Don Jennings Awardee 2017
Jeanne A. Butterfield, Esq.
Jeanne A. Butterfield moved her high energy and skills to Manistee just a few years ago but her leadership has already made its impact on our Community. She served two years as the Vice Chair of the Manistee County Democratic Party. Regionally, she chaired the 101st House District Democratic Coordinating Committee. Currently, Jeanne Chairs the Manistee group of “We the People”, a nonpartisan activist network focusing on state and national issues of concern to the Manistee community. In all these roles, Jeanne has demonstrated personal commitment and her ability to mobilize others.
Before moving to Manistee, Jeanne established herself as a long-time immigration policy expert and advocate. She most recently served as Special Counsel at the Raben Group, a public policy consulting firm in Washington DC. She also served as the Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association in Washington for thirteen years and before that was AILA’s Director of Advocacy for three years. Earlier in her career, she worked extensively on the whole range of immigration issues including employment, family-based immigration advocacy, and refugee and asylum protection. She has led human rights delegations to Haiti and to the Middle East, and recently traveled to Cuba to learn more about migration issues affecting that country and its relationship with the U.S.
Ms Butterfield received her law degree at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston and is a retired member of the Massachusetts State Bar. She continues to advocate for immigrants, making trips to Dilley, Texas, to volunteer assisting women and children detained there by ICE who are fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking asylum protection in the U.S.
Jeanne and her partner Al Frye open their hearts and their home to a variety of community agencies and issues. She is a Volunteer at the Vogue. She is a trained musician and lends her talents as a pianist to several local causes. Jeanne and Al frequently host events at their home on Lake Michigan. Although reasonably new to the area, Jeanne and Al are definitely “Pure Michigan.”
Donald Trump is the biggest popular-vote loser in history to ever call himself President. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the Members of Congress (MoCs) who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist — and we have the power to win.
We know this because we’ve seen it before. The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism— and they won.
We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda — but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness. Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party could stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.
To this end, the following chapters offer a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents. The guide is intended to be equally useful for stiffening Democratic spines and weakening pro-Trump Republican resolve.
We believe that the next four years depend on Americans across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize us and our neighbors. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief with useful tools to make Congress listen.
Next Regular Meeting
September 21, 2017, 7 PM
Dial a Ride Meeting Room
El Sayed Keynote to DJ Donner
The Keynote Speaker for the 14th Annual Don Jennings Award Dinner is Abdul El-Sayed, Michigan Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate. Abdul El-Sayed was born and raised in Michigan. His family reflects the diversity of our state, including immigrants who left Egypt in pursuit of greater opportunity in America, and farmers, teachers, and small-business owners who have lived in Gratiot County, Michigan for generations. Abdul is a product of Michigan public schools. He captained his high-school football, wrestling, and lacrosse teams, and went on to play lacrosse for the University of Michigan. He graduated in 2007, where he was honored to deliver the student commencement speech alongside President Bill Clinton.
Abdul went on to become a Rhodes Scholar, earning a doctorate from Oxford University and a medical degree from Columbia
As a public health professor, Abdul became an internationally recognized expert in health policy and health inequalities. At 30, Abdul became the youngest health official of a major American city when he was brought home by Mayor Mike Duggan to rebuild Detroit's Health Department after it was privatized during the city's bankruptcy. As Health Director, he was responsible for the health and safety of over 670,000 Detroiters, working tirelessly to ensure government accountability and transparency, promote health, and reduce cross-generational poverty.
After witnessing the systematic failures of government only a few miles away in Flint, Abdul worked hard to ensure that children attending Detroit schools and daycares were drinking lead-free water. He has also served expectant mothers and women by creating programs aimed at reducing infant mortality and unplanned pregnancy. He built a program to give schoolchildren across the city glasses if they needed them. Abdul also stood up for children with asthma by taking on corporations that wanted to pump more harmful pollutants into our air, working with them to reduce emissions and invest in parks.
hough the work continues, under Abdul’s leadership, the Detroit Health Department has become a state and national leader in public health innovation and environmental justice, in one of the fastest municipal public health turnarounds in American history.
Abdul is called to public service by a core belief in people. He believes that all people can thrive when we value each other and our communities, we seek to protect and defend our vulnerable, and when we create the kinds of opportunities that empower people to dream for a better future.
Abdul lives in Detroit with his wife, Sarah, a mental health doctor. He loves water sports, working out, good biographies, coffee, and Michigan sports.
Annual Don Jennnings Dinner
Date: September 17, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Place: Manistee National Golf & Resort
Keynote Speaker: Abdul El-Sayed
Michigan Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate
Cash Bar, Silent Auction
Next Next Regular Meeting
October 19, 2017 7 - PM
Dial a Ride Meeting Room
Buy Don Jennings Tickets
Words from the County Chair
Like most Americans I was shocked by the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. The images on TV of torch carrying Nazis chanting hate slogans and hooded klansmen marching in the streets were chilling and brought to mind the early days of Hitler’s rise in Germany and of the huge march of the Ku Klux Klan down Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation’s capital in the 1920’s.
The sight of a white nationalist running down demonstrators and killing Heather Heyer and later another white nationalist claiming that the perpetrator was justified because people had put their hands on his car, was truly disturbing to all of us.
All week, as we listened and read various perspectives on these terrible events, it became apparent that we still have a lot of work to do to purge our society of the sins of this nation’s history. As shocked as we were by the events, President Trump’s words to the nation tacitly supporting white nationalists, the KKK and Nazis were truly shocking. Mitt Romney’s comments that the president’s remarks “caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn” were especially poignant to me.
Fortunately, we also witnessed an enormous wave of condemnation against the hate mongers among us, and the sadly inadequate response of our president. We can take heart in the large numbers of demonstrations against racism, bigotry, and hatred that sprang up all across the country, including twice here in Manistee.
For me, one of the most touching expressions of pain that I heard this past week came from story corps on PBS. An elderly African American woman shared a childhood memory she carried with her throughout her life. When she was five year old, she said, her family set off on a long trip in their car. Along the way they ran out of gas out in the country somewhere. Her father got out and literally pushed the car down the road until they came to a gas station that had a prominently displayed “Whites Only” sign. She saw her father go up to the door, knock with his head hanging down and his hands folded in front of him. When a white man came to the door, her father asked him if he could please buy some gas so that his family could go on their way. The man refused to sell him some gas and closed the door in his face. As her father returned to the car another white man came out, apologized and gave them the gas they needed for the car and refused to accept payment.
Imagine how the children in that car felt watching their father go through that humiliating experience. Did it diminish their father’s stature in their young minds? Yet these are the kinds of experiences African Americans faced routinely when traveling in this country. This is why they traveled with a copy of “The Green Book.” Published until 1970 or so, it was a directory of all the places that served black people in the country. Today, you can see a copy at the Museum of African American History in Washington D.C.
I think of my earliest childhood memories. They do no include such experiences and I am grateful for that. As people of goodwill, we all need to talk about these issues with family, friends and neighbors so that the process of ridding our society of hatred and bigotry can move forward. We cannot truly come together as a nation until this difficult work is accomplished. Only then will our country genuinely prosper and become one people.