Saturday, January 14, 2012

MLK Day and the Emergency Manager Law

By now you may have heard that a group of African-American pastors is organizing a protest at Rick Snyder's house on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And you probably know that Rick Snyder lives in Washtenaw County.

What you might not understand is this--

Why schedule this protest on MLK Day? What does the emergency financial manager law have to do with civil rights or racial justice? 

In this article in the Ann Arbor Chronicle, Brit Satchwell (the head of the Ann Arbor teachers' union) explains the relationship very well:
Satchwell urged everyone to advocate for the repeal of PA 4, and pointed out that the state is considering sending emergency managers to Detroit and Inkster. “If those two cities fall,” Satchwell pointed out, “over half of the African-Americans in this state will have lost their vote and be under authoritarian rule – no mayor, no county commissioners, no school board … If you’re an American this has to bother you.” (emphasis added)
In an interview with Chris Savage of Eclectablog and Blogging for Michigan, Pastor David Bullock (one of the event organizers) said it was even worse 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.
So. . . If you are looking for something to do. . . If you want to put your principles into action. . . if you want to have a real discussion with your kids about what, why, and when it is worth protesting. . . and (naturally) if your schedule permits. . . I would encourage you to show up at this protest. (And yes, DO bring your kids.)

NOTE: Snyder lives off of Geddes Road, and there's no parking on the road. You can park at Washtenaw Community College, and buses will take you to the protest. The march starts at 4 p.m. Get there a little bit early to get a shuttle.

For more information, you can visit the event's facebook page.

P.S. I know that a lot of people say, "Well what was Snyder supposed to do? The old emergency manager law was a mess!" Just remember that somebody can correctly identify a problem, and yet not find the right solution. In my opinion, that's what happened here.

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