Community Stories: Norm Clement

Published on November 3, 2022 in

This time of year, our communities are flooded with people knocking on doors, trying to get residents to vote for this person or vote against that initiative. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you never see or hear from those people again. 

In 2017, I started the Detroit Change Initiative (DCI) to flip that scenario on its head. We focused on voter education, voter engagement, voter mobilization, voter protection, and youth leadership development. We’re ingratiated in our neighborhoods so that you’re not just seeing us when it’s time to vote – but all year around. And you trust us because we’ve been on the ground, engaged and educating the community about available resources. 

I want people – especially young people – to understand that the politicians work for us. Voting is just one aspect of the political process. Just like the lobbyists are talking to elected officials and getting their interests moved forward, we can do the same. But if politicians feel like only a certain segment of the population is voting, then that’s where they’re going to put their focus. Our vote is our power. 

I show young people how to keep an ear to the political game. That’s how we keep the focus on our cities and getting resources in that can help to secure our future. I want people to learn how to use their vote so that when they cast a ballot, they’re getting something in return. We can amplify the voice of the people for collective change – from the grassroots to the treetops.

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