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More than 100 Michigan Elected Officials Pledge to Stand Against Hate


More than 100 elected officials across Michigan have signed a pledge to take a stand against hate and discrimination. The “Stand Strong, Respect Michigan” recommitment pledge is a project of Welcoming Michigan, Take on Hate, Mothering Justice, and the office of State Representative Stephanie Chang.


“Elected officials across the state have recommitted themselves during this time as our state and country experience a rise in hate incidents in schools, on college campuses, and in our communities,” said Christine Sauvé, Welcoming Michigan Director. “There were 40 incidents reported in Michigan. This was the highest in the Midwest, and sixth highest in the nation.”


According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, over 867 harassment or intimidation incidents took place in the ten days after the November election, including anti-Black, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT and other forms of harassment.[1] There were 40 incidents reported in Michigan.


In December 2015, Welcoming Michigan and Take on Hate launched the “Stand Strong, Respect Michigan” pledge. In light of disturbing comments made at the national level regarding Arabs, refugees[2] and those of Muslim faith, and the growing number of hate incidents targeting Muslim individuals and mosques, these organizations asked elected officials in Michigan to take the “Stand Strong, Respect Michigan” pledge. Over 100 elected officials signed the pledge. The recommitment pledge was launched in November 2016 by these two organizations as well as Mothering Justice, as the organizations noticed a rise in hate incidents.


“Hostility toward Arabs, Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim is escalating following this year’s election,” said Nadia Tonova, Director of the National Network of Arab American Communities. “Anti-Arab and Muslim incidents and sentiment not only create an atmosphere of fear, but go against our American values of freedom and justice. Now is the time for our elected officials to demonstrate real leadership and speak up in solidarity with the Arab and Muslim Americans, and all who are being vilified.  They must also voice their opposition to Islamophobia and xenophobia, rather than remain silent. Now, more than ever, we must come together to uphold the American ideals of equality and community.”


“Elected officials must lead the way in setting a standard of respect for all of Michigan’s diverse communities regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration or refugee status, gender, sexual orientation, religion or any other social identity,” said Stephanie Chang, State Representative (D-6). “We asked Michigan’s elected officials to recommit their support for inclusive communities and to stand against hate by taking the pledge, and they have resoundingly answered the call. In addition, many of us are very concerned about HCR 28, a resolution being considered by the House Local Government Committee. It is based on erroneous assumptions about refugees and the very thorough screening process.”


“This pledge is a way for us as elected officials to stand together across the state, and make clear there is a community of people and leaders who care for and are willing to stand and fight for inclusion of all members of our diverse communities and that we will not tolerate or accept the normalization of hate and discrimination,” said Kate Flores, Battle Creek City Commissioner.


The “Stand Strong, Respect Michigan” pledge reads:


“I pledge to stand against hate and discrimination and affirm that Michigan should be a welcoming state for all.


I am proud of Michigan’s diversity. I recognize that at every level of American society, people of all backgrounds contribute to our democracy, culture and economy. We must advance the basic principles upon which the United States was founded, establishing the equality and dignity of all people regardless of their background.


I condemn any attacks on, harassment of, or intimidation of individuals or places of worship that are based on race, ethnicity, immigration or refugee status, religion, sexual orientation, or other social identities. From our schools to our neighborhoods and our city halls, Michigan must be a place that respects all of our diverse communities.”


The full list of signers of the pledge is included on the following page.




Welcoming Michigan works to foster more welcoming and inclusive communities by promoting mutual respect and cooperation among foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans.


Take on Hate, a program of ACCESS, is a national grassroots movement that challenges the growing discrimination and persistent misconception of Arab and Muslim Americans, including refugees of Arab and Muslim descent, in the U.S.


Mothering Justice works to improve the lives of Michigan families by equipping the next generation of mother activists.




Signers of “Stand Strong, Respect Michigan” Recommitment Pledge

December 7, 2016


Zachary               Ackerman          City Council Member                    Ann Arbor

Alphonso            Amos                    City Council Member                    City of Port Huron

Sarah                    Anthony              County Commissioner                  Ingham County

John                      Austin                   President                                            State Board of Education

Janeé                     Ayers                    City Councilwoman                       Detroit, At-Large

Beth                      Bashert                City Councilmember                     Ypsilanti, Ward 2

Mariam                Bazzi                     Trustee                                                Dearborn Board of Education

Steve                     Bieda                    State Senate                                       9th District

Rosalynn             Bliss                      Mayor                                                  City of Grand Rapids

Michael                Bridges                                City Councilmember                     Farmington Hills

Winnie                 Brinks                  State Representative                     76th District

Julie                       Brixie                    Treasurer                                           Meridian Township

Marlon                 Brown                  Mayor Pro Tem                               City of Mason

Raquel                  Castañeda-López, City Councilmember                Detroit, 6th District

Stephanie            Chang                   State Representative                     6th District

Edward               Clements             City Commissioner                        Bay City

Ian                         Conyers               State Senator                                     4th District

Angela                 Croft                     Council Chair - Pro Tem              City of Taylor

George                 Darany                 State Representative                     15th District

Mitch                    Doig                      School Board                                    River Rouge

Gretchen             Driskell                State Representative                     52nd House District

Kyle                       DuBuc                  City Commissioner                        Royal Oak

