Michigan United Launches Campaign to Register New Americans/New Voters

Local non-profit goes door-to-door, hit the pavement, signs up new voters

As part of National Voter Registration day, Michigan United canvassed door-to-door Tuesday in Southwest Detroit. Members of their civic engagement fellowship were looking for people who weren’t yet registered to vote in the predominantly Hispanic community.

Later that afternoon, Michigan United board member, Saydi Sarr led a group of volunteers on a trip to a high traffic location along Grand River Ave. looking for people who don’t typically vote.

Meanwhile, in Mt. Pleasant, MI, home of Central Michigan University, a team signed up college students, many of them voting for the first time in their lives.

img_2288-jpgAt the end of the day, dozens of new voters were registered to kick off the campaign to grow our electorate before the October 11 deadline. Michigan United is committed to elevating the voices of new Americans, people of color and others who are often disengaged from the electoral process.

Michigan must act now or leave federal funding on the table again

State risks over $20 Million for child care assistance if state match isn’t met

UPDATE: Click here to tell Lansing  to act NOW!

Michigan policy makers have only until the end of this month to draw down $20.5 million in federal funds or it will be returned to federal coffers and distributed to other states, leaving Michigan children and families without affordable child care assistance. The untapped dollars were the topic of a meeting of more than 40 representatives from statewide and national organizations last Friday in Lansing, where they discussed how to create better child care policies in Michigan that would increase access to quality, affordable care.

This is not the first year that Michigan has failed to meet its state funding obligations. A new report by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), released at the meeting, shows that in 2014 Michigan did not fully meet its state match requirement resulting in a return of $9.3 million in federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds. Moreover, while Michigan continues to underfund the program, a large number of children and families that could benefit from the program don’t get any help.

According to CLASP’s report, fewer than one in five children eligible for child care assistance under Michigan’s income eligibility requirements get any help. Latino, Asian and American Indian/Alaska Native children are even less likely to receive child care assistance.

This year, Michigan is again poised to return millions that could support child care for working families. Legislators must appropriate $7.5 million in state funds in a supplemental budget bill before the end of September in order to draw down all available federal funds.

Read the CLASP report

“I am alarmed that Michigan lawmakers are dragging their feet to commit the funds in the state budget that will guarantee that Michigan families can benefit from the $20.5 million in matching federal funds,” says Amber York, a mother raising kids in Detroit and an organizer with Michigan United. “Why won’t Michigan lawmakers show their commitment to improving outcomes for Michigan’s neediest children?”

Michigan has drastically cut funding to the child care assistance program over the last ten years. This is coupled with a very low income eligibility threshold, and many administrative obstacles that make it difficult for families to access assistance. Based on numbers reported by the National Women’s Law Center, Michigan has the most stringent income eligibility requirements for child care assistance in the nation relative to the poverty level, and second strictest in relation to state median income. A family of three must make $23,800 or less annually to qualify for child care assistance.

“Taking steps to invest in child care and help families get assistance would give families more economic stability, and give children a better start. This is an important time to be having this conversation among community leaders, parents, providers, and others who care about the wellbeing of children and families,” says CLASP Senior Policy Analyst, Christine Johnson-Staub. “Michigan should be doing all it can to maximize the federal dollars coming to the state to help low-income children receive quality child care services.”

“This is a crisis for thousands of Michigan families who qualify for child care assistance but can’t get it.  The state’s decision to cut eligibility and leave much-needed federal dollars on the table is unconscionable,” says Jessica Juarez, Deputy Director of Policy for People’s Action, a national network of grassroots organizations. “Parents, providers and advocates are standing up and saying enough is enough.”

Click here to tell Lansing  to act NOW!

Job Posting: Grand Rapids Movement Politics Phone Bank Manager

The Movement Politics Phone Bank Manager will be responsible for leading our movement politics phone bank.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Calling targeted Spanish Speaking voters in MI, having brief conversations with them, and providing them with simple voting information such as where and when to vote.
  • Identifying voters who are concerned about social or economic justice issues and giving them the opportunity to get involved with community organizing action in Michigan.
  • Making Hundreds of phone calls per night to target voters.
  • Accurately recording information in a computer database after completing each call.

