Friday, April 23, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | Denby: A Detroit Neighborhood By & For the Community

Community development by and for the people. Since 2013, students at Denby High Schools in Detroit have made the Denby neighborhood better in ways no top-down approach arguably could. They identified barriers they and their neighbors faced -- like unsafe school routes and few places to relax  -- then worked together on ways to best solve them.

The results? A $1.4 million investment in a park. A weeklong, 10,000-volunteer strong “blitz” to renovate homes of students and clean up blight. Business district enhancement led by high schoolers, business owners and teenaged treatment center residents.

And there’s still more to come from the Denby Neighborhood Alliance, the student-teacher-resident collaboration behind it all. At the helm of the Alliance is Sandra Turner-Handy, the MEC engagement director, whose Denby work is funded through the Kresge Foundation. 

Join Sandra and the MEC President & CEO Conan Smith in a Capitol Connection webinar as they discuss how a school capstone project and democratic design is making a community healthy, vibrant and proud and what we can learn from it.


The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 08:30 AM

MIALSH Lead Education Day 2021

This past year of pandemic and racial reckoning has only solidified the need to protect our most vulnerable, fellow Michiganders from public health threats. That includes lead poisoning within our homes.

For 10 years, Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Homes (MIALSH) has hosted Lead Education Day at the Capitol to let our lawmakers know ending lead poisoning is entirely preventable, and the ways we can end it are entirely achievable: by testing all toddlers, by increasing lead inspections and by certifying contractors for lead-safe work.

To make the event safe, accessible and flexible, we are taking Lead Education Day online April 27. You can join fellow community members on Zoom to tell your legislator lead poisoning harms children statewide and common sense solutions can keep its devastating effects away for good.

MIALSH will provide all the technical support, resources and guidance you need.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • An opening and welcome from MEC President & CEO Conan Smith
  • Up to four 30-minute video meetings with lawmakers and fellow concerned Michiganders near you
  • Keynote speeches from public health leaders (you’ll find out who soon)

Together, we can make lead poisoning a history lesson, not a heartbreaking, unjust reality.

Please enter your complete home address, including CITY, state and zip code.  We need it to determine your representative and senator for scheduling meetings with the appropriate lawmakers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Lead Education Day | The Women Ending Lead Poisoning in Michigan

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. These women have become household names, heroes in our fight against the pandemic.

But MDHHS Director Emily Schwarzkopf and De-Lead Education & Advocacy Parent Group member TaNiccia Henry? Perhaps not as well-known.

Yet, all four women are paramount in the fight to end one public health threat just as widespread and dangerous as COVID-19: lead poisoning. And they are using their expertise, tenacity and compassion to make big changes.

Nearly 70% of homes were built before lead paint was banned, and many likely have the toxic chemical still in them. When ingested by children, lead can stunt mental development, cause behavioral issues and lead to illnesses like osteoporosis.

Khaldun, Hertel and Schwarzkopf advocate for better lead rules on behalf of their most vulnerable constituents. Henry advocates on behalf of her children and grandchildren, who are living with the threat of lead poisoning.

Join them for a special keynote address during our yearly Lead Education Day advocacy event and hear what the state, and our fellow residents, are doing to end lead poisoning.

Friday, May 07, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | Beers, Cherries, Green Biz

Businesses have had a rocky history with the environment. At best. Corporations were notorious for setting rivers aflame with their pollutants and razing wildlife. Now, they collectively continue to be the world’s largest polluters, waste generators and Superfund site creators. 

But this past decade has yielded something remarkable. Businesses are becoming models of sustainability. They are cutting their emissions and waste while investing in their communities and the natural world around them.

The most stalwart of such businesses in Michigan make up the Great Lakes Business Network, which protects the Great Lakes and the millions that live and vacation in its basin by advocating for clean energy and against manure pollution and oil spills. 

Chief among its advocates are Larry Bell and Bob Sutherland. Bell is the president of the Comstock-headquartered Bell’s Brewery, which makes clean, efficient use of its water, heat energy and waste. Sutherland is the president of Cherry Republic, a cherry-centric company headquartered in Glen Arbor that has given $2.5 million over its 30 years in support of clean energy, farms, recreation and youth development. 

Join Bell, Sutherland and MEC President/CEO Conan Smith as they discuss the role the Great Lakes Business Council and its members play in making Michigan’s natural resources and communities more resilient and how business can catalyze bold, swift, positive change.

The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.

Friday, May 14, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Zoom Webinar

Capitol Connection | Democracy Dismantled: How Our Voting Rights Are Threatened

Michigan Sen. Erika Geiss called them “21st century Jim Crow.”

She’s referring to 39 bills introduced by Michigan Republican Legislators. If passed, they would make residents struggle to vote and election clerks struggle to process those votes, and they would adversely affect Black and Brown voters.

It’s part of a national effort by Republicans to restrict voting rights after the 2020 election, the safest and largest in history, after all claims of broad voter fraud in swing states were proved unfounded in court.

Clare Allenson has spent her career ensuring democracy runs smoothly. She and her team spent 2019 and 2020 engaging, registering and mobilizing voters and recruiting poll workers as the Democracy for All Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters to great success. She is both an expert and an active participant in voting rights and elections.

Join Allenson and MEC President & CEO Conan Smith in our Capitol Connection webinar as they discuss what Michigan’s anti-voting bills could do to our rights and what voting reforms can ensure our streak of fair elections with large turnouts continue.


The Capitol Connection webinar series is generously sponsored by Steve and Judy Dobson.