Category Archives: Blog

GuardianAngel

Guardian Angels For Activists

GuardianAngelWe become so consumed by our passion fighting for causes bigger than ourselves. We see that “ME” fits within the “WE” conversation. Sometimes we sacrifice a part of ourselves in that fight. We forget to take care of ourselves or put ourselves on the line for a cause we believe in. We consider civil disobedience as a statement of the passion we hope others will understand. We ask for judges and juries at our trials to find verdict by their conscious, and see the greater picture that the disobedience was aimed at. The laws which protect the people don’t always work, it takes people getting involved and showing how the letter of the law is weak and does not give us justice by following it literally.

Skilled communication regarding our feelings can be a tough thing to offer. How do we discuss our moral compass and realize someone listening is likely looking to knock it. Critique can be constructive and offer new perspectives that deepen or alter our beliefs and how they are expressed. It requires having a safe space for those conversations – one where critiques are solution-based and not ripping down the character of those involved. While we strive for peace the currents of unrest are where we grow the most. We have to become comfortable with a certain amount of unrest and realize it as the growth we claim to desire. Communities build character of those who enter them and remain through the unrest and growth.

TheActivist-sqI’m thankful for diving into Occupy Detroit when I saw it come along. The currents of change have been flaming rampantly all around the world. In truth it has been happening for centuries and my eyes and mind simply did not see for half my life. I desire seeing the community of growth continue through the Occupy Detroit Movement leading to organizations. I’ll acknowledge there haven’t been meetings to continue movement building and I wish to resurrect that spirit. I want to talk about decolonization as a movement direction. Discussions about not only abolishing the systemic destruction of the middle class, but to work on a change in our value system. We need to embrace our commons – the air, land, water that we are all stewards to protect and use to the betterment of all. The conversations aren’t about price tags, they are about needs and resources – bringing them together to acknowledge the value of people equally is essential. Each of us needs a chance to succeed and the systems in our US American culture are poisoning anything and everything that is truly of value to people, in effect sacrificing people for profit.

Things have to change. I’m committed to being a catalyst through my life’s work in effecting change. I will work inside and outside the system, because confronting things from one direction is like speaking TO the problem but not WITH it. Life is a conversation that is not one-sided. Portions of the conversations in our lives have different dialects and sometimes even foreign language. Our minds have to comprehend the facets around our beliefs, acknowledging what we don’t know but that it exists. We have to discuss our weaknesses and address concerns with an interest in strengthening rather than continued weakness.

Outcast-sqWe’re going to bring Occupy Detroit movement building back together this year – 2014. We’re going to Occupy Detroit in a systemic approach, because its more about the systems of oppression affecting the people’s actions than the people or the place itself. I hope to meet my locals reading this message. We may sit on different sides of common conversations. We have to bring outlying concepts into conversation, and it takes inclusion with a lot of patience & listening. Lets talk about real world changes and how to influence change in our systems. Not everything fits – especially when we talk of empowering our people and changing existing value systems.

— Stephen Boyle – community member in Detroit
Occupy Detroit
Free Detroit No Consent
March Against Monsanto Detroit
Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands
Occupy Detroit Transit
Abolitionist Movement of Today
LRNA
North End Woodward Community Coalition
and many more…

ally to indigenous Detroiters of all colors & creeds
ally to Environmental Justice in Detroit
ally to Food Justice in Detroit
ally to Transportation Justice in Detroit

Martin Luther King Jr Observance in Detroit

50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer (1964-2014)

MLK Day 2014 leafletThis year’s commemorative celebration of the federal holiday honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his 85th birthday will again take place at Central United Methodist Church, located on Woodward Avenue and East Adams, downtown, on Jan. 20 beginning at Noon. There will be a rally and a march through downtown Detroit returning to the Church for a community meal and cultural program.

The theme of the 2014 event is “Honoring the Legacy of Freedom Summer of 1964 and Lessons for Today.” Special tributes will be paid to the historic and courageous work of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer of Sunflower County, Mississippi who was a leading member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) which challenged the seating of the all-white Democratic Party delegation at the national convention in Atlantic City, NJ that summer.

In addition, we will also honor Detroit-area participants in Freedom Summer five decades ago. Those activists, lawyers and students who sacrificed their safety and endangered their lives in order to challenge the denial of the right to vote and access to public accommodations have provided tremendous lessons for the movement in 2014 in a state where the majority of the African American population and others are subjected to an imposed system of emergency management and the forced bankruptcy of the largest city in Michigan.

During the summer of 1964 nearly one thousand mainly young people traveled into the most dangerous areas of Mississippi and Southwest Tennessee to assist with the ongoing registration of African Americans to vote and to fight American-apartheid. Even though the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed that summer, the activists loss three heroic fighters: Andrew Goodman, James Cheney and Michael Schwerner, who were brutally lynched by Mississippi law-enforcement officers and the Ku Klux Klan. Hundreds of others were subjected to arbitrary arrests and beatings.

Also that same year, Malcolm X traveled to Africa, the Middle East and Europe on behalf of the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) seeking to internationalize the Black freedom struggle in the United States. Malcolm would present an eight-page memorandum to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) second annual summit in Cairo, Egypt calling for an alliance between African Americans and African governments to eliminate racism and colonialism in their respective regions of the world.

