On the Front Lines of Equality in Michigan
April 30, 2014 by Lynne Bowman, Regional Field Director
For the past two and a half months, HRC staff and volunteers have conducted a quiet and unprecedented campaign to build support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in Michigan’s Tenth Congressional District. This effort has engaged hundreds of voters, business owners, and people of faith from dozens of cities across Michigan’s ‘Thumb’ region to speak up in support of fairness in the workplace. From conducting weekly phone banks, to meeting with businesses big and small, to connecting with clergy in small towns, to attending both Republican and Democratic meetings in each of the counties in the district, the campaign has been making every effort to build support for ENDA.
With the weather beginning to warm, the campaign is gaining momentum.
“Between students wrapping up school and really the interest we are seeing among residents across the district, we’ve been able to engage an increasing number of folks to help us make calls, reach out to businesses, and talk to folks on the streets about ENDA,” said HRC Volunteer Megan Cece. “It’s really a wonderful sight to see volunteers taking on leadership roles during our phone banks and even to be starting their own phone banks across the district.”
As the campaign moves forward, HRC Michigan Field Organizer Allison VanKuiken looks forward to spending even more time in the district. Now that many of the campaign’s operations are run by dedicated volunteers, she is able to redirect her attention towards building support in new towns, many of which rest along Lake Huron’s beautiful coastline.
"It’s a real honor and privilege to be working on this campaign. Between the incredible Midwest team at the HRC, our in state coalition partners, our amazing volunteer team on the ground here, and ultimately the fantastic people we are meeting throughout the district; I can’t recall ever working on a campaign I’ve enjoyed more,” said VanKuiken. “Workplace Discrimination is an important issue that has personally affected my life as a member of the transgender community. To have the opportunity to change that and to work with so many good people, and in such a beautiful place, well that is as good as it gets,” said VanKuiken.
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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