Detroit, Interview — May 23, 2012 at 7:12 am

A Memorial Day “Funeral for Democracy” – Interview with Rev. D. Alexander Bullock


“It’s time not to fight back, but to fight forward”

Next Monday is Memorial Day in the USA, a day to remember those who gave their lives to defend our country and our democracy. On that day, a coalition of civil rights, labor, and faith leaders from around the state are staging another memorial: the death of democracy in Michigan.

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WHAT: Crusade for America Parent and Youth March Funeral for Democracy and Organizing Meeting
WHEN: Monday, May 28, 2012 (Memorial Day), 11 a.m.
WHERE: Galilee Baptist Church, 5251 E. Outer Drive, Detroit, Mich. 48234
WHO: D. Alexander Bullock (Rainbow PUSH Michigan)
Pastor Damon Moseley (Bethel Temple Baptist Church)
Pastor Robert Smith (New Bethel Baptist Church)
Pastor William Revely (Holy Hope Heritage Baptist Church)
Reverend Jeremy Moseley (SCREAM Youth Empowerment Ministries)
Taferi Brent (Detroit Branch NAACP)
Poetic (Mason Radio)
Shu Harris (Moon Ministry)

For more information please visit

The Reverend D. Alexander Bullock put it this way in a press release:

This is a mock funeral, but the death of democracy in Michigan is all too real. The appointment of emergency managers in Michigan cities and school districts has made our vote null and void. The Michigan Board of State Canvassers’ recent decision to deny Michigan citizens the opportunity to determine the future of Public Act 4 is a blatant form of voter suppression. Since the vote in Michigan is meaningless, we will symbolically bury democracy.

Last night I spoke with Rev. Bullock about the event and about his coalition’s path forward.

Looking at the list of participants in this event, I was impressed and and happy to see a wide variety of groups involved.
That’s right. This is not an issue that’s not a black or white. This is about justice and rights for every person in Michigan.

I see that this is one of several events leading up to a March in August. Tell me about that.
The mock funeral on Monday leads up to a huge march on Saturday, August 25 called the Rainbow PUSH Michigan Crusade for America Parent and Youth March which will take place in the city of Detroit. There will be more events and meetings before that to prepare for the march. In fact, after the “funeral” on Monday, we will have an important organizational meeting and I encourage everyone to participate.

In your press release, you say that the national march in August “will focus on emergency reinvestment, economic recovery in urban America, the expansion of employment, educational opportunities for youth and returning citizens, the protection of our voting rights and the racial divide in America.” One of the things that has impressed me most about you and your coalition is the emphasis on presenting alternative solutions to the problems facing failing Michigan cities and school district. I was particularly interested in what you call “emergency reinvestment”. Talk more about that and what the means for us in Michigan.

“Emergency reinvestment” is basically a proactive plan to constructively solve our problems. Take public safety, for example. Public safety is not dealt with under the consent agreement or with Emergency Managers. But in Detroit, there are four police officers for every 1,000 residents. In Flint, it’s three cops for every 1,000 people. And yet they are talking about cutting the police force. Emergency reinvestment means bringing together various law enforcement groups and involving the community itself to solve the problem. It’s a proactive plan to use resources better and improve democratic institutions.

You know, democracy works not only for elections. You don’t just have to have “democractic clubs”. You can have school clubs and neighborhood clubs and childcare clubs, things of this nature. Democracy works to strengthen the bonds of a community. Destroying democratic institutions undermines the very fabric of our communities.

So “emergency reinvestment” is a proactive plan, coordinating resources and bringing in new resources. Not fighting back but fighting forward.

What do you think is the most important outcome of your Funeral for Democracy event on Monday?
The most important part of the event, in fact, is the organizational meeting afterwards. We’ll have some food and then, energized by the funeral and our repast, we will organize for the summer ahead of us including the Crusade for America Parent and Youth March that will happen in August. We hope to have good participation and lots of energy.

For more information about the the Crusade for America movement, visit The national march August will feature peace and justice workshops, music, art, direct action trainings and a job fair.

You can listen to a live interview with Rev. Bullock on the First Shift with Tony Trupiano radio show tomorrow, May 24, at 7:35 a.m. You can livestream the show from the website or, if you’re in southeast Michigan, on 1310 AM WDTW.

[Bullock image credit: screenshot from his recent appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show.]