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Change U participants are change agents!

Change U showed me that I am not alone in the fight for social justice. There are many people who are committed and willing to work in solidarity with me.

Change U participants have...

...served local non-profit organizations as volunteers, interns and on boards of directors.

...created The Grand Rapids LGBTQ People's History Project: an online feature-length documentary film and an online archive of historical materials. The feature-length film, A Peoples History of the LGBTQ Community in Grand Rapids was screened publicly to over 1,000 people in the first year after its release.

...marched to raise awareness and to confront Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) heightened raids of homes in West Michigan.

...attended an ICE rapid response team building and training day.

...participated in an anti-Monsanto action day in Grand Rapids after attending a teach-in on Monsantos environmental track record.

...spoke at Holland City Council meetings in support of the non-discrimination ordinance

...developed educational materials and a march to stop increased fracking in Michigan

...participated in canvassing for Holland is Ready for the purpose of locating pro-equality voters and engaging citizens in conversation about the non-discrimination ordinance

...participated in Grand Rapids Occupy events which included attending, presenting, and organizing

...organized two actions to confront a state representative who has a history of anti-LGBT, anti-worker, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim positions. These actions gave participants an opportunity to engage the legislator directly and to provide information to the public. Additionally, these participants created media which was distributed electronically.

...formed a local chapter of Students Against Sweat Shops at GVSU (USAS international efforts celebrated progress when ADIDAS paid workers what was asked in 2013).

...organized to address LGBTQ homelessness in Grand Rapids

...attended a Kent County Commission meeting to confront the Kent County Sheriffs Department policy of targeting gay men in public parks which was an action in support of the stalled efforts of the ACLU of West Michigan. Members spoke at Commission meetings, sent email messages to Commissioners, and created a letter that was signed onto by six local justice organizations. That effort led to the Kent County Sheriffs Department setting up a meeting with the ACLU (after seven months of ignoring their meeting requests).

...created a Peoples Assembly on Radical Sustainability. The group also resulted in the creation of an online barter system where individuals can share skills, resources and time. Some of these same participants attended a protest at a DNR land auction in Lansing where companies bid on land for potential future fracking.

...attended the Gay Families Matter rally in Lansing to oppose the legislation that removed domestic partner benefits for state and municipal employees.

...participated in two separate rallies/marches to draw attention to the murder of Treyvon Martin. One event took place in Grand Rapids with Change U graduates participating; the other occurred on the campus of GVSU with one of our Change U 2.0 participants organizing that event.

...served as part of Gays in Faith Together leadership, which launched the Gay Christian? Yes! campaign in Grand Rapids with billboards, bus advertisements and media coverage.

...introduced an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance to the Muskegon City Council. This ordinance was passed.

...organized and participated in the Occupy Grand Rapids transgender education event Tranarchy.

...attended Holland is Ready workshop on how to canvass and participated in ongoing canvassing.

...participated in a Dump Rush campaign where Change U students on several occasions went to a local radio station airing Rush Limbaughs show as part of a campaign to get the station to pull that program because of Limbaughs misogynist, homophobic and racist comments. Participants produced an informational handout, met with radio station officials, reviewed the stations public file and created electronic media of these events.

...participated in the LGBT Resource Centers Pipeline Leadership program.

...organized a trip to Lansing to speak to legislators about drivers license issues for undocumented people living in Michigan.

...joined the Grand Rapids Racial Equity Network, a coalition of community activists and leaders working for broad racial justice in Grand Rapids.

...revived the West Michigan Activist Calendar with team of volunteers to moderate.

...organized a counter-protest for a womens health clinic.

...provided harm reduction in the Grand Rapids community through needle access and condoms (safer sex supply distribution).

...organized local campaigns for increased access to transportation and housing for people with disabilities.

I have learned far more than I imagined I would; I have gained an even stronger passion to take action using what I have learned to apply to social justice action; I've been moved by and inspired by the empathy and community which helps to keep going forward when things get difficult.