Category Archives: Childcare

Progressive coalition brings together hopefuls 13th House seat in candidate forum

Candidates hear concerns of constituents on jobs, healthcare, immigration

Many of the leading candidates in the race to fill John Conyers Jr.’s seat in the US house heard from the people they seek to represent Saturday in a candidate forum held Detroit’s New Providence Baptist Church. Detroit City  Council president, Brenda Jones, mayor of Westland Bill Wild and state senator Coleman Young Jr. answered questions from constituents about the issues they deal with every day. State senator Ian Conyers and former state representative, Rashida Tlaib were also invited but couldn’t appear due to scheduling conflicts.

Paul Johnson III of the Disability Network of Wayne County wanted to know who supported a public program for elder care that would guarantee seniors access to quality, affordable long-term care. “I am lifelong Detroiter who  has learned the value of assisting others  from his Parents.” Johnson told the candidates.  “I have had to overcome learning disabilities always treating customer, friends and all others with compassion. “

A teacher in Detroit bravely told the story of how she had been impacted by sexual harassment. Gevonchai Hudnall said a man who had power over her made sexually suggestive comments at work, making her feel deeply uncomfortable, embarrassed, intimidated, and afraid for her job. She challenged the candidates to stand up for survivors of sexual assault on campus. “ I am glad we are now living in the #MeToo moment, and we are seeing an important shift in our culture.” Hudnall  said. “Sexual harassment and assault must no longer be tolerated. Campuses are one place where we must continue to fight and ensure that students are safe.”

Rokhyatou Toure (ROCK-key-ah-too too-RAY), a member of African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs (ABISA), came to protect what remains of her family after aggressive immigration enforcement that took her father, Katim last month despite having lived peacefully in Michigan for 29 years. “If elected, we expect one of you to be a champion for immigrant communities and refugees.” Toure told the candidates. “ It is time for a Compassionate Immigration Reform, that focuses, ONLY in legalization and the reunification of separated families, NOT one more dollar for deportations. Our loved ones are being stolen away from us and deported, simply for driving to work, or for showing up to their court appointments. Immigration authorities don’t even care if the spouse or children are American citizens.”

Since no Republicans have been nominated to run in the 13th district this year, whoever wins the Democratic primary on August 7th will be unopposed in the general election in November.

Advocacy Groups Come Together to Protect Programs that Save Lives

Attacks on assistance programs strip people of their right to have basic needs met

This morning, the Michigan Safety Net Coalition (MOSES, Mothering Justice, and Michigan United) held a day of action at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit to defend assistance initiatives such as SNAP and Medicaid. Many families in Michigan depend on these resources for sustenance and medical care. Health care and access to food are basic human rights and everyone should be nourished and have the ability to live health lives.

Rai Lanier with Michigan United said, “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a basic lifeline for 41 million + people in our country. It helps 1/8 people put food on the table. Many families in Michigan depend on SNAP for sustenance and nutrition. It is a critical safety net program that must be kept in tact.”

These programs help millions of low-income participants, who have critical needs and may struggle to find work, may be employed in low-wage jobs, or have chronic health issues. These recipients are working families with children, women, people with disabilities, and seniors.

Deanne Austin, leader with Mothering Justice, said, “ As an undergraduate at Michigan State University, I depended on SNAP benefits; my mother was unemployed and disabled.” Deanne said, “I knew that using SNAP was a short-term benefit for me.” She emphasized that access to food and nutrition among college students is so important so they they can “focus on their education without worrying where their next meal is coming from.”

Shanelle Davison, mother of two and leader with Michigan United, depended on SNAP when she was a shift manager at Rite Aid and a chef at a local casino. Shanelle says she had to “make sure my 15 year old and 5 year old were eating” and that “If you take that (SNAP) away…you are taking away (from) children.”

The Michigan Safety Net Coalition, which organized this event is comprised of Michigan United, MOSES, and Mothering Justice. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell joined the group to support their fight in protecting safety net programs such as Medicaid and SNAP.

Congresswoman Dingell, representing the 12th District of Michigan, said, “Fortunately, last month, we defeated the Farm Bill in the House of Representatives. And we did it because there were a few brave Republicans who understood that everybody, if you live in this country, deserves a right to food. Nobody should have to go hungry.” Rep. Dingell spoke about the research that shows how important nutrition is for children years 0-5 and in the early stages of pregnancy how nutrition is a critical piece of reducing infant mortality. Dingell said,

We have mothers and fathers that are working two jobs and they’re still living at the poverty line. I am tired of people saying that people don’t want to work, we shouldn’t give them handouts.This isn’t a handout, they are working their hearts and souls out and they can’t find a job that pays enough money so that everybody in their family can eat.” Dingell ends the press conference with “In this country, nobody should go hungry – nobody, and I am tired of stereotypes that don’t address a basic problem. We have too many people hungry in this country from children to seniors to veterans to working people. We need to protect this safety net for all Americans.

 

Michigan residents to lobby representatives on issues affecting their families

‘The People’s Lobby Day’ Michigan United’s 7th annual Capitol Day gathering

The People’s Lobby Day is a day of direct action and participatory democracy. Residents with shared concerns form into teams to confront lawmakers with issues of Criminal Justice Reform, The Long Term Care Study Bill (HB4674), Universal Family Care, Medicare for All, Water for Flint, and Immigration.

A  rally will be held in the city hall plaza at 12:30 PM when participants in The People’s Lobby Day will welcome pilgrimages for immigrant families that walked from Detroit and Kalamazoo to the capitol.

A 90-mile “Pilgrimage to Keep Families Together” kicked of in Detroit on Monday, May 14th, from the church where Ded Rranxburgaj (RAHNS-bur-guy) has sought sanctuary from deportation.He is the sole caretaker for his wife Flora, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair for mobility. The First Congregational church in Kalamazoo has been walking for Saheeda Perveen Nadeem who has been taking sanctuary in their church. If deported, Saheeda would return to a country where she would face the threat of violence with no family support.

The Rally will conclude with the announcement of a planned direct action to address the Flint Water Crisis. In years past, members have occupied the Governor’s building, the office of the speaker of the house and formed a bucket brigade carrying water out of the Capitol building. This year’s action will address the shutdown of bottled water distribution pods.

 

Detroit Activists Convene to Bail Out Mothers Around Mother’s Day

By Sam Corey, contributing journalist

At this moment, hundreds of thousands of people around the country sit in a jail cell, stripped of their freedom. While they are no longer able to vote, pay their taxes, or engage in public protest, they are not guilty of any crime – they are just poor. Individuals like this have fallen victim to an aspect of the criminal justice system that has been criticized by former Attorney General Eric Holder, the International Association of Chiefs Police and the American Bar Association. What’s keeping them locked up? They don’t have the ability to make their bond.

The cash bail system is one of the bluntest instruments made available to judges and prosecutors to keep poor people in jail. On any given day, kids are left unsupervised, home and car payments are left unpaid, and job loss takes place not because individuals are negligent or lazy, but because they are locked away from their lives outside jail. Last week, Detroit activists came up with a partial solution to this problem: establish a charitable bail fund to release mothers’ detained pretrial by Mother’s Day.

Organizing a bail fund

The Church of the Messiah, where these Detroit area organizers convened, sits just off East Lafayette, about two blocks from Belle Isle. Although the church is historic – about 142 years-old – it is very much vibrant and intact. About 60 percent of its congregation is African American men under the age of 30, and most of the church’s work includes providing affordable housing, nutrition and aerobic classes, serving food to the elderly, and maintaining after-school programs.

The spacious basement of the church is strewn with tables, and has high ceilings and windows that creep just into view. Here, I met the organizer of the Mother’s Day Bailout, Nick Buckingham, who sports a wide smile and a thin mustache. Nick, a Mass Liberation organizer for the Mass Liberation Campaign with Michigan United, hopes to cut mass incarceration in half by 2030.

Nicholas Buckingham“Over the next four years 2018-2021, we will develop the permanent grassroots organizing infrastructure that augments the overall movement to end mass incarceration and achieve this 50% reduction by 2030.”

For Buckingham, the creation of a bail fund is not some abstract goal. Having been formerly incarcerated, he knows what it’s like to be detained in jail before having a fair trial in court, and wants to prevent that for others.

“I remember sitting in the Ingham county jail, immersed in a violent, harmful place with the expectation to keep a humane, sane mindset and fight my case. During my time in the county jail, I would witness fights and correction officers’ (deputies’) misconduct which ultimately placed the incarcerated individual at risk of creating more trouble for their case.”

At the first convening to form a bail fund, organizers hailed from several activist organizations like Black Youth Project 100, Michigan United, The Color of Change, Good Jobs Now, and one individual running for office in Washtenaw County. They discussed their grievances with the criminal justice system, and the most optimal path towards creating a successful bail fund.

Black-Mamas-Bailout-Twitter (1)Click HERE to support the Black Mama’s Bailout!

While new to Detroit, bail funds – especially on Mother’s Day – are not novel. Last year, Black Lives Matter helped raise over $500,000, and bail out mothers from across 20 different cities. More consistent bail fund non-profits have become even more popular.

According to the Marshal Project, funds raised to helped poor individuals get released from pretrial detention have arisen in Boston, Brooklyn, Nashville, and Seattle, and more bail funds are beginning to take root in St. Louis, Miami, Cincinnati, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Austin.

The Bronx Freedom Fund, a non-profit bail fund in New York City, has already helped 600 people stay out of jail in 2017 with their charitable fundraising, according to their website. That organization morphed into the Bail Project, a nationally scaled bail fund with the mission of bailing out thousands of individuals’ detained pretrial around the country in the next five years.

Given the numbers of those incarcerated pretrial, it’s surprising a bail fund hasn’t been suggested in Michigan before.

According to an investigative report by Bridge Magazine, about 41 percent of Michiganders in jail are awaiting trial. Some of the more egregious counties include Newaygo, Genesee, and Ottawa, where some odd 78 percent, 72 percent, and 60 percent, respectively, are in jail awaiting their trial or arraignment. While there has been no pretrial data made available by Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, some in the area are advocating against money bail.

Barb Hankey, Oakland County Community Corrections Manager, is vocal about the injustice that money bail provides for community members, and that it serves no purpose.

“If you’re dangerous and you pose a threat to society, you’re dangerous and society should be able to assume that you’re going to be detained. No amount of money should be able to effectuate your release if you’re dangerous.”

An American Exception

Money bail is a problem particular to the United States, according to Hankey. “The United States and the Philippines are the only two countries in the whole entire world that use for-profit bail – doesn’t that seem kind of odd?”

Many have taken notice of money bail’s pernicious affect. It’s become common knowledge that America shares five percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population, allowing the U.S. to lock up more people than any other nation on earth.

According to a 2018 report by the Prison Policy Initiative, 536,000 people in America are detained before having a trial – most of them remaining in local jails. That population of incarcerates is larger than most other country’s prison and jail populations combined.

The incarcerated population locked up for not being able to afford bail has skyrocketed just within the last 30 years. From 1983 until 2014, 99 percent of jail growth increase consisted of people that were legally innocent. This means that the vast majority of America’s increased jail population comes from those that have not yet been convicted of the crime they were charged with.

mothers day headshot McCambell
Denzell McCampbell

The massive rise of incarceration rates, according to Denzell McCampbell, the Deputy Communications Director for Engage Michigan and organizer for Black Youth Project 100-Detroit, is not a design flaw in the justice system but  rather an integral lever that helps push the machine along.

“People say that the system is not working right now. I will say that it’s working the way it is designed to be and we need to get to a point that we are doing true restorative and transformational justice. I think this (bail fund) is a step in that direction.”

Who are the losers and winners?

It should be no surprise that money bail – one aspect of an incarceration machine that disproportionately locks up people of color – most significantly affects African Americans. (A recent Princeton study on racial bias and bail decisions found that when judges in Miami and Philadelphia decide on bail, they are significantly impacted by racial stereotypes and exaggerated fears of crimes by black defendants.)

Bishop Herman StarksBishop Herman Starks, an organizer with Michigan United and the Michigan Peoples Campaign, has been a pastor most of his life, having been raised in the church. He spoke with me at the Church of the Messiah.

“It’s not fair. There needs to be a restructure of the system. (Bail) is just one part of it. Everyone needs to come to the mindset that the system is unfair toward people of color. Period. It wasn’t established for people of color because people of color had no say in the creation of it. They had no say in the creation of laws pertaining to it. We should not be the individuals being victimized by it – and guess what? We are.”

The disproportionate impact of money bail on people of color is hard to deny. A recent UCLA report found that, between 2012 and 2016, people in LAPD custody paid 193.8 million non-refundable dollars were paid to bail bond agents – of that sum, $92 million and $40.7 million were paid by Latinos and African Americans, respectively. Since women family members, and friends, of the accused pay the vast majority of bail bond funds, it’s fair to say that Black and Latina  women have had to pay the bulk of such bond money.

Of course, all that money has to go somewhere. Ultimately, the criminalization of those locked up without ever being convicted of a crime – disproportionately poor, black individuals – can mean big business for others.

A 2017 report entitled Selling Off Our Freedom: How insurance corporations have taken over our bail system, bail companies receive big profits in America, generating about $14 billion each year. However, people are not only profiting off individuals incarcerated in America; large, foreign corporations have bought up bail insurers in order to maximize their profits overseas.

Tokio Marine, one of Japan’s largest corporations “owns multiple bail sureties and bought a wholesale bail agency in 2016.” And Fairfax Financial, a Toronto-based life insurance company, bought up “multiple bail insurers” and is now worth about $10 billion. These companies help bail bondsmen stay in business with publicly traded stocks bought with money that is used to temporarily free the innocently incarcerated.

“How can somebody going to jail make someone else rich?” Asked Bishop Starks. “You got a little boy of there around three years old,” he said pointing to the child. “They betting on the fact that he’s already going to prison. They already got a bed made for him.”

The future of money bail and a Detroit bail fund

Hankey, of Oakland Community Corrections, thinks that although cash bail has become a default setting in our criminal justice system, there’s no need to think it will last in Michigan forever.

“Most people in the pretrial field would say there’s no need for money bail at all. It should be totally eliminated.”

Michigan’s move toward reform does not exist in isolation. Pretrial reform, and the shift away from money bail, has already begun around the country in places like New Mexico, New Jersey, Washington DC, Kentucky, Illinois, and Alaska, and more recent reforms have occurred in cities like New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.

“If we’re not going to eliminate money bail,” Hankey said, “then we need to make sure that we have restrictions around money bail and that people’s due process isn’t violated because if you can’t post a money bail, what does that mean? It means you’re detained. And our constitution – the Michigan constitution – says ‘only individuals who are charged with capital offenses can be detained.’

This week, Detroit organizers will meet again to hash out details that will help enact a bail fund. Questions like, how much money needs to be raised? Which jails should be targeted? And, who will follow up with families in order to make sure that detainees have the legal resources and social support they need?

McCampbell just hopes the bail fund will afford moms the ability to spend Mother’s Day with their family.

“I think we need to be making sure that we are getting folks back home to spend time with their family and having the opportunity to have mothers, and black women inside their homes and back in their community, where they should be, while they are dealing with things. And also providing the community a way that folks can have the support that they need. That’s the primary aspect for me.”

