Encore Michigan

Michigan Humanities Council stresses need to fight against GOP funding attack

News April 11, 2017 Encore Staff

The following is a message from the Michigan Humanities Counsel to citizens in favor of government funding of arts and humanities.

LANSING—With one decision, 50 years of essential federal-statelocal partnerships in Michigan will cease – along with it the benefits provided through humanities-based programming. Your town’s library reading program. Understanding the Native American boarding school tragedy. The discussion with veterans about post-traumatic stress disorder. The special arts program at the third grade classroom. Reviewing the effects of poverty on our culture.

These are just a few examples of quality cultural programs sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council. The National Endowment for the Humanities is a very strong supporter of the Michigan Humanities Council. Because of the support we receive, approximately 150,000 Michigan citizens learned about their heritage, the importance of literacy for everyone, the benefits of civility and about how exciting it can be to learn about the culture and traditions of another person.

Through the work of the Michigan Humanities Council families in most of Michigan’s 83 counties discovered special common ground in what is often viewed as a fragmented society. Whether in a large city or small village, our Michigan residents found gathering spaces in our state’s libraries, museums, living room book clubs, book stores, coffee houses and other neighborhood places. Our children built their confidence levels through poetry competitions, by learning to read better, by exploring and savoring their family’s unique history, or through inspiration from a speaker who opened their eyes to a new world. They gathered as students, as grandchildren, as volunteers. They learned through the Museum on Main Street program, or the Great Michigan Read, or by attending an event at their local museum or library, or by participating in a local cultural event or program.

For adults, learning to be a savvy voter, or becoming a more engaged citizen or worker taught them about their community, their region, their state, and their country. Through humanities programming, we all develop an increased awareness of what it takes to achieve our goals and dreams in a competitive global economy. Through 1,053 events last year supported by the Michigan Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Michiganders got to know their neighbors better and gained a richer understanding of themselves as well.

The proposed federal budget calls for elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities – and in turn, the Michigan Humanities Council. With one decision, 50 years of essential federal-state-local partnerships in Michigan and throughout the nation and its territories will cease – along with it will go the benefits provided through humanities-based programming. Our schools need the work of the endowment and the council to teach tomorrow’s generation of leaders – our communities need the work of the endowment and the council to create understanding and tolerance among their residents, our nation and our world need the humanities so we never forget the human stories that serve as the basis for all foundations.

The 22 volunteer members of the board of the Michigan Council for Humanities urge you to reach out to your federal elected officials and strongly encourage them to NOT allow the people of our nation to lose the benefits the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Michigan Humanities Council provide statewide. Imagine the impact of losing this vital resource. It will be our children and our grandchildren who lose the most. As tomorrow’s leaders, workers, teachers and technicians, they need these lessons of life more than ever before. For more information on how to protect the programs that make our nation strong, please visit www.michiganhumanities.org. Understanding one another, and how we function as a society is at stake.

Kathleen Mullins, Ph.D., Board Chair
Paul C. Chaffee LLC, Advocacy Committee Chair
Versell Smith, Jr. Program Committee Chair

Michigan Humanities Council
119 Pere Marquette Drive, Suite 3B
Lansing, Michigan 48912

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