Grand Rapids Grassroots

Edited by Dani Vilella and Ashley Nickels


While Grand Rapids, Michigan is known for large-scale events like ArtPrize; major businesses like Meijer, Steelcase, and Amway; and the philanthropic and political contributions of its wealthiest residents, there are hundreds — if not thousands — of grassroots activists working day-in and day-out to make Grand Rapids what it is. This collection seeks to raise the voices of those individuals and grassroots groups. The editors have joined forces to compile articles, poetry, and personal narratives about and by the grassroots activists of Grand Rapids. Edited by Ashley E. Nickels and Dani Vilella, in this collection, readers will find first-hand stories about:

  • The lasting effects of discrimination in the city’s Southeast community
  • Disability advocacy and food justice
  • Traversing the city on moped
  • The furniture workers strike of 1911

A complex portrait of an American city in transition and the tireless work of activists to make it a wonderful, just place to live.

Dani Vilella is the Political & Advocacy Field Manager for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and is based in Grand Rapids, MI. She currently serves on the steering committee of the Fountain Street Church Choice Fund, is on the Board of the West Michigan Progressive Women’s Alliance, and is currently a graduate student at Grand Valley State University earning her master’s degree in Nonprofit & Public Administration. She is a dedicated community organizer who is passionate about feminism, human rights, and sexual justice.

Ashley Nickels is an assistant professor of political science at Kent State University in Ohio, where she teaches courses in public and nonprofit administration. A self-described scholar-activist, Nickels began her career focused on feminist activism and organizing. She previously served as the Vice-President of the Michigan National Organization for Women and President of the local Grand Rapids chapter.

See more of our city-specific anthologies.

NOVEMBER 1, 2017 | ISBN: 978-0998018829 | US STATE & LOCAL HISTORY | PAPERBACK | 6 x 9 | 216 PAGES