This week, the Legislature was again hit by COVID-19 when one of my colleagues, Sen. Tom Barrett, tested positive for the coronavirus. As many of you know, he recently joined me for a district exchange. I’m grateful to all of you who reached out to make sure my family and I were well; I tested negative for COVID-19 Monday and have had no symptoms. Tom and I were recently featured on #LetItRip where we had a chance to discuss our work.
Those who live in Detroit and the immediate suburbs know the hardships we have gone through, and I’m glad Legislative leadership has acted swiftly to ensure elected officials and our staff are safe and healthy. This virus isn’t over — so continue to #MaskUpMichigan.
NEW PODCAST: MY CHAT WITH KYM L. WORTHY, WAYNE COUNTY PROSECUTOR
Kym L. Worthy has been the Wayne County Prosecutor since 2004, when she became the first female African American to hold the position. In this episode of my latest podcast, Prosecutor Worthy talks about serving the largest prosecutor’s office in the state and her initiatives to make Wayne County a better, safer place for all of us. These initiatives include police transparency and accountability, processing rape kits, and what the process will be to reopen the courts to jury trials.
RACISM DECLARED A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS, BLACK LEADERSHIP ADVISORY COUNCIL CREATED
On Wednesday, Aug. 5, Gov. Whitmer took action to elevate Black voices in state government and signed Executive Order 2020-163, which creates the Black Leadership Advisory Council. The governor also signed Executive Directive 2020-9, recognizing racism as a public health crisis and taking initial steps to address it within state government. Under the Executive Directive, the governor asked the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to make health equity a major goal, as well as require implicit bias training for all state employees.
Housed within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and the first of its kind in Michigan to elevate Black leaders and representatives, the Black Leadership Advisory Council will consist of 16 voting members representing Black leadership in economics, public policy, health and wellness, technology, the environment, agriculture, arts and culture, and more. It will act in an advisory capacity to the governor and develop, review, and recommend policies and actions designed to eradicate and prevent discrimination and racial inequity in Michigan, and also produce an annual report on its activities.
>> To apply to the Black Leadership Advisory Council, follow these steps:
Applications are due by Wednesday, Aug. 19.
Executive Directive 2020-9 directs MDHHS to work with other state departments to examine data, develop and plan policies, and engage, communicate and advocate for communities of color. The governor has directed that all state employees be required to take implicit bias training to understand the unconscious preferences we experience without intentional control and how it can impact others. The training is required for existing employees and must be completed within 60 days for newly hired employees.
The negative impacts of racism have put the lives of countless people of color at risk. To this day, racism perpetuates inequitable outcomes in the criminal justice system, achievement gaps in education, disproportionate results in health and infant mortality, and job and housing discrimination. Gov. Whitmer joined the American Public Health Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Emergency Physicians in declaring institutional racism an urgent public health issue.
MICHIGAN JOINS INTERSTATE COMPACT WITH GOAL OF EXPANDING USE OF ANTIGEN TESTS
On Tuesday, Aug. 4, Gov. Whitmer joined Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to announce a major bipartisan interstate compact with the Rockefeller Foundation to expand the use of rapid point-of-care antigen tests to slow the spread of COVID-19 and continue safely reopening the states.
By banding together, the states are demonstrating to private manufacturers that there is significant demand to scale up the production of these tests, which deliver results in 15-20 minutes. With this agreement, the states are in discussions with Becton Dickinson and Quidel —the U.S. manufacturers of antigen tests that have already been authorized by the FDA — to purchase 500,000 tests per state, for a total of three million tests.
CENSUS BUREAU WILL END COUNTING EARLY
On Tuesday, Aug. 3, the Trump Administration announced that Census operations will end one month early on Sept. 30. This includes online and phone response, which previously were set to end on Oct. 30.
Over the next 7 weeks, it’s important that every Michigander responds to the Census. Please complete your census questionnaire immediately, whether it’s online, by phone, or by mail, to ensure our communities receive the hard-earned resources they deserve.
To complete your Census form, visit www.my2020Census.gov or call 844-330-2020 today.
AUGUST IS COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER APPRECIATION MONTH IN MICHIGAN
On Friday, July 31, Gov. Whitmer proclaimed August 2020 as Community Health Worker Appreciation Month in Michigan and encouraged Michiganders across the state to take this opportunity to thank the community health workers who have worked tirelessly to fight COVID-19.
The coronavirus pandemic has shed a light on the inequalities felt by communities of color. While African Americans represent 13.6% of Michigan’s population, they represent a staggering 40% of the deaths from COVID-19. Community health workers are vital to reaching underserved areas to help promote and protect the health and well-being of their communities.
Every Michigander Counts. Be sure to complete your Census 2020 form!
Take less than 10 minutes to provide 10 years of benefits to our communities. Learn more at Michigan.gov/Census2020.
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