District 15 help to end child marriage in Michigan

Since 2019, District 15, USA, has been working to end child marriage in Michigan. On 29 September, Governor Cherie Johnson, past governors DeAnna Cambridge and Denise Quarles and Advocacy Co-Chair Denise Sylvester joined bill sponsors Senator Sarah Anthony and Representative Kara Hope as Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the last bill in a 10-bill package to end child marriage in the state.

Zonta clubs across the district supported the bill by:

  • Meeting and calling legislators.
  • Sending in postcards and holding postcard parties at district conferences and workshops.
  • Collaborating to post billboards.
  • Holding educational programming on the dangers of child marriage, held in person and virtual advocacy days
  • Doing numerous advocacy actions surrounding the 16 days of activism.
  • Attending a rally and speaking at committee hearings
  • Providing written testimony for committee hearings, all to end child marriage.
  • Their tireless work led to Michigan becoming the tenth state to end child marriage in the U.S.A.

In 2020, the district joined the newly formed Michigan Coalition to End Child Marriage led by Unchained at Last. This coalition was a game changer because survivors could share their stories. Zonta International was instrumental in leveraging its networks and having the American Association of University Women and the Greater Lansing Area United Nations Association join each club.

These actions gave Zontians the confidence, resources and tools to deliver educational advocacy presentations to the community and advocate directly with elected officials.