DETROIT POLICE SWAT TEAM KILLS MAN ASLEEP IN HOME, NOT SUSPECT IN EARLIER KILLING OF 5-YR.-OLD

 

VOICE OF DETROIT: This is a compilation of news coverage of the Detroit police SWAT team killing of  Abdullah Abdul Muhiman, a/k/a Detric Driver:

At top: Channel 7 TV news coverage Sept. 14, 2018 of the murder of 

Above is Radio Islam interview with Imam Dawud Walid, head of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan

#JusticeforDullahBeard

Raid similar to the 2010 DPD murder of Aiyana Jones, 7, and the 2015 murder of Terrance Kellom, 19 and a father of two in his dad’s home

Flashbang device used with no-knock warrant, says Chief James Craig

Craig first claimed bodycam video did not show victim with gun, then that another bodycam video did, but has not released videos to the public

Editorial comment from Voice of Detroit:

Victims of Detroit police task force teams: (L to r) Imam Luqman Abdullah, murdered in 2009; Aiyana Jones, 7, murdered in 2010, Terrance Kellom, 19, murdered in 2015.

The police murder of Abdullah Abdul Muhliman, a/k/a Detric Driver, brought to mind a horrific history of virtually identical multi-agency raids resulting in the  murders of  #ImanLuqmanAbdullah in 2009, #AiyanaJones, 7, in 2010, and #TerranceKellom in 2015.

Expert depiction of Aiyana Jones’ killing in 2010.

Mr. Muhliman, also known as #DullahBeard, was subjected to the same tactics used in the murder of Aiyana Jones. A flash bang grenade was thrown into the home where he lay asleep on the couch, then police entered en masse and summarily executed him.

In 2010, little Aiyana was sleeping on a couch underneath the window where the grenade was thrown. The first Detroit cop on the scene, Joseph Weekley, Jr., wielding an MP5 submachine gun, shot the child through the head seconds after her family’s unlocked door was battered down.

After two mistrials, he was freed while Aiyana’s father Charles Jones and uncle Chauncey Owens were sentenced to decades in prison based on the questionable testimony of jailhouse snitches. 

Masjif El-Haqq members after prayer Oct. 14, 2009  including (center to right) Imam Luqman Abdullah’s children Jamil Carswell, Omar Regan and Bernice Regan. Photo: Diane Bukowski

#DullahBeard was a follower of Imam Luqman Abdullah, leader of a mosque in Detroit’s Black community in a poor west side neighborhood, according to recent reports.

Imam Abdullah was assassinated in 2009 during a sting operation by the FBI, and police from Detroit and Dearborn. He was shot 21 times after he defended himself from a police dog which had been let loose to bite him.

#DullahBeard was among the Masjif El-Haqq mosque members the FBI indicted on trumped-up charges, based largely on hearsay accounts by confidential informants who had infiltrated the group. The indictment cited alleged conversations with mosque members, not actual criminal activities.

The FBI investigation was linked to the group’s ties with Imam Jamil El-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown), both of them peaceful organizers of Black youth and families in their poverty-stricken communities. Similar FBI stings were conducted against groups of Black men in Florida and New York during the same time period.

Terrance Kellom, 19, had one child and a second on the way. He and his father Kevin Kellom had been observed going to the store by the raid team before they launched the assault on his father’s home on Evergreen in Detroit, close to the same neighborhood where Dullah Beard was killed.

Kevin Kellom holds granddaughter Terranae Kellom, born after her father Terrance’s murder, as Terrance’s son Terrance Desmond Kellom looks on.

There was admittedly a warrant out for the young man’s arrest, which could have easily been carried out on the street. However, the raid team chose to flex their might by bursting into the Kellom home, forcing the young man down the stairs from an upstairs bedroom, and then executing him with eight shots in front of his father.

They claimed he was wielding a hammer, but when Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy held a press conference announcing she would not prosecute his killers, she admitted that no fingerprints were found on the hammer.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has attempted to cloak the police terror and military tactics still being visited on Detroit’s poor and Black residents by putting on a bland face and claiming a new day has dawned in police-community relations.

The murder of #DullahBeard, preceded by raids on poverty-stricken neighborhoods beginning with the former Colony Arms Apartments on East Jefferson and the Martin Luther King housing complex, shows that is a blatant lie. Craig spent 28 years with the Los Angeles Police Department. He was part of an internal team that looked into crimes committed by LAPD cops in the Ramparts district, including a murder of a man in custody and frame-ups of dozens more, and whitewashed their actions. Later, however, the U.S. Justice Department put the LAPD under a consent decree like that the Detroit Police Department emerged from after a 10-year span.

LeDuff: Detroit Police Kill an Innocent Man; Chief James Craig Says He Deserved It

September 21st, 2018, 1:24 PM

By Charlie LeDuff

Re-published from Deadline Detroit

#DullahBeard with wife

In their hunt for a baby killer last week, Detroit police raided a west side home before dawn. A stun grenade was thrown into the house to disorient occupants. Then police breached the front door.

Seconds later, a 46-year-old man lying on the living room couch was dead.

The dead man, Abdullah Abdul Muhiman, [#JusticeforDullahBeard] was not the suspect in the killing of a five-year-old girl hours earlier. He was an innocent man who had the unfortunate luck to be sleeping on the couch. To make a bad scene worse, the suspected gunman the police were looking for was miles away.

And yet the police assault team and their superior officers were unaware of that fact, Deadline Detroit has learned. This utter collapse in police work, however, did not stop Chief of Police James E. Craig from announcing at a press conference just hours later, that Muhiman had gotten what he deserved.

“If you point a gun at officers, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a suspect in any other case,” he said.

“The officers breached the door and made entry, the first officer through the door said ‘get down, get down, get down.”

Detroit police chief James Craig holds up a photo showing a gun similar to that he claimed was wielded during the #DullahBeard assassination. The Detroit Police Department has not released the bodycam videos or other footage of the assault. Photo: Detroit Police Department

According to Craig’s version, Muhiman leveled an AR-15 pistol-grip semi-automatic at the officers from the sofa cushions. In response, the raid team’s point man fired several shots, killing Muhiman. Craig said his review of body cam footage could not confirm the gun-pointing scenario, since it was too dark. A gun was recovered next to Muhiman’s corpse, police say.

Muhiman’s people are not buying it.

