Getting Business Leaders Civically Engaged
Do you feel like we still have so far to go to live in a people first economy? Of course, a crucial first step includes businesses adopting people first company policies.
But to create a people first economy, we need to create systematic change.
Local and state policies determine so much of how our economic systems operate. And elected officials depend on the voice of local business leaders, the ‘backbone of our economy,’ to move forward solutions that are good for businesses and our communities.
In the PFE Impact Project, we help business leaders learn about local and state policy proposals, evaluate how proposals could impact their business, and speak up in favor of policies that are good for businesses and move us towards a people first economy.
Issue Areas We Care About
Proposals across the country, including Michigan, aim to restrict voting.
These proposals include tightening strict voter ID requirements, making it more difficult to register, restricting access to mail-in voting, and increasing a state’s ability to purge voters that don’t vote in every election. These restrictions aren’t necessary, disproportionately impact low income and racial/ethnic communities, and worsen income disparity.
- Restrictions aren’t necessary. Out of a billion ballots between 200 and 2014, only 31 cases of voter fraud were found. There simply isn’t the need to make it harder to vote.
- Restrictions help fuel economic inequality. Low voter turnout goes hand in hand with economic policies that increase hardship and expand income inequity, which adds risks for businesses.
- Restrictions lead to a less representative elected body. When participating in democracy is difficult, it isn’t equally difficult. Low income and non-white racial and ethnic communities are more likely to have an under-resourced polling location, face longer wait times, and have hourly jobs without paid time off to vote. These extra hurdles have led to lower voter turnout and legislative bodies being overly representative of higher-income and white interests.
The Solution: Become a Voter-Friendly Business!
MI Business In Support of Democracy
At People First Economy, we believe that small businesses thrive when our democracy thrives. Safe and secure elections are the bedrock of a thriving democracy. Small businesses support measures that ensure our employees and team members can vote without intimidation or interference regardless of what party, issue or candidate they may support. And we strongly denounce the incessant and baseless attacks on our democracy and elections by those who seek to undermine faith in our democratic institutions and subvert the will of the voters.
People First Economy proudly serves as Michigan’s hub for certified B Corporations. Our diverse member businesses believe in achieving the highest standards of public transparency, social and environmental stewardship, as well as balancing profit with purpose. As an organization, we are focused on our people because they make our businesses succeed, they drive our economy and they make Michigan a great place to live, work and play.
People First Economy member Gricelda Mata, owner of Lindo Mexico said, “As a Latina business owner and leader, I have the privilege of seeing my community step up and serve their neighbors in every way – as business owners, employees, teachers, parents – we are helpers making Michigan a better place to live. Michigan’s Latino population is growing and we are investing in businesses and creating jobs and prosperity for everyone in our state. We need to know that we are being protected as well.”
Since the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the nation’s Capitol, our democracy has been under sustained attack. In Michigan, we have seen restrictive and punitive election bills introduced that would reduce access to participating in our electoral process. These harmful restrictions disproportionately impact low-income families as well as racial and ethnic communities and they worsen income disparity. Regardless of which party or candidate you support, we should all agree that our democracy works best when it represents and reflects the will of the people.
People First Economy member Julie Kibler, Owner of Field & Fire Bakery and Café said, “We work tirelessly to create a space where our employees can feel safe and valued for their time and talents. Workforce instability has affected our business drastically over the past year, and due to a constant fear of losing our most precious human rights, it is no wonder why people have a hard time dedicating their time to any position. We feel like we must constantly be fighting, when we want to be serving good food to our neighbors and growing our business into a community institution.”
Our communities and people cannot thrive, nor can our businesses succeed, if the future of our democracy is cloudy or uncertain. Attacks on our democracy create chaos and undermine small businesses and our employees, which is why People First Economy is raising its voice in this critical moment.
Small businesses care about the bottom line. Well, the bottom line is a strong democracy is good for small business. That’s why we urge all businesses, business organizations, business leaders and employees to join us in rejecting attacks that undermine our democracy, denouncing efforts to suppress or restrict our fundamental right to vote and refusing to support candidates, organizations or efforts that silence the will of the people we serve or coddle or provide comfort to those individuals who attacked our Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Hanna Schulze, President
People First Economy