ENDA Organizing in Michigan Off to a Strong Start
March 28, 2014 by HRC staff
Post submitted by Allison VanKuiken, HRC field organizer
Last Monday in Michigan, HRC staff and volunteers held their first community meeting to discuss the Americans for Workplace Opportunity campaign’s efforts underway in the 10th Congressional District. The meeting drew dozens of supporters, including area politicians, business owners, GSA presidents and activists, eager to learn more about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Along with her team of volunteers, lead Michigan HRC organizer Allison VanKuiken covered a range of topics, including the history of ENDA, the support within the business and faith communities, and the role of volunteers on the campaign. The meeting also included several small group breakout activities that allowed for participants to share their stories of discrimination and why ENDA was important to them. Not only did these activities produce 27 handwritten letters to Representative Miller, but participants were able to identify hundreds of people close to them who would be affected by the legislation.
"I’ve been volunteering over 40 hours a week because ENDA would make a difference in the lives of some of my closest friends,” said Megan Cece, one of the more active and committed volunteers working in Michigan. “After coming out as transgender, I watched one of my dearest friends lose her job and custody of her daughter because of who she is. This is a woman who served nearly a decade in Iraq and was nearly killed when an IED exploded underneath the vehicle she was travelling in. The truth is, she deserves the opportunity to provide for her family."
As the meeting drew to a close, VanKuiken made a rousing call to action that resulted in everybody in the room signing up to volunteer, many of whom returned the following night to help make the district’s first phone bank a success. Shannon Salk, an area Master’s student who attended both the Community Meeting and the phone bank said, "I was just so impressed with the campaign and its presentation. It’s hard to not want to volunteer when you have such a friendly team paired with this important of a cause. I will continue to look forward to coming back over the next few months."
If you are in the Detroit Metro area or thumb of Michigan and would like to get involved, you can contact Allison VanKuiken at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us every Tuesday from 6 pm to 9 pm at Affirmations Community Center in Ferndale for Phone Banking and Letter Writing.
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