DETROIT (WWJ) – A very vocal protest took place Thursday outside Cadillac Place in Detroit as, inside, Gov. Rick Snyder announced his pick for an emergency financial manager for the city.
Among the speakers was Rev. David Bullock, of the Rainbow Push Coalition, who kept the crowd of about 200 fired up with promises that those opposing a state takeover will not give up.
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“They’re going to try to convince me that I should give up my right to vote and put the city of Detroit in the hands of the same man who said he wasn’t going to pass right-to-work … the same man who took away the earned income tax credit … the same man that’s taxing our pensions,” said Bullock, to answering shouts of, “Never, never!”
Said Rev. Charles Williams II, President of the Michigan branch of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, “We’re not worried about no Kevyn Orr. Uncle Toms ain’t nothing new. We’ve had Uncle Toms for a long time.”
“Uncle Tom” is a derogatory term for a black man considered by other African-Americans to be subservient to, or to curry favor with, whites.
Reaction has been pouring in to the WWJ newsroom since Snyder named bankruptcy expert Kevyn Orr to take over the handling of Detroit’s disastrous finances.
Tom Barrow, President of the group Citizens for Detroit’s Future, said the state’s emergency manager law was created to oppress.
“… My fellow Detroiters, you must never stop resisting for now Detroit, we will be given a Master … makes no difference the color of the face in front of you, for behind that face is the true Master.
“No my fair-minded fellow Detroiters everywhere, while I am saddened, I am also angry for we are being falsely oppressed based upon a phony, faux, non-existent fiscal emergency rooted in an unjust law which is nothing short of a Jim Crowesque abuse of law,” Barrow said.
Rev. Horace Sheffield said be believes this move by the state was long in the works.
“The notion that ‘they wanted Detroit back’ is no longer a myth or a muse; it’s a fact. And unfortunately it is based on fabrication and falsehood,” said Sheffield, in a statement. “As bad as this usurpation of democracy is it was made worse by the presence of Mayor Dave Bing by the governor’s side to support such a seizure.”
He added, “Today Coleman A. Young, Rosetta Ferguson, Erma Henderson, Freddie Burton, Horace L. Sheffield, Jr., and Clara Rutherford are turning over in their graves. This is colonialism in its neo-negro form.”
Former city lawyer Krystal Crittendon, who recently announced her candidacy for mayor of Detroit, called for her fellow candidates to join her in “fighting for the right to have vigorous discourse on how we can fix the city.”
“While we may differ on strategy and tactics, we definitely should agree that no one, even the Governor, should supersede the will of the people of the State of Michigan as expressed in the last election when they voted down the emergency manager and emergency financial manager legislation,” Crittendon said.
“Further, I call on the citizens of the city of Detroit to join me as we continue to unify all of our efforts to make sure that our fundamental voting rights are protected and reaffirmed,” she said.
Detroit is billions of dollars in debt and has a budget deficit topping $300 million. Snyder says the EFM will work together with Detroit leaders to get things back on track.