We at the League love our numbers. We are a data-driven organization, after all. Our statistics are used to support our solutions, but numbers are sometimes meaningless without context.
We add this much-needed context in our blog posts. We break down the numbers and explain what they actually mean for fellow Michiganders. We present our case and provide reasoning with the data we use. But just as statistics need to be paired with context, our reporting would only consist of stark facts if it were absent of heart.
And that’s just not the League.
Numbers may drive our work, but compassion for our fellow Michiganders is what drives each of us. Our staff blog, Factually Speaking, offers data and context with heart. We truly care, and we know you do, too. It’s evident in our ten most-read blog posts of 2019:
The 1990s are over. Remove Michigan’s drug felony ban on public assistance: In Michigan, a person with more than one drug felony conviction arising from separate incidences that occurred after Aug. 22, 1996 is barred from receiving federal assistance for life. This ban on cash and food assistance further punishes former offenders and their families instead of assisting them in moving forward. Written by senior policy analyst Peter Ruark, this blog post includes moving responses from real Michiganders facing these very real, and unfair, consequences.
Michigan must count all kids in 2020 census: Census numbers determine federal funding for Michigan’s schools and infrastructure. Political districts are drawn based on census counts, and the counts also determine how many representatives Michigan has in the United States House of Representatives. In this post, Kids Count policy analyst Parker James presents a data tool that estimates the number of children that may be at risk of being undercounted in each Michigan county. This raises awareness so we can make sure everyone is counted in 2020!
A wonkish weapon against the poor, or how to bury the devil deep in the weeds: Senior policy analyst Peter Ruark details the history of poverty in the United States in response to a proposed change by the Trump administration, which would reduce the number of people and families that qualify for public programs and the benefits they receive.
Life’s full circle moments: Kids Count project director Kelsey Perdue reflects on the work and life events that led her to joining the League. Raised in Grand Rapids, involved in social issues, an advocacy volunteer with a deep love for the children and youth of Michigan? We’re pleased that Kelsey’s full circle brought her to the League.
Helping adults go back to school, find better jobs: Peter Ruark explains how Michigan Reconnect, a proposed program in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2019-2020 state budget, would be a great help to local workers, communities and economies in the state.
A glimpse inside immigrant detention on the southwest border: Guest blogger Melissa Stek visited a detention center that houses migrants in El Paso, Texas. She verified, sadly, that things truly are as bad as they seem for asylum-seekers, if not worse. She calls for us to do better, and we can if we join her in her closing words to help: “I can advocate and I can vote.”
Snow days aren’t always fun: Previously a high school teacher, communications director Laura Ross reminisces about cozy snow days. She makes the connection, however, that snow days aren’t ideal for everyone, particularly kids who live in families with low incomes in which heat, food and/or child care are in short supply. We can better support programs to help, however, and we’ll continue to do so until all children are safe, warm and fed every day.
It’s time to eliminate “Debtor’s Jail” — pass bail reform!: Senior policy analyst Peter Ruark makes his fourth appearance in our most-read list! As Ruark himself puts it in this blog, it’s time for us to reduce “the number of individuals with low income and few resources sitting in jail simply due to an inability to post bail.”
Child care is a critical part of the state’s economic infrastructure: The League published a report detailing the struggles of finding affordable, accessible, quality child care in Michigan. Senior policy analyst Pat Sorenson shares the main takeaways from the report and urges state leaders to build a child care system that works for all families.
My view from the ICU: Everyone deserves quality health care: External affairs director Alex Rossman shares a personal story and his gratitude for health insurance. The League will continue to fight for healthcare for all Michiganders, because we believe that health coverage is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Thank you for all of your support this past year. Thank you for reading and sharing these posts and standing with us in advocating for a stronger, healthier, more equitable Michigan.
If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to our blog via email so you can stay updated on everything we’re working on at the League.
We hope that like us, you’re enjoying some recharging time before we bring on 2020. We know we’ll have a lot to fight for ahead of us in the new year, and we’re glad to have friends like you joining us in our efforts.