousef-rabhi/. Currently virtual coffee hours with Yousef are at 10 am on the 4th Saturday of the month.Register for Saturday coffee hours
State Rep. Ronnie Peterson, 54th House district: ronniepeterson@house.mi.gov Phone: (517) 373-1771 (855) 347-8054, https://housedems.com/ronnie-peterson/ 
State Rep. Donna Lasinski, 52nd House district: donnalasinski@house.mi.gov, Phone: (517) 373-0828 | (855) 627-5052, https://housedems.com/donna-lasinski/ (sign up for emails here). 
State Rep. Felicia Brabec, 55th House district: FeliciaBrabec@house.mi.gov, Phone: (517) 373-1792, https://housedems.com/felicia-brabec/.

Write us at equalityingovinfo@gmail.com if you would like help create our weekly newsletter OR if you would like to be a guest contributor! It’s fun and no ongoing commitment is required.

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A special thanks to our newsletter contributors: Ellen Halter, Leslie McGraw, Leslie Kamil, Lisa Kamil, Richard Gaeth, Susie Ayer, Bette Cotzin, Into Action Lab, and Chuck Newman for their contributions and help preparing our newsletters. PEG is a (somewhat) non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance. PEG’s work is primarily done by recruiting, educating and nurturing supporters for worthy organizations, actions and events that reflect our beliefs.  To subscribe to this free  weekly newsletter, go to our sign up form by clicking here.

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