"We deserve leaders who are rooted in the community and have the experience to deliver real results starting on Day One. As a community organizer and nonprofit professional, I've brought people together to solve tough problems. In Lansing, I'll put that experience and my passion for my home--Canton, Belleville, and Van Buren Township--to work and deliver real results!" - Ethan
FINDING OPPORTUNITY IN MICHIGAN
The American Dream came true for my family who found refuge in Michigan while escaping the Armenian Genocide on my dad's side and economic opportunity in our auto industry on my Mom's side. I learned about the importance of hard work from my grandpa, or as I called him, "Papa." As a child I loved spending time with him and hearing stories about his life and his career as an autoworker and lifelong member of UAW Local 600.
My parents worked full time, went to school at night, and raised my brothers and I to provide us with the same life that their parents--public school teachers and an autoworker--provided for them. Growing up in a 900 sq ft house, we never were well off or well connected politically but it helped me understand how the rules are rigged in favor of the wealthy and well-connected against working families.
INSPIRED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
As a child, the odds were stacked against me. I struggled in school and it was unlikely I’d even graduate high school, let alone go to college. My story didn't end that way. I was fortunate to have a retired teacher who tutored me for free after school and attend strong public schools with dedicated teachers who helped me beat the odds, achieve academically, and make the improbable possible in my life. The way these teachers changed the course of my life allowed me to graduate from Central Michigan University with a B.S. in Public & Nonprofit Administration and Political Science and inspired me to live a life that champions the cause of the voiceless.
This led me to become a certified nonprofit professional and community organizer where I have worked to: feed the hungry, raise financial support to help low-income students afford college, run a Summer service camp for middle and high school students, elect Democratic leaders to public office, and lead a statewide organization dedicated to getting young people involved in the political process. Currently, I serve as a Substitute Teacher in Western Wayne County public schools.
ROOTED IN COMMUNITY
The 21st district is my home. It's where I graduated from Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, where I am a member at Friendship Church in Canton, and where my friends and family are.
I’ve always felt an obligation to give back to the community that made me into the person I am today. I’ve been involved with the Canton Kiwanis Club, served as Membership Director of the Canton Democratic Club, belonged to the Plymouth-Canton Beloved Community, sat on the PCCS Blue Ribbon Panel and the Sexual Education Advisory Committee, and organized volunteer groups to serve the community--making me a two time recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award under President Obama in recognition of my volunteer service in the community.
After college there was no other place I'd rather live, but when I look around at the state I’m proud to call home, I can’t help but be concerned. My classmates from Plymouth-Canton Educational Park (P-CEP) have been forced to leave Michigan to pursue opportunity and stories like mine are less common because of disinvestment in the classroom and one-size-fits-all educational approaches to education. This motivates me to want to create a state where every Michigander can stay and succeed.
My work as an organizer began in neighborhoods here in the 21st State House district while knocking doors with my mentor, former State Representative Dian Slavens. This experience gave me the opportunity to talk with folks about the issues that were keeping them up at night and how they felt government could do better. It made me realize that so many of my neighbors were fighting the same battles that my family had faced: fighting insurance companies to get the medical care their loved one needs, an unexpected expense that blows up an already tight budget, or a child that has so much potential but just needs more support in the classroom.
Since then, I’ve organized communities to hold government officials accountable, advocate for policies that expand opportunity and human rights, and elect Democratic leaders to public office. Additionally, I’ve led a statewide organization dedicated to getting young people involved in the political process and was tapped to manage a large campaign in an effort for Democrats to win control of the Michigan House in 2018.
I'm a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), a credential earned by nonprofit leaders with the skill set and experience needed to build and manage organizations that impact communities.
I've leveraged my experience to work with organizations dedicated to alleviating hunger, raise support for a program to help students stay in school in the face of financial difficulty, walk community members through the process of starting a local nonprofit, and help lead a summer service camp for middle school and high school students to inspire and empower them to serve others.
For years, I have been working on the front line to build a stronger, more diverse, and inclusive Democratic Party. I'm a member of the Southwestern Wayne Democratic Club (covering Van Buren Township and Belleville) and a founding member of the Canton Democratic Club, where I served as Membership Director.
I was privileged to be a part of the team to build our party infrastructure locally which helped turn Canton into a strong Democratic community after years of Republican control and represent the 11th congressional district as a Delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Additionally, I have worked with the Michigan House Democrats to elect more Democrats to the Michigan House; led the Michigan Federation of College Democrats, which is the official youth arm of the Democratic Party statewide; and I serve as an Executive Committee Member and Officer-At-Large of the Michigan Democratic Party.
My experience as a nonprofit professional and community organizer makes me uniquely qualified to get things done on the issues that matter most to our community. I’ve managed staff and large budgets, chaired boards, led campaigns and organizations, and brought people of different backgrounds together behind a common purpose. I'll bring the right experience to the table to be an effective voice for our community starting on day one!