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Member Spotlight: Colleen McDaniel & Elizabeth Drake, WSU GEOC

Colleen McDaniel, Doctoral Candidate and Graduate Research Fellow at Wayne State University (WSU) & Elizabeth Drake, President of the Graduate Employees’ Organizing Committee (GEOC) are passionate advocates for survivors of sexual assault. They co-founded and maintain the GEOC Survivors of Sexual Violence Fund (SSVF) in response to a WSU campus climate survey which showed an urgent need for survivor resources. The fund currently awards grants to 14 survivors each academic year.

They are also working on a coalition effort with WSU admin, other WSU local unions, and organizations in the Detroit community to apply for a Campus Grant from the Office of Violence against Women within the U.S. Department of Justice. The grant money would allow for a fully funded and staffed sexual violence resource center at WSU. 

Follow their advocacy work @violence_femme on Twitter or Instagram.  To learn more, or contribute funds to the SSVF, visit

Help us highlight the amazing work members from across our constituencies do every day for their colleagues, students, communities, and our union. To make sure more people hear their stories, follow the link to our website and fill out the form to nominate an AFT Michigan member to be recognized for what they do at work, in the community, or our union!

Lori Chapman Elected New President of MCCFO

Congratulations to Lori Chapman, the new president of the Macomb Community College Faculty Organization. And thank you to Cal Goosen for his effective leadership serving as local president.

Healthy and Healing Schools For All Launch Party

Join the Michigan Education Justice Coalition on Monday, January 17 at 3 p.m. for a virtual launch party, which will officially kick off the Healthy and Healing Schools for All Campaign. We will meet and share our collective knowledge on how to advocate for healthy and healing schools, and simple steps on how you can get involved. It’s free and all are welcome. The agenda will include a presentation on current school funding issues; ways we can fight against the new DeVos-backed voucher program initiative; and why school boards matter and how you can hold them accountable in 2022 and beyond.

Senate: Confirm Gigi Sohn to the FCC

Our union siblings in the Communication Workers of America have been fighting for broadband for all built right by union workers, and are urging the Senate to swiftly advance the nomination of Gigi Sohn for Commissioner of the FCC.

The FCC normally has five commissioners, but there is currently a vacant seat, and without a full commission, it will be difficult to move forward on making sure that all Americans have the services they need. Throughout her career, Sohn has been a staunch advocate for the expansion of affordable internet access. During the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, she was a key CWA ally in the fight to protect jobs, and she knows that to build broadband better we need effective state oversight. Sohn will continue to fight for workers and consumers as Commissioner of the FCC.

I hope you’ll take action by sending a letter to our Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow:

Honoring Outstanding K-12 STEM Teachers Through PAEMST

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors for K-12 STEM educators. Awardees receive $10,000 and much more. Apply today!

Contribute to the AFT Michigan PAC Today

AFT Michigan fights for our members, students and communities all year round and we need your help. Can you donate $1 a week to aid us in this fight? Please visit the AFT Michigan website and set up a recurring gift to make a big difference in protecting public education and building a better Michigan future! 

Summer and Assistance with Public Service Loan Forgiveness 

AFT is working to keep members informed about the recent changes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness and how to use Summer to get help to borrowers. Summer is a trusted online platform that can help you simplify and navigate your student loan debt. Using Summer’s online student loan management platform, AFT members who enroll in this free member benefit can:

  • Enroll in income-driven repayment plans and manage annual income recertifications; 
  • Complete the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employment Certification Form and manage the PSLF certification and application process; 
  • Find other options for loan forgiveness, and get assistance in applying for them; and 
  • Talk through options with Summer’s borrower success team so they can understand how to best maximize their loan repayment and forgiveness options. 

You can start using Summer by creating and logging in to your AFT Member Benefits account ( 

Join an AFT Michigan Working Group

The AFT Michigan Administrative Board has created five working groups to help push forward our work in priority areas that have emerged from, and cut across, our Constituency Committees, and we are looking for members to add your expertise and passion to the groups (listed below, with target constituencies we will seek to involve):

  • Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline (All Constituencies)
  • Increasing the Number of Black Educators in Michigan (All Constituencies)
  • Support Staff-to-Teacher Pathways (PreK-12 Support Staff, Teachers, Special Ed/ISD)
  • Converting Part-time to Full-time Faculty (NonTenure-Track Faculty, Tenure-Track Faculty)
  • New Deal for Higher Ed: Fighting Back Against Austerity Budgeting (Grads, NonTenure-Track Faculty, Tenure-Track Faculty & Academic Staff)

Each group will begin with an Assessment Phase before moving toward recommending action steps to the AFT Michigan Administrative Board. Time commitments are flexible and will vary depending on the project and timeline. See descriptions of each group’s scope of work and interest sign up forms at

Upcoming Union-Building Workshops

Treasurer Tuesday: Convention ComplianceTuesday, January 18, 20227:00 PM8:30 PM
Electoral Politics 101Wednesday, January 19, 20225:00 PM6:30 PM

Professional Development 

Stress Solutions for Educators Series

This experiential workshop series is designed to give you both a better understanding of the science of stress and its impact on your body and real tools that you can use right now to manage stress, avoid feeling overwhelmed and create resiliency-building daily habits. You’ll leave this series with the foundations of a daily meditation practice and learn the building-block basics of mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Come ready to experience some immediate stress relief through guided relaxation, mini meditations and breathing exercises to help you reset your attention, refill your cup and relax at the end of a busy day.

  • Exploring Mindfulness, Part 1 | Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m. EST | Register
    In this session, you’ll learn why mindfulness is a powerful tool for managing stress; three simple mindfulness meditation techniques; and how to create a mindfulness meditation practice in your everyday life, including how to sit for meditation, how to work with your thoughts to create space in your mind, and relaxing breathing techniques.
  • Mindfully Manage Stress, Part 2 | Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m. EST | Register
    In this session, you’ll learn how the nervous system works under stress, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress in your body and how to recognize your own unique stress triggers to better manage stress.
  • Transforming Stress Reactivity into Mindful Response, Part 3 | Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. EST | Register
    In this session, you’ll learn how to work with your thoughts and storylines that keep us stuck in our habitual stress reactions; how to intentionally shift our stress habits and reactions and replace them with mindful, thoughtful responses instead; and how to practice one key resiliency-building habit that will help you better manage your stress on the day to day.

Martin Luther King Lesson Plans and Resources

Share My Lesson’s updated collection features curated lesson plans, resources and activities to help your prek-12 students explore Dr. King’s commitment to the labor movement and the fight for justice and dignity. Explore resources that offer professional development opportunities with resources like:

Click here for more information


In solidarity, 

David Hecker


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