Michigan's August 2021 primary elections will be held today, Tuesday, Aug. 3, and, like Michiganders in the rest of the state, Detroiters are gearing up to vote. But if reviewing the candidates on the ballot feels too overwhelming, there's good news for the LGBTQ+ and allied population in the city. LGBT Detroit Mobilization, a 501(c)(4) extension of the nonprofit LGBT Detroit, has endorsed a list of eight candidates in time for the Detroit municipal primary election.
"Our mission statement is that we are organized for the political interests of the LGBT+ individuals, allies and elected leaders who share our values in the City of Detroit and Southeast Michigan," said Jonathan Gonzales, field coordinator and endorsement committee facilitator for LGBT Detroit Mobilization.
LGBT Detroit Mobilization endorsements include:
- Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
- Denzel McCampbell for Detroit City Clerk
- Nicole Small for Detroit Charter Commission
- Krystal Larsosa for Detroit City Council, District 1
- Roy McCalister Jr. for Detroit City Council, District 2
- Latisha Johnson Detroit City Council, District 4
- Gabriela Santiago-Romero Detroit City Council, District 6
- William DavisDetroit City Council, District 7
Each of these candidates, said Gonzalez, underwent a stringent three-step process to meet LGBT Detroit Mobilization's criteria for endorsement.
"[Candidates] reach out for endorsement on our website," he explained. "We make sure to reach out to all candidates [who contact us] to make sure it's a fair and equal process, and once you go through that process of introducing yourself, you answer a questionnaire that we've created to get a feel for you and how you engage with our community and to see if you share the same interests and values."
Lastly, candidates undergo an in-person or Zoom screening process with the five-member endorsement committee, who probe candidates further to get an understanding of their stances on various issues and their priorities if elected. The five-member committee is composed of Ian Collin McCain, Anastasey Manolatos III, Chunnika Hodges, Jerron Totten and Joshua Grant.
"We are thrilled to be in a position to encourage our community to take a second and even a third look at those well-qualified candidates whose platforms speak to the needs and interests of members of the Black LGBTQ+ political block, one you'll be hearing more from in local area politics from here on out," Totten said.
Gonzalez said the committee has checked that statewide candidate priorities focus on passage of House Bill 5139, which would amend the state's ethnic intimidation law to include gender identity and sexual orientation, and on the expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation. On a local level, aside from general protections for the LGBTQ+ population, Proposal P is high on the list. While not everyone on the endorsed list supports the proposal, including Mayor Mike Duggan, the majority do.
Proposal P was crafted over the last three years by an elected Detroit Charter Revision Commission composed of nine members and has received support from various environmental and human rights activist groups. Among its large range of provisions, it includes steps to make water and transit more affordable, establishing increased oversight and policing reforms and creating a new department of disability affairs, a task force on reparations and African American justice, a new department of environmental justice and sustainability, and more.
Gonzales said that LGBT Detroit Mobilization's efforts will make it easier for the "thousands of community members who trust and rely on our work, research, and judgment when voting on proposals, candidates, and the everyday kitchen table issues that hit the pockets, health, and lives of Michigan residents through local and state policies."