Started by Detroit natives Allison Kriger and Ellen Schneider, Vote Detroit is a local, nonpartisan initiative aimed at raising awareness about the importance of political participation.
Energy and interest in the city is at an all-time high. Throughout Detroit, entrepreneurs, artists and makers from all walks of life are fueling a renaissance. We have innovation and creativity. We have enthusiasm and passion. We have a thirst for real progress. But what we don’t have is enough Detroiters channeling that energy into reinvesting in and reinventing city government.
At the core of the existing and increasing energy is the possibility that we might really have the opportunity to end a decades-long cycle of decay and move the city forward. But, Detroit won’t move forward if we don’t make the connection between voting and quality of life. We need to stop passively accepting mediocrity, and elect leaders who will make decisions that resolve the city’s serious infrastructure issues – crime, broken schools, lack of services. The time is now. Help us spread the word.MEET OUR TEAM
Allison, a Detroit native, is an attorney for LaRene and Kriger, P.L.C., a criminal defense firm located in Downtown Detroit. She grew up immersed in local politics, learning early on the importance of civic participation and, on the other hand, the danger of voter apathy. Those values stuck with her, and upon graduating from Michigan State University, she accepted a position with Michigan State Senator Buzz Thomas (D-Detroit) where she helped Senator Thomas connect with and serve his constituents by advocating for policies and leveraging resources critical to the community’s long-term stability.
In 2009, with a career in social justice work in mind, Allison enrolled in Wayne State University Law School. As a student, she worked for a Detroit-based law firm specializing in civil rights and constitutional litigation and police misconduct cases. She felt compelled to work on behalf of individuals whose civil rights and liberties were violated by government officials, municipalities and police departments. She was particularly affected by a case brought on behalf of a Detroit resident who, as a result of police misconduct, was wrongfully convicted of a horrible crime and served 26 years in prison until he was exonerated through DNA evidence.
Exposure to these grave injustices, both through her practice and growing up in the city, affirmed the importance of the fundamental principles on which this country was founded – freedom, liberty and justice for all – and prompted her to dedicate her life to criminal defense work.
Ellen is a recent graduate of Wayne Law and an attorney with Schneider Miller, P.C., a bankruptcy firm located in downtown Detroit. Growing up in Rosedale Park, Ellen developed an interest in urban issues at an early age, recognizing the many ways in which community organizing and civic engagement could contribute to a high quality of life for neighborhoods in the city. In addition to Vote Detroit, Ellen is also the co-founder of DetroitFREQ, an online community radio station that offers locally produced music, news and community programming celebrating all things Detroit.
Katy is the Director of Strategic Communications at Ignition Media Group (IMG,) a boutique integrated marketing agency in downtown Detroit. She oversees public and community relations strategy for the agency’s retainer and project-based clients. Her experience took her to London, Chicago and New York before returning to her hometown of Detroit in 2009. Prior to joining IMG in July 2011, Katy was the Small Business Programs Manager at the Detroit Regional Chamber. She has also worked at internationally renowned public relations agencies and in an in-house capacity as the sole Public Relations Coordinator for Intermix, a 27-store luxury retailer headquartered in New York City. At Intermix, she oversaw media relations both nationally and in the store’s then 25 regional markets. Throughout her career she has also held stints at Farmington Hills-based Duffey + Petrosky, Fleishman-Hillard International Communications in Chicago, Fingerprint Communications in New York and Franco Public Relations Group in Detroit. She has represented clients including Macy’s, Motorola, The Salvation Army of Southeast Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Polaroid. Katy holds a dual B.A. in political science and public relations from Wayne State University where she was a member of the David Mackenzie Honors Society. She is a member of the B.I.N.G. Institute’s Emerging Leaders Roundtable, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s active professionals committee, Riviere 28, and the Detroit chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA.) She also served as a member of the host committee for Another Detroit is Happening, a week-long event launched in September 2012 to raise awareness of investment (financial and otherwise) opportunities in Detroit.
Roland currently serves at the Director of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition (MEJC). Prior to taking the position with MEJC, he served as the State Field Director at Equality Michigan and a field organizer with Obama for America and the ACLU of Michigan.
While on the staff of Equality Michigan, he played a central role in the passage of a non-discrimination ordinance in Flint, Mich. as well as the successful defense of a similar ordinance in Traverse City, Mich. In addition, he facilitated over twenty advocacy based town halls and community meetings around the state. He has a reputation as an innovative and progressive leader and has brought a pro-equality voice to numerous events in Detroit. In the summer of 2011 he acted as the emcee at Motor City Pride. He also assisted in the production of and was interviewed in the Team Detroit documentary, “Motor City Pride”. The film highlighted Detroit’s growing progressive and young professional LGBT community. He has also worked closely on several projects with Model D Media in its programming and lecture series, and in 2010 he was named one of the Remains of the D blog’s “twelve young versions” of Detroit leadership. He has also served as a guest commentator with Between the Lines and the Huffington Post Detroit, and has appeared on both the Michelangelo Signorile Show and the Tony Trupiano Show several times.
His work in Michigan as a leader in the state’s gay and transgender movement is also well documented. Recently, he developed and facilitated Michigan’s first Equality Leadership Summit with leaders from over 60 community groups and organizations from around the state in attendance. In addition, he has served as the Policy Chair for Declare Detroit. He has also played key leadership roles on the Progress Michigan and Unity Michigan boards. In the past, he partnered with the Hudson Weber Foundation, Ponyride – a creative arts incubator in Detroit – as well as the Roosevelt Park Conservancy.
Roland participated in the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) People of Color Media Institute as well as the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual ,Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Advocacy Fellowship. He has also served as a Michigan Summit Advisory Committee Member since 2009 and an AIDS Partnership Michigan- HIV/AIDS Research Council Community Outreach Committee Member since 2010.
Meredith is a Metro Detroit native that currently works for a local nonprofit in Detroit and is a graduate of Michigan State University. She has experience in nonprofit communications, program development, social media engagement strategies, and building strategic partnerships. Meredith enjoys doing DIY projects and encouraging others,especially young people, to be civically and politically active. She is excited to be working with Vote Detroit and is looking forward to increasing voter turnout this year!