VOICE OF DETROIT (VOD)
Unbought and unbossed, published by Voice of Detroit LLC
P.O. Box 35278 Detroit, Michigan 48235
The Voice of Detroit (VOD), founded in August, 2010, presents in-depth news stories on the people’s struggles, here in Detroit, nationally and world-wide. VOD also features commentary and announcements by progressive organizations of upcoming events. It is based in Detroit, Michigan.
VOICE OF DETROIT HEADER PHOTO:
This photo is a portion of a 2014 mural on Grand River Avenue in Detroit, painted by Detroit based graphic artist SINTEX, who has been countering graffiti painted by non-Detroiters, much of which is nonsensical and non-political, and geared to create chaos and confusion not relevant in particular to Detroit youth. Sintex’s mural photo is cropped to fit in the WordPress header guidelines.
Contact Sintex at Twitter: @SINTEXART.COM, #SINTEXARTIST, and Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sintex.graffiti.
Also see article on Sintex, given name Brian Glass, in Metro Times at http://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/while-artist-sintex-fights-culture-vultures-detroit-gears-up-for-a-graffiti-crackdown/Content?oid=2297092
The mural depicts (l to r) Chief Crazy Horse, Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota, who defeated U.S. General Custer’s troops at the Battle of the Little Big Horn; Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, who established the Nation’s first Mosque in Detroit; Malice Green, Detroit steel plant worker beaten to death by police officers Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers in 1992; Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, murdered by Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley and a Detroit SWAT-style team May 16, 2010 during a raid on her home; and Vincent Chin, a Detroit Chinese-American man beaten to death in Highland Park in June 1982 by Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz in a hate crime motivated by widespread furor against auto imports from Japan.
DIANE BUKOWSKI, EDITOR
Diane is a life-long Detroiter. She produced thousands of ground-breaking investigative articles and photos for The Michigan Citizen for more than 10 years as a professional reporter. In 2000, she broke the story of Eugene Brown, the Detroit police officer who unjustifiably killed three men in 1995, 1996 and 1999, in a piece headlined SERIAL KILLER KOPS?
She continued to expose killer and rapist cops, as well as the failure of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to charge them. She authored numerous stories on battles against prison abuses like juvenile life without parole. She covered the Detroit Public Schools beat for eight years, the devastation of public services and employment, the Detroit Medical Center, and numerous other matters.
In retaliation for her exposes of the police and the Prosecutor’s office, she was falsely convicted of two felonies in 2009, for photographing the aftermath of a fatal State Trooper chase which caused the deaths of two Black Detroit men.
Bukowski worked for the City of Detroit from 1974 t0 1999, in the Health and Human Rights Departments. She was a union leader in Local 457 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for 20 years. Along with Local 457 President Al Phillips, who passed in 1994, and others, she co-founded the Coalition to Stop Privatization and Save Our City in 1992. She retired with 25 years in 1999 and currently writes numerous stories on the assault on Detroit and other majority-Black cities in Michigan, particularly the phony bankruptcy case which is laying waste to the city.
OUR LATE AND DEARLY BELOVED CORNELL SQUIRES, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER; PARALEGAL, LEADER OF WE THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE, RICOBUSTERS, passed November 19, 2016
Cornell Squires had been a community activist in Detroit for many decades. He worked as a City of Detroit EMS technician in the 1990’s, exposing the hazardous condition of the ambulances both for workers and patients for 12 years, until he retired on disability. He is still fighting for his pension benefits.
In 2000, he joined the Original Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality after Detroit cop Robert Feld brutalized him for inquiring why police had stopped his son on the street. Cornell’s father had a heart attack during the incident and died some months later. Then his son and cousins were repeatedly targeted by the police in retaliation. He continues to work on behalf of others whose loved ones have been killed by the police or who have themselves been brutalized.
Cornell founded We the People for the People, spending many years working with renowned activist attorney Leonard Eston, who was part of a cohort of militant 1960’s attorneys including Chokwe Lumumba and Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. Eston and Squires have done pro bono work for countless individuals and families whose children have been taken by CPS, who have lost their homes, and experienced other legal hardships. Eston passed in 2013, but Cornell has carried on their work.
He also works with RICOBUSTERS, an organization formed to challenge the court system as a whole, demanding that it be returned to the common people.
