In 2021, Voters Not Politicians established a staff DEI Task Force to help us better meet our commitment to creating a space for activism that is welcoming and accessible to all in our movement to build a better democracy in Michigan.
Hear about the work our DEI Task Force is doing from the members themselves.
DEI is the heart of what we do (Melissa Zinn, Administrative Assistant)
A strong democracy requires that all voices – all people – have the opportunity to make their voices heard, no matter their identity or background. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just a part of what we do at Voters Not Politicians; it’s the heart of our mission.
As one of the founding members of our DEI Task Force, I am very proud of our DEI efforts, such as:
- Holding a webinar on bias and cultural influences in democracy activism for our volunteers, in conjunction with Ponsella Hardaway of Defend Black Voters and MOSES Detroit and Angela K. James of the Gamaliel Foundation
- Holding a “Reversing Runaway Inequality” workshop for staff and volunteer advisory council members with Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice and the Michigan Poor People’s Campaign
- Sponsoring LGBT Detroit’s Hotter Than July event
- Tabling at events held by organizations representing and led by people from historically marginalized communities
- Changing our online volunteer signup form to make it more inclusive
- Adhering to equitable and inclusive hiring practices; and
- Working to make volunteering and volunteer leadership roles accessible to everyone.
I am so grateful to my fellow task force members Alyson, Tashia, Debbie, and Paul for devoting time, energy, ideas, and commitment to supporting DEI in the work of Voters Not Politicians.
Every voice deserves to be heard (Tashia James, Grants Manager)
The Voters Not Politicians Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force holds honest internal dialogue that encourages our staff to reflect, listen to each other, and learn from one another’s experiences. We strive to engage staff and volunteers from diverse perspectives and backgrounds because every voice deserves to be heard. It is essential to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard, fostering a sense of belonging. These unique perspectives influence how the VNP approaches its mission in more inclusive and innovative ways.
Working hard to fulfill our mission through DEI (Paul Rincon, Deputy Director of Democracy Engagement)
As Michigan’s premier grassroots volunteer organization, it is essential that we bring all voices to the table, steering VNP’s priorities and processes. I am so proud of and grateful for the thoughtfulness of my fellow DEI Task Force members for working to push VNP forward in this regard. This work includes looking critically at ourselves and our organization, and working to expand our diversity, our equitability, and our inclusiveness at all levels of our work. The more we look like the people of the state in which we serve, the better we fulfill our mission.
The DEI Task Force helps inform and catalyze growth and change (Debbie Diesen, Development Associate)
The VNP DEI task force provides an opportunity to learn and to grow, as individuals and as an organization. The Task Force identifies issues, gathers and shares information, catalyzes discussions, and implements change, all in service of making the work of VNP more inclusive, fair, and impactful.
Creating an organization that truly represents Michigan (Alyson Grigsby, Education Program Manager)
As Michigan’s leading democracy organization, Voters Not Politicians has an obligation to imagine what an inclusive, accessible democracy means for all Michigan voters. To accomplish this work, the DEI Task Force works to engage, empower, and learn from Michiganders from all walks of life as we help them become volunteers for political change. The Task Force knows that this is a labor of love, to truly look at our organization and ensure that its values and its people represent Michigan’s diversity.