Today is 9/11, or Patriot Day, during which we reflect upon the 19th anniversary of the fateful attacks and hijacked planes that crashed into the Twin Towers, Pentagon and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania in 2001. I was only a sophomore in high school. I remember walking into a classroom and seeing the biggest fire I’ve ever seen — the carnage and disaster was unprecedented.
We owe so much to the more than 10,000 first responders that ran into the destruction of these devastating terrorist attacks, along with the countless others who swore an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution in the armed services in the face of this tragedy. We lost so many lives that day, and we have since lost so many more in the resulting wars that followed.
Today we remember the heroes who ran in and never came out. We thank the heroes who came home safe. Most importantly we pray for the men and women who will run into danger today that they may come home to the families that love them. Today, I am grateful my dad always came home.
WHAT: Woodward Avenue Clean-Up (Private Facebook Event)
WHERE: Blackwell Municipal Building, 12050 Woodward Ave., Highland Park, MI 48203
WHEN: Saturday, Sept 12, from 9:00 a.m. to Noon
WHAT: 1st Annual Highland Park Back to School Giveaway
WHERE: Barber Preparatory Academy, 45 E. Buena Vista St., Highland Park, MI 48203
WHEN: Thursday, Sept 24, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
SAVE THE POSTAL SERVICE
A few weeks ago, I joined the local American Postal Workers Union for a day of action. The United States Postal Service is one of our greatest institutions — it’s the definition of American exceptionalism and is a true beacon of American prosperity.
We all rely on the post office for so much in our everyday lives:
The fact that there are nationally elected leaders unashamed enough to attempt to destroy the postal service is despicable. These GOP efforts are a blatant attempt to rig the game, cheat the system and bend the rules of this election, where mail-in voting will be integral.
It’s up to each of us to make a plan to vote — and vote early. Drop your absentee ballot off at a drop box or hand it over in-person at the clerk’s office. Whatever you decide, and however you decide to vote, just make sure you TURN YOUR BALLOT IN.
FREE TUTION THROUGH NEW FUTURES FOR FRONTLINERS PROGRAM
On Thursday, Sept. 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Futures for Frontliners, a new state scholarship program to give Michiganders who worked on the frontlines during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown the opportunity to pursue their career and personal dreams.
During the worst of this pandemic, frontline workers put their own health on the line to help Michigan stay open. These hospital staff, grocery store clerks, childcare providers, delivery drivers and more stepped up for the greater good.
This program will provide resources and support for frontline workers to finish their high school diploma or equivalent, as well as enroll at a community college or in a job training program.
To be eligible, you must:
To see if you qualify and to learn more, visit Michigan.gov/Frontliners. Enrollment in classes begins January 2021.
HOW TO BECOME A POLL WORKER
Right now, we need election workers more than ever. Election workers help ensure fair and free elections for all Americans, and this is especially important during the pandemic. Your job won’t only be to assist clerks and count ballots, but also to adhere and enforce strict public health guidelines.
The Election Worker position is paid, and you will be trained on all proper protocols on Nov. 3, Election Day. If you’re interested in helping, please click the “Sign Up Here” button in the link below to fill out the interest form if you are registered to vote, or register at Michigan.gov/Vote and then return here to sign up to serve.
ADDITIONAL FOOD ASSISTANCE EXTENDED THROUGH SEPTEMBER
On Wednesday, Sept. 9, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that approximately 350,000 Michigan families will continue to have access to additional food assistance benefits during the month of September as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michigan has provided additional food assistance since March, which is now being extended for September with approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.
Eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card by Sept. 30, with payments beginning for some households Sunday, Sept. 20. Additional benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance provided earlier in the month.
Families do not need to re-apply to receive the additional benefits. People who receive food assistance can check their benefits balance on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/MIBridges or calling a consumer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. They can also ask questions about the additional benefits by calling or emailing their caseworker.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE MAILINGS WILL INFORM AND ASSIST POTENTIAL VOTERS
Millions of Michiganders eligible to vote should expect to receive something in the mail from the Michigan Department of State in the next week or so, as Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson continues to work to inform voters ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.
Voter registrations and absentee ballot requests can be submitted now online at Michigan.gov/vote.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO INCREASE $300 PER WEEK
On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 745, which appropriates $2.8 billion in supplemental funding from federal revenues awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover a temporary $300 per week enhanced federal payment for eligible Michiganders receiving unemployment benefits.
As part of the FEMA program, the additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits will continue until the federal emergency disaster relief funding made available for this program has been exhausted. At this time, it is unknown how many weeks may be covered by existing funds and eligible claimants do not have to take any action to receive the additional benefit amount provided by the program.
SEPT. 6-12: SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK
This week marks Suicide Prevention week where Michiganders are encouraged to get educated and do their part to prevent and stop suicide. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in both Michigan and the nation, and a top five leading cause among individuals age 10-54.
Michigan has higher rates of suicide among people who are 10-19 and 25-44 years of age compared to the nation. Michiganders can help lower these rates by knowing the warning signs of suicide, encouraging those at risk to seek help, and having open and honest conversations about suicide.
Warning signs for those at risk of suicide include:
If you are in a crisis, or know someone who needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or visit the MDHHS Suicide Prevention website for more information.
Additional emotional-support services for those who are feeling emotional distress during the COVID-19 pandemic are available at Michigan.gov/StayWell or by calling 888-535-6136 and pressing “8” to talk to a counselor 24/7.
REMINDER: COMPLETE THE 2020 CENSUS
If you haven’t done so already, take a few minutes to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire. You can respond online, by phone, or by mail. Your response matters because census results are used to help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year. Your answers are safe and secure, and are also kept anonymous.
Getting a complete and accurate population count in 2020 takes everyone doing their part, so make sure you do yours by completing the Census today — and remind your friends, neighbors, and family to do the same!
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