Category Archives: Blog

Attorney Vanessa Fluker

Save Detroit – Save Our Homes

The campaign to “Save Detroit—Save Our Homes” (flyer attached) will soon have a chance to put our case directly before Mel Watt, the new director of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac– the federally operated mortgage giants that own two-thirds of all mortgages in the United States.

Watt was nominated by President Obama and confirmed over Republican opposition last December. Under his predecessor, Fannie and Freddie foreclosed on thousands of Detroit families who should have gotten assistance to keep them in their homes. Fannie and Freddie have declared moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions in areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and we need the same emergency assistance here, where a “Hurricane Without Water” has devastated Detroit’s tax base and forced the city into bankruptcy.

Attorney Vanessa Fluker - foreclosure/eviction legal defense
Attorney Vanessa Fluker – foreclosure/eviction legal defense

Our call for a moratorium on foreclosures and principal reduction to keep people in their homes has been endorsed by 70 organizations from across the city, including community groups, unions, faith-based organizations, and 30 neighborhood associations (list of endorsers attached). The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is arranging for a meeting with Watt, and our coalition will be represented at the upcoming gathering in Washington.

In the meantime, we’ll be taking our case to Detroit’s Congressional representatives this coming Wednesday, March 12, 11am – noon, as part of a national effort coordinated by the Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes. If you want to join our delegation or add your organization’s name to our list of endorsers, contact us via UAW Local 600 at 313-429-5009, or email For background info, go to

Printable Flyer

Click here to download

Endorsing Organizations


#PeoplesPlan a Better Proposal than Detroit Emergency Manager Plan

smDREMicon2014-150x150Friday Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr submitted a plan for Detroit’s bankruptcy with Judge Rhodes. In response a press conference was convened Monday pushing forth the #PeoplesPlan and opening a period for submissions from the public during an event March 2nd at 2pm. Location will be Central United Methodist Church, 23 E Adams, Detroit near Grand Circus Park. The plan as it exists can be found on the D-REM website, as linked here.

The plan provided by Emergency Manager Orr can be seen below.


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
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: .

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.