WCDP News: Protecting Community Mental Health

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11 mins read

May is Mental Health Awareness Month 

Privatization of state’s mental health care
latest “money grab” from Michigan GOP 

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has a new proposal to shift the management of care for 300,000 residents, and $3 billion of our taxpayer dollars, from a publicly run program to private insurance plans. His plan would impact those on Medicaid with severe mental illness, substance use disorders and developmental disabilities.

The Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) Michigan, Kevin Fischer, became a mental health advocate after his son, Dominique, was diagnosed with a serious mental illness at age 20 and committed suicide three years later. Speaking with The Detroit News, he said, “This quite frankly is a money grab. It’s a money grab by the health plans. These are public funds. These are federal funds. These are taxpayer dollars.”
In the same article, Robert Sheehan, CEO of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan, said he sees Shirkey’s proposal as a full privatization of the system.

“The CMH (community mental health) system is the state’s safety net for mental health,” Sheehan said. “Now, you’re moving that safety net to a private insurance company.” We know where this will leads – Republicans have worked to privatize long-term care facilities for years, to the detriment of Michigan citizens. There is already a severe shortage of inpatient mental health care for people in this county and state, and it is causing a public health care crisis. Here in Washtenaw County, you will find both adult and pediatric patients waiting for an inpatient psychiatric bed for days on end, sleeping in waiting room chairs, and often leaving without the care they need. 

Sign the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan’s petition to let Senator Shirkey know these bills are not the answer.

Next week, WCDP will cover Governor Whitmer’s plan to expand mental health services in our schools and communities.

More on these bills: 

A large crowd of about 2,000 people attended the Bans Off Our Body protest organized by Planned Parenthood at the University of Michigan this past Saturday. Michigan protests were held in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Grand Rapids in response to the Supreme Court’s leaked draft overturning Roe v. Wade

Latreece, of Washtenaw County, came out to the protest with her two daughters.
“I work for Planned Parenthood and I believe in its mission,” she said.
Latreece, of Washtenaw County, came out to the protest with her two daughters.
“I work for Planned Parenthood and I believe in its mission,” she said.
“How could we not come? Women’s rights are human rights,” said Clare (pictured right). She attended with friends Joe and Christi, along with their adorable mascot. 

You Can Change the Rules

Reproductive Freedom for All aims to  amend the Michigan Constitution abd affirm that every person has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which involves the right to make and carry out decisions without political interference about all matters relating to pregnancy, including birth control, abortion, infertility, miscarriage care, prenatal care, and childbirth.

Get it on the ballot, then get it on the books!

Find Out Where to Sign Reproductive Freedom for All!

WCDP June Program Features Judicial and MI Senate Candidates 

In our ongoing effort to help voters make informed decisions in the upcoming elections, the Washtenaw County Democratic Party (WCDP) will host a Zoom webinar panel discussion on Saturday, June 4, at 9:30 AM with the candidates vying for the November election ballot slots for Judge of the the Washtenaw County Trial Court and the state senate seat in the newly drawn 14th district.

Voting for judges matters, as recent events have made clear. But about 25% of those who vote don’t vote for judges on the ballot.  The nonpartisan chooseyourjudges.org says that of those who do vote, 80% can’t identify any judicial candidates and make decisions based on incumbency, party affiliation, or identification with the candidate name, rather than the candidates’ stands on issues.

The judicial candidates — Marla Linderman Richelew, executive director of the Washtenaw Association for Justice, and Arianne Slay, Deputy City Attorney of the City of Ann Arbor– will discuss their positions and answer participant questions. 

Two Democratic candidates for the 14th State Senate district will also take part in the June 4 webinar: Chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners Sue Shink and program director of America Votes Kelsey Heck Wood. The new district includes Chelsea, Dexter, portions of Ann Arbor, and most of Jackson County.

Additional information—including how to submit questions for the candidates, and the Zoom link for the webinar—can be found on the WCDP Web site.

Tune in to learn about MI’s most important Ballot Proposal for 2022!

Hear an interview with Nancy Wang, Executive Director of Voters Not Politicians, on Conversations on May 19 at 7pm. Conversations is a videocast series hosted by Ann Arbor Jewish Community Center founder, Charles “Chuck” Newman.

Nancy will talk about the very real possibility that it will become much more difficult to vote, as well as how the Promote the Vote ballot initiative can block the current effort to suppress the vote.

Click here to register for this important event. Once you do so, you will be sent the link to see the show. Please share this invitation.

Learn more about the Promote the Vote initiative!

6 Weeks To Go!

Every ally of Promote The Vote is out collecting signatures, all over Michigan. But we need over 425,000 by July 11!  Find a place to sign near you, and bring a friend. Our democracy works best when all our voices are heard.  You can help.

 Find & Sign a Promote the Vote Petition! 

Congrats Judge Maldonado!

Congratulations to the Honorable Allie Greenleaf Maldonado, who was recently appointed to a judgeship with the Federal Eastern Division. Judge Maldonado has served as the Chief Judge of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB) since 2002. She is also a citizen of the tribe.

Judge Maldonado’s tireless work to bring the state into compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act earned her the Unsung Hero Award from the Michigan State Bar. She successfully litigated the first case in which the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the termination of parental rights due to a failure by the state to follow ICWA.

Yard Signs Available

  • Whitmer Gilchrist Nessel Benson: $15
  • Black Lives Matter: $5
  • Whitmer Gilchrist on white: $10 

Sales support the WCDP. We can only accept check (preferred) or cash.  Pick up at the WCDP Ypsilanti office  on Wednesdays, 5 to 7Saturdays, 11 to 3; and Sundays, 1 to 3.  Please call ahead to check on stock: 734-879-0556.

ActionHub connects you to 100+ local groups who share our Democratic values.  We are better together. Take action today.

Bridge Michigan continues to do the reporting a democracy needs with their detailed ballot proposal tracker, explaining what each would do, major funders, & more. Confused? Find out what you need to know.

Your elected 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:

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.

State Rep. Ronnie Peterson, 54th House district: ronniepeterson@house.mi.gov Phone: (517) 373-1771 | Toll-Free: (855) 347-8054, https://housedems.com/ronnie-peterson/

State Rep. Donna Lasinski, 52nd House district: donnalasinski@house.mi.gov, Phone: (517) 373-0828 | Toll-Free: (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/.

The Final Word

We are heartbroken over the 10 lives senselessly lost this week in the racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo.

We will work to hold accountable those who tout dangerous rhetoric, such as The Great Replacement Theory cited in the murderer’s manifesto and promoted by the alt-right.

We will continue to fight bigotry in all its ugly forms.

We will continue to push for sensible gun control measures that have been at the heart of President Biden’s work for decades.

We will NEVER stop fighting for justice for ALL to honor those lives tragically taken: 
Aaron Salter
Ruth Whitfield
Katherine Massey
Pearly Young
Heyward Patterson
Celestine Chaney
Roberta Drury
Margus D. Morrison
Adnre Mackneil
Geraldine Talley

Say their names!


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