Ypsi March for Love, Resilience & Action

Join WeROC and other Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor faith and labor friends in  The Ypsi March for Love, Resilience & Action on Jan. 20th-21st. On Friday Jan. 20th, 7pm, at Bona Sera – 200 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti – there will be a pre-march evening of music, performance, and preparation.


On Saturday Jan. 21st, at 12pm, starting at Bona Sera, we’ll march with our community! In the words of the event’s organizers, “this is a time to express our grief and fear about how [Trump’s] political agenda may hurt many of us. But, it is also a time for us to show our RESILIENCE by marching to locations where activists, past and present, have bravely worked to transform our world through abolitionist, women’s, LGBT, civil rights, and labor resistance.”

Save the Affordable Care Act Rally, Sun Jan 15, 12:30

Via American Federation of Teachers:

When: Sunday January 15, 12:30 PM
Where: Macomb Community College, 14500 E. 12 Mile Rd., Warren, MI.

“People are fed up with this GOP attack on our health care and folks in Michigan are ready to stand up and say they have had enough. So join me, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Gary Peters, Congressman John Conyers, Congressman Sandy Levin, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, and Congressman Dan Kildee, along with citizens from throughout Michigan, and make your voice heard.”

Two upcoming events

Seems most of us are dealing with a whole range of emotions right now as we try to process what happened at the national level last week and to deal with the uncertainty of what’s ahead for us, our families, and our neighbors. But let’s not forget to be proud that more locally, we saw strong friends of low and middle income and working families win tough races at the state, county, local, and school board levels. And it happened with with our help, both individually volunteering and through our nonpartisan WeROC voter education efforts for County Commission and area school boards.

I also think the instinct of most of us WeROC types is, take a deep breath, take care of each other, and begin to dive back in — to stay active, to get planning, and get into smart, effective, unifying action together when the time is right. In that spirit, a couple of things that will help prepare us for likely next collective steps for our organization:

  • We can learn more about Restorative Justice, this Thursday, Nov 17, 6-8, McKenny Hall, EMU: [flyer] A Community Conversation organized by, among others, our friends in the Faith Leaders Forum on Policing and Racial Justice and Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice.
  • And I hope all of us will take 15 minutes…why not today?…to fill out the important local online survey “Prioritizing Race and Policing Policies”. The same allies helping organize this Thursday’s conversation, including Pastor Jeff Harrold of our Education Action Team, put this together, and are now encouraging broad community input as we move toward action together. You can take the survey here!

REMINDER: We will be having our first Thursday Meeting of the Whole, December 1, at Grace Fellowship Church in Ypsilanti (1301 South Harris)!
-Tad Wysor, Volunteer WeROC Organizer

Voter Education – Wash County Commissioner Dist 2 Candidates Q&A

As part of our non-partisan voter education campaign, WeROC members posed questions to Washtenaw County Commissioner District 2 candidates, Michelle Deatrick (D) and Dan Smith (R). Here are the results:

WeROC Washtenaw County Commissioner District 2 Candidate Questionnaire (PDF)

Stay tuned for results of a WeROC questionnaire posed to school board candidates from Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor schools.

Interfaith Rally for Justice – 2 pm Sunday 10-9

When: Sunday October 9, 2pm
Where: Location: Washtenaw County Courthouse, Corner of Huron and Main in Ann Arbor (Pubic parking structures are located on the corners of Washington and Fourth Ave. and Ann and Ashley, free on Sunday).

Recent events such as the posting of racist graffiti at EMU, posting of racist flyers at U of M, and statements by a professor at Concordia, along with recent police shootings in Tulsa OK, Charlotte NC, Columbus OH, and El Cajon CA call for a continued community response. Sponsored by the Washtenaw Faith Leaders Forum, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and WeROC.

Upcoming WeROC Opportunities

Fellow WeROC Members and Supporters…

In the middle of an intense and unusual political season, it’s hard to also pay any attention to what happens AFTER the election, in the coming months and years. But isn’t that our special role as community organizers — to, yes, participate thoughtfully in selecting the best candidates and issues this Fall, but also to keep our eyes on the future prize?

By participating in as many of the following opportunities as possible, and encouraging others from your congregations, unions, organizations, and networks to join in, you become part of a stronger WeROC with the capacity to seriously tackle the root of the economic and social issues increasingly challenging our families and communities. Please organize your life to help these happen…

1) October “Meeting of the Whole”, Thursday October 6, 5:30-7:15pm, Strong Tower Ministries, 156 Spencer, Ypsi Twp. Light dinner provided. Come for camaraderie, solidarity, strategizing our next important steps together.

