Getting Revved Up in the Motor City

Pictured: PRO’s President, Jim Mason, in Michigan with PRO Board Members Pastor Marvin L. Winans, Sr., and Allison Folmar

Dear Champion of Parental Rights,

It’s not every day that my quest to raise bipartisan support for parental rights brings me face to face with a gospel music legend.

But there I was last Wednesday, attending a town hall meeting near Detroit and finally shaking hands with board member Marvin L. Winans. Though we’ve been on the same team for some time, until now I hadn’t met him in person.

I flew to the Motor City in hopes of talking to U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence about being a co-sponsor of the Parental Rights Amendment expected to be introduced soon in the House. It’s meant to complement S.J. Res. 48, recently introduced in the Senate.

Both measures aim to amend the Constitution so that it explicitly recognizes the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

Because the effort is so crucial, and because it takes a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress to get proposed amendments sent on to the states, we’re trying hard to build a coalition that spans both sides of the political aisle.

With her commitment to family and background as a former mayor and board of education member, Rep. Lawrence would prove an excellent advocate.

Unfortunately, I had been unable to connect with her in Washington. Which is why I found myself at the Sahara Restaurant and Grill in Oak Park, Michigan, as part of a delegation including Pastor Winans and Allison Folmar, a civil rights attorney who is also on the board of, and is a constituent (and friend) of Congresswoman Lawrence.

Rep. Lawrence was there addressing her constituents, but couldn’t help taking time to welcome Marvin as a visiting dignitary. Which is understandable considering that, among other things, Marvin’s accomplishments include pastoring a major local church, founding a school for the performing arts—oh, and winning a Grammy.

We only got a quick introduction to Congresswoman Lawrence but were able to speak longer with her district manager.

Outside the restaurant, Pastor Winans recorded a quick video telling why he supports the Parental Rights Amendment.

“There are things that are dear to me that I must impart to my sons, my grandchildren, and I don’t need the government telling me what I can and cannot say,” he said. “It’s very important [we] get on this bill…to make sure parents have the God-given right to raise their children.”

We hope to arrange a sit-down meeting with Congresswoman Lawrence before Labor Day during the congressional recess, and we encourage you to gather some friends and arrange a similar meeting to discuss S.J. Res. 48 with your Senators. (We’ll send more details on meeting with your Senators next week, and we expect to encourage you to reach out to your representatives in September; stay tuned!)

In preparation for our next push, please share Bishop Winans’ video with your family and friends and urge them to sign up for updates at Urge them to take this vital stand with us. And if you haven’t yet, take a moment to call your Senators and ask them to support S.J. Res. 48.

Then, raising our voices together we can make our message heard and see the Parental Rights Amendment advance!


Jim Mason

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