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Condemning Drag Shows is not an aberration: Spiritual Violence as a foundational part of West MI

September 16, 2019

“Normally I’d never put myself in such a spiritually toxic environment. But I wanted to do my due diligence so my reporting on it would be accurate. I asked my guardian angel for protection and some of the Christian protestors outside the event were kind enough to pray that God would keep me safe. So I went in.”

The above quote is the opening comments of an article written by Stephen Kokx, an article entitled, I went to a Down syndrome drag show. What I saw horrified me. Kokx is the Assistant Director of Digital Marketing for LifeSite, a Christian non-profit organization that promotes homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, anti-choice and anti-immigrant values.

The article by Kokx is instructive on so many levels, plus it wreaks of white saviorism, along with a smug pompousness that is all too familiar with religious zealots, as is evidenced by a video that accompanies the article by Kokx.  However, what the LifeSite contributor had to say was nothing out of the ordinary in West Michigan. For as much as we like to think that Grand Rapids and West Michigan are becoming more and more tolerant, the truth is that this area is rooted in spiritual violence.

In the book, Gathered at the River: Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Its People of Faith, written by James D. Bratt, it begins with the Protestant and Catholic Missions that were both established along the Grand River in the early 1820’s. These early missions were used to manipulate the Indigenous people who inhabited West Michigan, so that White Settlers could move in and take over the land. 

This type of spiritual violence is repeated and normalized through the past 200 years in West Michigan, whether it was used to repress African Americans, women who didn’t buy into the patriarchy, the LGBTQ community that would not submit to heteronormativity or workers who didn’t comply with the capitalist robber barons. Hell, lets face it, the brand of Christianity that is practiced in West Michigan by a lot of people, particularly those with power, has caused a great deal of harm in this area.

Now, I know that there are people resisting the intolerance, but the fact is that West Michigan is still greatly impacted by a Christian Spiritual Violence that is so normalized, we often don’t even recognize it. Sure, the Christians who were protesting the drag show at Wealthy Theater are often seen as extremists, but therein lies the problem. There are likely thousands of people in West Michigan who agreed with those who protested the drag show at Wealthy Theater, even if they stayed at home or only commented on social media. Those protesting the drag show were not some rogue group, rather a microcosm of the ethos that many in West Michigan embrace.

Let’s stop and think about how normalized Christian Spiritual Violence is in the Greater Grand Rapids area. Here is a short list of the ways in which it is practiced:

  • Most of the Christian Churches in West Michigan are not welcoming to the LGBTQ community.
  • Most Christian Churches in West Michigan do not actively oppose White Supremacy.
  • Most Christian Churches in this area have not resisted US Wars, nor are they opposed to US militarism.
  • Most Christian Churches do not oppose the Prison Industrial Complex, which disproportionately impact black and brown communities.
  • Most Christian Churches embrace some form of charity, but do not condemn the economic system of capitalism.
  • Most Christian Churches in West Michigan do not practice the biblical imperative of welcoming immigrants to this community, especially those who are undocumented.
  • Most Christian Churches are silent on domestic violence, sexual assault and rape.
  • Most Christian Churches in West Michigan are complicit in ongoing environmental destruction and climate change.
  • Most Christian Churches in West Michigan are not involved in promoting housing justice, offering hospitality to those who face eviction, those who cannot afford the cost of rent and those who are homeless.

Another problem with thinking that the people who protested the drag show at Wealthy Theater are just marginalized extremists, is that it takes away our ability to see how institutionalized Christian Spiritual Violence is in this community. Think about the influence of the most powerful families in West Michigan, what I have identified as the Grand Rapids Power Structure – DeVos, Van Andel, Kennedy, Secchia, Jandernoa, etc. These families overtly identify with a Christian denomination, some CRC and some Catholic. They all have contributed millions to the Republican Party, which means they support policies that do tremendous harm to communities of color, working class families and the LGBT community. At the same time, they all have foundations that providing funding to non-profit organizations that promote charity or serve individual family needs. What we rarely see is any criticism of the fact that these wealthy families are creating the very inequities that exist, all in the name of God, then turn around and fund programs which are designed to take attention away from these inequities, so we don’t see these wealthy families as major contributors to harm (spiritual violence).

