Tlaib Announces State of the Union Guest

Shanay Watson-Whittaker served as Deputy Campaign Manager of the Michigan Reproductive Freedom For All Campaign

DETROIT — Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) announced that Shanay Watson-Whittaker will join as her guest to President Biden’s State of the Union Address to Congress on Tuesday, February 7.

“Shanay was an integral part in ensuring that abortion rights were enshrined into law in Michigan’s Constitution through her work with the Michigan Reproductive Freedom For All ballot initiative,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “Michigan’s cruel and inhumane 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing health care providers was defeated by the power of the people. Michiganders soundly rejected the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and refused to allow the far-right majority to take away their right to bodily autonomy. This victory would not have been possible without the activists and organizers on the ground, like Shanay, doing the work to protect our fundamental human rights.”

Shanay Watson-Whittaker is Michigan Voices’ Director of Strategic Partnerships. In 2022, she was the Deputy Campaign Manager of the Michigan Reproductive Freedom For All campaign. Shanay previously worked at the Detroit Health Department, Detroit City Council, and the New York City Council.

“Reproductive care and freedom is essential for every person in this country. In Michigan, we did not wait for anyone to save us, not even elected officials,” said Shanay Watson-Whittaker. “As deputy campaign manager for the Reproductive Freedom for All, I’m proud of our efforts that led to restoring Roe in Michigan. I’m proud to bring the stories of the Michiganders who understood the assignment and guaranteed that millions of Michiganders have access to reproductive care. This fight is not over until this is the case for every corner of the United States and I’m honored to be bringing that message to the State of the Union.”

Early on, she served multiple roles advocating for BIPOC people in politics. She served as the Chair of the Young Democrats of America Minority Caucus, Young Democrats of Michigan Minority Caucus, and the New York State Young Democrats Caucus of Color Chair. In 2012, she helped run the NAACP Voters Registration project in Detroit. She managed the 14th District Democratic Party’s GOTV operations for four election cycles.

Shanay raises six young adults and two grandsons with her husband, Ken Whittaker. Shanay is a Jesuit-educated genealogy enthusiast, a die-hard New York Yankees fan, and a broken-hearted New York Knicks and Jets fan! She often quotes her political shero, Shirley Chisholm, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”


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