Showing posts from May, 2010
"Out goes his hand and I cough, he once stole from me, now I wanna cut it off" Public Enemy, "Nighttrain", 1991
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced today to do a minimum of 14 months and a maximum of 5 years in state prison, as ordered by Judge David Groner ( The ex-mayor, 39, was the youngest elected mayor of Detroit when he took office in 2002. His youth, flamboyant charisma, snazzy attire, stud earring, and musical tastes led him to be called 'the hip-hop mayor' by many, an unofficial title that he embraced for his first term in office. Kilpatrick cultivated the image of a conscientious, spiritually-grounded family man who was all about spearheading Generation X's leadership role in turning changing the fortunes of a long-embattled city.

However, beginning with his reelection bid in 2005, things began to unravel for the married father of three. Local television and newspa…

On May 22, in downtown Detroit's Hart Plaza, there was a rally organized by a public transit worker's union in support of greater federal help in appropriating funds to develop and bolster improved mass transit opportunities in Detroit and greater Southeast Michigan. Metropolitan Detroit is one of the few major urban centers in America without a comprehensive mass-transit system of high-quality bus service, light rail, and other transit options. If one lives in urban Detroit, they are almost surely paying high-end costs for automobile insurance, let alone the annoying cost of gasoline. Urban Detroiters also face a lack of mainstream-quality grocery options. The city government's belt-tightening has cut back on some bus-line services, as the Bing administration attempts to design a comprehensive plan on how to 'right-size' overall city services to a shrinking population. Despite the federal government-initiated taxpayer bailout of General Moto…
Detroit Turning Over a New Leaf?

Looks as if there are potential proposals in the Michigan state legislature that would clear the way for a ballot proposal to legalize possession of marijuana in the city of Detroit (Medical marijuana is already legal in the state, but laws are fuzzy as to who can produce it). Well, we know what Snoop Dogg might say.. Among the disparate array of individuals interviewed in favor of decriminalization or legalization are Democratic state rep Lamar Lemons, former Republican state rep Leon Drolet and prominent Detroit-based businessman Pete Karmanos. The coalition of professionals involved with the proposal, as well as advocacy organizations like the non-profit Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, go against the cliche' of pro-legalization efforts by aging ex-hippie activists like actor Tommy Chong, or even the fallen-academic example of the late Timothy Leary and his "tune in, turn on, drop out" philosophy.

This autho…
LGBT Activism and the Black Community

On April 30, 2010, the Freedom Institute think tank, led by Rev. Wendell Anthony of the Detroit NAACP organized a town hall meeting as part of the Institute's "Freedom Weekend" string of events leading to the annual Detroit NAACP dinner. During the convention weekend there were seminars focusing on employment and educational opportunities, social assistance agencies, and more. This evening's town hall meeting focused on LGBT activism and urban communities of color, in particular African-Americans: Where do these groups have common ground, where do they differ, what can be mutually learned? Footage from said event can be viewed here:

On Saturday, May 1, 2010, a multicultural gathering of people from Metro Detroit gathered in the Southwestern district of the city, to participate in a march for workers' rights and a reform of American immigration policy.

The March took several thousand participants down West Vernor street, where they finally coalesced in Clark Park for a rally where speakers exhorted the crowd to push for a repeal of the recently passed legislation in Arizona that places undocumented immigrants under extreme scrutiny, giving local and state law-enforcement broad powers to stop and question anyone who looks suspicious-- they must produce the proper ID and/or paperwork or risk being jailed and ultimately deported.

Speakers at the rally spoke in Spanish and English. Attendees were told to advocate for workers' rights, including union workers, also for a moratorium on home foreclosures.