SEE VOD’S MEMORIAL ARTICLE ON CORNELL SQUIRES, WHICH GARNERED OVER 1200 FACEBOOK LIKES, AT http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/11/20/beloved-detroit-peoples-activist-cornell-squires-called-home-to-the-ancestors-nov-19-2016/.
TRAVIS HERNDON, LEGAL CONSULTANT
Travis Herndon has studied law and related fields for over 34 years. He works as a paralegal consultant and pro se legal document author with individuals inside the prison system as well as those dealing with legal issues outside the walls. He is well-known across the MDOC and in the legal field. Many lawyers and prisoner advocates consult with him on a regular basis, due to his astute analytical skills. He has helped free many prisoners during the past decades.
He focuses particularly on arguing actual innocence issues, which are recognized by the federal courts but frequently not by Michigan state courts, which prefer to depend on “newly-discovered evidence,” a much more complicated issue.
He is a vital part of VOD’s staff, since the paper focuses many stories on mass incarceration, wrongful convictions, police misconduct, and related issues. VOD’s editor and other writers depend on him to advise them when dealing with these stories.
Mr. Herndon was born in 1955, and grew up in Highland Park, attending schools in that city’s system.
RICARDO FERRELL, FIELD INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS
Ricardo Ferrell’s stories focus largely on the world of the Michigan Dept. of Corrections, along with other issues in the “world” outside. He portrays his fellow prisoners in his articles with respect and true love, and reports enthusiastically on programs they all participate in, such as periodic poetry “SLAMS,” among others. His articles show the contributions prisoners could make to the world outside, if only they were not part of the largest prison system in the world.
The U.S. has five percent of the world’s population, and 25 percent of its incarcerated population. The U.S. is the only country in the world that sentences juveniles to death in prison. It is also the only country that has true “life without parole,” with prisoners actually dying inside the walls. Most countries average a total of 15-20 years for sentences of any kind. There is currently a growing movement here to completely abolish both juvenile life without parole as well as life without parole for adults.
Mr. Ferrell has been incarcerated since 1982, and is currently at the Michigan Reformatory of Ionia (MRI).
He writes, “I am exactly seven years without any type of misconducts. I am considered a model prisoner by some staff members here at RMI where I’ve been housed for two years now. The same when I was housed at MTU for tw0 years, three months, and when I was housed at URF for tw0 years. seven months. I worked two jobs at MTU, URF and here. I am Chapel Clerk and in the Prisoner Observation Aide Program (suicide watch) each with exceptionally excellent work evaluations.”
He has been working diligently towards eventual parole as well currently seeking placement again in The Youth Deterrent Program at Ryan Correctional Facility. He was a co-founder of that program in 2008.
CORTEZ DAVIS-EL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER
VOD is honored to welcome Cortez Davis-El to its staff. Along with being an extremely gifted writer and reporter, Cortez Davis-El is a certified paralegal, American Sign Language Tutor, Master Gardener, certified Substance Abuse Relapse teacher, and youth mentor with the G.O.A.L.S. program at the Michigan Department of Corrections Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, MI. Voice of Detroit has now published four of his articles and looks forward to many more.
Mr. Davis-El’s accomplishments and determination during the 23 years he has spent as a juvenile lifer in the MDOC are astounding. He was re-sentenced April 27 to 25-60 years and is now back “in the world.”
Davis survived a horrific childhood, growing up in drug-infested surroundings, at one point becoming homeless, and dropping out of school in eighth grade to support his younger siblings. He was 16 when he was incarcerated for first-degree murder in a robbery where he was not the shooter or even close to the victim; he was on the other side of the street.
Recorders Court Judge Vera Massey-Jones refused to sentence him to LWOP, saying she felt he could be rehabilitated during a term of 10-40 years, and that the system had been “throwing him away” for most of his life. Twenty years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that Juvenile Life Without Parole is unconstitutional, Judge Massey-Jones said that JLWOP was “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. But her original sentence of 10-40 years was overturned on appeal.
Mr. Davis-El will be reporting not only on prison-related issues, but on other topics of his choice. He has a wealth of experience both from inside the walls and outside in the world and VOD looks forward to his continued growth as a brilliant commentator and reporter.