The public is cordially invited to attend this 11th annual Detroit MLK Day event featuring Bobbi Thompson & The Deep River Choir, the Detroit School of Arts Acappella Group, “Vision.” Special speakers will include recently-retired City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson; Retired-Judge Claudia Morcom, National Lawyers Guild Southern Regional Coordinator during Freedom Summer; Edith Lee Payne, a participants in the 1963 Great Walk to Freedom in Detroit and the March on Washington; Cynthia Blair, Detroit activist with the Stop the Theft of Our Pensions Committee (STOPC); Michael Reynolds of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) 2013 Freedom Tour, among others.

This event is organized by the Detroit MLK Day Committee and supported by the leading community organizations throughout the metropolitan area. For those who would like to support the annual commemoration please send donations to: The Detroit MLK Committee, 5920 Second Ave., Detroit , MI, 48202. You may also donate online at our website: http://mlkdetroit.org .

We will hold a rally at Noon and march through downtown Detroit beginning at 1:30pm. After the march a community meal will be served at the church and a cultural program held on the second floor.

Schedule for the Day

MLK Day Schedule

Monday, January 20, 2014

Central United Methodist Church

Woodward At Adams

Free Parking

10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. - All Volunteers Arrive
12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. - Program Sanctuary Music, Speakers, Commemorations
1:30 p.m. - March Begins
Participants walk South on Woodward to Cobo Hall
Return walk North to Central United Methodist Church
March led by designated marshals
2:45 p.m. – Return To Church 2nd Floor-Warm Refreshments
3:30 p.m. - Cultural Presentations, Music, Spoken Word
5:30 p.m. - Volunteers & Committee Clean Up

If you are able to contribute to this event it would be greatly appreciated. Send all checks and money orders to Detroit MLK Committee, 5920 Second Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48202.

To volunteer for that day, please contact (313) 405-2185.

Oppose Barclays Swap Deal on Detroit Bankruptcy

Oppose the Barclays Swap Deal

Demonstrate Outside Federal Court
231 W. Lafayette in Downtown Detroit
Friday, January 3, 8:30 a.m.
Contact: 313-671 3715, 313-680-5508

Cancel Detroit’s Debt –Make the Banks Pay, They Owe Us

Hands Off Our Pensions

Save City Services and Assets

Make the Banks Fund a Jobs Program

Initiated by
Moratorium NOW! Coalition (moratorium-MI.org)
Stop Theft of Our Pensions Committee (S.T.O.P.)
Detroit Resisting Emergency Management (d-rem.org)

A bad deal crafted by emergency manager Kevyn Orr and his multi-million dollar tax-paid consultants rewarded Bank of America and UBS, two financial institutions which have been implicated in the sub-prime mortgage debacle that devastated Detroit, over $200 million to terminate interest rate swaps that the banks have used to swindle cities across the U.S.

On December 24, the corporate media attempted to sell the public on a revised form of this same deal saying that it will save the city tens of millions of dollars. In fact, the revised deal still pays the banks $165 million to terminate these swaps that already netted these banks $250 million in profit from 2008-2012.

We must not believe these stories. These swap deals signed in 2005 and renewed in 2009, are the worst possible financial arrangements imaginable with questions still looming in regard to their legality.

Barclays Bank, another questionable firm connected with the LIBOR interest-rate rigging scandals, would pay off Bank of America and UBS through a loan to the city which nets the bank at least $4.4 million in fees.

When Judge Rhodes adjourned the trial examining the swap deals and Barclays loan on December 18, it was with the suggestion to Orr, Snyder, Jones Day and the corporate interests they work for, to come back with a better deal. But the arrangement they have arrived is still horrendous for the residents of Detroit. It means the City’s residents will pledge 20% of their income tax dollars for the next 5 years to pay off the banks, rather than improve services in the city.

We in the Moratorium NOW! Coalition feel that justice can only be served by the cancellation of the purported debt to Bank of America and UBS and that any funds they have collected be turned over to the people of the Detroit in an attempt to begin to repair the damage they have done to the city.

We have opposed the imposition of austerity, emergency management and forced bankruptcy over the recent period. Our organization will continue to demand that all pensions, salaries, jobs, city services and assets, including the DIA and the DWSD, remain under the ownership and control of the people of this city who have paid for them through decades of labor and taxes.

The objective of the banks including Barclays, Bank of America and UBS is to rob the city and state of Michigan even further through the imposition of usurious interests rates, the slashing of salaries and pensions and the complete disregard and disenfranchisement of the people of the city and the state.

Please join us in front of the Federal Courthouse downtown when the trial on the swaps resume on Friday morning January 3. We will gather at 8:30 a.m. for a mass demonstration demanding that the illegal bank debt be canceled and the democratic rights of the people of Detroit be immediately restored.

We are also encouraging people to pack the courtroom of Judge Rhodes at 9:00 a.m. in order to witness the operations of the banks and their agents in federal bankruptcy court. Only the workers, retirees and community residents of Detroit can reverse the current crisis.

In addition, we are requesting that people around the United States and the world hold demonstrations in solidarity with the working people of Detroit on January 2 and 3 at the offices of Bank of America, UBS, Merrill Lynch and Barclays. The outcome of the struggle to save pensions, jobs, public assets and the right to vote in Detroit will set a precedent for people throughout the country.