This is what a divide looks like: an East Lansing mom who can’t understand conservatives and a Harbor Springs woman who can’t understand liberals; a U.P. couple looking for jobs, and a Muslim couple searching for security. On the west side of the state, a Grand Rapids businessman wants lower taxes. And on the east side, a Flint homeowner just wants clean water.
“Michigan Divided,” a documentary by Bridge Magazine and The Center for Michigan, follows six families through a tumultuous year of politics to see if they can find common ground.
“It’s like they’re gangs…like we’re the Crips and they’re the Bloods,” a frustrated Flint native Marlando Wade says about the partisan strife in the film. “They don’t realize people are getting hurt in their turf war.”
“Michigan Divided” will premiere March 14 at a free public policy conference hosted by The Center for Michigan in the Huntington Club conference facility at Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
The full-day conference, which focuses on good government and is open to the public, will cover a variety of issues, ranging from Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure to the health of our cities, to ballot issues voters may face in November. The conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and includes continental breakfast and lunch.
Related: Meet the powerhouse panel for our March 14 Michigan Good Government Summit
Related: See the film on March 22 in Detroit for our Michigan Prosperity Summit
Coming soon: Michigan Truth Tour stops all over the state will show the film in full
“Michigan Divided” is a film version of a year-long Bridge Magazine project of the same name that followed 11 people from across the state in 2017.
“It feels like people have a completely different view of reality,” former Michigan Republican Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema says in the film. Former Democratic Senate Minority Leader Bob Emerson agreed, adding: “It’s ‘You’re wrong, and I don’t have to listen to you any more, I can unfriend you.’”
The documentary sprang from concern that Michigan was slipping into the partisan divides afflicting much of the country, with some residents losing an ability to see the good in people with whom they disagree. This as the state faces critical decisions this election year on crumbling infrastructure and schools, jobs and taxes.
“It’s easy to shout and pass blame, but the problems we all face every day in Michigan can’t be solved by shouting,” said Michigan Divided film director Al Lilly. “If this movie can motivate just one person to start a conversation with someone they disagree with, I’ll consider it a success.”
The documentary will next be shown March 22, at Bridge Magazine’s Personal Prosperity Solutions Summit at the College for Creative Studies, in the General Motors Auditorium within the Taubman Center, 460 W. Baltimore St., Detroit.
To see other upcoming showings of the documentary around the state, or to inquire about setting up a showing for a group in your community, visit www.michigandivided.com.
March 14 - Bridge Magazine's Good Government/A Great Place to Live Solutions Summit
March 20 - Michigan Municipal League's Capitol Conference
1:15 – 2:30 at the Lansing Center, 333 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48933
March 22 - Bridge Magazine's Personal Prosperity Solutions Summit
April 17 – Calvin College and Grand Rapids Partners
May 1 - Michigan Works! Ogemaw
In West Branch, exact location and time TBD
May 2 - Otsego County Community Foundation
August 24 -Boyne Area District Library
2-3: 30 pm at the Boyne District Library, 201 E Main St, Boyne City, MI 49712
October 10 - City of Grand Haven and the Loutit District Library
7 - 8:30 pm at the Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Interested in organizing a viewing party in your community?
Don’t see your community on list of upcoming showings? Contact Amber DeLind, at 734-926-4285 or adelind@thecenterformichigan.