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Civic Matters: New Program Takes Aim At Racial Equity In Ann Arbor And Washtenaw County, And More

City of Ann Arbor

Every Monday morning, the executive director of the CivCity Initiative will join WEMU's David Fair for a conversation on topics pertinent to the city of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County.  Mary Morgan provides news, analysis, commentary and explains the various ways residents can become more engaged.

Mary Morgan, executive director of the CivCity Initiative in Ann Arbor

Mary Morgan brings a wealth of experience to the airwaves.  While heading up the CivCity Initiative now, Mary was previously co-founder and publisher of the Ann Arbor Chronicle.  Prior to that, she served as a reporter and editor for the Ann Arbor News when it was a daily, print-edition newspaper. 

Resources for this week's topics:

• Washtenaw County is seeking volunteers to serve on its Community Mental Health Board. This group advises county staff and provides leadership for delivering local mental health services.  These services are funded, in part, by a new tax that voters approved last year. The board terms are for three years from April 1, 2018 until March 31, 2021.  Appointments will be made by the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners at their March 7 meeting.  The deadline to apply is Thursday, Feb. 22.  Click here for details about how to apply

• Washtenaw County is partnering with the City of Ann Arbor on an initiative that's launching today (1/29) called “One Community: Advancing Racial Equity in Ann Arbor & Washtenaw County.”  It builds off previous work spearheaded by the county in 2015 called "Opportunity Washtenaw."  This new push will start by making sure elected leaders and staff are aware of our community's inequities and how those inequities affect services that local government delivers.
• Speaking of new initiatives, last week a coalition with several local connections announced plans to push for a ballot proposal to expand voting rights in Michigan.  (Co-chairs of the honorary committee, Rachel Bendit and Joe Malcoun, live in Ann Arbor.)  The goal of Promote the Vote is to amend the state constitution to allow early voting, "no reason" absentee voting, and the right to vote for one party with a single mark on the ballot.  The group is holding a launch webinar today (1/29) at 7 p.m. for people who wants to learn more.  Here's a link to register.
• Also related to elections, a free workshop on Saturday, Feb. 10 called "Elect Her" is geared toward encouraging college-age women to run for office.  It's a national program.  The Feb. 10 workshop is sponsored by the UM Ginsberg Center, but it's open to students from other institutions, too.  UM students can register here.  All others can register by contacting Erin Byrnes of the Ginsberg Center at
• Finally, the deadline to apply to serve on a task force of the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission has been extended to Monday, Feb. 5.  The task force will be developing bylaws for a new commission on police-community relations.  Email your name, contact info and any other relevant information to

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at

Nearly three-quarters of David Fair’s 20+ years in radio has been at WEMU. Since 1994, he has been on the air at 5am each weekday on 89.1 FM as the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition. Over the years, Fair has had the opportunity to interview nationally and internationally known politicians, activists and celebrities. But he feels the most important features and interviews have been with those who live and work here at home. He believes his professional passions and desires fit perfectly into WEMU’s commitment to serving a local audience.
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