Last night I spoke on the phone with Pastor David Bullock, the president of the Michigan Chapter of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Highland Park NAACP. He and his group are organizing a Martin Luther King Day march on the Ann Arbor home of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Details on the “Occupy for Democracy Rally” to protest Michigan’s anti-democratic Emergency Manager law are below.
Pastor Bullock, who was recently interviewed on The Ed Schultz Show (video HERE), is a young, energetic and, passionate advocate for the cause of southeastern Michigan African Americans and other people of color. While others who speak about Public Act 4 and its impact on Detroit can come across as a bit shrill, Pastor Bullock is calm, direct and on-point. An he does have a point.
One of the questions I am regularly asked is “Well, if you don’t like the Emergency Manager law, then what is YOUR answer?” I posed the same question to Pastor Bullock. “Well, my first response,” he told me, “is that dismantling democracy has nothing to do with fixing deficits. In fact, democracy is what ensures accountability and transparency when we are working to solve these problems.
“Second, over the last decade, our state and our country have been hemorrhaging jobs, losing jobs to other countries. This crushes the tax base in cities like Flint and Pontiac and Benton Harbor and Detroit. So when you are talking about solutions, you must talk about reinvestment in our cities and trade policy.
“The Emergency Managers come in cutting, not solving these problems. Cutting fire and police and attacking unions is putting a band-aid on a wound needing stitches. There is no reinvestment in our cities.
“What we need are incentives for companies to hire locally. Right now, when companies come in to do work, there’s no guarantee that they will hire locals. I like to compare it to a momma with six kids and two pork chops. No matter how good a mother she is, they’re still eating gravy for dinner. That’s not an attack on her character or how good a mother she is. She just needs more pork chops! Michigan needs more pork chops!”
We talked about the fact that, if Detroit and Inkster come under the control of an Emergency Manager, over half of the African Americans living in Michigan will be without local democratically-elected representation. Pastor Bullock said it’s even more egregious than that. “If Detroit gets an Emergency Manager,” he told me, “over 75% of the African American elected officials in Michigan will be essentially useless” as the Emergency Manager pushes them out of the job they were elected to do.
Monday’s “Occupy for Democracy” march on Governor Snyder’s home begins at 4 p.m. People are being asked to park at Washtenaw Community College at 4800 East Huron Drive. You can then walk the short distance to the rally point or take a shuttle. The Washtenaw County Sheriff Department is cooperating and will be on hand to reroute traffic on Geddes Road and to provide public safety services. There will also be rally marshals assisting rally goers and resolving any issues that may arise. Organizers are adamant that this is a peaceful demonstration.
Speakers at the “Occupy for Democracy” rally will include:
- Pastor David Bullock, President of Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Highland Park NAACP
- Pastor Van Cedric Williams, Ypsilanti Second Baptist Church and president of the Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and Vicinity Ministerial Alliance
- Michael Owens, president of the Council Of Baptist Pastors Of Detroit And Vicinity
- Brandon Jessup, president & CEO of Michigan Forward
- Reverend Edward Pinkney, Benton Harbor
- Representative from the Washtenaw Community Action Team
- Representative from United Autoworkers (UAW)
Shuttles from various parts of the state like Detroit, Benton Harbor, Inkster, Highland Park, Muskegon and Flint will be available. For information on the shuttle buses, check out their Facebook page.
For more updates and further details about the event, visit the Rainbow PUSH Detroit Facebook page. If you have further questions, call 313-303-8002.
Finally, here’s a YouTube video to share: