The effort to repeal Public Act 4, the Financial Martial Law Act, in Michigan got a great jump start yesterday when nearly 100 local activists, concerned citizens and organizers got together for an informational townhall meeting. The event was put on by the Washtenaw Community Action Team, a group that describes itself as “a coalition of local unionists, activists, students, workers and community members working together to defend and advocate for working people at the local, state and national level”. You can visit their Facebook page HERE.
All photos except the last one by Beth Hay. Used with permission.
The event started off with me giving an overview of P.A. 4 (my notes from my bit are HERE (pdf).)
Eclectablog gives an overview of P.A. 4 to a full house
Next up was David Bates, President of the Ypsilanti Board of Education. He described the impact of P.A. 4 on the education of our children and how the shifting of funding away from them and toward businesses and tax cuts damages our state, now and in the future.
David Bates talks about the impact of P.A. 4 on schools and education
After that, we broke out into small groups to discuss what we had heard and think about ways to move forward more effective to stop this law while still helping cities and school districts that are struggling financially.
Breakout discussion groups
Intense discussion during the breakout session
After that, each group reported back. It was interesting to see how each group found different aspects that were important in addition to the common ideas.
Reporting back from the breakout session
After that, Brandon Jessup, head of the Michigan think tank Michigan Forward talked eloquently and passionately about why he started this effort, what he hopes to accomplish and our path forward. Brandon is a rising star in Michigan political activism and someone I feel certain we’ll see a whole lot more of in the coming years.
Brandon Jessup, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Michigan Forward
After a question & answer session, Brit Satchwell, president of the local teachers union, wrapped things up with an easy to understand explanation of how to gather petition signatures. (Sorry, no picture, Brit ;)
This was a truly terrific event with lots of energy, fueled by concern and worry for the state of our state. While Democrats may have stayed home in large numbers for the 2010 midterm elections, the overreach and audacity of Republicans in Michigan have activists shaking off their malaise and rising together once again to push back. Lots of networking happened and connections were made yesterday and it was a thrill to meet some of the folks who are organizing leaders from this area.
For more information, fresh and frequently updated, on the effort to repeal P.A. 4, the Financial Martial Law Act, go to RepealPA4.org. Information about where to find and return petitions can be found there as well.
A big shout out to the Washtenaw Community Action team for a very well-planned and well-executed event. More of this, please!
Me and my blogging and organizing friend Rachel (surelyujest from Daily Kos)