Fannie Lou Hamer, a Black freedom fighter who organized during the freedom struggles of the 1960s and 70s, famously said that “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

Sommer Foster has championed these values as a racial justice and pro-Black advocate in Michigan for some time. We’re excited to announce that Sommer will join Tameka Ramsey as the new Co-Executive Director of Michigan Voices.

You can learn more about Sommer’s amazing story below.

 

Sommer Foster is the first African American and first woman of color elected to the Canton Township Board of Trustees. She previously worked for For Our Future Action Fund, where she worked with and proviedd grants to organizations that are led by and engage people of color to do electoral and civic engagement work. Prior to joining the Canton Township Board and For our Future, she was the Director of Policy and Outreach at Equality Michigan and was elected to the Canton Public Library Board of Trustees and served as Vice-Chair.

Sommer has been involved in the Canton community in many ways. She is the board Representative on the Roads Task Force and the Culture Arts and Heritage Commission. She serves on the Canton Response to Hate Crimes Coalition, in her role on the coalition, she was a part of the planning team for the first Not In Our Town event. She served as Co-Chair for the VoteYesPCCS Bond committee, is on the PCCS Sex Education Advisory Committee, the PCCS Community-DistrictEquity Leadership Team (C-DELT).

 

She is the Chair and founding member of the Beloved Community Plymouth Canton, a group currently working to engage and facilitate conversations with the Plymouth and Canton community on issues of racial equity and racial reconciliation. The Beloved Community has held community-wide conversations with different faith houses on many different issues, such as black men being gunned down by law enforcement, the Pulse Night Club Shooting in Orlando, the racist murders at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, the white supremacist March in Charlottesville and the Muslim Ban. Through her work with the Beloved Community, she has worked with the Plymouth Canton Schools on a Martin Luther King essay contest which has given out $8,000 in scholarships to students since 2014.

Sommer has worked for Congressman David Curson in the United States House of Representatives, State Representative Dian Slavens, and interned for Obama for America. She is a member of the NAACP Leadership 500, Was a Center for Progressive Leadership and Emerge Michigan fellow. She was the President of the Canton Democratic Club, a Vice Chair to the 11th District Democrats and was elected as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

 

 

Sommer got her passion for community service and her work ethic from her family, Beginning at age 13, Sommer began spending Summers in Battle Creek, Michigan, working with her uncle and aunt in churches to helping to register voters. Her passion for politics comes from her Grandmother who worked on Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign and her godfather the late Dr. Benjamin L Hooks who was the executive director for the NAACP and the first African American criminal court judge in Tennessee. Sommer studied Political Science at Eastern Michigan University and spends her free time with the most important person in her life, her son William.

The Executive Committee selected Sommer Foster after a rigorous process, and are excited to have such an incredible champion of social justice and democracy in leadership at Michigan Voices.

Thank you to everyone on the Executive Committee: John Keserich from Planned Parenthood, Baldomero “Mero” Gonzalez from America Votes, Katie Kelly from For Our Future, Danielle Atkinson from Mothering Justice, and Aamina Ahmed, a Michigan United board member.

Please join me in welcoming Sommer Foster to the network! Sommer, I’m looking forward to working with you to create a world where everyone can thrive and live in their full dignity.

— Alexis Anderson-Reed, Chief Executive Officer
— Steven Montoya, Senior Director of State Capacity Building