“The chief is a clown,” said Jermaine Carey, a close friend of Muhiman. “Hours after the police kill Abdullah, Craig is holding up a picture of the supposed gun, putting out his criminal history, painting him as a criminal who was to blame for his own killing. But what did he do? Jump up from a couch with someone breaking in the house? What you expect him to do? He had nothing to do with anything.”

Spectacular Lapse

Detroit police with direct knowledge of last weeks events call it a spectacular lapse in police tactics.

A classmate of Aiyana Jones holds her photo while her father Charles Jones and another relative grieve for the child the morning after police assaulted the home. The toys surrounding the porch were there during the raid, and Aiyana’s cousin, outside walking his dogs, cried out to the police: “There’s kids in the house.” Not only Aiyana, but her two toddler brothers were present. During subsequent trials, police testimony showed that the DPD had the house under surveillance the previous day and saw the target of the raid, Chauncey Owens, exit onto the street several times. He could have been peacefully arrested instead. In reality, the raid comprised “regular police procedure.” Photo: Diane Bukowski

“What we normally do, is put surveillance on the house and wait for somebody to go to the liquor store in the morning,” one official told me, speaking on condition of anonymity, fearing disciplinary action for speaking candidly. “Once he comes out, you stop him, you put him in custody and you get the intel about who’s in the house, who’s got what weapon, and where they are. We do that, obviously, to avoid scenarios like this one.”

Said another ranking cop: “The team got amped up. They wanted to get a baby-killer. They went too fast and now we have a total fuck-up. We have a man dead, and a good cop who was doing his job who now has to live with this.”

A woman who is a suspected accomplice in the child-killing was arrested at the house during the raid. And the man suspected of actually shooting the child (he also shot the girl’s mother 16 times) was arrested later in the afternoon, miles away, near the scene of the child’s murder. Both have since been released from custody, due to lack of evidence.

A conversation I had with one of Chief Craig’s right-hand men went like this:

Me: “Why didn’t you have eyes on the house?”

Investigator: “We did.”

Me: “Then why did you go in, with a guy on the couch and the gunman somewhere else?”

Investigator: “How are we supposed to know who’s in the house?”

Me: “Because you had the house under surveillance.”

Investigator: “Well, we arrested somebody didn’t we?”

Me: “Yeah, but an innocent man is dead and the two suspects in the child’s murder are walking around the streets.”

Investigators: “Well, they’re still suspects as we continue to put the case together.”

Who’s to Blame? 

DPD Chief James Craig on cover of NRA magazine in June, 2014 after he urged Detroit homeowners to arm themselves.

Where is the accountability? Michigan State Police from Flint are now investigating. But if the details provided by the chief are correct, the officer who fired the shots cannot be blamed here. He was doing his job, following orders. Ultimately, responsibility lay with the man in charge and the culture he has incubated within the department.

Remember, Craig is the man who showed up on the cover of an NRA magazine encouraging Detroiters to purchase firearms to protect their homes. It is also worth remembering that it is not uncommon for crime crews to pose as police officers before busting into homes. It is also worth remembering that Muhiman’s shooting death is the latest in a string of embarrassing, violent or deadly episodes in the police department in recent months, episodes that Craig has promised to provide answers to, but has failed to do so.

Remember, the police commander moonlighting as a security guard and beating a party goer into a coma; two undercover police units pointing guns at each other and fist fighting on a porch, and the death of an on-duty officer driving in excess of 100 miles an hour on city streets to name a few. The use of force by police officers is a major issue in American life. In Detroit, it seems, not so much. But the public here, like anywhere else, deserves answers and justice demands them.

And it starts at the top.

VOD: To donate to Dullah Beard’s family to help with funeral and other costs, go to https://www.launchgood.com/project/justice_for_abdullah_beard#!/

Related stories (individual stories include links to previous stories on topic):

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2010/10/16/family-religious-and-civil-rights-leaders-outraged-after-doj-exonerates-imam-luqman-abdullah’s-killers/

FBI’s Real Reasons for Assassination of Imam Luqman Abdullah http://voiceofdetroit.net/2010/10/30/1951/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/11/warrior-cop-weekley-walks-again-in-aiyana-jones-death/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/08/21/no-justice-for-young-detroit-dad-terrance-kellom-worthy-refuses-to-prosecute-killer-cops-again/

DONATE TO VOICE OF DETROIT TO KEEP OUR STORIES COMING:

Voice of Detroit is published pro bono. You don’t have to pay to access our stories. But there are substantial out of pocket costs associated with its publication. Currently we are running in the red, so any donation amount is much appreciated. Donate by clicking https://www.gofundme.com/VOD-readers-up. 

 


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THOUSANDS IN U.S.-BOUND MIGRANT CARAVAN POUR INTO MEXICAN CITY, CHALLENGE U.S. PRES. TRUMP

October 22, 2018

TAPACHULA, Mexico (Reuters) – A U.S.-bound caravan of thousands of mostly Honduran migrants whom President Donald Trump has declared unwelcome, crowded into the Mexican border city of Tapachula on Sunday, setting up impromptu camps in public spaces under a heavy rain.

Child cries out as caravan rushes Mexican border.

Members of the caravan, exhausted from the hours-long trek on foot from the Guatemalan border, mostly ignored police offers to board buses heading to a migrant shelter because of suspicions they might be deported instead.

The migrants have defied threats by Trump that he will close the U.S.-Mexico border if the caravan advances, as well as warnings from the Mexican government that they risk deportation if they cannot justify seeking asylum in Mexico.

On Sunday, Trump said on Twitter that “full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens,” arguing that the migrants must apply for asylum in Mexico before attempting to petition U.S. authorities.

In southern Mexico, police in riot gear shadowed the caravan’s arrival along a southern highway, but did not impede their journey.

Among the throngs hiking into the center of the city was Roger Pineda, a 16-year-old Honduran.

“I just want to find some food and a place to sleep,” he said, explaining he joined the caravan last week with five family members and a group of friends from the violent city of San Pedro Sula.

Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America en route to the United States, rest along the sidewalks of Tapachula city center, Mexico October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

“I hope Trump allows us to make it to the other side,” he said.

‘We are not criminals, we are workers! If you send us back, we will return!”

In Guatemala, local media reported that around 1,000 migrants were traveling north en route to the Mexican border.

A large column of people marched under a burning sun Sunday as a military helicopter circled low overhead. Many migrants said they were fleeing a toxic mix of violence, poverty and corruption in Central America.

Most said they felt safer advancing in a large group.