The program provides part time opportunity for 8 people, reach out to traditionally underserved populations of voters and encourage them to engage in the democratic process in November.

The manager will be responsible for:

  • Managing the phone bank hours and operation
  • Managing daily outreach efforts
  • Managing phone bank Data entry process;
  • Coordinating with senior staff to ensure that phone bank efforts are meeting funder requirements  

The manager must:

  • Have their own reliable car.  American-made cars are strongly encouraged.
  • Have their own cell phone and computer.
  • Be comfortable working with a culturally, religiously, and economically diverse group of partners, members, and staff.
  • Be comfortable working with the public and talking to strangers.
  • Be prepared for long and sometimes unusual hours.

Spanish or Arabic fluency is not required but is extremely helpful

The coordinator will be based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Applicants should have some basic familiarity with social justice issues, field work, or leadership development. Applicants should be prepared for a fast-paced work environment with a high-level of autonomy.  

The coordinator should be comfortable with modern office software and learning new technologies.  Michigan United uses the Voter Activation Network (VAN), Microsoft and Google productivity software, Facebook, and Twitter.

Women, people of color, and LGBTQ persons are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please send resume and cover letter to: Scott@miunited.org and bartosz@miunited.org

Subject:  Movement Politics Phone Bank Manager

You can also contact Scott Holiday at 877-507-7774 ext. 717


We’re launching a new voter contact strategy to engage white voters about race. This August program will compliment our voter engagement strategies in communities of color. 


This year, the level of racist rhetoric in the election has put race and racism on many voters’ minds.  Moderate white voters are being wooed by a dangerous narrative that places the blame for social, economic, and political problems on people of color.  With structural racism intentionally hidden from white people, many simply do not see or understand its continued power and therefore embrace the idea that people of color need to “get over” race.

Additionally, white people generally avoid talking about race, and many moderate white voters have strong negative emotional reactions to talking about race.  When fellow white folks engage them one-to-one, however, we have seen white moderates open up about their experiences and beliefs regarding race and racism.


It is past time to develop effective tactics to hold productive conversations, white voter to white voter, about what structural racism is and how to identify it and its effects.

We are calling on all Metro Detroit’s white activists, leaders, organizers, and progressives to join this project to begin organizing Detroit’s suburbs in support of racial justice and to identify ‘what works’ when talking with white voters about race.

Extensive support for canvassers will be provided through thorough training and ample debriefs to process tense or painful conversations.


We will have deep conversations at the doors of moderate white voters in the Downriver area.  We create space for the contact to share formative memories that shaped their beliefs on race and racism, and share our own story of a time when we did not believe racism was an important issue and the awakening moment when we began to see structural racism. The conversations are non-judgmental and move folks towards our worldview through the power of stories.

Please register here to participate. Contact: Rebecca@miunited.org

Paid phone bank position Available in Grand Rapids

Help turn out voters who care about immigration in Michigan!

Michigan United is hiring for multiple phone bank positions for hard working individuals to help contact and turn out voters for the 2016 general election. This is an effort to reach out to underrepresented and historically disenfranchised Spanish speaking voters in Michigan. Specific Responsibilities include:

  • Calling targeted Spanish Speaking voters in MI, having brief conversations with them, and providing them with simple voting information such as where and when to vote.
  • Identifying voters who are concerned about social or economic justice issues and giving them the opportunity to get involved through community organizing action in Michigan.
  • Accurately recording information in a computer database after completing each call.

Logistics and Requirements

These are part time temporary positions. Caller will start working as early as August 29 and there last day working will be November 10.

