WORK WITH US
OUR WORK IN MICHIGAN
“I have always been drawn to Detroit. Coming from New Orleans, I felt like they were kindred cities with on the one hand, this extractive external narrative about the cities, and then on the other hand, the reality of community working to radically imagine a new way forward. Deep histories of resistance and liberation. I felt like Detroit is where the revolution begins.” - Sam Kiyomi
AN HISTORIC CENTER FOR PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT
As ground zero for the historic automotive labor movement that changed American society and with a deep tradition of unions, strikes and popular advocacy, Michigan has had global impact as a leader in social movements, cultural influence and power building. With Detroit as a globally renowned industrial and cultural capital, the state’s prominence on the national and international level is a source of creative inspiration and pioneering action in community organizing.
A CRITICAL STATE WITH NATIONAL IMPACT
Michigan’s status as a crucial swing state in national elections make the state a priority focus for movement leaders working to organize communities for civic education and engagement. The weight of voter impact on national outcomes make organizing and power building in the state necessary to ensure Asian American communities–the fastest growing voter population in the country–are included in the national conversation and have a seat at the table.
DETROIT: A MOTOWN LINEAGE
Over the years Detroit has emerged as a city that has become a vibrant magnet for creatives and community leaders who are working to transform communities. The city’s radical history in grassroots organizing includes icons such as Grace and James Lee Boggs, the urban farming movement, neighborhood advocacy and the Movement for Black Lives. As a majority Black city, Detroit’s cultural and organizing heritage is deeply rooted in the legacies of the Civil Rights and Labor Movements. Although Rising Voices’ work is statewide, its home base in the Metro Detroit area enables the organization to maintain coalitions with city partners that have advocated for communities over decades.
A FOCUS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
As the Great Lakes State, Michigan’s stunning natural beauty and landscapes are maintained in its 103 state parks and landmarks such as the famed Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Michiganders regularly visit destinations “Up North” in the upper and lower peninsulas to enjoy natural sights along more than 13,000 miles of state-designated trails. With the largest freshwater system in the world and as a center for heavy industry Michigan has become a center of the national conversation on water access as a human right and environmental justice.
A HOME FOR RESEARCH
As the home of nationally-ranked universities such as the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, the state provides access to leading research and interaction with vibrant academic communities. Partnerships with faculty and staff at Michigan’s higher education institutions help to provide context for Rising Voices’ work that enables the organization to apply data and rigorous testing to organizing and electoral work.
AN IMPACT ON WORLD CULTURE
Michigan is home to a diverse population including native peoples, immigrant settlers and the African American community, all of whom have contributed to the cultural fabric of the nation. As the home of Motown and techno music, Detroit is world-renowned for its impact on the music industry and is also known for its significant architectural and visual art history. The Detroit Institute of the Arts houses one of the most extensive collections in the United States, while independent visual artists, musicians, theaters and other creatives add to the vibrant cultural scene. Outside of Detroit, Grand Rapids also has a burgeoning arts community while the Interlochen Center for the Arts near Traverse City in northern Michigan provides a central hub for internationally-lauded musicians, performers and visual artists. The Traverse City Film Festival draws premieres from around the world while the Ann Arbor Film Festival is a standalone in the nation as the sole Oscar-qualifying festival that focuses on avant-garde and experimental films.