Fair Michigan Justice Reception 2019 Sept. 26

Eve Kucharski
By | 2019-09-18T15:52:43-04:00 September 18th, 2019|Michigan, News|

When Fair Michigan was formed initially, one of the main concerns for the LGBTQ community was securing marriage equality. Today, that need has been met, but the nonprofit’s work is far from done as LGBTQ Michiganders can still be denied housing, employment and medical treatment solely based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. In fact, ask its President Alanna Maguire and she’ll tell you that the organization has been undergoing a period of growth in an effort to become a statewide organization. That’s also why this year at its Fair Michigan Justice Reception fundraiser, to be held on Thursday, Sept. 26, the special guests will be statewide officials: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel.
“Primarily, we’ve been operating out of the Metro Detroit area, and once I took over in January my focus has been to really be a statewide resource to have a better idea of the issues facing the LGBTQ community in the state at large. And so, I really wanted to have a bigger event this year and raise significant funds toward the expansion of our projects and advocacy and outreach,” Maguire said. “So, I thought one of the best ways to do that would be to invite some of the state’s most well-respected and highest officeholders. I sent an invitation to the governor and she accepted and, of course, I am married to Dana Nessell so we managed to also secure her — and she is our past president and founder, so it’s personally very important for her to support Fair Michigan as well.”
Featured at the Justice Reception will be a VIP Reception, an awards reception and drag show. The event will also showcase Fair Michigan’s expansion of services beyond its existing Justice Project — a collaboration between the nonprofit and the Wayne County prosecutor’s office to focus on getting justice for capital offenses committed against LGBTQ people in the area — to other counties.
“I have worked with Carole Siemon, who is the Ingham County Prosecutor, and we’re also going to be honoring her at our Justice Reception,” Maguire said. “She and Fair Michigan actually established a joint partnership where we will be operating the Justice Project out of Ingham County.”
Beyond expanding existing services, Maguire said that the Reception will demonstrate how Fair Michigan has been developing projects by listening to specific community needs. She pointed to its Transgender Renaming Project, spearheaded by its Director of Transgender Outreach and Advocacy Julisa Abad, as an example of that.
“She was explaining how a big problem in the trans community is when you don’t have your legal name match the one of your gender identity and the myriad challenges that would pose that many of us would probably take for granted,” Maguire said. “So, we launched the Trans Renaming Project earlier this year as well and so, we operated a full-service name-change clinic where we’d have an attorney work with our vulnerable trans clients who would otherwise not be able to afford these services themselves and we’d process name changes for them.”
Perhaps most importantly, Maguire said she’s eager to let attendees know of the organization’s focus on growing and fostering community partnerships.
“We’ve seen fractures in the past, so for us to have these working relationship Equality Michigan and the Ruth Ellis Center and others, I think that it shows our community is stronger and more united,” she said. “And rather than holding at odds with each other, we’re able to amplify our advocacy and outreach and be that much more effective. So, for me, I’m really happy to see these improved relationships and all of us working toward the same goals, which makes sense.”
The 2019 Justice Reception will be held at the Strand Theater in Pontiac on Thursday, Sept. 26. The Theater is located at 12 N Saginaw St. in Pontiac. Tickets start at $50. Find out more online at fairmichigan.org.

About the Author:

Eve Kucharski
As news and feature editor at Between The Lines, Eve Kucharski's work has spanned the realms of current events and entertainment. She's chatted with stars like Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho and Tyler Oakley as well as political figures like Gloria Steinem, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Her coverage of the November 2018 elections was also featured in a NowThis News report.