October 2020 Meeting with Prosecutor-Elect Eli Savit – Justice Matters Campaign

WeROC members and supporters —

Our Justice Matters campaign in Washtenaw County takes the next step we promised, after getting public commitments from County Prosecutor candidates at our July Townhall.  This Sunday, October 11, 3:30-4:30pm, we’ve arranged for County Prosecutor-elect Eli Savit to spend some serious (virtual) time with WeROC members and friends to go deeper into how he plans to be a part of making real, major changes happen toward racially just policing, prosecution, and judging actually be implemented, and quickly, as he takes office next year.  Register here to listen and learn with us.

  • We know that most of you and our allies agree that yes, this election is a key part of how we need to work together at this historic moment to build broad,healthy bottom-up power.  But we also think you’ll agree that we can’t keep making the mistake of failing to keep looking beyond the election, too —toward how whoever is elected begins to immediately use their offices to respond to the loud calls this summer for real racial and economic justice and community involvement.
  • And getting smarter together is key to that — creating opportunities for more and more of us to understand more about a complex and unaccountable criminal justice system that too many of us have thought too little about — but that we are now, together, committing to change with and for those who have been left out.

Hope to have you with us as we hear from Prosecutor-elect Savit…and then stay with us in the coming weeks and months as we all prepare to use what we hear Sunday to clarify and focus how we hit the ground running as he and others take office early next year.

–Tad Wysor, WeROC Organizer and MOSES Liaison (734-883-3225) for the WeROC/MOSES Justice Matters Campaign Organizing Team

October 2020 WeROC Meeting of the Whole

Dear WeROC Members, Friends, Supporters…

WeROC October Meeting of the Whole — THIS Thursday October 1, 5:30-6:30 pm: REGISTER here: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

We all know we need to be stronger and more organized than ever going into this electionas well as immediately AFTER the election when whoever is elected needs to get busy working with and for our community to make big changes we and our neighbors have needed for years. 

  • WeROC leaders are looking forward to a solid turnout Thursday as WeROC prepares the next steps in our grassroots Justice Matters Prosecutor Accountability campaign AND as we get an update on our uniquely-focused voter outreach.

One more thing:  As our members and supporters know, a stronger and more bottom-up democracy is really what WeROC has always been about, right?  So isn’t it almost unbelievable how some powerful people, at all levels, are feeling so threatened by everyday people getting organized?  And so threatened by people here and across the country just getting together — and caring about each other and acting like grown-ups in a time of grave dangers — that they’ll try every trick in the book to see if they can strangle and destroy our hard-won democracy? 

  • It’s horrible, but you know what?  Doesn’t it just make it crystal clear that we and people like us must be doing something RIGHT together?  Let’s keep doing our part Thursday to build a big, broad, united, and winning movement for real change!

–Tad Wysor, WeROC Organizer and MOSES Liaison (734-883-3225) 

Check out our new, improved Website!  werocmi.org

And follow and like us atFacebook.com/werocmi

September 2020 WeROC Meeting of the Whole

Dear WeROC Members, Friends, Supporters…

WeROC September Meeting of the Whole — THIS Thursday September 10, 5:30-7:00 pm (delayed from first Thursday this month): REGISTER at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwuc-CvqzkvHdevaoCUPjNzjRwYhvcrxL_W

  • After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Lots going on, for sure!  As most of you know, the special “lane” that WeROC and our allies try to stay in — especially in frightening yet exciting times like these — is to build the grassroots power to win much-needed changes, while, at the same time doing deep, cross-racial, cross-zip-code organizing for the long term.

  • That is, to creatively blend our congregations, unions, and community groups powerfully together to win major, systemic changes — WHILE bringing many more everyday people into leading the conversations and actions that will set our collective course for the future.  We believe these two purposes are always closely entwined.

So by joining in Thursday’s virtual meeting, you (and maybe others from your organization?) can be a part of creating WeROC’s next steps:

  • Building on the July 30 Townhall and last week’s Teach-In, and moving forward on the regional Justice Matters Campaign for prosecutorial accountability that WeROC and MOSES are continuing, including preparing for the meeting later this month that Prosecutor-elect for Washtenaw County, Eli Savit, agreed to have with us at our Townhall.
  • Joining with other organizations to make sure we do the large-scale and serious people-to-people outreach to voters, especially less-regular voters and those in communities of color — and end up with historic numbers of committed, smart voters this year.

