Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the March 30, 2023 edition of Three Things Thursday! This week we take a look at a recent keynote address delivered by one of our teammates, an award bestowed upon another teammate, and my recent journey to D.C. and Baltimore. Let’s jump in!
1. Latino Leaders in Policy: A guest speaking engagement for Michigan LCV’s Daniel Rivera
Michigan LCV’s Elections Systems Organizer Daniel Rivera was at Michigan State University last night for the “Latinos Leaders in Policy” gathering where he was invited to be the guest speaker.
Daniel speaking at last night’s “Latino Leaders in Policy” gathering at MSU.
Before joining Michigan LCV, Daniel served as the Congressional Progressive Caucus Fellow for Congressman Ro Khanna (D–CA). While in D.C., Daniel developed support and initiatives for public school teachers, disability rights, civil rights and Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Prior to his time on the Hill, Daniel co-created and co-launched Building Bridges Through Education, an education and workforce initiative powered by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Last night, Daniel spoke about his experience on the Hill, navigating his first job in D.C., and the importance of participating in our democracy and making our voices heard. The discussion also touched on opportunities back in our state and ways for individuals to get involved with Michigan LCV through the Our Water Activists program and future volunteer opportunities. Overall, this event is geared to build a pipeline for Latin@’s to get involved and connected to policy, democracy, and conservation work.
Thank you, Daniel, for being an outstanding representative for Michigan LCV and sharing the work you are doing with students at MSU!
2. Michigan LCV’s Wesley Watson = Sustainability Champion
Michigan LCV’s Wesley Watson was recently honored with a Sustainability Champion award by Grand Valley State University’s Office of Sustainability Practices.
Wesley with his award last week!
GVSU launched the Sustainability Champions awards to recognize outstanding leadership exemplified by students, faculty and community members. The awards go to individuals who embody and support sustainability values and use a triple bottom-line approach in solving problems related to climate change and the protection of people and the planet.
From left to right: Michigan LCV A&O team’s Jessica Schick, Maddie Samuels, Wesley Watson, and Abigail Barker.
Wesley is highly deserving of this recognition. Since joining the Michigan LCV team over a year ago as one of our West Michigan Regional Coordinators, Wesley has infused our Advocacy & Outreach (A&O) team with his tireless dedication to climate justice and environmental justice. His connections throughout the Grand Rapids area, coupled with his commitment to organizing in Black and Brown communities disproportionately impacted by toxic pollution, are key to his success. Wesley has built trust across neighborhoods and a sense of togetherness in the quest for a cleaner, safer, more just Grand Rapids.
The team was pretty excited about Wesley’s award!
We are very fortunate to have Wesley on our team and we are very proud of his award. Congratulations, Wesley!
3. A trip to D.C. and Baltimore
Last week, my schedule took me to both our nation’s capital and the great city of Baltimore. One might think the journey meant time with members of the Michigan Congressional delegation or key federal agencies. Nope. I traveled to D.C. to serve as a consultant/guide to some of my new peers who have recently taken the helm of state leagues in a variety of states across the country. Teaming up with the ever-dynamic and wonderful Kerry Schumann, who serves as the Executive Director of Wisconsin Conservation Voters, the two of us shared ideas, best practices and lessons learned in building (amazing!) boards of directors and working with them to make critically important changes for the people of our states.
Kerry and I then traveled to Baltimore because we both serve on the board of the national League of Conservation Voters/League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (Kerry is on the LCV board and I’m on the LCV Ed Fund board). We went from talking about building boards to service on a board! 😉
The meeting in Baltimore was terrific, both because the national board had not been together over an extended period of time since before the pandemic and because we dug into important issues. We were also graced by a visit from Maryland Governor Wes Moore, the first Black governor for the state and only the third Black person elected as governor of any state in the country! My counterpart in Maryland, Kim Coble, did an excellent job introducing Governor Moore, sharing with the audience the work that Maryland LCV did to not only endorse in a highly contested primary election, but to provide robust support to then-candidate Moore, ensuring his victory in November.
Governor Wes Moore and Kim Coble, Executive Director of Maryland LCV (Photo credit: MDGovPics).
Governor Moore – a dynamic, engaging orator – spoke in detail about his commitment to addressing the climate crisis, from investing in clean, renewable energy technologies and weatherizing homes to growing the jobs of the future, accessible to ALL residents of Maryland.
We had a chance to individually greet the Governor and I made sure to send along the very best from Governor Whitmer in the great state of Michigan. Governor Moore’s face lit up when I mentioned Governor Whitmer’s name and he responded effusively with how welcoming and kind she has been during his early tenure in office.
Lisa Wozniak, Rich Thomas LCV General Counsel & Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives; Governor Wes Moore; and Kim Coble, Executive Director of Maryland LCV (Photo credit: MDGovPics).
I was very happy to get back home in Michigan on Friday evening, but as you can tell my journey to the East Coast was time well spent. As I like to say, it’s all about building the movement so that from coast to coast we have strong leaders who will tackle the climate crisis, the challenges to our drinking water and the threats to our democracy in just and equitable ways.
Until next week, thank you for all you do. Be well and keep dreaming of spring; it’s almost here!