“We’re going to make it, we’re going to keep moving so long as they don’t stop us,” said Honduran Jaffe Borjas, 17, marching alongside a childhood friend at the head of the column that stretched far down the highway to the horizon.

Along the route north to Tapachula, about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of the border, some broke into song.

“If you send us back, we will return!” a large crowd shouted in unison.

“We are not criminals, we are workers!”

‘EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CONDITIONS’

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, considered a leftist/populist.

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador supported the caravan and promised to provide people with work permits in a speech to supporters in Tuxtla-Gutierrez, about 180 miles (290 km) north of Tapachula.

“I want to tell them they can count on us,” said Lopez Obrador, who will take office in December, to a smattering of applause.

He reiterated that is seeking Trump’s support to help fund a development plan that could alleviate poverty in Central America and southern Mexico.

Trump will exit Cold War-era nuclear treaty

Migrant caravan storms border between Guatemala and Mexico. Mexico is now welcoming migrants, a reversal of its initial policy.

Since the convoy formed last weekend, Trump has threatened to halt aid to Honduras and Guatemala, and potentially close the U.S. border with Mexico with the help of the military if the migrants’ march is not stopped.

Mexico’s government has said throughout the past week that it would register the migrants and process requests for asylum. Those attempting to skip the process would face deportation, but the size of the caravan will test Mexico, which has sought help from the United Nations to manage the issue.

Central American migrants challenge Donald Trump’s racist anti-immigration stance.

More than 3,400 Hondurans migrants had been returned to their home country over the past 48 hours by Sunday afternoon, according to a migrant assistance body led by the wife of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Ana Garcia de Hernandez.

“We’re urging people against migrating in an unlawful way and putting your children in extremely dangerous conditions,” Garcia de Hernandez said in a statement.

The Honduran government has also blamed the political opposition back home for encouraging the exodus of migrants.

Mexican immigration authorities said they had allowed some 1,028 migrants through the official border crossing in Ciudad Hidalgo near the bridge spanning the Suchiate River over the past three days.

The slow pace prompted thousands to cross the river illegally by raft or swimming to the shore.

Reporting by Delphine Schrank in Tapachula, Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City and Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa; Editing by Diane Craft and Grant McCool

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

DONATE TO VOICE OF DETROIT TO KEEP OUR STORIES COMING:

Voice of Detroit is published pro bono. You don’t have to pay to access our stories. But there are substantial out of pocket costs associated with its publication. Currently we are in desperate straits because the editor has been forced to move due to the sale of her apt. building to greedy developers, so any donation amount is much appreciated.  

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HON. MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN: DETROIT IS HOLY LAND OF BLACK PEOPLE, NOT PROPERTY OF SLAVEMASTERS

Video above, posted on YouTube by Ahmad 770, focuses on Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan’s remarks in Detroit Sun. Oct. 14 regarding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her testimony against newly confirmed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh, condemning both the sexual abuse of women and little boys, including that by Catholic priests. Minister Farrakhan also spoke of his meeting with R. Kelly, calling for forgiveness when it is warranted. He touched on the role African religion played in the establishment of the first Black republic by Toussaint L’Overture. 
_____________________________________________________________

Addresses Detroit’s history as the birthplace of the Nation of Islam, home of the great Migration from the South after the Mississippi River Flood of 1927

Predicts that God will come to “raise the nation of Black people and Brown people and Red people whose sojourn in America left us like the dry bones in the valley, divided, hopeless and in despair.”

Recalls luminous and militant history of Detroit’s Goddess of Soul, Aretha Franklin 

Student Minister Troy Muhummad, of Mosque #1 in Detroit, chaired the rally Oct. 14. Members of that Mosque prepared the way for the rally. In solidarity with victims of mass incarceration, he recalled that he himself was in prison at the time of the Million Man March.

By Diane Bukowski

October 18, 2018 

As editor of the Voice of Detroit, I was honored to be escorted to the press gallery by a young Muslim sister, herself an aspiring journalist, to cover Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan’s appearance at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre on Detroit’s riverfront Oct. 14, 2018. The event was the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the Million Man March on Washington, D.C. Oct. 16, 1995.  

That March brought out over tw0 million Black men to assert their presence and power, while corporate America’s assault on Detroit, Flint and other Black-majority cities, and that of mass incarceration and police murders, particularly of people of color, was exploding across the nation.

As Detroit undergoes the ravages of a renewed white supremacist takeover, it was truly uplifting to hear the       Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s words, and watch as they brought renewed hope to Detroit’s majority population listening in the audience and on livestream nationwide.

 

DETROIT – Members of the Nation of Islam and hundreds of others, primarily of African descent, filled the seats of the newly-named Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre in Detroit Oct. 14, drinking in the words of Minister Louis Farrakhan as he commemorated the twenty-third anniversary of the Million Man March. 

Minister Farrakhan’s talk held out hope for the future of the people of this majority-Black city, suffering from the ravages of white supremacy on the ascent.

“We are honored the speak to the people of Detroit, particularly the Black and the Brown, who have lived under  tyranny and oppression ever since we set the soles of our feet in the wilderness of North America, and our people have suffered greatly every day, about 463 years of sojourn in America,” Min. Farrakhan declared.

Detroit children wait in line Sept. 1, 2012 for winter coats provided by the Moorish Science Temple of America #25. During his talk Oct. 14, Min. Farrakhan welcomed the presence of Moors in the audience.

Currently, sixty percent of Detroit’s children live in poverty and the majority of the city’s public schools, which once produced great Black leaders, have been closed. Tens of thousands of the city’s youth are being shunted through the school-to-prison pipeline.

Detroit’s once proud neighborhoods of working-class homes, mostly occupied in recent decades by Black families drawn north to jobs in the auto industry, have been devastated by mortgage and tax foreclosures. They have either been left to rot or auctioned off to a majority of  white bidders at government-sponsored auctions, reminiscent of the auctions of kidnapped Africans during another era.

After the largest major city bankruptcy in history, a fraudulent result of the city’s takeover by a state-appointed emergency manager,  Detroiters no longer own or control city assets such as the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, which once provided clean water for 40 percent of Michigan residents, or the beautiful Belle Isle Park, which formed a backdrop for the Minister’s talk in the riverfront theater.

Minister Farrakhan’s talk held out hope for the future of the people of this majority-Black city, suffering from the ravages of white supremacy on the ascent.

