Michigan Swimming COVID-19 Community Activism Toolkit

ROCHESTER HILLS, MICHGIAN - July 30, 2020 - Michigan Swimming is proud to announce that it has partnered with USA Swimming and the National Aquatics Coalition to develop a community activism toolkit for use by the general public. Michigan Swimming recognizes that public pools serve a critical public health function in Michigan communities, and when those facilities remain closed, such need goes unmet. Democracy works when the voices of many are heard, thus Michigan Swimming sincerely hopes this tookit assists concerned citizens in their advocacy efforts.

Michigan Swimming wishes to emphasize that such a community activism effort is not meant to be an attack on our state and local officials who have worked tirelessly to protect Michiganders in unprecedented circumstances. In fact, a community activism effort aims to do just the opposite; it is imperative that the community convinces state and local officials that, as a community that uses indoor public pools in a purposeful manner, we are committed to doing so in a manner that is safe and continues to protect public health. This is our moment to step up, together, and show that our community can be trusted to do this right. As our community utilizes this toolkit, remember that by engaging in this effort, we are committing to doing our part to keep fellow Michiganders safe when indoor pools are finally allowed to re-open.

Document 1: Purposeful Use of Pools Talking Points (available here)
This document is the most important document in the toolkit. Please use this to craft your messaging as you pursue your activism efforts. The most critical component of any community activism effort is having a cohesive, convincing message. This effort is no different. To be successful as a community, we must all stay on the same general message. This document provides broad guidance for messages likely to be successful with supporting talking points accompanying below.
The messages and supporting talking points center entirely on the purposeful use of pools and the critical functions pools serve in our communities; these messages are the ones most likely to be successful in garnering support for our cause with public officials. Our community must demonstrate to state and local officials the many important functions pools serve in our communities, whether it be from physical fitness, mental wellness, or public safety.
Document 2: Guidelines for Safe Reopening of Public Pools (available here)
This document is designed to supplement and enhance the guidelines for the safe re-opening of facilities published by USA Swimming earlier this year. After convincing state and local officials of the important role of public pools in our society, it is imperative to convince them that these pools can be re-opened in a safe manner. Further, by having such well-developed guidelines, we demonstrate that we, as a community, are taking efforts to protect public health very seriously. This document is designed to both be used by clubs for informational purposes while developing club-specific re-opening plans and to accompany the public's communications to state and local officials.
Document 3: Template Letter for Communicating with State and Local Officials (available here)
This document is a template the the community can use to communicate with state and local officials. The standard verbiage has been crafted to incorporate key talking points from Document 1, express appreciation for the difficult decisions our state and local officials have had to make throughout this public health crisis, and re-affirm our community's commitment to a safe re-opening of indoor public pools. The last section is where writers can input their own narrative to tell the story of how indoor public pools closures has impacted them and their community.
Document 4: Sample Media Pitch (available here)
This document is a template geared specifically toward clubs and coaches as they correspond with local media outlets. A word of caution: in the media, every word has the potential to be scrutinized and spun, one way or another. Any efforts are most likely to be successful with our efforts if we remain level-headed and stick to the talking points outlined in Document 1.
As additional resources are developed and published, they will be disseminated to the general public as soon as possible.

Contact Information for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Phone (Constituent Services): +1.517.335.7858
Locate your Michigan State Representative or Michigan State Senator's contact information through the Michigan legislature's website.

Additional Resources