October 5, 2021
VNP Volunteer Shawn Manley was born and raised in Detroit. He is a bike enthusiast and passionate about his community. Shawn volunteers for a variety of organizations, including the Detroit Receiving Board as an elections worker and a dialysis support group, which he leads. Shawn has been volunteering with VNP since 2018 and currently serves on the Volunteer Advisory Council and processes VNP merchandise.
Shawn got involved with VNP after hearing about the group’s plan to end gerrymandering at a local community meeting. He had long known that gerrymandering was a problem that was disempowering Michiganders and was excited that a group was finally doing something about it.
For many years many times we have not had any say in what goes on in this state. Politicians do what they want to do. Voters Not Politicians came to one of our Citizens Detroit meetings to talk about this gerrymandering issue. I could remember back in highschool when my civics teacher talked about gerrymandering. How they draw the district line and how they go behind closed doors and they don’t let the average citizen come in and voice their opinion about their District that they live in. When VNP said they were going to end that, I was on board and I knew I wanted to be a part of this and I am still here today and I enjoy what I do.
While excited about the cause, Shawn was admittedly a bit skeptical at first about VNP’s chances for success.
This had never been done before and I was surprised because I didn’t think that this was going to work. I was so shocked that so many people signed up, and that let me know that people were fed up with the way that politics were done in this state. When I saw so many people come on board, I thought, okay, we may have a voice now and make it better for us.
Through volunteering with VNP, Shawn has realized the power that each one of us has to make a difference. One of Shawn’s favorite memories of VNP was tabling at a local church on a cold winter’s day and connecting parishioners with information on the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission and how they could apply. Personal interactions like these contributed to an applicant pool that reflected the diversity of our state.
I’ve learned that everybody and anybody can volunteer. All it takes is just one person to make a difference. We are going to places and talking to people to let them know what’s going on. Just by getting involved we can make a difference.
While we all have the ability to make a positive change in our communities and our state, Shawn knows that we can’t do it alone. If we are going to make the change we want to see, we need more people to chip in their time and money to make that happen.
We need more people to volunteer. You can just give an hour a month and tell a neighbor what is going on in our state. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, donate a couple dollars to help the cause. Every little bit counts. I came on board and I give as much time as I can and I also donate as well. Come on board and join us.
Click here to volunteer!
When Shawn isn’t investing his time and energy into improving his community and our state, you can find him cruising around the Detroit area on his bike. Shawn has an electric bike, which has both pedals and a throttle to keep him moving at a swift clip of 22 miles per hour.
It’s the best investment that I’ve made in my life. You don’t have to pedal. Some days I want to be lazy and still want to go bike ride. I just make sure my battery is charged and hit the road. It’s a fat tire bike, and it looks kind of like a motorcycle. I’ve had this bike for 3 years and you wouldn’t believe that I still have people turning their heads looking at my bike.
Shawn’s bike may have a ton of bells and whistles, including LED lights that keep him visible at night, but it lacks a name. He welcomes your input in giving his sweet ride a suitable name.