“We are honored the speak to the people of Detroit, particularly the Black and the Brown, who have lived under  tyranny and oppression ever since we set the soles of our feet in the wilderness of North America, and our people have suffered greatly every day, about 463 years of sojourn in America,” Min. Farrakhan declared.

 

Former Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept. worker Derek Grigsby and family participate in protest against bankruptcy, which left the city 300 percent more in debt.

But, standing in front of huge banners portraying the co-founders of the Nation, Minister Elijah Muhummad and Wallace D. Fard, Min. Farrakhan continued, “We are honored to be in this place—we call it hallowed ground, because Detroit was chosen by the son of man, god in person, to start what is now known as the Nation of Islam.”

He continued, “It is written that every day of our presence in America, we would be afflicted by a strange people, but after that time, I (god talking) will come with a specific function, first to judge the nation that had afflicted his people, second to raise the nation of Black people and Brown people and Red people whose sojourn in America left us like the dry bones in the valley, divided, hopeless and in despair. Your suffering was not in vain and the enemy knows our future better than we do. He is frightened not of guns, because he’s got big ones, he is frightened of truth because he has deceived the whole world. So whenever a person has lived by deceit and built their world on falsehood, the one thing they fear is the truth and a man in whose heart is the courage and the strength and the love of his people to speak the truth, even if it costs his life. Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

Min. Farrakhan offered a lengthy and stirring tribute to Detroit’s Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who passed August 16, 2018, and was honored world-wide. Her funeral at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, pastored by the Rev. Charles Ellis, brought out the greatest stars of African-American music and many more. 

Aretha Franklin was honored on the front page of The Final Call after her death.

Min. Farrakhan recalled that Ms. Franklin was not only a singer, but a political activist who loved her people and never forgot her roots in Detroit, as the daughter of Pastor C.L. Franklin of New Bethel Baptist Church, and part of a musical legacy born here. He also had pithy remarks for certain leaders (including former U.S. President Bill Clinton), who unashamedly ogled young singer Ariana Grande, sitting behind her on the stage. Grande was one of dozens of world-renowned Black singers and musicians who performed  at Ms. Franklin’s funeral.

He said Ms. Franklin came to New York City in 1972 to stand with the Nation when its Mosque in New York City was attacked by the police.

The Final Call reported, 

“Abdul Akbar Muhammad, international representative of Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam had fond memories of Aretha Franklin, though he only met her up close once. That was after she visited the historic Muhammad Mosque No. 7 on 116th Street and Lennox Avenue, now Malcolm X Boulevard, in April 1972.  While under the leadership of Min. Farrakhan, Mosque No. 7 was attacked by police officers responding to a false emergency call. One officer was killed by another officer’s weapon.

“She came to express her solidarity with Minister Farrakhan and anything she could do while we were going through that particular crisis,” said Minister Akbar Muhammad.

“I felt, personally, she appreciated the voice of Minister Farrakhan, his voice into our struggle, and she came by to show her support and her concern over the unfortunate incident of the New York police raiding our mosque.”

Photo published by The FInal Call honors Aretha Franklin’s stand with the NOI when the NYPD attacked Mosque #7 in New York City in 1972.

“I love being here in Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre,” Min. Farrakhan said. “We loved her singing and her soul. . .I met her in 1972 when police attacked our Mosque in New York. I was on television ordering all white people out of Harlem.

“But Aretha with her blessed soul, she saw us on television, and as famous as Aretha was, she left wherever she was and came to Harlem to stand with me and with us. Aretha was not a sister that gave two cents for fame or fortune that would deprive her of standing up for a righteous principle. She was more than the Queen of Soul on that level, she was the Queen of Soul on  the highest level of the manifestation of soul.”

Min. Farrakhan continued, “Is there a balm in Gilead? Nobody touched our soul like Aretha. When she sang, you could feel the electric energy in every word. Each word was an atom and the power of her soul cracked the atom and the energy of that word went out and touched wherever that word went. I see Aretha as divine. I looked in her face, I looked at her eyes, and I do not remember studying her face, what she had on—you know how some men are—a great artist and a fine woman comes announced—you want to behold her in every dimension. Like some were looking at my little sister at the funeral—Ariana Grande—some of the great preachers. I’m so glad I wasn’t in that conversation. I called the family, and asked could I come, not to speak, just to be in the place where her family and friends and the mourners were, people who really felt a sense of loss. I was never expecting to be on the stage. . . But Bishop Ellis took me by the hand and brought me to my seat, picked up a paper that had my name on it, and sat me front and center on the stage.”

“Some of you, wondered, especially white folks, ‘How did that man get up there?’ You ought to shut your mouth. Your day of directing our affairs is all over. . .You know when you have  all those stars in one place—you talking about soul, that day, soul was everywhere you could look in that church—the people of soul, the people that God has sent to this earth to be a balm for us because God knew we had 400 years of hard tyranny. So these artists and I’m talking now to the whole artistic community, you have helped us to make it one more day under the tyranny of white supremacy.”

Min. Farrakhan continued, “Like most of our Black artists, particularly females, you don’t have good men. I’m sorry, brothers, we don’t know how to handle women that are intelligent, that are go-getters, that are young, gifted and black. So most of our female artists have never had men in their lives that they could look up to with honor, deep and abiding respect, and profound love.  . . My dear sisters, when you fall in love and you think that the handsome man who’s muscular and strong-looking, but weak-minded.  I had never seen Fantasia up close, so this was my opportunity at Aretha’s homegoing. I happened to go in the back and there she was with her husband. She said, minister, I’m so nervous, cause I’ve got to sing one of  Aretha’s songs. I told her, don’t be nervous, just get inside the word and everything will be all right.

“I said to brother, Fantasia needs an angel in her life. He said, yes, she’s been an angel for me. I said, what we need is for you to be an angel in her life. And Detroit, the meaning of atonement has everything to do with us repairing the damage we have done to each other in our ignorance, our women, our children, ourselves.”

Min. Farrakhan segued from those observations to a truly stunning statement of solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, citing her courage in standing up to expose the wrongdoing of now U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In doing so, he expressed support for all women of every color who have been abused by men in the white supremacist patriarchy that is the United States.

Women all over the world who were appalled and galvanized by Dr. Blasey-Ford’s testimony should now know that they have common ground with the men and women of the Nation of Islam. Hopefully they will take the hand that Min. Farrakhan extended to them in order to create a strong movement against the continued rise of white supremacy in the U.S. At its core it is based on the white man’s belief that he owns everyone and everything, from 2.2 million people, mostly Black, incarcerated in the largest penal system in the world, to women and children of all races and nationalities.

Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault on her. She said her family has had to go into hiding because of repeated death threats.

“I want to go right to Ms. Blasey Ford, and Judge Kavanaugh, now Justice Kavanaugh. In this world, and in human life, people outgrow bad habits, bad deeds, and change their lives. . . .So if Judge Kavanaugh bothered Ms. Ford when she was 15 and he was 17.

Now that lady was a victim of something. I’ve been listening to liars for a long time. My business is trying to get a crooked tongue to speak straight words, When I saw that woman give her testimony, tears came in my eyes, because no man should take from a woman what a woman does not want to give, and when that woman stood up and went through the horror of what Mr. Kavanaugh is alleged to have done to her, she had to relive it, because that kind of thing when you experience it, you don’t forget that. It’s seared into your memory—when you least expect it, that thing will come out and make a problem for you. One of the worst things a man could do is take advantage of a woman. . .”

Min. Farrakhan did express his long-held belief against the practice of abortion, but for the Black community, this is a complex issue. Tens of thousands of women of color across the world have been victims of forced sterilization at the hands of the white oppressor, who seeks to stem the influx of more people of color into the world. In addition to forced sterilization, the history of European conquests of other nations is replete with horrific accounts of mass genocide against the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere, as well as the African Holocaust.

According to the African Holocaust website at http://www.africanholocaust.net/, 

“It is estimated that 40 -100 million people were directly affected by slavery via the Atlantic, Arabian and Trans-Saharan routes. Some historians conclude that the total loss in persons removed, those who died on the arduous march to coastal slave marts and those killed in slave raids, exceeded the 65–75 million inhabitants remaining in Africa at the trade’s end. But no one knows the exact number. Many died in transport, others died from diseases or indirectly from the social trauma left behind in Africa. Not only was Transatlantic Slavery of demographic significance, in the aggregate population losses but also in the profound changes to settlement patterns, epidemiological exposure and reproductive and social development potential.”

In current times, however, a startling reversal is taking place, says a report on uk.sci.med.nursing, a Google discussion forum.

“As a percentage of world inhabitants, the white population will plummet to a single digit (9.76%) by 2060 from a high-water mark of 27.98% in 1950. Using 2010 as the base reference, the big gainer in the population derby will be Blacks or sub-Sahara Africans. This group will expand almost 133% to 2.7 billion by 2060. By the middle of this century
blacks will represent 25.38% of world population, which is up dramatically from the 8.97% they recorded in 1950. . . . A side bar will be the single digit minority role that whites will assume. Of the seven population groups studied, only whites are projected to sustain an absolute decline in numbers.”

______________________________________________________________

By Charlene Muhammad -National Correspondent- | Last updated: Oct 17, 2018 – 9:24:21 AM

(excerpted by Voice of Detroit)

Gathering at the renowned Bert’s Warehouse in Eastern Market Oct. 13, 2018:
L-R Back row: Jay Dearing, Migel X Rayford, Moorish Science Temple #25 Minister Fuqua Bey, Askia Muhammad, Amin Ali Muhammad, Cornelius Muhammad, Arthello Muhammad, Sr., Bert Dearing. L-R Front row: Medina Mohammed, Katrina Muhammad, Alverda Muhammad, Claudette Marie Muhammad/Photo by Charlene Muhammad

MEMORIES, CONTINUED MOTIVATION TO  KEEP SPIRIT, WORK OF MILLION MAN MARCH ALIVE

Lifelong union and community activist Eula Powell at 80th birthday party, 2017.

VOD editor Diane Bukowski: I met my long-time friend Eula Powell (l) a community activist and union leader from the historic UAW Local 3 (Dodge Main) when we were  working with a coalition of my union Local AFSCME 457 and hers to save Detroit General Hospital and Dodge Main from 1977 to 1980. We were elated to find ourselves at this gathering Sat. Oct. 13, 2018, on the eve of Min. Louis Farrakhan’s appearance in Detroit described above.

We went to Bert’s to get dinner, but ended up meeting the illustrious Askia Muhammad, Sr. Editor of the Final Call, and his wife Alverda Muhammad, as well as the Final Call’s National Correspondent Charlene Muhammad. Bert Dearing himself welcomed us to the private gathering. Voice of Detroit earlier covered his battle to maintain ownership of that property in the face of Caucasian gentrification of Eastern Market, downtown Detroit, and the Cass Corridor (now called “Mid-City”). It has now extended to homes of Black families in the North End, stolen from them and handed over to white occupants at government-sponsored tax and mortgage auctions, and to the eastern Riverfront to landmark apartment buildings like the Jeffersonian, where African-American seniors and others who have lived there for decades are being displaced by its new owners, Joe Barbat of Barbat Holdings, and Arie Liebowicz.

By Charlene Muhammad, Final Call National Correspondent

DETROIT—Alverda Muhammad, a Nation of Islam pioneer from Muhammad Mosque No. 4 in Washington, D.C., facilitated a riveting dialogue with men and women who journeyed to the historic 1995 Million Man March called by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

They detailed how the march and subsequent commemorations, including the Million Family March and the Millions More Movement, have touched their lives.

Bert Dearing speaks at downtown Detroit rally to save Black businesses July 21, 2015.

Bert Dearing, owner of Bert’s Entertainment Complex, hosted the Muslims and their guests in his bistro on October 13. His grandfather and Minister Farrakhan were very good friends, he told the rapt audience. “The Million Man March to me was very, very important because I was able to take my father, my two sons,” Mr. Dearing stated. In fact, they took a whole busload of men to the march, he said.

“Just the bonding with my father and my two sons was more important than anything else, and then getting to Washington, D.C., on the bus, just talking or whatever, the energy, the power that you get being with Black folks, is something that you can never describe, but it’s once in a lifetime,” he said.

Malik Rahim took time off as an educator to attend the Million Man March. He drove with five others. People needed to hear Minister Farrakhan at that time, because the world and Blacks in particular were in a whirlwind, he said.

“We lost the structure of our families, but the speech that he gave … helping your community, just seeing all our people there, the brothers, some of the sisters, it was like a big family, like being at home,” said Mr. Rahim.

They returned home from the Million Man March with plans to develop a mentorship program for youth. “At that time our young people were into drugs, killing each other, getting expelled from school for 180 days, not going anywhere. They were just sitting at home,” said Mr. Rahim.

