There is a time to rest and a time to take ACTION

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Jimmy Carter was the 39th president and Nobel Peace Prize Winner (2002). He has chosen, at age 98, to go home on hospice care. If you would like to add your final thoughts to him and his loved ones, feel free to do so here.

Joe Biden is a gift to American democracy

Joe Biden has been highly underrated for all his years of service. However, his guts and stamina excitingly continue to catch us all off-guard.

Last year President Biden signed historic gun safety legislation, which passed the House and the Senate with bipartisan support. It includes incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws that allow groups to petition courts to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.” In addition, dating partners are included in domestic violence cases that before only existed for spouses and former spouses. Background checks are expanded, as are mental health services and best practices for school safety.

While clearly not enough, as we see daily in this country, it is a start. Now that we have a more gun control friendly majority in Lansing, it is time to push our legislators to close the gaps for Michiganders.                                 

Find your State Senator here. 

Find your State Representative here.

As Robert Hubbell stated, “Biden is not perfect, far from it. But he was the right person for the toughest job in the world at the toughest time in a half-century for the nation he sought to lead. Again and again, he proves his critics wrong and surprises us by displaying a second wind, a new gear, a moment of disarming sincerity, an unexpected feistiness, or political shrewdness that brings us up short.” For example, after his covert President’s weekend trip to Eastern Europe – “We are reminded that we underestimate Joe Biden at our peril.”

MSU students demand action on gun violence

Michigan Senate responds

Following the mass shooting at Michigan State University on February 16, Michigan Senate Democrats introduced a package of 11 gun bills. They would require criminal background checks when purchasing a firearm. They contain an incentive for people to store their guns safely, and punish those who don’t if their firearms fall into the wrong hands. Another part of the package details so-called “red-flag law” provisions that aim to keep guns out of the hands of anyone deemed a threat to themselves or others. Learn more HERE. –MichiganRadio.org

Help Michigan Resistance make calls

They will be calling constituents to ask Michiganders to call their senators and representatives to support common sense gun legislation bills over the next few weeks. If you’re interested in helping, text Terryl Sperlich at 810-516-0923 and tell her A2D2 sent you. Ann Arbor inDivisible for Democracy

Voice Your Opinions and Concerns – It’s Easy to Email your Representative

The Democracy Labs provides information on how to determine and contact your state representative to voice your opinion/concerns. There is even an email for you to copy and send.

Find your MI State Rep
Find your MI State Senator

Michigan Legislation we MUST pass

Safe Storage to Protect Children:

These measures require that firearms be securely stored in homes with children. When Florida introduced safe storage, youth firearm deaths were reduced by 51%. 2021/22 introduced legislation: HB 5066-5069 and SB 550-553.

Universal Background Checks:

Under current Michigan law, assault rifles can be purchased in private party sales without any background check. By changing the word “pistol” to “firearm” in Michigan’s background check law, we can ensure that ALL firearm purchases are subjected to background checks. Criminals who are too dangerous to own a pistol shouldn’t be allowed to own an assault rifle. 2021/22 introduced legislation: HB 4869,70,71 and SB 454, 455, 456.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders (Red Flag Laws):

These laws permit a court to authorize the temporary removal and sale of firearms from and to a person deemed to a threat to themselves or others. 2021/22 introduced legislation: SB 856, 857, 858.

Protection for Domestic Violence Survivors:

These laws would prevent those convicted of domestic violence from owning or purchasing firearms. Domestic abusers often escalate their violence, and it is important to intervene before abuse escalates to shooting or murder. HB 5371, 5372 and SB 678, 679.

Events

Sunday, February 26. Conversations with the Children of Jewish Holocaust survivors

Join Chuck Newman to hear how they honor their parent’s courage and resilience and how they live with the aftermath of their parents’ inconceivable experiences. RSVP for Zoom link here. 7:30 pm

“What was unimaginable did, in fact, happen. We know because those who survived told us. Truth needs light. Truth needs telling. Truth bears repeating. Read these accounts. And never forget.” — Harry Smith, NBC News

Wednesday, March 1. The State of MI Public Education

Learn about new threats and continued attacks from the parental rights movement. Plus a guide to fighting back!   Register HERE.  Virtual Event, link provided upon registration.

The extreme right is trying to destabilize public ed, we will teach you our best practices to counter their rhetoric and lies. In light of the tragedy at MSU this program has been updated to include best practices for becoming an advocate to prevent gun violence.