Then there are entities like the Grand Rapids-based Acton Institute, which has global reach within the Catholic community, which provides theological justification for the same kinds of policies that the Grand Rapids Power Structure promotes. In a sense, the Acton Institute acts as an apologist for those within the local power structure to continue to do harm and perpetuate spiritual violence.

What we have are the most powerful families who use Christianity to justify their spiritual violence, which then involves numerous non-profit Christian agencies to acts as a cover for the various types of spiritual violence, justified by groups like Acton Institute, with lots of complicity by the Christian Churches in the area that either take an active role in promoting this process or are silent in the face of all of this.

For anyone who is involved in doing organizing work to challenge systems of power and oppression in West Michigan, it is impossible to effective do this work without acknowledging the role that Christian Churches play in perpetuating the various forms of injustice that plague this area. This is not to say that there are no Christian Churches who do the important work of fighting systems of power and oppression, but they are the exception and not the norm. 

Tell us what to write: Once again, MLive acts as a stenographer for the Amway Corporation

September 13, 2019

On Tuesday, MLive posted a story about the 60th anniversary of the Ada-based global corporation known as Amway. Amway, is short for The American Way, according to founders Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos. 

Actually, it isn’t terribly accurate to say that MLive posted a story, rather was more like, “tell us what you want us to write.” Now, I’m not suggesting that Amway actually told MLive what to print, but it doesn’t matter, because the story that MLive published essentially reads like they wrote just what the Amway leaders wanted them to say.

The text of the article has no real new information about the pyramid scheme corporation and the two videos posted by MLive are also consistent with a style of journalism known as stenography.

The two videos posted by MLive are here below. This first video focuses on what the new CEO of Amway, Milind Pant, is saying, while the second video only has Amway co-Chairman Doug DeVos speaking. In both cases we don’t know what the MLive reporter asked them, as the questions are not included.

This news story about Amway is indicative of the kind of journalism that has been practiced more and more over the past 20 – 30 years, especially with the consolidation of news media ownerships has taken place.

There is nothing investigative about the story, there is no evidence that any serious questions were asked, and no where do we see other perspectives included. The story that MLive posted could have included a comment from the Chinese government, since that was one topic raised in the article.

Other questions that could be asked are:

  • How does Amway impact local communities around the world, specifically how does it undermine local economies?
  • How do the millions of dollars that Amway contributes to candidates influence public policy that would be beneficial to the Amway Corporation? 
  • How does the even larger sums of money that the DeVos and Van Andel families contribute to the Republican Party benefit the Amway Corporation? 

So, how is it that the only daily newspaper in Grand Rapids, would fail to practice good journalism when it comes to the most powerful corporation in West Michigan, a corporation that is still run by two of the most powerful families in West Michigan, the DeVos and Van Andel families?

Deconstructing the Rule of Law and Undocumented Immigrants

September 12, 2019

On Tuesday, MLive reported on a proposed resolution in Muskegon County to make that county a Welcoming Community. The proposal was specifically referring to immigrant being welcomed, whether they were documented or undocumented. 

The reaction, from mostly white Muskegon County residents, was one of shock and disgust. Most of the people cited in the story made mention of the fact that “this is a nation of laws,” implying that those immigrants who were here without documentation, should not be allowed to be in Muskegon County or the rest of the country for that matter. If you read the comments section on MLive for this story (which I do not recommend), you can see that words like illegal and phrases like “a nation of laws” are used quite a bit. There is also a great deal of racist and White Supremacist language used in the comments, which is a more honest reflection about how people really feel. However, I wanted to take some time to deconstruct the notion that the US is a nation of laws and what people mean when they say the US shouldn’t allow “illegals” in the country.

A Nation of Laws

When politicians, law enforcement officials or just regular folks use language like, “we are a nation of laws,” to justify discriminatory treatment of undocumented immigrants, what does that really mean? There are several reasons why, reasons we want to look at and deconstruct, specifically around laws and immigrants (although, we will use other legal examples as well.)

First, the idea that nations create laws to make sure that society is kept in check, is an idea we are taught in 9th grade civil class. However, the reality is that laws are generally created by people in power, people who have specific interests at stake. For example, from the founding of the US up until 1865, slavery was legal, mostly because those who made the laws were white men, some of which owned slaves and many of them benefited economically from the institution of slavery. (see Edward Baptist’s book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.) Slavery was eventually abolished, primarily because of the abolitionist movement’s efforts, which culminated in the Civil War.

