Blessed are the Advocates
by Kelly Breen (D - Novi)
Committees: Judiciary and Insurance
On January 13, 2021, the elected members of the Michigan House and Senate convened to begin the 101st Michigan Legislature. Seated in the hallowed chamber, I began to digest my historic surroundings and understand my new responsibilities as a freshman legislator. While the pandemic has thwarted some traditional ceremonial aspects of assuming state office, I am honored and thrilled to serve the 38th District. As necessity is the mother of invention, people and organizations found new ways to function, communicate, and cope.
We are lingering in purgatory, waiting for a tipping point in the war on COVID-19 foisted upon our democracy by an outgoing Federal administration. Michiganders are no stranger to the domestic strife seen in recent weeks. In these moments, I am reminded of the importance of advocacy and grateful for those who join a cause greater than themselves. I find comfort knowing in every area of our state’s legal system, there are advocates working towards a brighter tomorrow. Organizations like the Michigan Association for Justice, and the advocates who comprise its membership, will certainly continue to lead the way in finding the solutions that our communities are depending on.
In the area of workers’ compensation, MAJ advocates are poised to take on the fight for fair job search standards and ensure the people who are injured on the job are treated with the dignity they deserve. Public health advocates, who have valiantly helped to inform and advise our community leaders over the past year, will continue to sound the alarm on how current pandemic has pulled back the veil on a greater inequality that exists in our state and our country.
There are advocates who have committed themselves to fight for a more equitable criminal justice system. There are advocates who will continue to be forceful defenders of respectful debate and uphold the values of our constitutional system. There are advocates who will heed the call to support their neighbors’ well-being and be a part of something greater than themselves. These advocates continue to make MAJ a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
2020 has shown us there is never a bad time to become an advocate. Advocates will continue to provide a voice to the masses in our society who go unheard in the halls of power. As former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power once said, “All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.” As we begin this new year and this new legislative term, I am proud to bear witness to the empathy of so many of my fellow MAJ members and the brilliant advocacy work that so many people are doing every day. I am honored to be a member of this wonderful organization, and I look forward to working with you all to bring our advocacy to the Michigan House of Representatives this year.