"Detroit 5000 March" Organized by Community Coalition to Take on State Control of Pension and Collective Bargaining on King Assassination Anniversary

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In remembrance of fallen civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Community Coalition has organized thousands to protest new legislation to strip citizens of collective bargaining rights high noon in front of the Spirit of Detroit on Monday, April 4th

Dr. Martin Luther King

The FBI's target of the Pension's General Counsel, Ronald Zajac has the entire pension under a microscope...this dark cloud makes our pension susceptible to takeover! Everybody who believes in civil rights should be alarmed about what is taking place.

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-citizens are outraged. In response, the “Detroit 5,000 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 Rick 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 at the Lorraine Motel as he was leaving his room, accompanied by the Reverend Ralph Abernathy and Jesse Jackson.

The Detroit Free Press reported a few months earlier that Mayor Dave Bing was among the first to suggest that the management of Detroit worker's pension be redirected to the state. Bing's favor of the bill, 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!

See "Detroit 5000 March" Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=latTnYtIPSc

“The Detroit 5000” March Co-Organizer Mr. Ernest Johnson, Chairman of Community Coalition feels strongly that allowing the new bill to be exercised will be “detrimental to the civil rights and liberties that Dr. King and countless others fought and died for...we are not going to lay down, allow them to just remove our elected officials and take away our collective bargaining with out doing something about it”. He argues that the bill takes the right to vote away and should be considered 'unconstitutional'.

The Detroit native further asserts that adding salt to the wound; “The FBI's target of the City Pension's General Counsel, Ronald Zajac already has the entire pension under a microscope...this dark cloud makes our pension 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 and will do it in any city that has fallen on hard times.”

Announcement of the “Detroit 5,000 March” comes on the heals of the Detroit CBS's report of the new poll indicating Michigan’s new Governor Rick Snyder is about as unpopular as the one he replaced. Public Policy Polling says half of 502 voters asked March 18-20 are not happy with Republican Governor's handling of state business in his first three months in office, giving him an approval rate of only 33 percent.

Since its inception on 1996, the Community Coalition has worked tirelessly to mobilize, organize, educate and fight for the right of its constituents. The Detroit-based group will be joined by the Shrine of the Black Madonna's political arm; Black Slate, the Marcus Garvey Group, Citizens Against Violence and hundreds of other private citizens and supporters to organize their communities to fight back. Free transportation will be provided for protesters to converge upon the Spirit of Detroit at high noon.

To get more information, or citizens interested in participating in April 4th march, contact the “Detroit 5000 March” HOTLINE at 313-675-3869.



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Ernest Johnson, Chairman
Community Coalition
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