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Community Advocacy Organization

DBV to Hold Press Conference After MSU Board of Trustees Addresses Voting Rights Resolution Friday

From the office of Erik Shelley- Defend Black Voters Coalition, candidate for Congress

LANSING, Michigan - The Michigan State University Board of Trustees will vote on a resolution Friday morning calling on its vendors to to stop financial contributions to efforts that undermine our democracy and align their political spending with Michiganders’ need for free and fair access to the democratic process. This would include companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Delta Dental of Michigan, which are top corporate contributors to extremist lawmakers backing voter suppression. Members of the Defend Black Voters Coalition will make public comments in support of the resolution during Friday’s meeting. Immediately after the board meeting, they will take part in a press conference in which they will react to the board’s decision. BCBSM, a major vendor for MSU, is the number one corporate contributor to these lawmakers, giving $837,000 directly and through political committees to the extremist lawmakers poised to pass voter restrictions with disproportionate impact on Black and working class Michiganders over Governor Whitmer’s veto, potentially by the end of the year. Such contributions, the resolution states, violate many of the University’s deeply held values and negatively impact students. The MSU resolution mirrors one recently passed by the Wayne County Commission and addresses issues raised by Ann Arbor Mayor, Christopher Taylor in a scathing letter to BCBSM CEO, Daniel Loepp (see here) – both of which were publicly supported by the Defend Black Voters Coalition. .Specs below- WHAT: Press conference reacting to MSU resolution on voting rights WHO: Rema Vassar, MSU Board of Trustees Ponsella Hardaway, DBV Steering Committee Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, Michigan State Representative (D-19, Livonia) Jonathan Kinloch, Wayne County Commission (Dist. 6) WHEN: Friday, September 9, 2022 Board of Trustees meeting 8:00 AM Press Conference Immediately following Board meeting WHERE: Board of Trustees meeting: 401 Hannah Administration Building 426 Auditorium Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824 Press Conference: Main entrance NE plaza of Hannah Administration Building 426 Auditorium Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824 The Defend Black Voters Coalition–a multi-racial coalition with the shared value that we must build a democracy in which everyone, regardless of race, gender, or income, has the right to an equal say in what happens in our communities–is standing up against the corporate attack on democracy for all. Members of the Defend Black Voters Coalition include: Michigan People’s Campaign, MOSES Action, Detroit Action, Mothering Justice Action Fund, Emergent Justice, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Community Change Action and Color of Change.

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