Skip to main content

Watch: 2020 Michiganians of the Year embody courage, commitment

Show Caption

This has been a year in need of superheroes.

The challenges of a killer pandemic, racial strife, a tumultuous election and a struggling economy demanded people willing to step up and make an extraordinary effort on behalf of their fellow citizens.

Fortunately, Michigan has an abundance of such amazing human beings. 

Every year, The Detroit News honors a small group of individuals who give of themselves to make Michigan a better place to live.

These are people committed to finding solutions, willing to invest their time, energy and money for the greater good of Michigan.  

The 42nd class of Michiganians of the Year represents the best of a good people. We singled out these dozen people as examples of the courage and commitment that embodies the residents of this state. 

Among them is a genuine football hero who, with his wife, works for racial equity. A Detroit woman who holds the hands of rape victims. An international auto CEO who is making a big bet on the city of Detroit. A fair housing advocate fighting foreclosures and evictions. A judge and a politician who are reforming the criminal justice system. The man who spent a decade making Michigan fertile for jobs and investment. A banker who has guided multimillion-dollar philanthropic campaigns. A nurse who helps refugees get medical care. And the transgender woman who took her fight for equal rights to the U.S. Supreme Court, but died without knowing she'd won.

Different individuals. Different stories. Different approaches to making a difference. But all doing their best for Michigan.

 We salute these 2020 Michiganians of the Year.

Read their stories:

Matt and Kelly Stafford

Kalimah Johnson

Mike Manley

Ted Phillips

Sandra Pierce

Najah Bazzy

Bridget McCormack and Garlin Gilchrist

Doug Rothwell

Aimee Stephens

Wright Lassiter