To date, over 398,000 Americans have contracted COVID-19 and almost 56,000 have passed away. Trump has shown that he is incapable of protecting Americans during a crisis. He has continued to engage in racist rhetoric during his press briefings and makes claims that hydroxychloroquine will be a “game changer”, despite there being no medical evidence. He has even suggested that people might be able to inject themselves with disinfectant as a cure, afterwards suggesting that he was just being sarcastic.
Yet even before COVID, we know that Trump has crossed the line far too many times while in office. People are sick and tired of his lies and his complete disregard for human life. They want to see immediate changes to the policies that have put their lives at risk for far too long. It’s now time for people to take power into their own hands. It’s time to stop Trump’s right-wing agenda and uplift progressive leaders. That’s why labor unions, progressive organizations, and Michigan state senators Stephanie Chang, Mallory McMorrow, and Curtis Hurtel launched Organizing Together 2020 Michigan. The launch was officially announced on a Zoom call on Saturday, April 25, hosted by State Director Katie Kelly and Organizing Director Kevin Lo.
Here’s how the organization defines its goals:
Organizing Together 2020 Michigan is focused on building a strong volunteer and staff infrastructure prepared to defeat Donald Trump’s agenda. We will train our organizers and volunteers on all the tools of grassroots organizing – online and offline. We will train and empower local volunteers to take leadership in their own communities to not only make sure we defeat Trump’s agenda but build lasting power in our communities for years to come. We know how competitive Michigan is, and we’re organizing earlier than ever to make sure we beat his agenda.
With almost 300 participants on the call, it is clear that there is a serious interest in taking direct action against Trump. Moreover, given that the face of organizing during this pandemic is changing, Organizing Together 2020 Michigan is hosting virtual events and house parties, one-on-ones with organizers, voting from home efforts, and even online campaign offices. The online offices are communities where you can meet other folks who want to stop Trump’s agenda, and learn how to organize through virtual trainings and events.
Paul Tewes, who helped start Organizing Together 2020 and served as President Obama’s 2008 Iowa State Director, joined the call to rally the organizers and volunteers. He believes in building coalitions by welcoming the progressive movement’s talents and resources. The campaign is focused on respecting, empowering, and including people all across Michigan:
“In Michigan and across the country, we have organizers and activists that came out of all these different campaigns. And our thinking is that we want to create a sense of unity around the common mission: defeating Donald Trump and his agenda…and that people from all walks of the [Democratic] Party, from all walks of the progressive coalition have a place”.
The proof of this spirit of unity lies in the fact that Organizing Together 2020 Michigan consists of representation of staff and volunteers from over 12 presidential candidates who dropped out of the presidential primary.
Participants also had the opportunity to hear from organizers who are already on the ground helping to build critical political infrastructure. Alana Aldridge is a lifelong resident of Flint whose family has a history of organizing. She said: I’m motivated to organize because I care so much about my community. I have two kids…in dealing with the Flint water crisis…I was paying two water bills. Organizing [Together] 2020 is such a great organization because it brings people from all different walks of life together to fight, and it gives us the option to put things into action instead of just taking it”. Organizers like Alana know that they have the power and the skill to push their communities to action instead of sitting back. The Flint water crisis didn’t stop her, and neither will COVID-19.
Michigan Organizing Together 2020 presents an opportunity for communities to connect with people who know that Trump is dangerous for the future of this state and this country. It provides Americans with the tools they need to fight back against the powerful yet destructive forces of this administration, with the ultimate goal of ushering in a new era of progressive activism that’s adaptable to whatever challenges people may face. This organization is a recognition of the importance of working together to achieve a common goal because everyone deserves better.
And if you’re tired of Trump’s dangerous behavior and policies, and you want to make a difference in your community, you should sign up too. Go to Michigan.Organizing2020.com and sign up to volunteer, get together with other members of your community, and most importantly, share your story.
**See below for a list of Michigan Organizing Together 2020 state co-chairs and coalition partners:
The Michigan Co-Chairs are:
Senate Democratic Floor Leader Stephanie Chang
State Sen. Curtis Hertel
State Sen. Mallory McMorrow
The coalition partners are:
AAPI Victory Fund
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 25
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Color of Change PAC
Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) PAC
End Citizens United
For Our Future Michigan
Latino Victory Fund
LGBTQ Victory Fund
Michigan Clean Water Action
Michigan Education Association
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
People for the American Way (PFAW)
Planned Parenthood of Michigan
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)