  • This position is a part time, 20 hour per week position.
  • Hours will fall between 12pm and 9pm, 5 days per week.
  • The phone bank will be located in Grand Rapids. Attendance is required at the phone bank. Calling from home is not an option.
  • Bilingual English/Spanish speaker
  • Excellent communication skills and comfort speaking with strangers
  • Interest in social and economic justice and other public interest issues
  • A proven work ethic and comfort with technology
  • Strong interpersonal skills and an outgoing personality Strongly preferred
  • Your own working laptop with WIFI capability
  • Experience with phone banks, door to door work, or public speaking and outreach


$10 an hour with pay scheduled to increase to $15 dollars an hour by the end of the phone bank period.

Application Instructions

Please email a resume and cover letter detailing your interest and relevant qualifications for this position to scott@miunited.org and bartosz@miunited.org. Please put Movement Politics Phone Bank in the subject line.

Job posting: Movement Politics Fellowship Manager

Deadline to Apply- Wednesday, August 4th 

Michigan United is a statewide coalition of civil rights, labor, faith, business, and social service organizations working together for racial and economic justice through community organizing. We are currently focused on campaigns to:

● Promote just, fair, comprehensive immigration reform
● Dismantle mass incarceration
● Create a system of universal childhood and elder care
● End predatory lending
● Create affordable, dignified housing opportunities for all
● Reverse climate change and transition to a just, green economy

Position Description:

Movement Politics fellowships are full-time paid positions.
The Movement Politics Fellowship is a 3.5 month long project. It is an organizing and leadership development program for emerging community leaders in Metro-Detroit and Kalamazoo. Possible expansion is planned in Grand Rapids and Flint.

Under the mentorship and supervision of Michigan United staff, Fellows will be tasked with working as a team to conduct extensive outreach into the community to register, educate and mobilize voters for the coming 2016 elections. Fellows will also identify potential supporters for Michigan United’s key campaigns.
The primary method Fellows will use to reach voters is door-to-door and/or phone canvassing.

Fellows will participate in an ongoing training program to learn how to motivate others toward action, to learn the history of and challenges facing the social justice movement, and to develop a systems-based analysis of the power structures at the local, state, and federal level.

The Movement Politics Fellowship is a recruitment and training program for rising organizers who are passionate leaders of all social justice movements; especially economic equity, immigrant rights, workers rights. Fellowship graduates will be connected with other professional development opportunities, job opportunities, academic support, and join a growing alumni network.
Requirements and Expectations:
Fellows must:
● Be effective working with a culturally, religiously, and economically diverse group of partners, members, and staff
● Be responsible, timely, and committed to professionalism
● Be an effective communicator who is comfortable working with the public, talking to strangers, and asking people to take action
● Be proficient in Microsoft Office programs and be motivated to learn database programs; the Voter Activation Network (VAN) and Salsa Labs
● Canvassers will work approximately 8 hour shifts. Shifts take places in the afternoons, evenings, and on the weekends
● Be able to stand and walk for extended periods of time
● Be motivated to make change
● Language Proficiency: Some positions will require Spanish fluency.

Compensation and Directions to Apply:

Fellows will receive $10 an hour with the expectation of a stepped increase to $15 an hour by the completion of the Fellowship, and monthly cell phone and gas allowances, as applicable. It is possible to award monthly rate as a scholarship for current college students.
Applicants should have some basic familiarity with social justice issues and a passion for social justice work. Applicants should have basic understanding of field work and enthusiasm for leadership development. Applicants should be prepared for a fast-paced work environment that requires a high-level of autonomy.

Applicants should be comfortable with modern office software and learning new technologies. Michigan United uses Voter Activation Network (VAN), Microsoft and Google productivity software, Facebook, Twitter, and Mobile Commons (We will train Fellows on these programs as necessary.)

Women, people of color, and LGBTQ persons are strongly encouraged to apply.

Current term for Fellows is August 12th – November 10th.
Please send resume, cover letter, and 2-3 references to scott@miunited.org and bartosz@miunited.org.