Mother Khadijah Farrakhan

Cora Masters Barry, widow of Mayor Marion Barry

The march participants worked and were effective in getting students facing drug charges authorization to still attend their special school, according to Mr. Rahim. “We taught them there, and they were able to pick up their grades. Those were the D and the E students, and they wound up being the B and the C students. Some were As,” he stated.

That expanded to developing family services, coaching and academic programs, such as hosting Black engineers to speak to youth.

Claudette Marie Muhammad, former national protocol director for Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, drew three rounds of rousing applause when she expressed many wonderful things resulting from the march that lifted women.

First of all, there was the Nation of Islam’s First Lady Mother Khadijah Farrakhan and her daughters, Maria, Betsy Jean, Donna, Fatima and Khallada, and the First Lady of Washington, D.C., Cora Masters Barry, who coordinated the registration committee for the march.

Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Betty Shabazz

“We had Dr. Dorothy Irene Height, who was the mother of the Million Man March, and she did so much in bringing women all over the country,” Claudette Marie Muhammad stated. “Now, we didn’t come to the march per se, but the women did so much. Dr. Betty Shabazz, Dr. Maya Angelou and I’m so very proud to announce that Dr. Angelou did a poem with words added by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” she continued. Applause rang out again when she shared how her then 10-year-old granddaughter Tiffany recited the poem at the march.

“The most thing I remember is I was like 45 and there were two buses, and they kind of separated the young guys on one bus and the elders on another bus, because they were playing music and games and all kinds of stuff the whole way up there,” he recalled, smiling broadly the whole time.

Dick Gregory

Clarence Driver

He wanted to ride on Mr. Gregory’s bus and made his way during a bathroom break in the ride, he said. He was cleared to switch and that had a lasting impact on his life, he said.

“I learned a lot about 40 Acres and A Mule, because I didn’t really know too much about it and everything, and how they were going there, and spoke to Congress; the meeting they were having with the president, the meeting they were having with Louis Farrakhan. I was able, since I switched buses, to slide in there and get to go to some of those little meetings and things, so it was a great experience for me,” Mr. Driver told The Final Call.

“It shows that there is a lot of unity if you want it to be, if you want to stick together. Being a child born in the ’60s and coming up, it meant a lot. Because today’s age, you don’t have a lot of being raised by the village as we were,” he said. “Everyone is more singled out than it was as a village, so being in an environment where everyone was one was great!”

He said Minister Farrakhan’s returning to Detroit was great, as it always has been. “It’s just a course. It’s what he does,” Mr. Driver said. “Just being a part of it. I was at the original, the 10 year anniversary. I’ve been at this one, so it’s just been a path since the first day.”

Related stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/09/30/federal-lawsuit-alleging-fraud-unclean-hands-forestalls-seizure-of-berts-marketplace/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/07/25/downtown-rally-protests-great-black-out-of-detroit-by-white-profiteers-politicians/

Askia Muhammad in James Brady White House briefing room. 

Diane Bukowski: I was most honored to receive a signed copy of world-renowned photojournalist, writer and Final Call Sr. Editor Askia Muhammad’s most recent publication, “The Autobiography of Charles 67X,” which is the story of his own life in his original poetry, essays and photographs.

He and his wife Alverda Muhammad graciously presented it to me at the conclusion of the event above. (I was not present for the actual speeches during this event, so I have excerpted Sister Charlene Muhammad’s article.)  I went home that night and read the book from cover to cover.

An excellent review of this extraordinary publication is at  http://stylemagazine.com/news/2018/jan/11/autobiography-charles-67x-poetry-and-photographs-a/.

It and other books by Askia Muhammad can be purchased through the following link:

https://www.amazon.com/Books-Askia-Muhammad/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AAskia%20Muhammad

DONATE TO VOICE OF DETROIT TO KEEP OUR STORIES COMING:

Voice of Detroit is published pro bono. You don’t have to pay to access our stories. But there are substantial out of pocket costs associated with its publication. Currently we are in desperate straits because the editor has been forced to move due to the sale of her apt. building to greedy developers, so any donation amount is much appreciated.  

Donate by clicking https://www.gofundme.com/VOD-readers-up. 


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20 ARRESTED IN DETROIT AS FAST-FOOD WORKERS KICK OFF NATIONWIDE STRIKE DEMANDING UNION RIGHTS

 

On Heels of $15 Victory at Amazon, Fight for $15 Escalates Demand for Union Rights in $200 Billion Fast-Food Industry  

U.S. House Candidate Rashida Tlaib Among Those Arrested as More Than 1,000 Workers, Elected Leaders, Clergy Flood Detroit McDonald’s 

Amazon hiring in Detroit area

By Aaron Shooshani 

October 2, 2018

 DETROIT – Twenty fast-food and other service workers were arrested with U.S. House candidate Rashida Tlaib at a downtown McDonald’s Tuesday afternoon, where more than 1,000 workers in the Fight for $15 converged to support striking cooks and cashiers’ demand for union rights.

The strike in Detroit came hours after Amazon announced it is raising pay to $15 an hour nationwide, marking the latest victory by the Fight for $15. Emboldened by the growing momentum for $15 an hour, cooks and cashiers in Detroit stressed their demand for union rights at McDonald’s and across the economy.

Part of delegation of 1000’s that blocked Woodward in Detroit. Photo: Mandi Wright

“Amazon’s decision to pay workers $15 an hour shows the Fight for $15’s momentum is unstoppable,” said Lachelle Slaughter, a McDonald’s worker from Detroit who is striking Tuesday to demand union rights. “It also shows why workers need the right to a union, so we can have the power to stick together on the job and win not just $15 an hour, but better hours and working conditions at companies from Amazon to McDonald’s.”

Holding banners reading “Unions for All,” hundreds of striking cooks and cashiers were joined by Detroit Metro Airport workers, downtown arena district workers and others in healthcare, child care and home care at the Detroit McDonald’s Tuesday to stress that union rights are a top priority for voters across the economy ahead of the November election.

Flint #Fightfor15 workers struck by truck during rally Oct. 2, 2018

Michigan gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, who met with striking fast-food workers in Flint, Mich., early Tuesday, expressed her support for their demand for union rights, and Michigan Attorney General candidate Dana Nessel, state Senate candidate Adam Hollier, and local clergy leaders joined Detroit workers at the strike Tuesday.

