09-13-2018 Letters and Commentary

Upton urges bipartisan reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act U.S. Rep. Fred Upton recently joined colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in sending a letter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging an immediate, bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Upton supported the original VAWA in 1994 and has voted for every subsequent bipartisan reauthorization since (2000, 2005, and 2013). “Programs authorized and funded under VAWA work to protect girls, boys, men, and women from these terrible crimes. The programs provide funding to ensure safety and support for survivors, increase prevention efforts, expand educational awareness surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault, implement training for health professionals and law enforcement, and to coordinate responses across agencies,” Upton and his colleagues write. “We have all seen the positive impact of these programs in our districts and have met individuals in our communities who have benefited from the protections this law provides. “This is not a partisan issue. VAWA has historically been continually reauthorized on a bipartisan basis in Congress. We must act now to maintain and strengthen this critical law.” Read the full letter below: Dear Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McCarthy: As you know, on September 30th the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is set to expire, leaving us only 7 legislative days to prevent a lapse in authorization. We therefore urge you to advance a bipartisan reauthorization of VAWA without delay. Since being signed into law in 1994, VAWA has helped to protect and support millions of Americans who have faced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This landmark legislation has drastically improved our nation’s response to these crimes and has contributed to the overall declining rates of domestic abuse since its enactment. However, instances of violence are still very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in our country, about 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experience some form of contact sexual violence during their lifetime. Programs authorized and funded under VAWA work to protect girls, boys, men, and women from these terrible crimes. The programs provide funding to ensure safety and support for survivors, increase prevention efforts, expand educational awareness surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault, implement training for health professionals and law enforcement, and to coordinate responses across agencies. We have all seen the positive impact of these programs in our districts and have met individuals in our communities who have benefited from the protections this law provides. This is not a partisan issue. VAWA has historically been continually reauthorized on a bipartisan basis in Congress. We must act now to maintain and strengthen this critical law. We urge expeditious reauthorization of VAWA and thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Start Your Engines! United Way of Southwest Michigan’s annual campaign kicks off this week United Way of Southwest Michigan’s campaign is open. And for the second year in a row, United Way has partnered with Tyler Automotive to provide a car challenge. Donors who give $156 are automatically entered into a drawing to win a two-year lease on a sub-compact vehicle from Tyler Automotive. For every additional $100 contributed, donors receive an additional entry into the drawing. Ten finalists are selected, and the 2018 winner will be announced on February 19, 2019 at Tyler Automotive in Stevensville. Consolation prizes will be awarded to the nine other finalists. At last year’s car giveaway, Duane Berger of St. Joseph rode away with a new set of wheels. “We appreciate Tyler’s support of United Way. This campaign created some great engagement around the community, but more importantly, created huge impact,” said Anna Murphy, president of United Way of Southwest Michigan. The automatic entry of $156, which equates to $3 per week, is enough money to provide 34 meals for someone dealing with food insecurity. It provides one free book for a child every month for five years.

United Way of Southwest Michigan leading state-wide unified kickoff Dozens of United Ways across Michigan, led by United Way of Southwest Michigan, kicked off a statewide effort this week to encourage people to get involved in their communities. Michael Larson, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW), said the unified kickoff allows United Ways of all sizes to spotlight their local impact statewide. “While each United Way tackles the needs in their local community, together we improve the quality of life for all people across Michigan,” said Larson. “When we share our ideas and successes, we grow together and transform our communities in meaningful ways.” Beginning Monday, participating United Ways are sharing their stories through advertising, news media and social media. A common online website, letsliveunited.org, includes a video and links to the local United Ways taking part. While the week-long kickoff is statewide, funds raised locally will stay local, Murphy said. “We’re focused on impacting local lives and sharing that story across Michigan.” According to Larson, the unified kickoff sprung from a dialogue four years ago between MAUW, Capital Area United Way, United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, United Way of Jackson County, and United Way of Southwest Michigan. The effort adds no additional cost to participating United Ways, and in fact it helps increase visibility for smaller United Ways that may not have resources for extensive marketing. “United Way connects and mobilizes all sectors in a community to create lasting change that produces healthy, educated and financially stable individuals and families,” Larson said. “The unified kickoff is about telling that story and inviting people to get involved.”

Red Cross: Donors urged to give blood, help blood supply match patient diversity The American Red Cross urges people of all races and ethnicities to give blood to help ensure a diverse blood supply for patients in need. The vast majority of blood types fall into one of the major ABO groups. However, some blood types are unique to certain racial and ethnic groups, so a diverse blood supply is important to meeting the medical needs of an increasingly diverse patient population. Blood given to patients with rare blood types or those who need repeated transfusions for conditions such as sickle cell disease or thalassemia must be matched very closely. Patients are less likely to have complications from blood donated by someone with a similar racial or ethnic background. All blood types are needed to ensure that the right blood product is available at the right time for all patients. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). As a thank-you, those who come to donate blood or platelets through Sept. 30, 2018, will receive a coupon via email for a free haircut at participating Sport Clips locations. More information is available at RedCrossBlood.org/sport-clips. Upcoming blood donation opportunities in the Tri-City Area are Sept. 21, 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., Coloma Township Office, 4919 Paw Paw Lake Rd. and Sept. 28, noon – 5:45 p.m., Federated Church, 65418 Red Arrow Hwy in Hartford. Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.