ONE MORE THING:  As someone who learned a few guitar chords during the 60’s and 70’s, I’ve always been excited about how important music and culture are in times of rapid social change, to keep us motivated and our eyes on the prize.  So when I heard an interview this weekend on NPR with this singer AND criminal justice reform activist Danielle Ponder from Rochester, NY (yes, where she’s now organizing to deal with the death of Daniel Prude in police custody), I thought some of you might like to hear this powerful song of hers — take a listen to the song and interview if you can, and see if she doesn’t help bolster your resolve to keep up the good fight!

It’s hard and it’s tiring…but let’s keep physically distancing, AND socially connecting! 

–Tad Wysor, WeROC Organizer and MOSES Liaison (734-883-3225) 

Check out our new, improved Website!  werocmi.org

And follow and like us at Facebook.com/werocmi

August 2020 WeROC/MOSES Teach-In – for Justice Matters Prosecutorial Accountability campaign

It’s worth a moment of celebration, in a time when there’s not much to celebrate.  Over 200 folks from 4 counties helped plan and hold, and participated in, our successful MOSES/WeROC Justice Matters Virtual Townhall in late July.  Because of our unity, our numbers, our research, and our direct questions, we got solid public commitments from those candidates for District Attorney and County Prosecutor who went on to win their Primary elections in August in Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, and Macomb Counties.  NOW we need to plan smart, powerful (virtual) meetings with each of them in September, with lots of participants in each!

Please help keep the momentum going by attending a special “Teach-In” next Tuesday, 6:00-730, where we’ll learn more about how we’ve done powerful meetings like this in the past, and plan our next steps together — both as a region AND in each of our four counties.  Register in advance at this link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYvdumrqjooHdJJn40psTyKPM6mylNYT6jJ

In addition to agreeing to support the planks of our Prosecutorial Accountability Platform, the Primary-winning candidates agreed to meet with delegations from each of their counties during September, ahead of the November 3 General Election.  Make no mistake: They said YES because of all of  YOUand that’s DEFINITELY worth celebrating, yes?  But with another grim reminder of what remains to be done in wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, it’s our job now to seriously follow up on those commitments and make them real.  To make sure that whoever wins in November in each county really steps up to the new community expectations that the Black Lives Matter movement and allied activists have set for all of us — for what a healthy, effective, and humane public safety and criminal justice system can — and must — immediately begin to look like.

It’s our unity and strength in numbers across the region that will translate the calls for long-overdue changes into real policies and a better life for so many of our neighbors.  Join us Tuesday as we keep working together to find the best roles for our grassroots organizing projects at this time and place — and then act on them.

DeJuan Bland, Ross Harris, and Tad Wysor for the MOSES/WeROC Justice Matters Campaign

August 2020 “Justice Matters” Reflection & Celebration / WeROC Meeting of the Whole

Hello, WeROC Members, Friends, Supporters…

The team of 30+ members and allies who put together our big WeROC/MOSES virtual “Justice Matters” event last Thursday feels that, despite some minor bumps in the road, it was a big success — hope you do, too!  After this Tuesday’s primary, we want to hit the ground running to build on what we made happen, and you can be a part of that, too:  Our next meeting (combined with our August WeROC meeting of the Whole) will be a region-wide Celebration (don’t we need some of that!) and some Reflection on what to do now, locally and regionally, with this powerful cross-racial momentum we’ve built.  This Thursday, August 6, 6-7pm –Register Here:

Also, before you leave this email, please scroll down to briefly learn about two more ways that our strength in numbers is needed right now–

  • A call from our founding institution and partner EMUFT for community support in their contract negotiations.  
  • A County Commission meeting considering a public health/senior services millage for the November ballot.

More on those items below.  But first, a bit more about the Townhall, which you can view if you missed it (or go back for seconds!) at this link.