2) MOSES Annual Public Meeting: Monday, October 10, 7:00-8:30 pm , bus leaving Strong Tower Ministries at 5:30 pm (arrive earlier!). Our chance to help our partners MOSES win on major regional issues AND for WeROC to learn how better to act as a power organization locally. By attending, our leaders and members will be able to connect to issues that are impacting us all here in SE Michigan, including the need to choke the School-to-Prison Pipeline, create a connected public transportation system, and move toward more fair election districts.

We need your help in recruiting 50 people to justify a WeROC bus — you can promise people a rare combination of fun while helping real change happen. Contact Tad Wysor with tentative names for the bus as you talk to people.

3) YES for Regional Transit! Everyone in SE MI, especially lower income families, will benefit from supporting the Regional Transit Master Plan on the November ballot, and that’s why WeROC and MOSES were early endorsers of the campaign. Now WeROC is being asked to help the campaign win big in Washtenaw. Please help spread this opportunity for a fun canvassing event: Saturday, October 8 out of the Ecology Center Office, 339 E Liberty, suite 300, Ann Arbor .

4) WeROC Voter Education: This year, there’s only one contested race for Washtenaw County Commissioner, in District 2 in North and Northwest Washtenaw. As an aid to voters, WeROC sent 7 questions on issues that matter to our members to the both candidates. Look for a follow-up post that will include the candidate’s responses. Please think about how your congregation or organization can spread the word. Let’s help informed democracy work!

Also stay tuned! Our creative Education Action Team has sent out a questionnaire to School Board candidates.

Support EMUFT Lecturers and RTA Kickoff!

A few important upcoming events were announced at our recent September 2016 WeROC meeting:

1) Support the lecturers’ union at EMU (EMUFT):  Rally to support a fair contract for our lecturer friends and colleagues:  Wednesday, Sept 7, 12:30, in front of Welch Hall, near the Water Tower, Eastern Michigan University campus . Facebook event. We’ll help the administration remember that treating staff right is good for the whole community!

2) Kickoff for the county “YES on Regional Transit” campaign, Thursday Sept 8, 5:30-7:30 pm, Ladies Literary Society, 218 N Washington, downtown Ypsilanti.  The RTA campaign is well-organized, it’s a strong coalition, and we have a great chance of winning connected, 21st-century transit in Southeast Michigan if we all do our bit.  Facebook event.

3) The MOSES Public Meeting is October 10, 7pm, Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. Most of the regional issues our MOSES partners will be raising with public officials at the meeting reinforce our local work, AND it’s a great opportunity for new people — pastors, leaders, members, friends — to get a personal taste of what our collective community power feels like.   We’re looking to fill at least one bus with 50 people from Washtenaw, so please start talking it up within your congregation, organization, or network, and let Tad (tadwysor@gmail.com ) know as you have people sign up.

Oppose EMU Privatization of Food Services

The press release below explains the impressive case that EMU students, union employees, and other allies are making that there is no need for this rush to privatize food services at EMU, especially without a chance for the Administration to work with all concerned. Please sign the on-line petition, and if you can, come to the
Press Conference at 5 pm today Tuesday 6/14 at the EMU Library, Halle Auditorium.

And for the future…

Please plan to join us for our July “First Thursday” WeROC Meeting of the Whole, Thurs July 7, 5:30-7:15, at Ekklesia Fellowship Ministries, 123 N Adams in Ypsilanti. The leaders of our Action Teams will have updates on their grassroots work to build our collective voice for a more just Washtenaw.

News from EMU All Union Council

Media advisory — For immediate release, June 14, 2016
Contact:  Roger Kerson, rkerson@gmail.com734.645.0535

Students, Workers Say EMU Must Delay Decision to Outsource Dining Services
Likely new vendor, Chartwells, has served “mold, human hair and insects” to high school students;
Online Petition and Open Letter To Regents Call for Open Process, University-Wide Consultation

 Ypsilanti – Students and workers from Eastern Michigan University called today for a one-year delay before any decision to outsource EMU Dining Services to a private contractor.

An online petition at MoveOn.org, which has already drawn hundreds of supporters, and an open letter to EMU regents call for “students, faculty, workers and their unions” to be consulted before any decision is made.

“When the majority of student stakeholders are absent from the table, then we are on the menu,” said Steve Kwasny, a student majoring in history and political science at EMU. “We eat this food. I strongly believe students should be considered before a major change in food services.”

At a media briefing on the EMU campus, union representatives questioned the apparently hasty bidding process for Dining Services, which provides services to thousands of students, faculty, workers and visitors.

On April 25th of this year a request for proposals (RFP) for food services was released by EMU’s Director of Purchasing at 4:23 pm, requiring an RSVP to a “MANDATORY” meeting the next day just 37 minutes later at 5 pm.

“What’s the big rush?” said Jason Crispell, president of AFSCME Local 3866, the union representing food service and maintenance workers at EMU.  “There are millions of public dollars at stake here, as well as the health and well-being of thousands of students – and the jobs of our members.”

