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Who was behind the anti-vaccine rally in Lansing last Friday?

August 10, 2021

Last Friday, based on several different news media accounts, there were several hundred people who attended an anti-vaccine rally at the State Capitol in Lansing.

MLive puts the number of those at the rally at “an estimated 1,000”, but WOOD TV 8 says there were “more than 200.” 

More importantly than the numbers of those who attended, is the fact that both MLive and WOOD TV 8 failed to correctly identify the groups that organized the anti-vaccine mandate protest. 

MLive says “the group Stand Up Hospitals & Fight For Medical Freedom” had organized the rally,  while WOOD TV 8 calls them “Stand up Michigan & Fight For Medical Freedom,” based on a flyer that was circulated on social media. However, the flyer makes it very clear that the event was hosted by at least two different groups, Stand for Michigan and the group Fight for Medical Freedom. However, in looking at the flyer, pictured here, you can see four separate organizational logos, the two groups already mentioned, along with United Healthcare Workers and Michigan for Vaccine Choice.

Stand for Michigan was one of the main groups that organized the rally in support of the Holland restaurant owner who was arrested for violating COVID protocols back in March of this year. The three team members for Stand Up Michigan also a huge proponents of a far right brand of Christianity.

Fight For Medical Freedom is a group of medical professionals who work for the  Henry Ford Hospital Medical System throughout Michigan.

We have not been able to determine if United Healthcare Workers is a union or not, but we will keep digging.

Lastly, the group Michigan for Vaccine Choice has been around since before the COVID pandemic and they are a group that are opposed to any sort of forced vaccination of any kind. They do not list any individuals who work for the non-profit, so I had to go find that information via their 990 tax document. Their President is Suzanne Waltman, who has been visible on anti-vaccination issues for years. The Secretary of Michigan for Vaccine Choice is Sara Demick. Demick has actively supported Republican-led legislation in 2017 that limited government involvement in mandating vaccinations, as is reflected in a letter Demick wrote. Michigan for Vaccine Choice also has a separate PAC, which has funded Republican candidates in the 2018 election.

It would be really useful for news agencies to provide the public with more substantial information about those who host rallies or protests, especially in this case, since it addresses a major public health issue like COVID 19. 

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