  • So, 390 of us participated from 4 counties (that’s 400 in organizer-speak!) by Zoom and Facebook Live, and we all showed once again that numbers of organized people who care really shows our power and gets serious results.  At the Townhall, and in the weeks of organizing leading up to it, we met all our goals and then some —
    • spreading understanding of the critical office of County Prosecutor/District Attorney,
    • getting commitments from candidates that we’ll be able to hold them accountable to if they win Primary, including a promise to meet with us county-level events in September, AND
    • helping build the broader movement for serious criminal justice system changes, the broad, united movement that we’ll need to turn the urgent calls from the streets into solid, systemic changes.

We can’t thank those of you enough who found time in your busy lives to help our collective experiment in democracy to happen!

August 4 (Tuesday!) Primary election.  PLEASE make sure you and those around you VOTE.  And if you’re not already helping get out the vote, an easy way to do that from home Monday is to join in our WeROC/MOSES mass phone bank effort, for as much time as you can manage.  Just email Jeremy at jeremywaechter@gmail.com to quickly get plugged in for a last push for calls from home…and THANKS for being a part of this rewarding and effective people-to-people outreach.

And two more easy things you can do right now that can make a big difference:

  • EMUFT (EMU Federation of Teachers), representing lecturers at EMU, was one of the institutions that created WeROC years ago, and has been a faithful partner over the years. Now THEY need OUR help:  After months of what seemed like constructive negotiations for their next contract, EMU’s Administration threw a wrench in the process with an unexpected demand to remove the remaining opportunity for part-time lecturers to move toward full-time positions.  
    • EMUFT has decided that they just can’t accept that, and is asking for allies in the community to show that we’re watching and that we care, and we expect better of a key institution in our community as the bargaining now gets tougher.  Two things they’re asking as many of us as possible to do:
      1. Take a selfie of yourself with a sign that says “#IamEMUFT” and send it to Matt: cooper492@yahoo.com or text it to 734-536-8891 (See mine below!) so they can show tangible community support, AND
      2. Join an in person rally by the Ypsilanti Water Tower on Thursday August 13, 11 am – 12:30 pm, weather permitting and with social distancing and masks.  Example signs to bring: “I support the Part-time lecturers” or “Job Security for EMUFT!”
        • Also, if you prefer, drive around in a circular route around the Water Tower protest area, with supportive horn beeping!
  • ONE MORE THING: Tune into the Washtenaw County Commission meeting this Wednesday, August 8, at 6:30pm:
    • The Board plans to vote at their August 5th Board of Commissioners meeting on a resolution that would add a Public Health and Senior Services millage to the November ballot. If the resolution passes, it will add ballot language asking voters to approve a new levy of .5 mills for six years.  Much needed services at a time of COVID-related financial crisis, but there are also concerns about the extra tax burden, especially on residents of Eastern Washtenaw and other lower-income residents.
      • More about this issue, and the link to join the County Commission meeting, here.  

Questions?  Contact Tad Wysor, WeROC Organizer and MOSES Liaison (734-883-3225) 

Check out and share our new, improved Website:  werocmi.org —  including the section on “COVID-19 Resources.”

And follow and like us at Facebook.com/werocmi.

July 2020 WeROC/MOSES Justice Matters Townhall

The criminal justice system has been broken for a long time, especially for poor people and communities of color. The recent murders of unarmed black men and women have created a national conversation on the system as a whole, but we fear one of the most important agents in the system is being overlooked: County Prosecutors/District Attorneys.

To help us all move together to solidify real fixes to the current system, WeROC and MOSES are organizing a four-county virtual Townhall event on Prosecutorial Accountability and Voter Education on July 30th at 6pm. We’ll learn more about the critical role of Prosecutor and use our strength in numbers to get commitments from the candidates who want our votes in the August 4 Primary Election – from Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, and Macomb counties – so we can hold the winners accountable as they take office. Please register now, and encourage others in your congregation, union, organization, or network to do so as well.