Labor and community groups to march along Jefferson demanding hiring reform

Action will kick off ‘Fair Chances for All’ campaign in Detroit

Members of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) will take a break from their national convention to march in solidarity with Michigan United to begin their ‘Fair Chances for All’ (FC4A) campaign aimed at helping people with criminal records find gainful employment. Detroit passed a ‘Ban the Box’ ordinance in 2010. FC4A would extend that rule to include private employers who receive tax breaks from the city.

The statewide community organization recently won a similar effort in Kalamazoo earlier this year and just this week, President Obama announced an executive order doing the same thing at the federal level. The momentum is growing and pressure is building on city council to prevent gentrification in Detroit amid rapid growth and investment.

March and rally supporting ‘Fair Chances for All’ campaign

Rashida Tlaib, Sugar Law Center
Rev. Louis Forsythe, Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church
Kelli Williams, Communication Workers of America – Next Gen
Ronald Simpson- Bey, Just Leadership USA/Leading with Conviction
Deacon Charles Thomps on, President of Belmont Community Council
Nicholas Buckingham, Nation Outside
Kim Buddin-Crawford, Michigan ACLU

11:30AM Wednesday July 20th, 2016

March begins in front of the Renaissance Centre
March ends at rally in front of Spirit of Detroit statue

Michigan United Goes Door to Door Seeking Racial, Economic Justice

Voters engaged on crucial issues months before historic election

Dozens of Michigan United members in Detroit and Kalamazoo spent Saturday morning directly engaging voters on two of the most crucial issues of the upcoming presidential election: racial and economic justice. It  was part of a “National Doorstep Convention” for racial and economic justice. The outreach effort was prompted by extremist rhetoric from the presidential campaign and violence against people of color and other marginalized communities.

“Bigotry is real. Mexicans and Muslims have been vilified on the campaign trail and people of color have been poisoned and imprisoned for profit. We can’t stand by and watch this happen,” said Shaina Smith. “We have a moral obligation to engage with people to confront these issues, to work toward a society where we are all safe and welcome. That is what this canvass is about.”


Canvassers had no scripts just a general outline. This allowed them to have more open conversations about what is really on the minds of voters.

“We want to have honest conversations about what it means to live in a country with people of all colors, ethnicities, nationalities and religions. We are going door to door to put those issues out in the open” said LaTifah VanHorn.  “Communities of color face more environmental hazards like the expansion the US Ecology hazardous waste site on Detroit’s Eastside. Black and brown people are disproportionately locked up and then even after serving time, returning citizens are prevented from getting work. The reality of struggles on the ground and the divisive campaign rhetoric means we all need to step up.”

Job Posting: Development Director

Location: ​Detroit

Type:​ Full­time. Salary starts at $36,000 with room for negotiation for more experienced candidates.

Application Deadline: September 30th, 2016

Women, people of color, and LGBTQ persons are strongly encouraged to apply.

Michigan United is a statewide organization of individuals, faith, labor, civil rights, and social service groups working together for racial, economic and gender justice through community organizing. Our mission is to end poverty and undo racism through strategic advocacy campaigns, leadership development, civic engagement and community education. We believe in the power of people to overcome discrimination and injustice.

Michigan United is seeking a dedicated and creative Development Director to help us take our programs to the next level. Over the past 6 years, we’ve grown from one organizer to a staff of 17 in 4 cities. We need the resources to keep growing. We’re also very focused on diversifying our sources of support, and developing financial independence. Our new Development Director will support this work by jump ­starting creative new programs, managing foundation relationships, writing grants, organizing fundraising events, and managing our individual donor program.

Development Director Responsibilities:

  • Oversee Michigan United’s fundraising strategy, which includes foundation relationships and a growing individual membership base.
  • Write engaging and innovative funding proposals.
  • Manage current grants ­­ complete grant reports, stay on top of deadlines, and deepen relationships with current funders.
  • Research, approach, and build relationships with potential new funders.
  • Expand and deepen Michigan’s United individual giving program and hold staff accountable to fundraising goals.
  • Build overall funding strategy for different issue areas, which include:
    • Immigrants’ rights and immigration reform
    • Mass incarceration and prison reform
    • Movement politics and political leadership
    • Gender justice, women’s leadership, and the caring economy
    • Environmental and climate justice
    • Legal services
    • Community education, including ESL and GED
    • Affordable housing and equitable development
    • Broad campaigns for workers rights and economic justice.