The example of slavery being abolished in not an unusual example, since it highlights how most laws are changed in order to minimize harm, namely when social movements force lawmakers to change the law. This has been the case with all social movements in the US, whether it was the abolitionist movement, the labor movement, the suffrage movement, the civil right movement, the environmental movement, etc.

Second, when people say the US is a nation of laws it is important to distinguish between laws and morality. Just because a law exists, doesn’t make it a just law. The US has been replete with laws that were unjust. It was legal to kill indigenous people, make money by scalping them and then taking their land.

Even today, there are all kinds of laws that are unjust or social norms that are legal. Here are just a few:

  • It is legal to manufacture and drop nuclear bombs, weapons that by their very nature kill indiscriminately.
  • It is legal for corporations to pollute when they extract resources from the earth and in the process of manufacturing create waste and pollution.
  • It is legal for a small group of people to make billions of dollars, while billions of people live in poverty.
  • It is legal for development companies to profit from housing, while so many people are homeless or live in horrid living conditions.
  • It is legal for the capitalist class to spend millions of dollars to influence elections.
  • It is legal for a handful of corporations to control the majority of news media sources.
  • It is legal to discriminate against people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender of Queer.
  • It is legal for corporations and other businesses to pay workers wages so low that they can’t afford basic necessities, often resulting in people having multiple jobs to make ends meet.
  • It is legal to incarcerate millions of people in the US, mostly black and brown, for non-violent offenses.

Just because we have laws, doesn’t mean we have to abide by them, especially if they are unjust. In fact, how many people do we revere because the deliberately broke the law in order to defy or change those very laws? How many of us celebrate the likes of Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Harvey Milk, Silvia Rivera, Fred Hampton, the Berrigan Brothers, Dorothy Day, etc. These are all people who purposefully broke the law in order to make change.

Third, when people argue that undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be allowed into the US because we are a nation of laws, how else can we respond? Besides acknowledging that laws are made by those in power who have economic interests and that many laws are inherently unjust, it is also important to recognize that laws have evolved over time as a reaction to various social dynamics.

Historian Aviva Chomsky states in her book, Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal:

“Explicitly national manifestations of control of movement emerged in the late nineteenth century, imbued with racial ideas. The first restrictive immigration laws in the United States conflated race and nation. Chinese exclusion in 1882 was based on race: as racially ineligible to citizenship, the Chinese should be excluded from entering the country as well.”

What Chomsky makes clear in her book is that the US has always deliberately discriminated against certain people from coming to the US, first the Chinese, then Japanese, Germans during WWI, Jews who were fleeing Nazi Germany, Mexicans and Central Americans – increasingly since the late 1970s and Haitians since the 1990s, just to name a few.

US immigration policy has always been race based, but it has also always been about country of origin and what relationship the US has had with those countries. For example, since the 1959 Cuban revolution, Cubans have been generally allowed to come to the US, because the US has had an antagonistic relationship with Cuba. At the same time, Haitians who were fleeing political violence or abject poverty, were not as easily granted legal status or asylum, since the US has mostly had a favorable relationship with  the Haitian government, from Papa Doc Duvalier up to the present.

There are plenty of other arguments we can use when people say that the US is a nation of laws, so undocumented people should not be allowed here, but these three main arguments are important.

Lastly, it is worth noting that the current immigrant-led immigration justice movement is not advocating lawlessness. What those involved in this movement are arguing is that the federal immigration laws are unjust and racist in nature. The immigration justice movement believes that through non-violent direct action they can not only demonstrate how unjust the current immigration laws are, but they can demonstrate how economically dependent the US economy is on the labor of the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in this country.

Senator Peters votes for the $750 Billion US Military Budget, but doesn’t want the US Military to use firefighting foams containing PFAS at military installations

September 11, 2019

Editor’s note: Today, marks the 18th anniversary of 9/11 in the US. Amidst all of the commemorations for what happened eighteen years ago, ask yourself why the US continues to spend more on militarism than any other country in the world?