Register for our July 30th Justice Matters Virtual Townhall here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2e5ITr3rTSKMTZm_LFwA0w

Watch the Facebook Live interviews by WeROC/MOSES leaders with the three Washtenaw County Prosecutor candidates:

Hugo Mack: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3157585820994962

Eli Savit: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=296939731454983

Arianne Slay: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1336358936729543

July 2020 WeROC Meeting of the Whole

Dear WeROC Members, Friends, Supporters…

We’re devoting this month’s WeROC Meeting of the Whole to bolstering the Washtenaw arm of our joint four-county WeROC/MOSES Prosecuting Attorney campaign — toward a major July 30 “Justice Matters” Town Hall.    Join us this Thursday, July 9, 5:30-6:30pm.  Register in advance for this meeting:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0ocO2sqzIqGtwccz0Xb7nufZkBoNbNHNbv

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

More info on this special campaign…  

As many of you know, we’ve created several temporary committees that are merging together to build a large virtual “Justice Matters Town Hall”, to get serious public commitments from County Prosecutor candidates July 30.  Thursday’s WeROC meeting will help us bring more Washtenaw folks together — hopefully including YOU! — to build this campaign.

  • It feels like a meaningful way to meet this historic moment, with an election of the “Chief Law Enforcement Officer” in Washtenaw and other metro counties – the Prosecuting Attorney.  Here in Washtenaw, it’s been decades since we’ve had an open Prosecutor seat at stake.

At this Thursday’s meeting, we’ll learn more about the critical role of Prosecutor AND continue to build this Campaign over the next 3 weeks.  Several committees that you may want to participate in… on our Voter Guide and candidate interviews, on a deeper version of phone banking, on Poetry and Politics, and on designing a powerful program for July 30 and creating a major (virtual) turnout that day.

And looking ahead, of course we can’t stop at the Primary, or even the General election.  As the grassroots leaders and activists of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and events throughout S.E. Michigan (and in every state and many other countries) are forcing all of us to confront more clearly every day:  We can’t allow ourselves to go back to a bad old status quo where we allow generational poverty and deep systemic racism to thrive. 

  • We want WeROC and our MOSES partners to be a meaningful part of building the kinds of smart, powerful, and durable cross-racial coalitions — locally, regionally, and statewide — that can win fundamental change and build that Beloved Community that feels like it may be closer than we’ve ever seen it.

Let’s keep physically distancing, BUT socially connecting?  

–Tad Wysor, WeROC Organizer and MOSES Liaison (734-883-3225) 

Check out our new, improved Website:  werocmi.org —  section on “COVID-19 Resources.”

And follow and like us at Facebook.com/werocmi.

June 2020 WeROC Meeting of the Whole

Dear WeROC Members, Friends, Supporters…

First, WeROC (virtual!) June Meeting of the Whole will be at 5:30-7:00 pm Thursday June 4 — we hope you’ll join us with the link below.

This heartless virus can take away away lives and livelihoods and our sense of stability; it can keep us away from each other; and it can give us all lessons in what real leadership looks like.  (Elections really do matter, yes?!).

  • But it can’t keep us from finding creative ways of collectively using our hearts and our minds to “triage, transition, AND transform”!  WeROC is so blessed at this time to have access to resources through MOSES and local and statewide allies to make a real difference together for the better.

Here are some things you can do right now that will help us all leverage the great power we have when we’re together, even now.

  • Please take this poll to help us understand the different ways the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting different individuals and groups, and what you think we might do together as WeROC in the coming months.
  • If you haven’t already, please help us gear up to engage the WeROC community by replying to this email with your first and last names, your best email, your best phone number (textable if possible), and your mailing address.
  • Additionally, WeROC (with MOSES) is using the Outvote app to help us all do powerful “relational organizing,” including around local COVID-19 issues and the upcoming elections. If you haven’t already, please download the Outvote app to your phone or device.
    • Once you have it, search for and connect to the MOSES campaign.
    • Then watch for specific WeROC actions to easily share with your family, friends, and members of your congregation/union/organization/network.  We’ll be devoting much of the June 4 meeting to learning more together about Outvote.

So…disrupted as our lives are, please plan to attend the June 4 WeROC Meeting of the Whole at the link below.  Let’s all get better at using using the tools and resources available to us to maximize our collective power together, even from home.

 

WeROC June Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84376837395

Meeting ID: 843 7683 7395
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,84376837395# US (Germantown)
+13126266799,,84376837395# US (Chicago)

 

Physically distancing; socially connecting!    