KENNETH SNODGRASS, ACTIVIST, PHOTO/VIDEOGRAPHER, JOURNALIST
Kenneth Snodgrass, author of From Victimization to Empowerment, The Challenge Of African American Leadership, The Need Of Real Power, is an African American intellectual, who has been a political activist for more than 44 years. His work with numerous community organizations has supplied him with an arsenal to study the lessons of our ancestors and people from the past and present.
Mr. Snodgrass’s writings show his deep conviction, dedication and spirit. He considers himself an African Warrior struggling to bring about economic, political, and social changes in America that will help to empower African people in America and the Diaspora. His writings, opinions and poetry continue to be provocative and controversial occasionally! They express his originality, creativity and his analysis!
They reflect the reality of Two Americas, one white and powerful and one Black, a nation of people who have been subject to hundreds of years of Slavery, white supremacy and Jim Crow. They reflect the need for collective struggle, strength and commitment, by African Americans locally, nationally and internationally.
Mr. Snodgrass believes that we need to evaluate the concepts, ideas, writings and projections of our past and present historians, intellectuals, because there are so many different viewpoints about the movement. We need to begin answering these new questions about our future with new ideas, new thoughts and new projections.
One of Ken’s past editors Wanda Roquemore, publisher and editor of “All About Detroit,” said, “Your writings and analysis always challenge you to think about the problem and to think about the solution.”
Mr. Snodgrass has a philosopher’s understanding of what is Freedom, Citizenship, Political Direction, Culture and sub-Culture, our Identity, Dignity, Pride, Spirituality, Humanity, Collective Struggles, Freedom, and the African Identity. Questions we ask as a people and as a nation will need to be answered in the 21 century.
Mr. Snodgrass has worked with many community and political groups, e.g. Black Panther Party, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the All African Peoples Union (AAPU), the Committee for Political Development, the Advocators, National Organization for America (NOAR), Save Our Son and Daughter (SOSAD), the Michigan Committee to Organize the Unemployed, Detroiter’s for Dignity (a senior citizen group), U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange, the Justice for Cuba Coalition, Black Left Unity (BLU), and many other issue oriented groups.
Mr. Snodgrass (Ken) is opposed to the U.S.A. dominating international policies on Central America, Africa and the Third World Countries, because it projects American chauvinism and racism and works against the development of self-autonomy of their Nations. Also the USA is in the process of carrying out low intensity warfare. He supports the liberation struggles of oppressed people for humanitarian advancement i.e. their struggles for the elimination of racism, sexism, materialism, consumerism, militarism, colonialism, U.S. hegemony, environment destruction etc.
Kenneth has been writing publicly for the last 25 years and his articles have appeared in over 50 different weekly and monthly publications, including journals, newsletters, local and national newspapers and national wire services. Some of the publications were weekly and some are monthly.
VOD NEEDS OTHER REPORTERS, WRITERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, MARKETERS AND STAFF. At this point, VOD is not able to pay, but we are working on setting up advertising and links with other organizations to eventually produce revenue for an uncompromising newspaper that addresses the struggles in this city’s majority Black community as well as struggles of poor and working people world-wide.
To submit articles, email email@example.com or call her at 313-825-6126
Comments on this site are allowed, after review. THEY WILL BE DELETED IF THEY ARE NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE, INCLUDING COMMENTS EVIDENCING RACISM AND HOSTILITY TO THE PEOPLE OF DETROIT.
Creative Commons License: ORIGINAL ARTICLES AND PHOTOGRAPHS FROM VOICE OF DETROIT REPORTERS AND COLUMNISTS MAY BE RE-PUBLISHED, IN WHOLE AND WITHOUT ALTERATION, WITH ATTRIBUTION TO THE REPORTER OR COLUMNIST AND THE VOICE OF DETROIT, AND A LINK TO THIS WEBSITE, http://voiceofdetroit.net.
SPECIAL THANKS GO TO KATHY RUSSELL, WHO CONTRIBUTED HER TIME AND SKILLS PRO BONO TO BUILD BOTH BUKOWSKI’S LEGAL DEFENSE SITE, AND THE VOICE OF DETROIT SITE. SHE HAS BEEN A TRUE FRIEND IN THE STRUGGLE.