In Blog: Factually Speaking

Earlier this year, the League released its Owner’s Manual for Michigan. As we move toward 2020, we’re taking time to reflect and recalibrate.

The Owner’s Manual is a people-driven agenda that lays out a plan to improve the lives of Michiganders through better public policy. To put it together, the League’s team listened to hundreds of residents from all over the state and of different ages, races and ethnicities, backgrounds, economic statuses about what they and their communities need not just to survive but to thrive. Their ideas became part of a comprehensive plan to give Michigan a tune-up.

When we began working on the Owner’s Manual, the “people-driven” component was essential—our team knew that in this case, we weren’t the experts. We went directly into communities to hear from real Michiganders. And we listened. Aside from introducing ourselves, League staff did not speak. For the Owner’s Manual to be effective, it needs to truly be driven by the people, which means we needed to put our “expert” status aside and commit to that goal.

The folks in our listening sessions really opened up to us about what they saw in their neighborhoods, their schools, their workplaces. Their experiences—some heartbreaking, some uplifting—helped to make sure the project was designed with all Michiganders in mind.

In January, we delivered hard copies of the Owner’s Manual to policymakers and advocates around the state—including those working in the state Capitol.

But the process didn’t end there.

Since then, we’ve continued to fight for—and make progress on—the things that matter to you and your fellow Michiganders: Top Notch Education, Strong Workers, Healthy Communities and Thriving Families.

As we keep promoting these key goals and working to achieve them, we also keep listening. Our community engagement team is holding focus groups in the same communities this summer—this time to hear people reflect on the manual, evaluate how we did on capturing and outlining their suggestions, and share what they think our next steps should be. We’ve also expanded to hear from some new communities and voices that will better inform all of our work.

Have we heard from you? You can be part of the Owner’s Manual, too, by taking our survey and sharing your thoughts on the policies you think would help Michigan on the road ahead.

The League believes there’s strength in numbers. Often those numbers come from the data we use. But the true strength in our work comes from the big number of supporters and partners we have in our work, and that includes you!


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