Last week, Michigan Senator Gary Peters posted a press release with the headline, Peters Blasts White House Objections to Bipartisan PFAS Provisions in Defense Bill

The statement from Senator Peters was based on his effort to:

“….address the PFAS crisis in Michigan and across the country, including requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to phase out the use of firefighting foams containing PFAS at military installations.” 

While I am all in favor of getting corporations and the US Military to stop using PFAS producing products, the larger issue here, which is that Senator Gary Peters, along with the majority of Congress, voted in favor of the $750 Billion US Military Budget for 2020, known as the National Defense Authorization Act. In other words, if you really wanted to do something to address environmental contamination, then you wouldn’t vote to fund the largest military budget on the planet.

The US Military, which includes roughly 1,000 military bases worldwide, all of the planes, tanks, trucks, submarines, missiles, guns, bullets, etc, makes the US military one of the worst environmental polluters on the planet. (see the book, Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism)

On top of all of the fossil fuels used by the US military and all of the other ecological devastation they perpetrate, one of their main functions is to protect the economic interests of multinational corporations, which are also wreaking havoc on the environment around the globe. Therefore, it seems to me that asking the US military to stop using PFAS producing products while simultaneously voting for the $750 Billion US Military Budget is like Nazi Germany practicing composting at the death camps they operated throughout Europe. If such a comparison seems too outlandish to you, then how about this – Senator Peters calling for the US military to stop using PFAS producing products while voting to fund the largest military in the world is like former Chilean dictator Pinochet calling for the end of the use of styrofoam, while he slaughter political dissidents during his reign of terror.

Now, the point here is not just to point out the blatant contradiction in Senator Peters’ actions, but to challenge all of us to think about the very real and daily harm that the US military perpetrates against the environment and against human beings around the world. Noted scholar Noam Chomsky has repeatedly made it clear, along with numerous other researchers and writers, that the US military has cumulatively caused more harm in the past century than any other military on the planet – US military invasion, weapons sales, US military training, direct support of dictators, militarily supporting proxy forces, etc.

This is a sobering reality. However, equally as sobering, is the fact that entirely too many people in the US either have never heard this fact or won’t accept it as fact, which should tell us something about how we all internalize imperialist thinking in the US.

Foundation Watch: The Peter & Emajean Cook Foundation

September 10, 2019

Peter Cook is the former Chairman of Mazda Great Lakes, where he made millions off the labor of others and the sale of cars. Cook has funded numerous groups on the religious right, such as Campus Crusade for Christ, Michigan Family Forum, the Mackinac Center, the Acton Institute, Teach Michigan and Gospel Films in Muskegon. Like Richard DeVos, Cook also served as a member on the board of the Council for National Policy. Cook was a major funder, along with Richard DeVos, for the new GVSU health sciences building on Michigan St. in Grand Rapids. During the fund raising efforts in 1995 for the proposed health sciences building, Cook and DeVos threatened to withdraw funding for the building if the university passed domestic partner benefits for faculty and staff. Money won out and domestic partner benefits were denied until 13 years later in 2008, as is documented in the film, A People’s History of the LGBTQ Community in Grand Rapids

In addition, Peter Cook was a major contributor to the Republican Party for years, funding that has supported candidates and policies that have benefited the wealthiest people at the expense of the working class and communities of color.

We looked at the 990 documents for the Peter & Emajean Cook Foundation between 2014 and 2017. What follows are the larger contributions from those four years.

Hope College $1,750,000

The Potter’s House School $550,000

Davenport College $466,000

GVSU Foundation $400,000

Grandville Academy of the Arts $400,000

Western Theological Seminary $350,000

YMCA $327,000

Van Andel Institute $325,000

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital $250,000

Reformed Church in America $250,000

Meijer Gardens $200,000

Habitat for Humanity $200,000

Ada Christian School Education Foundation $150,000

Boys & Girls Club of Grand Rapids $150,000

Camp Geneva $150,000

Children’s Assessment Center $150,000

Safe Haven Ministries $150,000

ArtPrize $120,000

Grand Rapids Catholic Central $100,000

Next Step of West Michigan $100,000

Freedom Alliance $80,000

Camp Rogers $50,000

Calvin Theological Seminary $50,000

As you can see, the bulk of funding has gone to Christian entities, particularly Christian educational entities like Hope College and The Potter’s House. There is also funding to entities that were started by families who make up the Grand Rapids Power Structure, like Meijer Gardens, the Van Andel Institute and ArtPrize.