“Michigan’s hardworking families need leaders who will have their backs,” said Whitmer. “Nobody should work a full-time job and still live in poverty.”

The walkouts in Flint and Detroit Tuesday kicked off a wave of strikes by thousands of fast-food workers demanding union rights from their employers that will expand to other battleground states across the country Oct. 3 and 4.

“Here’s my message for anyone running for election this year – stand with people who are fighting for the right to a union on the job, not powerful corporations, and you’ll have my vote,” said Brittany Williamson, a McDonald’s worker from Detroit, Mich. “Too many politicians are helping companies like McDonald’s block us from exercising our right to form a union, dragging down pay and hurting families where we live. We need elected leaders who will make it easier, not harder, for working people to organize and stick together in a union so we can support ourselves and our families.”

Cooks and cashiers will strike in Milwaukee Wednesday, followed by hundreds of fast-food workers in Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 4. As Chicago fast-food workers walk off the job, thousands of cooks and cashiers will strike Thursday in battleground states with key races in November including Florida, Georgia, Connecticut and California, demanding union rights in the $200 billion fast-food industry.

Wisconsin workers Fight for $15 Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FightFor15WI/

As fast-food cooks and cashiers prepare to strike nationwide this week, thousands of workers from across the service economy will join the uprising, including in key 2018 battlegrounds. Higher education workers at Miami Dade College – Florida’s largest college – and child care workers across California will rally on Thursday, while hospital workers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will walk off the job to protest efforts by powerful employers to undercut unions.

Beginning Oct. 4, workers in the Fight for $15 alongside union members across the country will head from the strike lines into their communities to lead 2018 election canvasses in swing states including Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Georgia, California, Florida, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Ohio where there are key races ahead of the November election.

“The right to organize and build unions in our country is how we fight back and win the good jobs and fair pay that powerful corporations and politicians have taken away,” said Rashida Tlaib, Democratic nominee for Congress in Michigan’s 13th District. “In Congress I will stand up to corporate greed and never back down until we all live in a just society. Together, we will achieve economic justice, protect our collective bargaining rights, and make it easier for workers like these striking cooks and cashiers to organize in a union on the job. I’m inspired by these brave workers standing up for justice, and honored to join them in this action.”  

Workers struck AirFrance in France, Germany and elsewhere

The demand for unions also grew louder overseas. Workers at all airports in France went on strike Tuesday as thousands of airport service workers protested in the U.S. and across the globe demanding fair wages and union rights, rallying at 43 airports in 13 countries.

McDonald’s workers in the U.K. plan to walk off the job Oct. 4 calling for 10 pounds an hour, union rights and an end to abusive “youth rates.” The strike will be the third and largest walkout in the past year by U.K. McDonald’s workers, who were inspired by U.S. fast-food workers in the Fight for $15. Cooks and cashiers in the U.K. will be joined by fast-food workers and fast-food unions from 16 countries.

The strikes and canvasses follow a blitz of town halls and roundtable meetings workers in the Fight for $15 have held in 17 cities this year with members of Congress and state and local elected leaders focused on the need for lawmakers to make it easier for workers to organize in unions.

As the election nears, support for unions is hitting record levels across the country. A survey by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology released in June found that Americans’ interest in joining unions is at a four-decade high, with nearly half (48 percent) of all nonunion workers in the U.S. saying they would join a union if they could.

A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute shows the decline in union membership over the past few decades has helped keep wages stagnant. Another study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that higher rates of unionization led to higher wages not just for union members, but for all workers.

Earlier this year, public school teachers launched a wave of strikes hitting red states spanning West Virginia to Oklahoma to Arizona and beyond to protest years of pay cuts and attacks by politicians against their union. And in August, working people in Missouri voted by an overwhelming 2-1 margin to repeal the state’s right-to-work law.

A growing number of candidates are putting unions at the center of their campaigns this year – and in state after state, that support is propelling them to victory, including Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, David Garcia in Arizona, and Richard Ojeda in West Virginia.

Aaron Shooshani O. 646.335.0443 C. 310.729.9481 aaron.shooshani@berlinrosen.com

berlinrosen New York • Washington D.C. • Los Angeles berlinrosen.com  @berlinrosen

Related from VOD:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2018/06/14/poor-peoples-campaign-at-lansing-mich-mshda-treasury-no-justice-no-peace-shut-it-down/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2018/01/26/janitors-fast-food-and-hospital-workers-storm-detroits-state-building-jan-23-deliver-workers-state-of-the-state/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/07/23/victory-fast-food-workers-of-ny-state-win-historic-raise-to-15hr/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/05/11/detroit-fast-food-workers-strike-demand-15hr/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/05/10/detroit-fast-food-workers-strike-rally-fri-may-10-4-pm-dft-hall-new-center/

http://www.amazondelivers.jobs/warehouse-jobs/detroit-jobs

https://www.mlive.com/business/index.ssf/2017/05/amazon_new_detroit_distributio.html

DONATE TO VOICE OF DETROIT TO KEEP OUR STORIES COMING:

Voice of Detroit is published pro bono. You don’t have to pay to access our stories. But there are substantial out of pocket costs associated with its publication. Currently we are running in the red, so any donation amount is much appreciated. Donate by clicking https://www.gofundme.com/VOD-readers-up. 


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FREE DETROIT’S CHARLES ‘K.K.’ LEWIS NOW, AS PRISONER RELEASES FLOOD DEEPLY FLAWED JUSTICE SYSTEM

The men whose photos surround that of Charles K.K. Lewis are among many Michigan lifers who have recently been exonerated or had their convictions overturned and remanded for retrial, in an unprecedented surge uncovering multiple abuses in the criminal justice system.

FREE CHARLES LEWIS NOW! HEARING FRI. SEPT. 28 @ 9 AM–FRANK MURPHY HALL RM. 502

Call Judge Qiana Lillard at 313-224-2391 to express support

FREE THE MICHIGAN 247 STILL BEING HELD IN VIOLATION OF MILLER

Video above (Detroit News): Mubarez Ahmed, granted a new trial after 15 years due to the intervention of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, speaks out for the dozens of innocent prisoners he left behind. Private investigator Scott Lewis estimates at least 30 percent of Michigan prisoners are innocent.