Special guests include State Board of Education Chair Pamela Pugh, member Mitch Robinson and educator and gun violence survivor and advocate Lauren Jasinski. Presented by DISTILL SOCIAL + MIPASS. 7-8 pm

Sunday, March 5. Talk with State Senator Jeff Irwin and State Representative Jimmie Wilson, Jr

We need to show our Representatives that there is overwhelming grassroots support for the work that they do. Join us as we talk to Representative Jimmie Wilson Jr. (32nd District) and Senator Jeff Irwin (15th District) and find out what their priorities are for 2023 and how we can help. RSVP for this free session here. 7 pm

Monday, March 6. State of the District Town Hall with Senator Jeff Irwin

Please join State Senator Jeff Irwin for a State of the District Town Hall to learn and discuss the new landscape in Lansing, ongoing legislative priorities, and how our office can best assist residents with state government. We want to hear from District 15 to help us shape the next four years in the State Senate.  Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center located at 4135 Washtenaw Ave Ann Arbor, MI 48108Facebook event HERE.

Things to read, watch, and listen to

News From the Congressional Front: Representative Debbie Dingell Speaks Out

by Ellen K. Halter

On the phone, Debbie Dingell sounds like the neighbor next door, but she’s not. She’s my Democratic US Representative, a position she’s held since 2015. Although control of the House has passed to the Republicans, she’s committed to working across the aisle to get vital legislation passed. This includes bills on health care, the environment, long term care, railroad safety, and the superfund. And despite the difficulty of getting Federal gun legislation passed, she’s not willing to give up on it.

Dingell treasures input from her constituents which is why she makes a point of being “out and about” at schools, senior centers, and the farmer’s market. Above all else, she wants to be “where people are.” Worried about the deep divisions in our society, she believes our democracy is founded on community, and strengthening this can only strengthen our democracy. Wanting to touch base with all her constituents, she welcomes their calls, even those who know she’ll vote as they wish.

When asked if she plans to run for Senate, Dingell says she hasn’t decided. She knows she’s “effective” where she’s at, and the prospect of raising well over seventy million dollars is daunting, to say the least.

Debbie Dingell has first-hand experience with Gun Violence (Watch Throwback Video)

The shooting at MSU has been gut-wrenching to students, teachers, parents, alumni across the state. However, as posited by Dr. Sonya Lewis in our Gun Reform newsletter last week, gun violence is unrelenting and prevalent in Michigan. In fact, prior to the MSU shooting, 23 Michiganders had been harmed by guns in the first 13 days of February. Three hours after finishing her article for PEG, Dr. Sonya Lewis found out that her own daughter had to hide from a gunman on MSU’s campus. Debbie Dingell in the video below, as well as in her recent video interview, shares how her childhood was scarred by gun violence and intimidation within her household. We are hoping that these recent tragedies will help us demand a safer Michigan and America.

Gun Violence in Michigan – The Statistics

Everytown for Gun Safety, “the largest gun violence prevention organization in America,” has identified:

  • In an average year, 1,270 people die and 2,437 are wounded by guns in Michigan. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Michigan:
  • An average of 95 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 39% of these deaths are suicides and 57% are homicides.
  • Gun violence in Michigan costs $1,683 per person each year.
  • Gun deaths and injuries cost Michigan $16.8 billion each year, of which $380.5 million is paid by taxpayers.

An overview of gun violence in Michigan – as demonstrated by the chart below – can be found here.

What can Michigan do with $54.7 M to improve the lives of the 30,000 people living in public housing? A lot! 

What can Michigan do with $54.7 M to improve the lives of the 30,000 people living in public housing? A lot! 

“As I have traveled the country, I’ve heard time and again from families and seniors in public housing that a decent home in a safe community shouldn’t be too much to ask for,” said a statement from HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge.“With this investment today, we are committing to work with our public housing authority partners to guarantee homes in public housing are worthy of the families and individuals who live there.”

According to recent HUD data, nearly 30,000 people in Michigan live in public housing with about half being residents who are elderly or disabled. The $54.7 million award was distributed to all 107 public housing authorities in Michigan including the Detroit Housing Commission with $12.3 million, Flint Housing Commission with $3.6 million, Jackson Housing Commission with $1.3 million, Muskegon Heights Housing Commission with $1.1 million and Saginaw Housing Commission with $1.6 million.


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