I have a variety of topics to share with you this week so please be sure to read the email in its entirety. Please note that the public comment period for the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act ends on the 15th, so you must act before then.
Advocacy Center & Phone Banking
The Washtenaw County Democratic Party Office located at 418 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 is open Monday through Saturday from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM for all of your advocacy needs.
At our Advocacy Center, we have all of the equipment you will need to make a powerful impact on legislation through phone banking, which refers to a group of people in the same location making phone calls about a specific topic. During a phone bank, you will be making calls call other Democrats across Michigan to request that they call to urge their legislators to support or oppose a bill.
Please click here to sign up for a phone banking spot at the Advocacy Center! Signing up for a spot reserves equipment at the office for you so you will not need to bring anything of your own. You are also able to drop in without signing up any time the office is open, but you will need to bring a laptop/tablet and a phone to make calls.
If you prefer to phone bank from home, please click here. After being directed through a quick and easy to process, you’ll be ready to make calls!
If you are unable to make it to the Advocacy Center in Ypsilanti, we have partnered with the Michigan Resistance to host phone banks in other locations throughout Washtenaw County. Click here to sign up.
 
 
Active Dialog
I am pleased to announce the start of a new program hosted by the WCDP! Active Dialog is a facilitated discussion focused on social justice, poverty, and related activism. This program is meant to foster meaningful conversations in a safe space where local democrats can discuss important issues in a low pressure environment.
We plan to have an Active Dialog on the third Monday of each month, with our first one being on 8/21/17 at the WCDP Office from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PMClick here for more information on this month’s topic.
Active Dialog is facilitated by Krystle DuPree and to give you a sense of the kinds of topics that will be covered, she wanted to share her thoughts on the White Supremacist Rally that occurred over the weekend in Charlottesville, VA.
 
On August 11, 2017 White Nationalist organizations hosted a White Lives Matter march through the campus of University of Virginia. This march comes on the heels of President Trump’s announcement to “crack down” on the use of affirmative action. Participants carried touches and shouted Neo-Nazi chants such as “Blood and Soil.” The group also chanted “We will not be replaced”, playing into the Nationalist false narrative of White genocide, which insists that efforts to diversify schools, businesses, and communities are simply ploys to eradicate the dominate group. This march soon took a somber turn as counter protesters stood in strength and unity against their tyrannical behavior. Several Alt-Right members can be seen striking counter protesters and throwing lit torches as the conflict began to intensify before police intervened.
 
On August 12, 2017 at 12:50 PM, the Governor of VA declared a state of emergency following an announcement of a White Nationalist Rally by nationalist organizers; Richard Spence was noted as being among the leadership. The local government and law enforcement expected a crowd of 6,000 nationalist in opposition to the removal of a confederate monument. Counter protesters arrived peacefully and were met with egregious acts of assault and fatal violence. Among those slain was Heather Heyer ,a 32yr old paralegal who was struck by a car driving at 40 miles per hour by domestic terrorist James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, who struck a total of 21 counter protesters. One victim was dragged briefly as the assailant backed up to flee the scene. 
 
This march follows several reported incidents of racial intimidation on college campuses nationwide that include, but are not limited to: the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, the University of Utah, and Bowie State, where Army Lt. Richard Collins III was stabbed to death by a student from the University of Maryland while waiting at a bus stop just weeks before his graduation.
 
The attacker at yesterday’s protest was not a resident of Virginia; he was a resident of Ohio. We should not consider this an isolated incident, but a sign that those of us who stand for unity and justice must stand tall and put power behind our voices. The Alt-Right seem to be targeting young intellectuals and wiggling through the cracks in University policies, recruiting members and causing psychological, and at times physical, harm to students nationwide.  
 
While learning about each other through open dialog may be pivotal in building social tolerance and understanding, systemic issues must be addressed systemically, via policy. Policy does not just serve as a list of rules and laws, policy reinforces social norms. Are students supposed to believe that the behavior displayed at UVA or other campuses across the nation is a norm?  What policies are in place to protect students of marginalized groups from racial intimidation and violence? What policies are in place to protect our allies and potential allies from physical and psychological intimidation? 
 
 
 
Phone Advocacy
Phone Advocacy is calling legislators to support or oppose a bill or issue. Our contacts in the Michigan House and Senate help us select our state topics and the calling targets based how we can have the greatest impact.
Calling state legislators other than your own continues to be an effective advocacy tool as state legislative staffers typically do not ask whether or not a caller is a constituent. If a staffer does ask if you are a constituent, it is best to be truthful and give a broad response such as, “I am a concerned voter and the legislator’s vote has an impact on my life.” If you have a family member that is a constituent you can say that you are calling on their behalf or if you work in that legislator’s district you can inform them of that as well.
The following scripts provide key points that should be covered in your calls, but you do not need to follow them exactly:
Submit public comment to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission on the scope of sex discrimination prohibited by the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The information below is adapted from Equality Michigan.