Note: ​We do not expect applicants to be experts in all of these areas, but a successful candidate will be committed to learning more about each of these issues and have the ability to work on multiple strategies.

Necessary skills and experience.

  • Able to build strong relationships quickly and to cultivate those relationships over time.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications.
  • Able to tell a compelling story about Michigan United and the importance of our work.
  • Experience with creatively designing a campaign to reach a fundraising goal
  • Strategic thinking to create, plan and pitch a big picture idea.
  • Manage competing priorities with 100% follow ­through
  • Strong editing skills, and the ability to work through a writing process with other staff members.
  • Able to coach people to goals/
  • Able to adapt to changing priorities and to thrive in a fast­ paced campaign environment Not required, but helpful
  • Community organizing experience
  • Grant writing and grant management experience.
  • Existing relationships with foundations or major individual donors.
  • Foundation research experience.
  • Strong understanding of and proven track record of raising money through foundations and individual donors.
  • Experience successfully supporting other people to meet their individual fundraising goals.
  • Experience successfully managing staff.
  • Program evaluation experience.
  • Experience in tracking program deliverables What we look for in a strong candidate.
  • Self­ starter and solutions ­oriented.
  • Commitment to economic, racial and gender justice.
  • Commitment to accountability and transparency.
  • Open to feedback.
  • Ability to work individually and on a team.
  • Ability to establish relationships based on respect, with sensitivity to persons of different backgrounds.
  • Highly enthusiastic, creative, and able to motivate others Benefits After a three ­month period.

The Development Director will receive the following benefits:

  • Health insurance.
  • Cell phone and gas stipend (available immediately).
  • 15 days of paid time off (flexible for sick time and/or vacation time), which increases every two years on staff.
  • 3 weeks paid family leave and flexible scheduling after one year on staff.
  • Eligibility for a two ­month sabbatical after four years on staff .
  • Eligibility for international organizers exchange to Europe after one year on staff.
  • Professional development and training opportunities.

How To Apply:

Please send a resume and cover letter to Meredith Loomis Quinlan at meredith@miunited.org​. Please CC Hank Wisner at​hank@miunited.org,​and Ryan Bates at ​ryan@miunited.org Indicate Development Director in the subject line. Please direct any questions about to Meredith.


Candidates are encouraged to apply immediately. Application deadline is September 30th, 2016 ​or until position is filled.

If we stand together, they cannot divide us.

An evening of prayer and reconciliation with Michigan United’s Detroit Pastoral Alliance for Change

A religious event hosted by the Michigan United group Detroit Pastoral Alliance for Change (DPAC) took on added significance with the shooting of two black men by police and the shooting of five police officers by a black man last week. DPAC had hoped to confront the rising racial tensions brought on by divisive political rhetoric when unresolved issues of systemic racism reared their ugly head yet again.

“If we stand together, they cannot divide us” will feature a performance by the predominantly white Refuge Youth Choir of the First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, MO at the Triumphant Life Christian Church in the predominantly black community of Highland Park, MI. Pastors of both races will directly confront how racism affects us all.

“If we stand together, they cannot divide us” racial reconciliation service

Deacon Charles Thomas,Evangel Ministries
Pastor Harvey Presberry,Canfield Church of God
Rev. Sharon Buttry,Associate Dir., Training and Education International Hope Center
Pastor Kevin Johnson, Calvary Presbyterian Church
Apostle Velma Clopton,Victory In The Truth, Mesa, AZ
Apostle Joseph Hobbs, Triumphant Life Christian Church
Bishop Herman Starks,Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit
Refuge Youth Choir of the First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, MO

7PM July 11th, 2016

Triumphant Life Christian Church
13254 Thompson, Highland Park, MI 48203