Henry Ford College holds its 14th Annual Michigan Student Political Issues Convention on Friday, Oct. 7, giving students the opportunity to speak about current political issues with many political leaders, including Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.
With the 2016 Presidential Election counting down, Henry Ford College (HFC) and the League of Women Voters (LMV) of Dearborn–Dearborn Heights will host the 14th Annual Michigan Student Political Issues Convention on Friday, Oct. 7, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event takes place on the first floor of the Andrew A. Mazzara Administrative Services & Conference Center (ASCC, Building L on the main campus).
One purpose of this convention is to reverse the trends in the lack of political engagement and voter apathy among young voters. Research shows that there continues to be a dramatic decline in youth political participation in every category, which poses a threat to the democratic process, especially in this election year. If citizens fail to become politically engaged by their mid-20s, studies show that they will not become politically engaged whatsoever.
However, this convention aspires to change that by giving students the chance to make their voices heard on important issues. HFC, like many colleges and universities across the nation, are encouraging students to become more politically active.
“Whatever their politics, students need to get out and let their voice be heard, which is the purpose of this event,” said Dr. Anthony D. Perry, an HFC Political Science professor and convention coordinator.
Registration is from 8-9 a.m. in the Forfa Atrium. The opening panel – Cities and Public Services and Government: The Stewards of Public Goods – is from 9-10 a.m. in the Forfa Auditorium. The panelists include:
- Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko,
- Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski,
- Wayne Mayor Susan Rowe,
- Melvindale Mayor Stacy Striz, and
- Saul Green, Former Deputy Mayor of Detroit.
There will be five concurrent panels from 10:10-11 a.m. The first panel – Public Education as an Essential Tool for Economic Development, Equality and Civil Rights – will be held in the Berry Ampitheater. The panelists include:
- State Sen. Morris W. Hood III,
- State Sen. David Knezek,
- Kathleen Straus, Michigan Board of Education; and
- David Hecker, President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – Michigan.
The second panel – Public Safety’s Role in Maintaining Public Spaces and Respecting Civil Rights – will be held in the Forfa Auditorium. The panelists include:
- U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade,
- David Gelios, FBI Special Agent in Charge – Detroit Bureau,
- Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad,
- Asha Noor, Take on Hate representative, and
- Denzil McCampell, Detroit Black Youth Movement.
The third panel – Environment & Public Spaces: Public Good Essential for Quality of Life and Democratic Participation – will be held in the Rosenau Room C. The panelists include:
- Mike Berkowitz, Legislative and Political Director of the Sierra Club,
- Dr. David J. Goldstein, Outreach Coordinator and Interpretation Division Chief of the United States (U.S.) National Parks Service (NPS),
- Abdullah Hammoud of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV), and
- Melvadean Pearson, Friends of the Detroit River.
The fourth panel – Public Infrastructure: Roads, Bridges, Water and Sewage as a Public Good That Improves the Quality of Life and Essential for Supporting a 21st Century Economy – will be held in the Rosenau Rooms A & B. The panelists include:
- Moreno Taylor of Priorities Michigan,
- Kandia Milton, MOSES in Detroit (Regional Transit), and
- Aurora Harris, We the People of Detroit, University of Detroit-Mercy (UDM) faculty.
The fifth and final panel – Globalization, Jobs and Immigrants: Exploring Our Interconnected World as a Way of Enhancing Lives and Opportunities – will be held in Room K-14 in the Reuther Liberal Arts Building (Building K on the main campus). The panelists include:
- Cynthia Stiller, HFC Associate Dean of Social Science, Fitness and Arts,
- Bing Goie, Director of the Michigan Office of New Americans (MONA) in Lansing,
- Yachun Zhang, a Wayne State International Relations/Global Trade doctoral candidate,
- Rebecca Thompson, Executive Director for Good Jobs Now in Detroit, and
- Prof. Frederic Pearson, Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State.
From 11:10-11:50 a.m., there will be 20 concurrent workshops spinning out of the panels. From noon-12:20 p.m., Student Voting Caucuses will be held in various assigned rooms. Throughout the day, students can register to vote at the LWV booth.
From 12:30-1 p.m., there will be a panel – Making Your Vote Count: Voting Rights Today – in the Forfa Auditorium. The speakers include:
- Betsy Cushman, President of the LMV of Dearborn–Dearborn Heights, and
- Judy Karandjeff, President of the Michigan League of Women Voters (MLWV).
The final session – Setting the Ballot – will be held at 1-2 p.m. in the Forfa Auditorium. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell will speak.
“Held a month before the most consequential election of our lifetimes, the Student Political Issues Convention is a critical opportunity for young people to come together to discuss the issues and values we all care about and chart a course for the future. Too often, young people think their voice doesn’t matter – that they can’t make a difference, but they have a vital role to play in the effort to move our country forward and make our government and our economy work for every American. We need them at the table, and that’s what this convention is all about,” said Dingell.
HFC is the coordinating institution for this event and represents a critically important chance for students to share their views and concerns regarding the political future of the world, stated HFC political science professor Robert Yahrmatter.
“Our expectation is to help students from throughout southeast Michigan participate in the development of a consensus political agenda that they want elected officials to consider when establishing their legislative priorities,” said Yarhmatter.
This convention will also interactively engage students in a series of concurrent workshops as they work to develop a discourse for their votes at subsequent caucuses and the final session. During this final session, Perry said that several political figures are invited to hear from students and to consider student concerns as they campaign or develop public policy.
“This event is important on a number of levels. First, the activities we have planned provide young people a chance to voice their concerns. The convention also gives many students their first opportunity to engage their fellow students and political leaders in the discussion of critical issues that are important to students and their communities. Overall, the convention helps students develop their skills of democratic participation and give them practice at using their political voice effectively,” said Perry.
Norbert Bam, owner of the Little Caesar’s located at 18500 W. Outer Dr., will contribute food and beverages for this event. For questions and further information, contact Perry at 313-845-6383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CUT LINE: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell will speak at the 14th Annual Michigan Student Political Issues Convention on Friday, Oct. 7, at Henry Ford College (HFC) in Dearborn.
About Henry Ford College
Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Mich., is a comprehensive public college serving 21,000 students annually in southeast Michigan. HFC is dedicated to preparing students for a rapidly changing world and workplace by offering more than 120 associate degree, career and university transfer programs. Additionally, the College offers a Bachelor Degree in Science in Culinary and Hospitality Studies, as well as 3 + 1 programs with university partners. HFC also specializes in customized workforce development training for business and industry. The College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (https://www.hlcommission.org/). Since its founding in 1938, HFC has been the gateway for thousands of students who seek affordable, high-quality post-secondary education. To learn more, please visit us at www.hfcc.edu or on Facebook, www.hfcc.edu/facebook, Twitter, www.twitter.com/hfcc, Linked in, http://www.linkedin.com/company/henry-ford-community-college, and on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/user/henryfordcc. You may also call 1-800-585-4322. For individuals who require special accommodations when visiting Henry Ford College, please call Assisted Learning Services at 313-845-9617 for assistance.