Nicki Hurley – KCDP Dem of the Month for June 2019

Nicki Hurley

I have been involved in local politics on and off since the spring of 2009.

I assisted a friend to promote and organize a campus wide event for Western Michigan University focused on raising awareness to poverty and raising funds for Clean Water For The World. The successful completion of my first event led to the offer to organize with the Kalamazoo Peace Center as well as my undergraduate social work internship with the Kalamazoo City Commission.

I have organized social and political justice events focused on highlighting the strengths and abilities of marginalized populations such as discussion panels featuring those individuals experiencing homelessness as well as individuals with disabilities.

I have directed a documentary film highlighting the need to reduce stereotyping and discrimination of individuals who are blind and visually impaired as well as several short films describing the complex intersectionality of individuals with disabilities.

Currently my main focus is organizing my documentary film screenings as I complete my MSW at Case Western Reserve University and my MSW field placement in Kalamazoo.

I attend and volunteer with several events through the KCDP such as canvassing events and the parades. I loved volunteering at Kalamazoo Pride this year! I completed 2 shifts collecting demographics in order to assist Pride to be even more amazing next year.

Last summer I spent a lot of time canvassing for Sean McCann’s state senate campaign. I also worked for the 60th District Service Office canvassing for the Summer Organizing Institute, and I worked canvassing for Mothering Justice in the fall of 2018. I spent long days talking to individuals who experience the most direct impact from legislation that excludes the very citizins who have the right to vote for the legislation to begin with.

I registered several individuals to vote in the November 2018 elections and had countless conversations with individuals about what they would like to see change in the city of Kalamazoo and beyond.

I am a Democrat because I innately believe that every one has a legal right to have their civil and human rights recognized and promoted under constitutional law regardless of where individuals fall on our polarizing political spectrum. I know that the more I put myself out there that I am showing my community that individuals with disabilities work hard and will not back down despite any level of stereotyping or discrimination.

The issue that is most important to me at this moment is the need for individuals with disabilities to be equally represented in the employment field and that their work is not exploited with low pay or menial tasks. I know that even college-educated individuals with disabilities encounter glitches when applying for long term employment regardless of their academic achievements or professional experience. I hope to assist to make it better for individuals with disabilities by continuing to construct my nonprofit organization in the works after I graduate with my MSW.

The most significant change that I can clearly recognize in my life from my first experience in local politics and my current experiences is that I have not lost as many friends due to political disagreements. I lost several friends while assisting with the 1856 campaign back in the fall of 2009. Now I can openly promote or raise awareness to any social or political justice issue and agree to disagree without losing friendships. The interesting aspect regarding my 3 canvassing positions with campaigns last summer is that the strongest republican I know would super-glue and crazy-glue my shoes back together after they began falling apart several times. He’d even drive me to some of my volunteer shifts at the KCDP. He never has once shamed me for my beliefs. I have saved my canvasing shoes to remind me of how many doors that I knocked on and how many people I have spoken to. My canvassing shoes remain a physical example of all of my hard work and the strength and inclusion of the local Democratic party.

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