Then there is more targeted funding, particularly in the Grandville Avenue/Roosevelt Park area, such as the Grandville Academy of the Arts, Habitat for Humanity (specifically for new housing in the Grandville Avenue corridor) and the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association (not listed here, but still receiving a substantial amount).

Part of the slight shift in funding in recent years has been after Peter Cook died in 2010. While there is still significant funding from the foundation that goes to conservative Christian entities, the groups in the Roosevelt Park area represent somewhat of a move to support non-profits that are more rooted in that neighborhood.

What does it mean when the GRPD union contributes to candidates for Grand Rapids City Commission?

September 9, 2019

In the past few years, the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association and the Grand Rapids Police Command Officers Association (both of which are police unions), have been on the defensive because the public has been deeply critical of how they interact with the community.

Some of the criticisms from various sectors within the community have expressed concerns, frustrations and anger of the GRPD’s treatment of African Americans and Latinx residents throughout the city. These criticisms of the GRPD have been over issues like beating motorists, intimidating and arresting youth because they “fit a certain profile,” and collaborating and contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

An example of how the police union has been on the defense, was in a statement released earlier this year

Furthermore, it has become perfectly clear to all members of the Grand Rapids Police Command Officers Association that over the past two years the elected officials and appointed leadership within the City of Grand Rapids will dismiss any actions by members of the Grand Rapids Police Department that are in compliance with established laws, policies, and recognized best practices in law enforcement and will instead cower to any “mob rule” behavior of any organizations that raise vocal opposition.

As an example of this reality, we were previously made aware of the collusion between our elected and appointed officials and several of the groups currently calling for the termination of Captain VanderKooi. On May 1, 2018, during a large protest, leaders of Movimiento Cosecha GR intentionally overran a police position for the second year in a row. Warrants were sought, sworn to, and issued by a judge for the arrests of two individuals. Shortly thereafter, the Acting City Manager and the Mayor became involved and the warrants were squashed. There is no clearer example that our city leadership would rather appease these groups who intentionally violate the law to purposely disrupt businesses and residents in Grand Rapids while endangering the lives of our officers, the general public, and their own protestors. Having known about this obstruction of justice, of which the current City Manager has also been notified, we are only left to believe that support for our personnel while acting with great restraint and being overrun by law breaking individuals does not and will not exist.

At the end of August, after it was announced that Captain VanderKooi received a mere 20 hour suspension for calling ICE on a US citizen while using racist comments directed at this US citizen, the police union put out another statement, which also is rather defensive: 

The Grand Rapids Police Command Officer’s Association is shocked and dismayed at how the rights of Captain Curt VanderKooi, who has served the City of Grand Rapids for nearly 40 years with honor and integrity, could have his rights so blatantly violated in an effort to discipline him for the first time in his career.  His due process rights, the GRPCOA collective bargaining agreement, along with state law were trampled on throughout the Citizen’s Appeal Board process and now by the final disposition issued by the City Manager.  He, and many others in City Hall, were put on notice and advised of these violations in the form of our grievance which was originally filed May 23, 2019.  We were forced to file this grievance after he was cleared of the most serious accusations following an unprecedented three iterations of the same investigation.

Captain VanderKooi was given a two day suspension, which has recently been served.  The City Manager advised the GRPCOA that he was willing to uphold the original exoneration in exchange for his agreement to retire.  This discipline was unwarranted and is clearly an attempt to appease a vocal group of activists who made him a scape goat for their own political gain.  We will be amending the grievance to appeal this most recent decision by the City Manager.  We are also awaiting a very copious FOIA request involving all the communication reference this investigation and those involved in it.  Captain VanderKooi is pleased to announce he has decided to postpone his original retirement date in 2020 and looks forward to serving the citizens and crime victims in the City of Grand Rapids as Commander of the Investigations Unit for an additional year.