  • Unlike eighteen other states, Michigan does not currently have a state law that explicitly prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations.
  • Although the federal prohibition on sex discrimination in employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been interpreted to encompass discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, many LGBT people in Michigan do not receive the benefit of this prohibition, because they work for employers with fewer than fifteen employees, the threshold for Title VII coverage.
  • The interpretative statement being requested today would make it clear that anti-LGBT discrimination is unlawful in Michigan, clarifying the legal responsibilities of employers and individuals and giving notice to victims of discrimination that there are remedies available.
  • See here and here for details.
  • Public comment is open until August 15th
Send an email with the contents below or something similar to: MCRC-Comments@michigan.gov
Hello,
I  am asking the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to clarify that the state’s prohibition on sex discrimination currently contained in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. Please clarify the ambiguity that exists surrounding the scope of sex discrimination currently prohibited by the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and bring Michigan law into alignment with the growing body of understanding from federal judges and legal scholars.
Urge House Republicans on the Energy Policy Committee to SUPPORT HR 51. The following information and script is adapted from Oil & Water Don’t Mix.
  • HR 51 is resolution to urge the Governor and Attorney General to exercise their authority as guardians of the public trust to terminate the 1953 easement and shut down the Enbridge Energy Line 5 pipelines on the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac. 
  • The Governor and Attorney General both have the authority to shut down the pipelines.
  • Everyday, about 23 million gallons of oil flow through two aging pipelines in the heart of the Great Lakes.
  • Enbridge’s pipelines, which run about 1,000 feet apart at depths ranging from 100 – 270 feet, have laid on the bottom of the Straits for more than six decades. 
  • Enbridge installed several support structures under the pipelines in 2006 and again in 2010, following the company’s oil spill into the Kalamazoo River – the nation’s largest-ever land-based oil spill.
  • The pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac cross one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the world. The Great Lakes are home to 20 percent of the fresh surface water on the planet.
  • Attorney General Bill Schuette has called for the closure of Line 5.
  • See here and here for more details.
  • See HR 51 text and other legislative information here.
Rep. Gary Glenn: 517-373-1791
Rep. Roger Hauck: 517-373-1789
Rep.Tom Barrett: 517-373-0853
Rep. Triston Cole: 517-373-0829
Rep. Jim Tedder: 517-373-0615
Rep. Joseph Bellino: 517-373-1530
Rep. Diana Farrington: 517-373-7768
Rep. Beth Griffin: 517-373-0839
Rep. Steven Johnson: 517-373-0840
Rep. Beau LaFave: 517-373-0156
Rep. James Lower: 517-373-0834
Rep. John Reilly: 517-373-1798
Hi, I am calling to urge Representative _______ to support HR 51 to compel the Governor and Attorney General to shut down the Enbridge Energy Line 5 pipelines. I am deeply disturbed that these aging pipelines pump about 23 million gallons of oil across the Great Lakes, which is one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the world. Enbridge was responsible for the nation’s largest-ever land-based oil spill when their pipeline broke in the Kalamazoo River. I am appalled that the state government has continued to allow their pipelines anywhere in Michigan. This pipeline puts the Great Lakes at risk, which is home to 20 percent of the fresh surface water on the planet. The future of our state and our planet depends on the Great Lakes, so please support HR 51 to compel the Governor and Attorney General to act.
Urge the Governor and Attorney General to exercise their authority to shut down the Enbridge Energy Line 5.
Governor Rick Snyder – 517-373-3400
Hi, I am calling to urge Governor Snyder to shut down the Enbridge Energy Line 5 pipelines. I am deeply disturbed that these aging pipelines pump about 23 million gallons of oil across the Great Lakes, which is one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the world. Enbridge was responsible for the nation’s largest-ever land-based oil spill when their pipeline broke in the Kalamazoo River. I am appalled that the state government has continued to allow their pipelines anywhere in Michigan. This pipeline puts the Great Lakes at risk, which is home to 20 percent of the fresh surface water on the planet. The future of our state and our planet depends on the Great Lakes and we cannot wait for the Attorney General to make up his mind. Please exercise leadership and shut down the pipeline.
Attorney General Bill Schuette: 517-373-1110
Hi, I am calling to urge Attorney General Schuette to follow through with his promise to shut down the Enbridge Energy Line 5 pipelines as soon as possible. I am deeply disturbed that these aging pipelines pump about 23 million gallons of oil across the Great Lakes, which is one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the world. Enbridge was responsible for the nation’s largest-ever land-based oil spill when their pipeline broke in the Kalamazoo River. I am appalled that the state government has continued to allow their pipelines anywhere in Michigan. This pipeline puts the Great Lakes at risk, which is home to 20 percent of the fresh surface water on the planet. The future of our state and our planet depends on the Great Lakes and we cannot afford for these pipelines to fail. Please follow through with what you said and shut down the pipelines.
Monthly Meeting
Our next monthly meeting is on 8/16/17 at 7:30 PM at the Washtenaw County Democratic Party Office located at 418 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197.
As always, please let me know if you have comments, questions, or suggestions!