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Dear Michigan LCV Family, 

Welcome to the April 27, 2023 edition of Three Things Thursday! This week I share the amazing work our team did over the weekend to celebrate Earth Day, take a look at President Biden’s latest actions and our awesome Federal Government Affairs team, and put a spotlight on our Democracy for All Coordinator who is truly living the mission. Let’s jump in!

1. Michigan LCV celebrates Earth Day

While there is much to do to protect this beautiful state and the people who live here, we have seen positive action in Lansing and DC, as well in locales all across Michigan. As you know, a broad climate and clean energy bill package, known as the MI Clean Energy Future Plan, was recently introduced in the state Senate and we expect equivalent action in the state House soon.  If you follow our Capital Catch-Up newsletter, you also know that the legislature is tee’d up to move on Filter First legislation (ensuring our kids have clean, safe water to drink in their schools, while the larger lead pipe and contaminant issues are dealt with) and toss out the horrible No Stricter than Federal legislation. 

As part of this growing movement to protect our water and address the climate crisis –and to carry on the important annual focus on Earth Day, which many don’t know actually started on March 12, 1970 as a “teach in” at the University of Michigan , becoming the impetus for the first national Earth Day on April 22, 1970 –the MLCV team was in full swing last weekend, playing leadership roles in a number of gathings.  

In West Michigan, Michigan LCV teammates partnered with the Grand Rapids Climate Coalition, Urban Core Collective, the Community Collaboration on Climate Change, and Creston Neighborhood Association for a rally and march in downtown Grand Rapids at Rosa Parks Circle.  Following the march, there was a panel discussion on climate change with WZZM meteorologist Samantha Jacques, Darren Riley of Just Air, and State Representative Rachel Hood. 

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Left to right: Michigan LCV’s Abigail Barker, Wesley Watson and Maddie Samuels at the Earth Day event in Grand Rapids.

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Attendees gather at Rosa Parks Circle for a series of speeches from local leaders and climate activists

In Southeast Michigan, a large contingent of Michigan LCV staff were in Royal Oak for the Oakland County Climate rally and march, which our team helped plan and lead.  

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Michigan LCV Deputy Director Bob Allison and his daughter with State Rep. Helena Scott!

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Michigan LCV’s Shannon Rochon and Shannon Ervin emcee-ed Saturday’s event –the two dynamic Shannons!

Hundreds of people turned out for the event, which featured a host of local leaders, including  State Rep. Helena Scott, Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, and former Congressman Andy Levin, among others. 

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Rep. Helena Scott with former Congressman Andy Levin. 

Given the recent introduction of the MI Clean Energy Future Plan in the Michigan Senate, many of the speakers noted the immense opportunity the legislature now has to transition the state to a 100% clean energy economy, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and address the climate crisis. If you have a moment, please join Michigan LCV in urging our elected officials in Lansing to take advantage of the moment.

2. Our Federal Team is tracking all that happens in DC

Focusing on the need for strong federal action to protect our air, land, water and democracy, Michigan LCV decided two years ago to establish a Federal Government Affairs Team. Led by the dynamic duo of Bentley Johnson and Hudson Villeneuve, Michigan LCV can proudly say we (1) played a key role in the historic infrastructure investments and climate legislation in Washington, D.C., (2) work closely with our U.S. Representatives and Senators, and (3) provide top-notch, ongoing information to our members, including weekly blog articles you can read on our website. 

Bentley and Hudson were very busy last week, working (as they do every week these days) to ensure full implementation of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and tracking the latest actions on the part of President Biden.  Importantly, last Friday President Biden signed an executive order that will deepen the nation’s commitment to environmental justice and basically require all federal agencies working on energy infrastructure projects to engage with frontline communities early in the process. This was a historic moment for communities all over the nation that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution and traditionally left behind in decision making that has huge impacts on their lives. 

This Politico article does a good job covering the significance of President Biden’s action.  And, this photo (apologies for the poor quality) from the event made me smile.  In attendance at the White House for the signing of the executive order were a number of familiar faces, all of them environmental justice warriors and many of them Michiganders! 

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That’s Catherine Coleman Flowers (whom I wrote about last week) standing to the President’s left. That’s University of Michigan professor Kyle Whyte in the back. And I know Jallone White-Newsome (currently serving on the White House Council on Environmental Quality/formerly with the Kresge Foundation), and Justine Schott, Project Manager of the Energy Equity Project (EEP) for the University of Michigan, were both in attendance as well. 

As our Federal Team celebrated this moment, they also worked to assemble the latest edition of Washington Weekly.  This week’s blog provides some important food-for-thought. Here’s an excerpt: 

Despite DOE’s commitment to environmental justice, the same day President Biden issued this executive order, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm wrote a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission urging speeding up approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Are communities around the pipeline not going to bear the costs of this fossil fuel infrastructure? Are communities everywhere not going to bear the costs of the climate crisis from this pipeline? 

I encourage you to read the whole article, which you can find here: Biden Pushes for Environmental Justice While Approving Pipelines

Two steps forward, one step back.  We promise to keep on keeping on; working for justice and equity across the board; celebrating our elected officials when they do the right thing and holding their feet to the fire when they don’t. 

3. Michigan LCV’s Daniel Rivera: Living the mission

At Michigan LCV, one of our core values as a staff is to “live the mission”. Everyday we strive to embody and represent the important work we are doing to protect our land, air, water and our democracy.

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Since the day he joined the Michigan LCV team as our Election Systems Coordinator, Daniel Rivera has truly been living the mission.  We are immensely proud that Daniel was recently invited to play a lead role in the 2023 Alsame Latino Youth Conference, a gathering of Latino youth leaders, organizers, students, and activists from across the state. This year’s conference will be held at Ferris State University’s Big Rapids campus, and the conference’s theme will be “The World is Yours.” Daniel, who graduated summa cum laude from Ferris State, will deliver the keynote address!

Congratulations, Daniel, on this awesome opportunity! Thank you for representing Michigan LCV and the work we do each and every day! 

I hope you had an opportunity to enjoy the truly beautiful (at least in southern lower Michigan) spring day today.  No doubt snow and rain will come again, but try to relish days like today so they buoy you through the gray… I know I do. 

Thanks for your trust!

Onward!

Lisa