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May 11, 2020

Michigan Students And Educators United In Fight Against Coronavirus, Despite Intimidation

I was honored to co-author a column with Mia Moberly, State director of March For Our Lives Michigan, commenting on those who protested at the Capitol wearing militia gear with guns and bullet proof vests and not practicing social distancing.  We wrote in part, “We have protested at the capitol many times and will always support the right to protest. But it is unconscionable to us, given the sacrifices front-line workers are making for our country, given what so many others have sacrificed, to witness adults, dressed in militia gear toting guns, clearly trying to intimidate lawmakers into prematurely re-opening our economy and who, by not practicing social distancing, are actually working against our health care workers. The Second Amendment does not mean guns are the key to solving problems. With nearly 40,000 gun deaths per year and more guns than people in our country — firearms, intentionally or unintentionally are dangerous and lethal. Guns at a protest add nothing except to intimidate others. Did any protester actually think their gun was needed for protection? Together, we have a message for the protesters who turned our state capitol into the scene of armed insurrection: We are better than this.”

Wayne State School Of Medicine Faculty Member And Son Make Face Shields For Detroit Receiving Hospital ER

Supporting Our Communities Together: United Way COVID-19 Funds

During times like these, the strength of our solidarity is more important than ever and we are all looking for ways to help those who need it most. In this spirit, the Administrative Board allocated $30,000 as a matching fund for COVID-19 relief in Michigan communities and asked all 91 AFT Michigan locals to give what they can in contributions to their local United Way’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

As a union, we are fortunate to have the means to help, given the fact that the vast majority of our members are still working. I’m happy to report that the following locals have collectively contributed more than $11,000 toward our goal:

  • Dearborn Federation of Teachers
  • Eastpointe Federation of Educators
  • Kingsley Federation of Teachers
  • Macomb ISD Federation of Paraprofessionals
  • Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff
  • Midland Federation of Paraprofessionals
  • Taylor Federation of Teachers
  • UM Lecturers Employee Organization
  • Van Dyke Education Assistants Federation
  • WSU Union of Part-Time Faculty

If your local has made a contribution, please let us know so we can match it and add you to the list!

Stay Safe As We Go Back To Work

Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals Local #2350 distributing masks to members.

Upcoming Professional Development

AFT Michigan

Bullying, Teasing & Taunting – Virtual Workshop

June 6, 2020

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

This workshop provides research to support educators to distinguish the difference between bullying, teasing and taunting and the effect the three have on the learning environment. 

Click here to register.

AFT is offering on-line professional development directed at the impact of COVID-19 on education.  Sign-up by clicking on the Register Now link.

Ethics and Equity in a Global Pandemic: Strategies for Specialized Instructional Support Providers

Wednesday, May 20, at 3:30 p.m. EDT

Connect with AFT members and specialized instructional support providers (SISPs) to learn and share strategies for meeting ethics and equity challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic with speech, nursing, social work, psychology, therapy and more. This AFT members-only webinar with AFT’s Chelsea Prax, is ideal for school counselors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, therapists and related professionals. Register now.

Helping Children Regulate Emotions During Challenging Times

Thursday, May 21, at 4 p.m. EDT

In this webinar, Marc Brackett, author of Permission to Feel, and director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, will share a four-step process to help adults be emotionally intelligent role models for children and teach them key strategies that support healthy self-regulation. Register now and watch his recent webinar on demand.

You will be eligible to receive one hour of professional development credit for participation in these webinars if you complete all the poll questions, survey, and actively watch the webinars. At the conclusion of each session, you will be able to download a certificate that verifies you completed the webinar. 

Members that COVID-19 Has Taken from Us

  • John Elliott, Detroit Federation of Teachers (former President & AFT Michigan Administrative Board member)
  • Marilyn Horace-Moore, Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers (former Treasurer)
  • Roslyn Johnson, Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals
  • Charlene Smith, Detroit Federation of Teachers (former Executive Board member)
  • Ricardo Smith, Association of Adjunct Faculty at Macomb Community College
  • Darla Swint, Hamtramck Fed of Teachers (retired Paraprofessional)
  • Linda Wilkins, Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals
  • Art Williams, Wayne County Community College Federation of Teachers (former Executive Board member)
  • Thomas Wilson, Detroit Federation of Teachers

AFT Michigan will honor our members who have died by recognizing them in words, and by continuing our work for educational, racial, and economic justice. If you know of an active or retired member who should be listed, please email

In solidarity, 

David Hecker, President

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