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Sen. Debbie Stabenow, former Ypsilanti Mayor Lois Allen-Richardson honored at EMU

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenowand former Ypsilanti Mayor Lois Allen Richardson were honored yesterday at Eastern Michigan University.

The two were recipients of EMU's Mary Starkweather Award. It's named after a philanthropist from the 1800s whose family farm later became the site of the university. The annual award honors local women for their contribution to social justice.

Stabenow, who was the first woman from Michigan elected to the U.S. Senate back in 2000, encouraged the women in the audience to get involved to create change.

“In the words of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to serve in Congress, the first woman to run for president, she said, 'If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.'”

Allen-Richardson made history as the first black woman to serve as mayor of Ypsilanti. She served two decades on city council before being appointed mayor in 2020. She told the audience the best way to make an impact is to start with your local community.

“If you want a place to start, start in your neighborhood. There’s work to be done in all of neighborhoods and move out from there.”

Since leaving office, she has been working with education funding and violence prevention in the city.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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