Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the June 23, 2022 edition of Three Things Thursday! This week, I will cover my recent journey to DC and Michigan LCV’s work on climate and democracy, and take a moment to introduce a new Michigan LCV teammate.
1. The latest from Washington, D.C.
There’s never a dull moment in our nation’s capital and that was certainly true this week as I attended the first in-person national LCV Education Fund board meeting in three years. It was wonderful to see fellow board members and staff, many of whom are close friends given the decades of work we have done together to build this powerful, political climate/water justice movement. The meeting was also extraordinarily timely given both the quiet reconciliation talks on the Hill around a bill that could potentially take important steps in addressing the climate crisis AND the pending US Supreme Court decision – West Virginia v. EPA – which could severely limit the federal government’s authority to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants.
The Supreme Court case is, as cited in the New York Times earlier this week, “… the product of a coordinated, multi year strategy by Republican attorneys general, conservative legal activists and their funders, several with ties to the oil and coal industries, to use the judicial system to rewrite environmental law, weakening the executive branch’s ability to tackle global warming.”
All of this was front and center in the boardroom as we discussed state and national strategies to tackle the existential crisis of our time, understanding that the power in this movement lies in the people. For me, it always come back to Margaret Mead’s quote:
Never doubt that a (small) group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
2. Michigan LCV in action: Climate & Democracy
This week, the Michigan LCV team has rolled up our sleeves for several important events pertaining to the health of our climate and our democracy:
Promote the Vote 2022
The period for signature gathering for the Promote the Vote 2022 petition is coming to a close in a few weeks and the Michigan LCV team is working to ensure the important democratic reforms included in this petition get enough signatures to put it on the 2022 ballot.
In the face of continued misinformation and ongoing attempts to restrict access to the ballot, the Promote the Vote 2022 petition will make voting more convenient and accessible and enhance the integrity and security of our elections by modernizing how we administer elections to ensure every vote counts.
On Saturday, June 25, the Michigan LCV team will be spearheading two canvassing efforts – one in Grand Rapids and one in Pontiac – and we are looking for volunteers to join in. This is a great opportunity to get involved to protect and expand voting rights in Michigan!
In Pontiac, the Michigan LCV team will be gathering at the Career Development Institute – 441 Cesar E. Chavez Ave, Pontiac, MI 48342 — just before 11 A.M. We will then hit the doors and talk to voters in the community about the importance of expanding and protecting voting rights in Michigan.
In Grand Rapids, the Michigan LCV team will be gathering at Garfield Park at 250 Burton St SE, and collecting signatures as part of the Liberation Saturday festival.
As part of Michigan LCV’s “A Closer Look” series, Dr. Jonathan Overpeck (Dean of the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability) will speak this Friday, June 24, at 1 p.m. on the topic of “Climate Change, Air Pollution & Petro-Thuggery.”
Dr. Overpeck (AKA Peck) is a good friend of the Michigan LCV family and an extraordinary leader in the climate arena. His work on climate change and what he calls “petro-thuggery” is insightful and provokes conversations we all must be having if we want to meaningfully change the trajectory of the climate crisis. I had the pleasure and privilege of serving with Peck on the UM President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality. I promise you that Peck’s talk on Friday will not disappoint; in fact, it will inspire and motivate all of us to take action.
3. New Michigan LCV team member spotlight: Maddie Samuels
The Michigan LCV search for talented, dedicated individuals to join our team in a variety of different roles continues and I’m delighted to say that our team is growing. This week, I am excited to welcome Maddie Samuels to the Michigan LCV family!
Maddie joins the Michigan LCV Advocacy & Outreach (A&O) team as our newest West Michigan Regional Organizer. Originally from Chicago, IL, she now calls Grand Rapids home and is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University.
In addition to earning her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, with minors in Arabic and Nonprofit Administration, Maddie worked with and serves as President of the Board of the Michigan Youth Education Fund, a small nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to extracurricular educational opportunities for K-12 students in Michigan.
With a diverse educational background and a passion for community engagement, voting rights, and environmental justice, Maddie brings fresh perspectives and energy to our team’s work in West Michigan. Welcome, Maddie!
As I say every week, thank you so much for all you do. I mean it! We could never do all that we do without your trust and support. Until next week, be safe, be well…..