Michigan United, a coalition of union, business, social services and civil rights members, has a new leader who pledges to fight white supremacy.
Ken Whittaker, from Detroit, will take the helm as executive director on April 5, replacing longtime leader and founder of the group, Ryan Bates, who will transition to an advisory and advisory role. Whittaker will also lead the group’s sister organization, Michigan People’s Campaign, a group advocating for economic and racial justice.
“I am so proud of Ken’s leadership and know he is ready to take Michigan United to the next phase of our growth,” Bates said at a press conference Thursday. “His compassion, his heart, his experience and his personal resilience are traits that will serve him well. He is greatly appreciated by the staff and the community, and I know he will work tirelessly to serve both of them.
Whittaker joined Michigan United as a volunteer in 2017, helping to lead efforts to raise the minimum wage. He was also the movement’s policy director, overseeing thousands of volunteers who encouraged people to vote in hard-to-reach communities.
“In the years to come, you can expect Michigan United to double down on what we do best, bringing people together to end white supremacy and look back at the many ways it affects everyone’s lives,” he said. Whittaker said. “Ryan really set us up for success. People across the state are seeing how in the same fight we are all in. It’s amazing what we’ve built together. I can’t wait to move on. top speed and see what we can do.
Prior to joining Michigan United, Whittaker held numerous leadership positions within the state and the National Democratic Party. The Michigan Democratic Party named him Young Democrat of the Year.
“The Board of Directors is very happy that our new leader comes from our own team. It says a lot about Michigan United that our next Executive Director started as a volunteer and worked his way up the ranks, ”said Board Chair Aamina Ahmed. “It shows that we are an institution that prioritizes leadership development and cultivates advocates for the communities we serve. Ken was absolutely the right choice, and we know he will lead us to a strong and fair future.
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