Person

Art Reyes III

Occupation:

Democratic Political Activist and Organizer

Nationality:

American

Art Reyes III is a liberal political activist and organizer who was instrumental in Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in Michigan in the 2020 presidential election. Time magazine identified Reyes as a key figure in the “shadow campaign” to beat former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. [1]

2020 Election

Reyes led Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts through We Make Michigan: Count Every Vote, a coalition of left-leaning groups that sought to extend early voting and voting-by-mail for the 2020 election. Prior to the election, Reyes urged supporters to contest alleged Republican efforts “to mislead and intim[id]ate people from voting.” [2]

Months after the election, Time magazine identified Reyes as a key figure in what it called the “shadow campaign” to “save the 2020 election,” and ensure that it would be “free and fair, credible and uncorrupted.” As part of this “shadow campaign,” Reyes called on Democratic activists to take up position in Detroit precincts during vote-counting on election night. Reyes also encouraged activists to flood the Wayne County canvassing board’s November 17 meeting to certify the election results and provide testimony on-the-record. [3]

In December 2020, when then-President Donald Trump invited Michigan House speaker and Michigan Senate majority leader to the White House, Reyes sent activists to stand at airports in Michigan and Washington, D.C. to place pressure on the officials. After the meeting, when the officials went out for a drink, an artist projected images of the representatives onto the side of a building with the caption “THE WORLD IS WATCHING.” [4]

After the 2020 election results were certified, Reyes wrote in a series of posts that President Trump’s post-election challenges were “racist dog-whistle[s] attempting to disenfranchise Black folks.” He also claimed that the Count Every Vote coalition “operated as a collective” that was “the future” in politics. [5]

Background

Reyes was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and comes from a family of United Auto Workers union members. [6] Reyes is the founding executive director of We The People Michigan, a left-of-center advocacy and organizing group that he founded in 2017, while working as a fellow at the Roddenberry Foundation. The Roddenberry Fellowships provide $50,000 prizes to 20 left-progressive activists to support projects in civil rights advocacy, environmentalism, expansionist immigration policy, and LGBT issues. [7] Reyes developed We The People Michigan as his fellowship project. [8] He has claimed that the group was initially founded in response to 2016 revelations that water supplies in Flint, Michigan contained elevated levels of lead which had caused an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. [9]

Before founding We The People Michigan, Reyes was the training director at the Center for Popular Democracy, a liberal voter mobilization group. Reyes led national training programs for voter mobilization organizers. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. [10]

References

  1. Molly Ball. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Time. February 4, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  2. Mary Schuermann Kuhlman. “Michigan Groups Mobilize to Protect the Vote and Protect Democracy.” Detroit Metro-Times. November 3, 2020. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2020/11/03/michigan-groups-mobilize-to-protect-the-vote-and-protect-democracy ^
  3. Molly Ball. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Time. February 4, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  4. Molly Ball. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Time. February 4, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  5. Art Reyes III. “Art Reyes, Michigan Activist, Tells ‘How We Prevailed When Our Democracy Was On The Brink.’” Deadline Detroit. November 25, 2020. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/26748/art_reyes_michigan_activist_tells_how_we_prevailed_when_our_democracy_was_on_the_brink ^
  6. “The Team.” We The People Michigan. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.wethepeoplemi.org/team ^
  7. Roddenberry Foundation. “The Roddenberry Foundation Launches $1 Million Fellowship Fund for US-Based Activists.” PR Newswire. June 26, 2018. Accessed March 7, 20201. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-roddenberry-foundation-launches-1-million-fellowship-fund-for-us-based-activists-300493750.html. ^
  8. “Art Reyes III.” Roddenberry Fellowships 2017. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://roddenberryfoundation.org/blog/fellow/art-reyes-iii/ ^
  9. Max Larkin. “For Many, Rick Snyder Is The Man Who Poisoned Flint. Harvard Believes He Has Lessons To Teach.” WBUR. July 2, 2019. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.wbur.org/edify/2019/07/01/snyder-harvard-fellow-flint-michigan ^
  10. “The Team.” We The People Michigan. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.wethepeoplemi.org/team    ^
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