Michael                Duggan                                Mayor                                                  City of Detroit

Amanda               Edmonds            Mayor                                                  City of Ypsilanti

Jim                         Ellison                  State Representative Elect          26th District

Kaytee                 Faris                      City Commissioner                        Battle Creek

Pam                      Faris                      State Representative                     48th House District

Michelle              Fecteau                Michigan State Board of Education, Secretary  Michigan

Kate                       Flores                   City Commissioner                        City of Battle Creek

Sommer              Foster                   Township Trustee                          Canton Township

Latanya               Garrett                 State Representative                     7th District

Alex                       Garza                    City Councilman                              City of Taylor

Erika                     Geiss                     State Representative                     12th District

Marcia                  Gershenson        County commissioner                 13th District

Anne Marie        Graham-Hudak                Township Trustee                         Canton Township

Nathan                 Grajek                  School Board Trustee                   Battle Creek Public Schools

Julie                       Grand                   City Council Member                    City of Ann Arbor

Patrick                 Green                    State Representative                     28th District

Christine             Greig                     State Representative                     37th District

Vanessa               Guerra                  State Representative                     95th district

Abdullah             Hammoud          State Representative-Elect         15th District

Fadwa                  Hammoud          Board of Education Trustee       Dearborn

Michael                Hanley County Board Chair                                       Saginaw County

Brian                     Hartwell              Mayor                                                  City of Madison Heights

Andy                     Helmboldt          City Commissioner                        Battle Creek

Jon                         Hoadley               State Representative                     60th District

Hoon-Yung        Hopgood             State Senator                                     6th District

Tina                       Houghton           City Council, Ward Rep                                City of Lansing

Marcia                  Hovey Wright   State Representative                     92nd District

Adam                    Hussain                City Council                                       Lansing, Third Ward

Roland                 Hwang                 Trustee                                                Northville Schools

James                   Irving                   City Commissioner                        Bay City, 5th Ward

Jeff                         Irwin                    State Representative                     53rd District

Jeff                         Jenks                     City Commissioner                        Huntington Woods

Brandon              Jessup                   Secretary                                            Detroit Delta Preparatory Academy for Social Justice

Bertram              Johnson               State Senate                                       2nd District

Jewell                   Jones                     State Representative-Elect         11th State House District

Brenda                 Jones                     City Council President                  Detroit, At-Large

Marilyn                Kelly                     Board Member, Wayne State University Board of Trustees       

David                    Knezek                 State Senator                                     5th District

David                    LaGrand              State Representative                     75th District

Mary                     Lane                      President                                            Dearborn Board of Education

Gabe                      Leland                  City Councilman                              Detroit, 7th District

Sandy                   Levin                    U.S. Congressman                           9th District

Leslie                    Love                      State Representative                     10th District

Evan                     Major                    Vice President, Board of Education, Hamtramck Public Schools

Marian                 McClellan            Mayor                                                  Oak Park

Brian                     McGrain              County Commissioner                  Ingham County, 10th District

Mike                      McGuinness       School Board Trustee                   Pontiac School District

Andy                     Meisner               Oakland County Treasurer         Oakland County

Mark                     Miller                    Clerk                                                     Kalamazoo Charter Township

Fred                      Miller                    County Commissioner                  Macomb County, 9th District

Kathleen              Moore                  Board of Education                        Lakeview School District

Jeremy                 Moss                     State Representative                     35th District

Pete                       Murdock             City Council                                       City of Ypsilanti

Andrew               Niedzinski          Commissioner                                 3rd Ward Bay City

Kristy                   Pagan                   State Representative                     21st District

Yousef                  Rabhi                    County Commissioner                  Washtenaw County

Sarah                    Roberts                State Representative                     18th District

Michael T.           Sareini                  City Councilman                              Dearborn

Andy                     Schor                    State Representative                     68th District

Mary                     Sheffield              City Councilmember                     Detroit, 5th District

Michael                Siegrist                 Clerk                                                     Canton

Sam                       Singh                     State Representative                     69th District

Jacqueline          Slaby                     School Board Member                  Battle Creek Public Schools

Chip                       Smith                    City Council                                       Ann Arbor

Conan                   Smith                    County Commissioner                  Washtenaw County

Steven                  Sneideman         Trustee                                                Canton Township

Ronald                 Styka                    Township Supervisor                   Meridian Charter Township

James                   Tate                       City Councilmember                     Detroit, 1st District

Christopher       Taylor                  Mayor                                                  Ann Arbor

Lamar                  Tidwell                                Mayor                                                  Ecorse

Jessica                  Unangst               School Board                                    New Lothrop

Daniel                   Vogt                      City Councilmember                     Ypsilanti

Rebekah              Warren                State Senator                                     18th District

Elizabeth            Welch                   School Board Trustee                   East Grand Rapids

Barbara               Winter                 Library Board Member                                Hazel Park

Robert                  Wittenberg        State Representative                     27th District

Carol                     Wood                   Councilmember At-Large           City of Lansing

Kevin    Wordelman                       County Board of Commissioners Kalamazoo County

Henry   Yanez                                   State Representative                     25th District

Adam    Zemke                                  State Representative                     55th District


[2] In May 2015 the Michigan House of Representatives adopted a resolution supporting the resettlement of displaced Iraqi refugees – HR 9.