Black-Mama-scrapbook (1) (1)


When a mother’s arrested, the first thing she thinks about is where her children are.This shouldn’t be the case. #FreeBlackMamas this Mother’s Day! Support the fight to #endmoneybail by donating here.


Sam CoreySam Corey is a journalist who worked with the American Civil Liberties Union and will soon be interning at Michigan Public Radio’s current events show, Stateside with Cynthia Canty.

 

Rep. Hoadley, Sen. O’Brien honored as 2018 Care Champions

State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) and State Sen. Margaret O’Brien (R-Kalamazoo) were announced as Care Champion awardees by Caring Across Generations, a national care giving advocacy campaign.

Rep. Hoadley was recognized for being the chief sponsor of the Long-Term Care Study Bill (HB 4674) which would do a rigorous needs assessment of long-term care in Michigan, so that we have the research necessary to make informed decisions around long-term care in a state whose population is aging rapidly. The bill has bipartisan support and over forty co-sponsors, including Rep. Hoadley, who gave testimony on it during a hearing in the Health Policy Committee in the fall of 2017.

Senator O’Brien was recognized due to her support for in-home caregivers and families providing care, such as care for children, elderly parents or disabled family members. In particular, her bill, SB 749, passed in the Senate in 2018 to allow, beginning in tax year 2018, a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care that mirrors the one offered at the federal level.

“More and more families are struggling with how to care for our loved ones while making ends meet, but our policies are lagging far behind the reality of what Americans need,” said Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations. “Luckily, we have care champions like Rep. Hoadley and Senator O’Brien, who are showing us what is possible when principled leadership is coupled with bold policy solutions. We need more elected officials like Rep. Hoadley and  Senator O’Brien to call for making our care infrastructure strong enough for the 21st century.”

“For years, Rep. Hoadley and Senator O-Brien have been legislators we can count on to support the Caring Majority. We’re pleased to be able to honor Rep. Hoadley and Senator O’Brien for their work, and look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that all of us who need care and all of us who provide that care get the support we need,” said Ryan Bates, Executive Director of Michigan United, a partner of Caring Across Generations in Michigan.

“I am excited and honored to accept this award on behalf of all of the folks who are doing work to protect the Caring Majority,” says Rep. Hoadley. “The Long-Term Care Study Bill is both the right thing to do for our citizens and taxpayers of Michigan. I hope we can continue to build momentum to sign this bill into law.”

The People’s Governor Forum: Transforming Michigan’s Future

Candidates challenged with issues by the people they affect

Thousands of people from across Michigan packed the sanctuary of Detroit’s Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church Saturday to hear from four of the candidates vying to lead the state in 2018. Democrats Bill Cobbs, Abdul El-Sayed, Gretchen Whitmer were joined by Republican Patrick Colbeck on stage to explain their positions on criminal justice reform, environmental justice, education, care, immigration and workers rights at the event co-sponsored by more than 70 community organizations.

The People’s Governor Forum: Transforming Michigan’s Future was moderated by Rev. Dee Dee Coleman, President of the Baptist Pastors Council of Detroit and Vicinity, and Detroit Free Press journalist Niraj Warikoo. But as important as the answers they gave were the people who posed the questions.

WENDY KYLES of Detroit asked “What will you do as Governor to reduce air pollution in overburdened communities, like mine, and throughout our state?” Kyles, who lives in the 48217 zip code, suffers from the worst air quality in the state due to the nearby Marathon oil refinery. Her mother died from emphysema even though never smoked a cigarette in her life.

Arthur Howard is a returning citizen who is working hard to be a productive member of the community. He pointed out that Michigan has seen a reduction in spending on post-release services in the past few years while states like California and Colorado are instead are investing in programs like prison diversion and community enrichment to help the formerly incarcerated get on the right path. “These programs pay for themselves because keeping someone out of prison saves a lot of money.” He wanted to know which candidates would consider a similar model in Michigan.

