Top notch speakers educated and motivated us to act on many issues during the year 2006: Candidates Forum: Congress - What’s At Stake; What’s Needed?; Challenging the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative”, Michigan League of Women Voters; Honoring Civil Rights Activist Viola Liuzzo, Mary Campbell, Davenport University; How Much Longer In Iraq?; Utilities: How Do We Make Them Affordable?, Marian Kramer, National Welfare Rights Organization; How to Organize A United Front Against the Neoconservative Agenda, Gilda Jacobs; The State FY 2007 Budget: Who Benefits, Who Losses?, Rep. Aldo Vagnozzi; Young People’s Hopes and Concerns for the Future: a panel of youth activists; November 7th Ballot Issues, Opposing Military Recruitment on Campuses, F.A.M.E.; Jan Dolan, League of Women Voters; Implications of the 2006 Election, former Rep. David Bonior. Whenever feasible, GPMD took ACTION on the issues highlighted by its speakers.
1. The Gray Panthers Health Committee was chaired by Randy Block and Flora Hommel.
2. Distributed literature and spoke to local groups on the benefits from a single payer health system and Rep. John Conyers’ single payer legislation (HR 676).
3. We distributed over 700 “Donut Hole” post cards to our members and allies to urge Congress to reform the Medicare Part D prescription program as part of a nation-wide Gray Panthers campaign.
4. Post cards that advocated for HR 676 were distributed to Panthers and community groups.
5. We encouraged the public to participate in national Citizens Working Group on line and public hearings to learn what kind of health care system the American public wants.
6. Distributed literature at Cover the Uninsured health fair at Cobo Hall.
7. Gray Panthers participated in a Coalition for Health Care Now. This group organized a demonstration along Woodward Avenue and 9 Mile, urging drivers to honk for health care.
Peace & Social Justice:
1. Gray Panthers participated in various Martin Luther King Day marches during January 2007.
2. Carl Reinstein represented Gray Panthers on the Detroit Area Peace with Justice Network (DAPJN), which planned many peace related activities.
3. Sigrid Dale regularly updated Panthers and the public on peace and justice legislation at Gray Panthers’ meetings and through newsletter articles.
4. Panthers protested Pentagon spending boosts in the FY 2006 federal budget.
5. Gray Panthers went to Oakridge, Tennessee to protest building of nuclear weapons.
6. We joined a coalition that was successful in getting an increase in Michigan’s minimum wage.
7. Panthers joined a coalition and leafleted to oppose an S.O.S. “TABOR” ballot proposition that would have created significant cuts in State funding. The Coalition challenged and defeated S.O.S.
8. Our Network worked with a Davenport University professor to help restore the honor and memory of Viola Liuzzo, a slain Detroit civil rights worker. We helped purchase trees and clean up the Viola Liuzzo playground in Detroit. .
9. Panthers supported bills to end Iraq war funding and participated in a demonstration in New York.
10. Gray Panthers joined the One United Michigan coalition and opposed Proposal 2 on the 2006 ballot.
11. With Delores Killewald’s leadership, we supported efforts to raise $11,000 for the Solid Ground homeless shelter in Macomb County.
12. Panthers developed and advocated for adoption of an action plan to challenge “dirty tricks” against the minority party in the Michigan legislature.
13. Our Network sent letters to Congressional representatives calling for the repeal of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that undermines Americans’ civil liberties and due process.
1. Evelyn Foreman, a Detroit public school teacher and a member of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, chaired the Panthers’ Education Committee.
2. Ms. Foreman alerted Panthers on many bills in the Michigan legislature that affect education.
3. Evelyn updated Panthers on State education budget developments as well as federal and State legislation through regular newsletter articles.
4. Evelyn Foreman organized Panthers and others to attend a rally in Lansing to oppose bullying and to support adequate funding for public education.
5. Supported ballot Proposal 5, that would guarantee funding for public education.
1. Harold Stokes chaired Gray Panthers’ Economic Justice committee.
2. The Committee met to examine strategies for various economic justice issues.
3. Harold updated Panthers on IMF and World Organization actions.
4. Information on “Water in Crisis” was distributed to Panthers.
1. Maurice Geary served as the chair of the GP Social Security Committee, which met regularly.
2. Gray Panthers worked as leaders of the Michigan Alliance to Strengthen Social Security and Medicare (MASSSM), a Panthers initiated coalition. They urged legislators to NOT privatize Social Security.
3. Gray Panthers alerted the public about a Bush Administration proposal to include funds in the FY 2007 federal budget to privatize Social Security.
4. Provided Social Security issue information at public events, through GP newsletter and flyers.
Newsletter Committee, Publicity, Website
1. Mary Ray and Ethel Schwartz published nine newsletters.
2. Flo Smith mailed press releases regarding our meetings to 14 newspapers.
3. Randy Block maintained a web-site which included a Peace with Justice calendar of events that is viewed by local activists as an indispensable resource for local peace and justice groups.
1. Co-Convener, Randy Block, served on the National Gray Panthers Board of Directors and provided leadership on its Executive, Membership and Issues/Action Committees.
2. Mary Ray maintained membership records and coordinated periodic telephone tree action alerts to mobilize GPMD members on key issues.
3. Flo Smith maintained excellent treasury records.
4. Co-Convener Ethel Schwartz served as Co-Chair of the Coalition for Health Care Now, Co-Chair of the Buck Dinner and has been an inspirational leader in other union and community groups.