WeGP is proud to host a voter rights and education panel on Martin Luther King Jr Day, January 18, from 6 to 7:30 pm! Moderated by Craig Fahle, we’ll hear from experts about their roles in canvassing, challenging, and counting the vote in Michigan. We’ll talk about what went right and wrong, and how we can protect our democracy in future elections.
- Abraham Aiyash, Michigan State Representative (4th District)
- Cynthia Douglas, President, Grosse Pointe/Harper Woods NAACP
- Judy Florian, President, Grosse Pointe League of Women Voters
- Lisa Hathaway, City Clerk, Grosse Pointe Woods
- Wendy Richards, Miller Canfield, Pro Bono program
State Representative Abraham Aiyash is serving his first term in the Michigan House of Representatives. The son of Yemeni immigrants, Abraham Aiyash grew up in a working class family where his father, a UAW member and his mother, a homemaker, raised their children in Hamtramck. He now represents the 4th District, encompassing his hometown of Hamtramck, and surrounding parts of Detroit, advocating for progressive solutions and justice for his community. His political activism began as a community organizer for President Obama’s historic campaign in 2008. As a young man, he found strength in mobilizing his community by amplifying a united voice against systemic problems. He’s realized that real power is driven by the movements started in communities, and hopes to embody those values on the House floor. As a legislator, he hopes to redefine the role of elected officials as he champions solutions on the state level that address social and health disparities in poor and working class communities. He plans to translate his community organizing experience into legislation as he works alongside community activists to ensure their voices are heard in the creation of state policies.
Cynthia Douglas is serving her second term as president of the Grosse Pointes & Harper Woods NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). She has worked as an executive assistant to three mayors of the City of Detroit, with eighteen years of service to the city, and is currently Executive Assistant to the Wayne County Commission. She sits on the boards of the Grosse Pointe Chamber and WE GP Board of Directors. She holds a Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University.
Craig Fahle is the host of the daily "Craig Fahle Show on Deadline Detroit". Previously, he spent four years as Director of Public Affairs for the Detroit Land Bank Authority, where he was responsible for marketing and communications, media relations, and customer service. Prior to joining the DLBA, Craig spent more than twenty years as a public radio journalist. He has worked at NPR affiliate WDET-FM in Detroit, NPR affiliate WFAE in Charlotte, NC, and at the Michigan Public Radio network in Lansing, Michigan. In his time at WDET, he was a reporter, news anchor, editor, talk show host, and finally General Manager for programming. He was assistant news director at WFAE, and was the State capitol correspondent for the statewide Michigan Public Radio network. Craig has won numerous awards for both his reporting and his daily public affairs program, “The Craig Fahle Show”, which aired for seven years on WDET. Craig’s career has been spent interviewing newsmakers, including artists, musicians, authors, politicians and public officials; which included interviews with six Detroit Mayors, and six Michigan governors. Over the course of his talk show, Craig conducted more than ten thousand interviews.
Judy Florian is the current president of the League of Women Voters (Grosse Pointe), having served as the Vice President of Voter Services for the same organization for the previous four years. She has volunteered her time as a poll worker in the city of Grosse Pointe Park for the past ten years. In her professional life, she was a college/university financial aid administrator with over three decades of experience in that field before retiring. She currently serves as the finance officer for the American Association of University Women (Grosse Pointe), and volunteers at Beaumont Grosse Pointe.
Lisa Hathaway is the City Clerk of Grosse Pointe Woods and has served in that role since 2005, having served as Deputy Clerk since 1997. She has received a Level 3 certification from the Michigan Professional Municipal Clerks association. As the city clerk, she oversees elections in Grosse Pointe Woods, and considers 2020 to have been one of the most challenging elections to date - facing COVID-19, the introduction of same-day registration, encouraging voter participation, and interacting with citizens concerned their votes would not count. As the former Director of Membership for the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, she helped develop and launch the first Certified Michigan Municipal Clerk’s (CMMC) certification program. As part of that organization, she served as the Conference Committee Chair, on the Education Committee, and also had the responsibility of serving on the Legislative Committee effecting necessary changes to election laws as well as the Freedom of Information Act. She is a Certified Master Municipal Clerk (MMC) through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, and accredited as an Elections Administrator through the State of Michigan. She is passionate about working with poll workers and election volunteers, particularly students interested in the election process.
Wendy Richards is a principal attorney and the leader of Miller Canfield’s pro bono program, which annually provides more than 8,000 hours of pro bono legal services to individuals, nonprofits and small businesses. Wendy has been involved in several high-impact litigation matters, including the well-publicized Hamama v. Adducci class action representing over 300 Iraqi detainees, which secured an injunction to stop their removal and allow class members the time to pursue relief in immigration court. Recently, Wendy represented the Brennan Center for Justice as amicus curiae against the challenge to Secretary of State Benson’s right to mail absentee ballot applications to all Michigan voters. Starting in 2017, Wendy led a national coalition of law firms, in conjunction with the Brennan Center and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to encourage lawyers and law students to be poll workers. Wendy is a board member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, where she serves on the Democracy Reform committee; Co-Chair of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel’s Voting Rights Task Force; Chair of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance’s Voting Rights Working Group; and a member of the ACLU of Michigan Lawyers’ Committee.