Contact:  Tad Wysor, WeROC Organizer and MOSES Liaison (734-883-3225) 

Check out our new, improved Website:  werocmi.org — especially our regularly-updated section on local “COVID-19 Resources.”

And follow and like us at Facebook.com/werocmi.

 

NOTEOne more easy action we can take together THIS WEEK:  Join folks all around Washtenaw in signing up for the COVID-19 Five-Day Equity Challenge from the Washtenaw County United Way.  COVID-19 is exposing the inequities deeply rooted in Washtenaw County. 

  • Daily emails 5/25-5/29 will invite us to explore and confront bias and privilege, on our own and with friends and family.  Sign up here.

May 2020 WeROC Meeting of the Whole

May Meeting of the Whole, Thursday, May 7, 5:30-6:30, Zoom video conference

Dear WeROC Members, Friends, Supporters…Exploring the special role of WeROC in the local responses to the crises…

Well, as if the disruption, grieving, uncertainty, stress of this time wasn’t enough for every one of us, we have to deal with the ugly reality — now clearer than ever — that some sadly see it as economically and politically beneficial to themselves to try to take advantage of this moment for their short-term and, frankly, greedy purposes.  Bad enough to see them ramp up their constant efforts to try to divide us from each other along racial and economic lines.

  • But now to to see them try to implement policies that would actually shift the health dangers and economic devastation even more to the backs of poor and working families, who were already fighting hard for a decent life…AND then blow the tired dog whistles that hint it’s their own fault.

It’s NOT fair.  It’s NOT moral.  AND it’s NOT a foregone conclusion that we need to repeat the ugly past this time.  Join in WeROC’s conversation and practical grassroots leadership development and action aimed at using this moment to build on what we’re seeing in large majorities of people right now — broad agreement beyond race, income, geography, and politics — that we need to finally lean into where our power really comes from:  love, compassion, shared dreams, and caring for oursleves AND each and every one of our neighbors.

On Thursday’s Zoom meeting, we we’ll be exploring several ideas for how we can bring our special resources to bear alongside the many local efforts, to make sure we end up with MORE equity across Washtenaw County, not LESS, whenever we’re on the other side of this thing!

Zoom Meeting: May 7, 2020 05:30 PM 

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83640617169

Meeting ID: 836 4061 7169
+1 312 626 6799

Physically Distancing, Socially Connecting, right?  Contact Tad Wysor, WeROC Organizer and MOSES Liaison (734-883-3225) 

Check out our new, improved Website:  werocmi.org — With the NEW section on COVID-19 Resources.

And follow and like us at Facebook.com/werocmi

#     #     #

Joining a Zoom Gathering (Thanks to Church of the Good Shepherd UCC!)

  • Use the unique link and Meeting ID above for this meeting
  • If you are joining by computer, tablet, or smartphone, click on the link.  If you’ve never used Zoom before, you may need to download it and give it permission to use your camera.
    • If you don’t have a camera on your computer, that’s OK.  We won’t be able to see you, but you should be able to see us!
  • You can also call on at the number above from any phone and enter the same Meeting ID.  We won’t see you, but we can hear you and you can hear us!

Zoom Tips and Etiquette

  • Only one device:  It’s best to log into the meeting on one device.  Using multiple devices (i.e., computer and cell phone) can lead to feedback.
  • Menu:  You will have a menu of icons toward the top or bottom of your screen, including Mute, Stop Video, and Chat (sometimes listed under “More”)
  • Muting: In large groups, co-hosts will automatically “mute” you to avoid everyone trying to talk at once.
  • Stop Video: If for any reason you don’t want your camera on, you can click on the “Stop Video” icon, shaped like a video camera.  You will still be on the call.
  • Chat: Since it is not practical to talk all at once on Zoom, the chat feature allows everyone to ask questions or give feedback. The Chat icon is shaped like a cartoon speech bubble.  When you click on it, a chat screen will open up on the side of your screen…the space to type is towards the bottom.

Thanks for your patience!  We know many of you are learning something new and those of us leading the meeting are learning what works as well.