Jason Hackney is a teacher at one of Michigan’s 300 charter schools, 75% of which are “for-profit”. Michigan has also dropped to the bottom ten of states for education in the nation. An estimated $1 billion of Michigan tax money goes into these charters with no transparency, and for results that are no better than public schools. “A people’s governor should not treat Michigan students as commodities that can make the most profit for a management company and the authorizer.” Hackney said. He wanted to know How each of the candidates would address the problem of fully funding our schools, holding authorizers and management companies accountable, and where do you stand on the privatization of our education system?

Officials, leaders, SNAP recipients outraged at cuts to program

Pending tax reform would deny children affordable, nutritional diet

As Congress rushes to pass a massive tax bill that gives billions to the large corporations and the wealthy, adding more than $1.4 trillion to the federal debt over 10 years in the process, local leaders and parents stood up to sound the alarm on how the tax bill will affect SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)  with massive cuts in funding.

In the Panel Discussion and Open Mic, State Representative Stephanie Chang (6-Detroit) encouraged SNAP recipients to speak about how the loss of SNAP will affect their lives.

Describing her experience while working as a student intern toward her degree as a Dietitian/Nutritionist, Shayna Danto explained, “As a student intern I was working full time but receiving no income, SNAP allowed me to eat. While using my SNAP benefits I  also discovered that the Program provided provisions to make greater use of SNAP while supporting the Detroit farming community. If a SNAP recipient buys food from a local grower the benefits are doubled. This is a double win. The local farming community benefits, and SNAP recipients eat healthy nutritious food.”

Mother of four and cancer survivor, Latasha Greer described her feelings. “ With Congress rushing to pass this cruel and inhumane bill, the reality of the SNAP Program being deeply cut petrifies me. In 2015, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. The treatments to cure my cancer left me so weak and sick that working was completely impossible. Our family of six was left to rely on only one paycheck. This is an impossible situation. We desperately need the SNAP Program to feed our family.”

Close to 70 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children, more than one-quarter are in households with seniors or people with disabilities. If a parent loses her job or has a job that pays low wages, SNAP can help her feed her children until she is able to improve her circumstances. 93 percent of federal SNAP spending is for food.

Millions of Americans work in jobs with low wages, unpredictable schedules and no benefits such as paid sick leave, all of which contribute to high turnover and spells of unemployment.  SNAP provides monthly benefits that help fill the gaps for workers with low and inconsistent pay and can help workers weather periods without a job.  Workers who participate in SNAP most commonly work in service occupations, such as cooks or home health aides, or sales occupations, such as cashiers, which are often jobs with low pay and income volatility.

SNAP is heavily focused on the poor. 92 percent of SNAP benefits go to households with incomes at or below the poverty line, and 57 percent go to households at or below half of the poverty line (about $10,210 for a family of three in 2017).

Pontiac Councilman Kermit Williams also expressed outrage at the proposed restrictions to the program that provides important nutritional support for low-wage working families, low-income seniors, and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes.

Parents of premature & special needs children speak out against proposed healthcare bill

Repeal of ACA threatens those with pre-existing conditions, reliant on medicaid

Representative Debbie Dingell met with several children born prematurely or with special needs and their parents for a roundtable discussion of how proposed healthcare reform would affect them. Children with special needs like these will find themselves squarely in the crosshairs if the cuts to medicaid and removal of protections under the Affordable Care Act are signed into law.

“As a parent advocate and peer counselor for our hospital’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), I see moms and babies every day that rely on the financial and program resources available through our health care plans.” said Vickie Korsak of  the Michigan March of Dimes  “Lack of access and coverage is nothing less of devastating to the the lives and futures of our sickest and most fragile.  The debate over lifetime limits, the definition of pre-existing conditions and the funding of Medicaid strikes terror in every parent who has had a baby born premature, ill or with a genetic condition.”

