WCDP News: Heartbroken and Wanting Action

10 mins read

Statement on shooting at Michigan State University

The WCDP stands with all the MSU students and their families, faculty and staff, and the Lansing Community, in grieving the heartbreaking loss and injury of these precious young people. As Annie Heitmeier, a third-year student at Michigan State University, and a volunteer with Students Demand Action says, “It’s horrifying that for some students on our campus, this is the second mass shooting they have lived through.” 

We urge our legislators and elected officials to support common sense solutions to the proliferation of guns and gun violence. We support the following initiatives:

·   Democrat-led Gun Violence Prevention Caucus and the passage of the 6 bills introduced to Congress by its members and future bills they plan to introduce.

·   Michigan’s implementation of the newly granted crisis intervention funds from the Department of Justice.

·   The Michigan Democrats’ plan to re-introduce safe-storage, universal background check, and extreme risk protection (“red flag”) legislation, as outlined in Governor Whitmer’s budget proposal.

·   Governor Whitmer’s requested creation of an Office of Community Violence Intervention Services that will pilot community violence intervention programs and gun violence prevention grants.

We urge everyone to contact their elected officials across the political spectrum demanding their support on this gun violence related reform. Too many lives have been lost and too many tears have been shed. We can and must do better. 

March 4th Meeting — Two ways to attend

We’re trying a hybrid in-person and Zoom meeting this month. For the in-person crowd, we’ll be meeting at our old stomping grounds, the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center where, at this time, masks are optional.  Details on both options below.

The Housing and Homelessness Crisis in Washtenaw County

There has been a significant spike in people experiencing homelessness in Washtenaw County this winter, especially families who cannot find housing. Local housing and homelessness service providers and others involved with the crisis will inform us about  the impact of the lack of housing on the most vulnerable in our community, and its negative effects for  education, business, health care systems, and so many other aspects of life across the county. We’ll learn more about what we can do about it. Read more on MLive.

We’ll also be joined by elected representatives for conversation and Q&A about legislative work in Lansing and in the County Board of Commissioners.

Meeting Agenda

9:15 – 9:45.— Social hour

9:45 – 10:45 — Organization business

  • Rep. Carrie Rheingans, on proposed legislation for Michigan to join the National Popular Vote Initiative
  • Senator Jeff Irwin, Chair, Housing and Human Services Committee
  • Other elected officialsTBA

10:45 – 12:00 — Homelessness Program & Panel

  • Judge Cedric Simpson 
  • County Commissioner Andy LaBarre  
  • Amanda Carlisle, Executive Director of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance, 
  • Aubrey Patiño Executive Director Avalon Housing
  • Morghan Boydston, Human Services Manager, OCED/Office of Community and Economic Development.

Attend in person
The Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center (LRC) is at 4135 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, 48108. The LRC is part of the Sheriff’s office complex. The most visible landmark from Washtenaw is St. Luke’s church, which shares a driveway with the LRC, immediately west of the church.

Attend via Zoom:
Join the meeting through Zoom beginning at 9:45: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87406086300

Meeting ID: 874 0608 6300
One tap mobile
+16694449171,,87406086300# US
+16699009128,,87406086300# US (San Jose)

Send Us Your Ideas!

The Program Committee wants to make sure we cover topics of high interest to members in our monthly membership meetings, which are typically held on first Saturdays, 9:30 – noon. Do you have ideas? Please use this form to share them with us! And thank you.

2023 Spring MDP Convention Recap

Many WCDP members made the trek to Detroit for the 2023 Spring MDP Convention on Saturday, February 11. The Convention was remarkable for its organization and unity. MDP Chair Lavora Barnes was unanimously re-elected, and WCDP’s Rep. Jason Morgan and Senator Erika Geiss (District 01) were elected first and second vice chairs respectively, both unanimously.

Several WCDP leaders took up regional and statewide leadership positions as well. 

On the 6th Congressional District Executive Committee, Jennifer Fairfield became a vice chair, Doug Scott was elected Treasurer, and Crystal Lyte, Theresa Reid, Vince Elie, Caroline Sanders, Ian Robinson, and Jessica Kelly all were elected to the Committee. Adam Zemke is Chair of the 6th CD Committee.

WCDP leaders elected as delegates to the MDP State Central Committee were Michael Koen, Jimmie Wilson, Jr., Adam Zemke, Doug Scott, Mary Hall-Thiam, Theresa Reid, Leaha Dotson, and Pat Scribner. WCDP alternates to State Central are Ryan Husse, Ian Robindson, Chris Savage, Travis Radina, Oma Jean Pittman, Barb Fuller, Jennifer Fairfield, Katie Scott, and Brenda McKinney.

It’s great to be so well-represented in the state’s party apparatus. Congratulations to all who were elected to the work!

Commissioner Crystal Lyte Featured in Black History Month Panel

Ypsilanti Community Schools just held its Third Annual YCS Black History month Speaker Series event. The event highlights the positive contributions of graduates from Ypsilanti High School, Willow Run High School, Ypsilanti Community High School, or who grew up in the 48197 or 48198 zip codes.  This year’s event featured Washtenaw County Commissioner Crystal Lyte, who credited Commissioner Caroline Sanders as a mentor who showed her that running and being commissioner was something she could do.  You can watch a replay of the panel here to learn more about what these great community members are doing and who inspires them. 

Labor Update: GEO Contract Status 

Last Friday, in the culmination of a Week of Grad Labor Visibility, over 300 graduate student workers at the University of Michigan showed up to watch negotiations over their future contract. They were backed by dozens of allied workers and community members who had rallied in support. Grad workers in the Graduate Employees’ Organization (AFT-MI Local 3550) are fighting for a fair contract that includes:

  • A living wage of $38.5k (the typical grad worker currently makes $14.5k less than this),
  • Payment for MSWs working in unpaid field placements,
  • Accessible gender-affirming care,
  • Affordable childcare, 
  • Transitional funding for grads trapped in abusive situations, and 
  • Funding for a community-based, non-police, unarmed crisis response program

U-M has rejected almost all of these proposals and instead offered raises below the current rate of inflation (i.e., effective wage cuts). This is despite the fact that 80% of grad workers at U-M are rent-burdened by federal standards, 1 in 6 is not confident they can handle an unexpected $500 expense, and 1 in 10 worries about not being able to afford enough food to eat. Rackham Student Government, Graduate Rackham International, and Students of Color of Rackham — the University’s official grad student bodies — called the University’s salary proposals “insulting” and “an embarrassment.” 

To support grad students’ fight for a living wage, sign our community open letter (bit.ly/SupportGEO) and join our ally listserv (bit.ly/GEO-Ally)!

2023 Great Lakes Political Academy LEAD Candidate Training

Thinking about running for something, or interested in managing a campaign? The Great Lakes Political Academy is still accepting applications for their first LEAD training! It will be in Macomb County on March 11th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Are you interested in running for a local or state office? Apply today


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