“What we’re saying is, this is a big decision,” said Crispell. “Let’s take some time and get it right.”

Up to 70 current EMU employees could lose their jobs if Dining Services is outsourced to a private contractor. The likely new vendor for food services at EMU is Chartwells, a subsidiary of a British firm called The Compass Group.

According to The Washington Post, students at a Connecticut high school served by Chartwells report “food that sometimes features mold, human hair, dangerously undercooked meats, insects and portion sizes fit for a small, starving child.”

“We’ve already seen the disasters that can happen when food service is privatized in Michigan,” said Howard Bunsis, a professor of accounting at EMU’s school of business and treasurer of the EMU-AAUP faculty union. “The private company that was hired in Michigan prisons prepared food that was contaminated with maggots. Let’s not make the same mistake with our students.”

The Michigan Department of Corrections terminated its contract with Aramark, Inc. after maggots were found in food preparation areas and 90 employees were dismissed for offenses including smuggling drugs into prisons, having sex with inmates, and participating in an alleged murder-for-hire plot.

Comments from petition signers who support a “a fair and inclusive process” before outsourcing EMU Dining Services include the following:

“There are rarely any real benefits to privatization. There are several other industries you can turn to for examples (child welfare, prisons, etc), and in almost every time the results are not positive.”

“As a faculty member and mother of 4 students at EMU, I think the current quality of dining services is excellent.”

“Privatizing always ends in poor service with devastating results for workers, usually with little in cost savings.”

“Having worked at multiple Universities and Colleges, I can only say that when dining services are privatized, the quality of food and service hit tremendous lows, while the increase in cost is outrageous. Please do not do this. It will send your tuition (board) higher and cause students who cannot afford it to eat off-campus even if they have a board plan.”

“Privatization has a track record of degrading working environments, service and quality.”


The EMU All Union Council includes unions representing tenure and nontenure-track faculty, food service and maintenance workers and clerical employees at EMU.  Member unions include EMU-AAUP, the EMU Federation of Teachers Local 9102, AFSCME Local 3866, and UAW Locals 1975 and 1976.

Faith Leaders Forum 5/23 and 6/2

Faith Leaders Forum, a group of Washtenaw County faith leaders who have come together to proactively address the issue of police and community interactions, will host two public forums to build community support and understanding of this issue.
Forum #1:
7 PM Monday May 23rd
Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor,
2275 Platt Rd, AA 48104,

Forum #2:
7 PM, Thursday June 2nd
Brown Chapel AME Church,
1043 W. Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti MI 48198.

After a number of nation-wide, high profile cases of excessive, and even deadly, force used by police officers against unarmed civilians (especially people of color), local faith leaders began to meet last July to discuss how best to address cases of excessive force in Washtenaw County. Those meetings led to the development of Faith Leaders Forum (FLF) and their Statement on Policing and Racial Justice (attached), endorsed by more than 50 leaders of local churches and synagogues.

According to the FLF Purpose Statement: Our mission is to establish a county wide, interfaith advocacy effort with a faith-inspired platform that fosters mutual respect and effectiveness as we mobilize and speak up for justice and equality. We will work together in a manner that reflects our faith in the God of peace and justice; we commit to the following:

  • We will speak and act with respect, compassion and acceptance;
  • We will use actions and words that will both facilitate understanding and resist violence and oppression;
  • We will not use or instigate violence of any kind against any person or group, and
  • We will promote safety and respect for life through our actions and interactions.

While communities of color have been raising these issues for years, it wasn’t until the public was able to see one incident after another captured on video that people felt the urgency to act. Law enforcement is a difficult and potentially dangerous task, particularly in a society that has extreme racial and economic disparities. FLF is concerned for both law enforcement officers and civilians and believes that developing life-affirming practices and guidelines will do the most to promote the wellbeing of all.

According to Rev.Jeffery Harrold, Pastor of New Beginnings Community Church of Washtenaw County/ located in Pittsfield Township, “What motivated us to begin this process was our understanding that as faith leaders God calls us to take a stand against injustice and to defend the cause of those who are victims of oppression. The repeated revelations of the killing of and use of force against people of color led us to organize in order to make sure that protocols, practices, and procedures are in place in our county police agencies to insure that the rights and lives of civilians are protected and respected.”

To quote Pastor Denese Brown of Faith Assembly Church in Ypsilanti, “As faith leaders, we believe that life should be valued, affirmed and protected. And it’s our duty to participate in defending the rights of civilians to live free from the fear of and implicit bias by our criminal justice system.”

Participants in the forums include representatives of local law enforcement agencies, community and faith leaders. The forums are open to the public.

For more information, contact:
Rev. Jeffrey Harrold