The BatesRyan Bates, the director of Michigan United and the father of a child born 14 weeks early, said, “Congress is debating taking health care away from vulnerable children so that the most fortunate among us can have a tax cut. That’s just wrong. This is generous country where we take care of each other.”

The group was joined by David Sanchez and his son Benicio, who gets autism treatment through a Medicaid funded program, and a representative of the Michigan Nurses Association.

Michigan United launches Universal Family Care at Downriver women’s rights event

Michigan Women join thousands across the country to push new economic agenda for all women

Michigan United began to roll out it’s Universal Family Care campaign at the Riverview Public Library Monday night.  US Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI12) and State Representatives Darrin Camilleri, (D-23 Brownstown) and Cara Clemente (D-14 Lincoln Park) came out to show their support for the plan to help families care for their children, seniors, the disabled, and caregivers.

Terri Voepel-Lewis“A few years ago, mom was diagnosed with cancer and had to move in with me. So that I could keep working, we had to use mom’s savings to pay for in home care.” said Terri Voepel-Lewis, a downriver resident who provided end of life care for her mother. ”That quickly ran low, as the cost of in home care for 8 hrs a day cost thousands over her short illness. Mom died before we had to consider other sources of care. No one should have to worry about how to care for their parents at the end of life”.

Universal Family Care would be very helpful families like the Lewis’. The campaign seeks to provide Universal Home Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities, and would have allowed Terri’s mom to receive the resources from the state to afford the care her mom needed during her illness.

Additional components of Universal Family Care include: Universal Childcare, Support for stay-at-home Parents, Workforce Standards, (those include reimbursement rates to workers set high enough to provide a living wage), and Paid Family Leave. The program covers all types of care, to support families and people of all abilities to work and live well at every stage of life.

Universal Family Care is about being there for loved ones. Care needs to be centered on families that are allowed the ability to make good care choices. Without a program that helps provide clear information about affordable choices, Michigan families cannot get the care they need and want.

The Riverview event was part of the “We Won’t Wait’s” week of action that has spawned similar events across the country. Another event will be held Friday, July 7th at the Oloman Cafe at 10215 Joseph Campau Ave, Hamtramck from 6 PM – 8 PM. Lending their voices to speak up for Michigan families and to join Michigan United as they Launch Universal Family Care in Hamtramck will be the Director of Community Engagement for Council Member At-Large for Janeé Ayers, Justin Johnson and State Representative Stephanie Chang (D-6  Detroit).

Michigan United announces launch of Universal Family Care campaign at Capitol Day

Rep. Jon Hoadley presents Long Term Care Study bill to lay groundwork to support families

With new chapters springing up around the state, Michigan United and the Michigan People’s Campaign welcomed record numbers at their annual Capitol Day Event Tuesday in Lansing. The grassroots organizations scheduled dozens of meetings with state representatives and senators to discuss immigration, the environment and family care.

At a rally held at Central United Methodist Church, they announced plans to work with Caring Across Generations and other coalition partners, holding listening sessions over the summer to build out policy details this fall that will ensure the care of all Michigan family members and to help those who care for them. Benchmarks include:

  • Universal childcare up to age 4
  • Long term in home care for seniors
  • Protections for home care workers
  • A stipend for stay at home family caregivers
  • Paid family leave for workers who need time off to care for loved ones.

Many families are in the “sandwich generation:” providing care for young children at the same time they’re providing care for their parents. Sandwich generation families deal with two unaffordable systems, where the people who require care have significant and rapidly changing needs.

Michelle George, an advanced practice registered nurse is one such person. She has a 97 year old aunt with two broken hips. Although she has good health insurance, she won’t be eligible for a new wheelchair to help her get to much needed appointments. “Many families are stretched thin, have to cut back on work, or quit a job to care for aging family members.” said George. “We need better solutions, and the time is now for us to research and fight for them.

Rep. Jon Hoadley also announced that he would introduce his Long Term Care Study bill later that afternoon as the first step in this campaign.