West Michigan Regional Coordinator
Wesley Watson has long been passionate about social justice issues in his community. As an introduction to his background, he has experience in public health education, community, and grassroots organizing, most recently as the Engagement Manager for the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. In that role, he led the organization’s work to engage underrepresented communities in the state’s circular economy investments, supporting the growth to new regional markets and managing their grant project with the Climate Action Campaign on continuing the drumbeat for urgency on bold federal climate and infrastructure investments throughout Michigan. Wesley also served as the Deputy State Field Director with For Our Future and West Michigan Organizing Director with NextGen America. In that and past roles, he has tackled environmental justice and healthcare issues ranging from lead eradication, access to clean drinking water, criminal justice reform, voting rights advocacy, and removing public health barriers in communities of color.
Previously he served the Grand Rapids community through the Grand Rapids Red Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health, reducing risk, and preventing HIV throughout West Michigan. As part of his work, he collaborated with fellow staff members, community partners, and local law enforcement to decrease the Opioid Epidemic in West Michigan. He also served as a national advocate for the Black AIDS Institute to fight health disparities and stigma in Black and Brown Communities.
Watson believes If we as a community and society can equip and mobilize our brothers and sisters with the resources and tools to become agents of change through intersectionality, then the result will be tangible progress on issues & a cultural shift around the politicization of our democracy/society. When we show up, we show the movement up. We all have a responsibility to fight for equity and expand our democracy in our communities. We must continue to get into “good necessary trouble” to pave the way for future generations to come. It’s power within our voice and vote; we must always leverage our voice for positive community change. Wesley was honored and received the Great Expectation Award at the 2021 African American Leadership Awards. He dedicated that award to his late father, Tommie Watson Jr. Who was his mentor, and got him involved in community organizing to invest in improving the lives of every single member of our community.
Wesley loves to spend time with his beautiful mom and listen to Jazz Fusion, Bossa Nova, and Neo-Soul in his spare time.
Wesley’s favorite place in Michigan: Lake Harbor Park in Norton Shores
You can reach Wesley at [email protected]