Such responses reflect a temper tantrum-like behavior, especially since we are led to believe that the police are supposed to work for the public. However, those who have bothered to investigate the history of policing in the US, are well aware of the fact that the police department were an outgrowth of slave patrols and have always serve systems of power. (see Kristian Williams book, Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America

In addition to releasing public statements and claiming that Grand Rapids City officials are cowering to activists, the police union has been some of the largest contributors to candidates running for city office. Based on public election campaign documents provided by the Kent County Clerk’s office, here is what the current members of the City Commission have received from the local police unions. I’ve also included David Allen, since he was the other 3rd Ward Commissioner last elected, besides Senita Lenear.

  • Mayor Bliss – Grand Rapids Police Officers Labor Council PAC                            $3,000
  • John O’Connor (1st Ward) – Grand Rapids Police Officers Labor Council PAC   $1,000
  • Kurt Reppart (1st Ward) – Grand Rapids Police Officers Association PAC           $1,500
  • Ruth Kelly (2nd Ward)                                                                                                $0
  • Joe Jones (2nd Ward)                                                                                                $0
  • David Allen (3rd Ward) – Grand Rapids Police Labor Union PAC                           $5,000
  • Senita Lenear (3rd Ward)                                                                                           $0
  • Nathaniel Moody (3rd Ward – has not been elected, only appointed) – Moody is a current candidate for 3rd Ward, with no campaign finance documents as this date
  • Allison Lutz (current candidate for 1st Ward) no campaign documents as this date
  • Wendy Falb (current candidate for 2nd Ward) Grand Rapids Police Officers Union PAC    $5,000
  • Melinda Ysasi (current candidate for 2nd Ward)                                                                      $0

The current City Commission and potentially those who may be elected in November, have received substantial sums of money from the unions that make up the GRPD. It is rare for candidates who are running for the Grand Rapids City Commission to receive more than $1,000 for any one source, so this makes the police union PACs some of the largest single contributors to candidates for city office.

So, what does this funding mean for the police unions? Does it automatically mean that these candidates are in the pockets of the cop unions? Does it mean that cop unions have added access to city commissioners? Should the police unions even be allowed to financially influence City Commission decisions? These are all important questions that we need to think about, along with additional questions not even mentioned here, that we should be asking current members of the Grand Rapids City Commission and those who are running for the Grand Rapids City Commission. This dynamic of the likely financial influence of elected city officials by the police unions demonstrates the lack of real democracy at the city level, a practice that should not be tolerated.

MiBiz article on Drivers Licenses for All leaves out immigrant organizers in their reporting

September 4, 2019

Earlier this week, MiBiz published an article announcing that State Senator Stephanie Chang would be introducing legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a drivers license in Michigan. 

The article provides some of the basic arguments for supporting drivers licenses for all, such as it increases public safety and it is good for the economy.

Besides the comments from Sen. Chang, there are also supporting comments from the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) and the Michigan Farm Bureau.

The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce declined to respond, saying they “don’t have formal policy positions on the issue.”

The article does acknowledge that there is already clear opposition to the proposed legislation, coming directly from Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield, who said that providing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants, “encourages undocumented immigration.” Chatfield’s position is naive and reflects that he has no idea why people who are undocumented takes such great personal risk to come to the US. This attitude was also recently expressed by State Senator Tom Barrett who voiced his opposition to drivers licenses for all, saying: 

“We have to respect the laws of our country, not encourage or reward people for being here illegally.”

Another opponent to the proposed legislation that was cited in the MiBiz article, was Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. The Kent County Sheriff stated immigrants who were able to obtain drivers licenses prior to 2008:

That created identity theft issues. Essentially with a couple pieces of paper, someone could create an identification for themselves.”

The most glaring omission from the MiBiz article is that we don’t hear the opinions or perspectives of those who would most benefit from the proposed drivers license legislation, namely the immigrant community. This is a particularly egregious omission, especially since the largest immigrant led movement in Michigan, Movimiento Cosecha, has not only made drivers licenses for all the focus of their organizing over the past year, they also got Gov. Whitmer to publicly endorse drivers licenses for all in early August, when they spoke with Michigan’s Governor at the Democratic debates being held in Detroit.

In addition, one could argue that the whole reason that Senator Chang is going to introduce drivers licenses for all legislation in the coming weeks, is precisely because the immigrant community, especially through the organizing of Movimiento Cosecha, has made drivers licenses for all a central immigrant justice issue. Unfortunately, this seems to not be on the radar of the reporters at MiBiz.