DETROIT, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Community activist groups will join forces on April 4th in protest of a bill that passed through the Michigan Senate earlier this month that will give city Financial Managers broad powers; stripping voters of their right to elect such officials. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and State Governor Rick Snyder were both proponents of the legislation and citizens are outraged. The "Detroit 5000 March" will take place at the Coleman A. Young Building in Downtown Detroit at noon. This 4th of April marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who died in Memphis in 1968 while defending the collective bargaining rights of sanitation workers in the city.
The new bill passed through the Republican-led Senate to a 26-12 party line vote. Supporters of the bill say that it would lead to earlier intervention by the state, perhaps avoiding the need to appoint a Financial Manager at all. Opponents of the legislation are concerned because it will give the managers, appointed by Governor Snyder, the power to terminate union contracts and strip local elected officials of most power.
Organizers to "The Detroit 5,000" fear the latter. Like the late Dr. King, they too are fighting for collective bargaining rights.
On March 29th, 1968, King went to Memphis in support of the black sanitary public works employees, represented by a local union, who had been on strike for two weeks for higher wages and better treatment. On April 3rd, King delivered his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" address, historically 2nd only to his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.
In the early evening hours of April 4th, King was shot as he was leaving the Lorraine Motel, accompanied by Reverend Ralph Abernathy and Jesse Jackson.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Bing was among the first to suggest that the management of Detroit worker's pension be redirected to the state. The Mayor's favor of the legislation, amid rumors that Michigan Governor Snyder could nullify the City Council and subsequently name the former steel mogul; the pension's Financial Manager, was met with public outcry!
"Detroit 5000" March Video Promo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=latTnYtIPSc
"The Detroit 5000" March Co-Organizer; Ernest Johnson, Chairman of Community Coalition feels that allowing the new bill to be exercised will be "detrimental to the civil rights and liberties that Dr. King fought and died for...we are not going to lay down, allow them to remove our elected officials and take away our collective bargaining, it [the bill] takes the right to vote away and should be considered unconstitutional."
The Detroit native asserts; "The FBI's target of City Pension General Counsel Ronald Zajac already has the entire pension under a microscope...this dark cloud makes it susceptible to takeover! Everybody who believes in civil rights should be alarmed about what is taking place. If they can do this in Detroit, they can do it anywhere."
The Community Coalition will be joined by the Black Slate, Marcus Garvey Group, Citizens Against Violence and hundreds of private citizens. Free transportation will be provided for protesters.
Citizens interested in participating contact the "Detroit 5000 March" HOTLINE: 313-675-3869.
SOURCE Community Coalition