DETROIT – Atty. Sanford Schulman of the Federal Defenders’ Office will present six powerful motions calling for the immediate release of Charles (K.K.) Lewis, in prison for 42 years since the age of 17, at a hearing next Friday, Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. in front of Judge Qiana Lillard.  The hearing is the 35th in a grueling series comprising his juvenile lifer “re-sentencing,” which began in March, 2016.

(L to r) Defense attorney Sanford Schulman, prosecutor Tom Dawson, Judge Qiana Lillard at Charles Lewis hearing Aug. 3, 2018

“I am finally happy and confident that I have an attorney who will fight effectively for me,” Lewis says of Schulman.

Lewis  stands at the forefront of 247 Michigan juvenile lifers, two-thirds of the state’s total, for whom prosecutors have re-recommended LWOP. Their stance violates two U.S. Supreme Court rulings which held that”only the rarest child” should be sent to die in prison. Most of the Michigan 247 have yet to see a judge.

Lewis’ case is  unique on many counts, including the complete loss of his official court record and Register of Actions, his claim of “actual innocence,” his challenge to the prosecutor’s request to re-sentence him to LWOP, and his request for bond since he has been without an actual sentence for over 6 years.

MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF CASE FILE AND RECORDS TO COMPLY WITH THE US SUPREME COURT REMAND FOR RESENTENCING

Atty. Schulman is contesting Judge Lillard’s authority to “re-construct” and certify Lewis’ entire court file, five boxes of which  mysteriously went “missing” sometime around 2012.

On Nov. 11, 2016, Judge Lillard ordered the prosecution, defense, and Clerk’s Office to pool all their records, refusing to obey key U.S. and Michigan Supreme Court rulings that the loss of the case file, even in part, must result in dismissal and remand for a new trial.

It remains to be seen if Judge Lillard will certify the incomplete record that resulted. 

“I strongly object,” Lewis said at that hearing Nov. 11. “Most of the defense’s records came from my own foot locker, which I turned over to my previous attorneys under the attorney-client privilege. I am re-asserting that privilege.”

Lewis’ Register of Actions has likewise been wiped out from 1976 to 1999, including an attachment listing actions taken in Detroit Recorder’s Court prior to 1999. It currently says he was convicted on April 3, 2000 in front of Judge Gershwin Drain. Thus there is no way to determine what records should be included in a complete file. Additionally, there is no way to determine what judge he should be in front of for re-sentencing.

Schulman writes, “Where the trial court’s files and records are missing, lost or have been destroyed and as such the court cannot comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s order remanding this case for resentencing, this court should dismiss the case and order the defendant immediately released on the basis that to otherwise proceed to resentencing without a complete court file would result in a violation of the due process of law and a fundamental miscarriage of justice (US Const. Amends. VI and XIV).”  Read entire motion at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/lewis.charles.mtn_.5.dismiss.file-1.pdf. 

MOTION TO DISMISS CASE DUE TO DEFENDANT’S ACTUAL INNOCENCE

“I estimate that at least 20 percent of juvenile lifers in Michigan are actually innocent,” Lewis says. He and his family have always maintained he was framed up for the murder of a white off-duty Detroit police officer in 1976. Extensive research done by the Voice of Detroit over the last three years confirms this claim.

 Justice  Breyer

Justice Sotomayor

Prosecutors and some defense attorneys say that an innocence claim cannot be entertained in a “re-sentencing,” which is not a “re-trial.”

However, Lewis points to U.S. Justice Stephen Breyer’s and Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s concurring opinion in Miller/Jackson v. Alabama (USSC 2012), the Court’s first opinion outlawing mandatory juvenile life without parole.

“JUSTICE BREYER, with whom JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR joins, concurring. “I join the Court’s opinion in full. I add that, if the State continues to seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for Kuntrell Jackson [the second defendant who is rarely mentioned] there will have to be a determination whether Jackson “kill[ed] or intend[ed] to kill” the robbery victim. Graham v. Florida, 560 U. S. (2010) (slip op., at 18).  . . . Given Graham’s reasoning, the kinds of homicide that can subject a juvenile offender to life without parole must exclude instances where the juvenile himself neither kills nor intends to kill the victim.”

Charles Lewis shortly after his incarceration in 1977, with his mother Rosie Lewis.

“I got arrested Aug. 1, 1976,” Lewis says. “When I stepped into the courtroom racism was the order of the day. White Power was in full effect. I felt like I was sitting through my own lynching.”

Lewis’ hearing Sept. 28 comes at a time when releases of wrongfully convicted individuals, many of whose cases date back decades, are hitting record highs.

Since 2003, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, there have been 72 exonerations in Michigan, with a record of 14 last year alone. This year, four prisoners have been completely exonerated, while at least three others have been granted new trials. One, Thelonious “Shawn” Searcy, is waiting in the wings for his judge’s ruling after an evidentiary hearing that exposed deep levels of corruption and deceit among prosecutors and police.

The number of exonerations and dismissals exposes what has been a deeply flawed and corrupt judicial system in Wayne County for decades, going back to the convictions and sentencing of Richard Phillips in 1971 and of Lewis in 1976 and continuing to the present day, as in the case of Thelonious “Shawn” Searcy, where Vincent Smothers testified earlier this year that he, not Searcy, committed the murder in question, and lies to the jury about ballistics evidence were exposed.

“The Defendant  . . .asserts that his ACTUAL INNOCENCE has already been established by a Court,” Schulman writes in Lewis’ innocence motion. “In People v Bernard Young, 2017 Mich App Lexis 1779 this Court granted the Defendant’s third motion for relief from judgment and ordered the release of Bernard Young based on recanted testimony.”

It was Lewis’ current judge, Qiana Lillard, who ordered the release of Bernard Young in December, 2017. Young was incarcerated for 27 years, most recently in the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, MI, where Lewis is currently incarcerated.

“In this case the Defendant’s ACTUAL INNOCENCE has already been established by Judge Deborah Thomas,” Schulman further states. ” . . . . the Defendant asserts that this Court is legally bound by Judge Deborah Thomas’ previous legal conclusion that the Defendant is ACTUALLY INNOCENT and must order the Defendants immediate RELEASE.”

Schulman refers to a stunning opinion dated Aug. 16, 2006 in which Thomas says she “thoroughly” reviewed the full transcript of Lewis’ first trial held in March, 1977, the last time any judge appears to have read that transcript.

Judge Deborah Thomas

 Judge Joseph Maher

She said there was no record of Judge Joseph Maher’s reason for dismissal of the trial jury, which should have meant an acquittal, with no new trial because of the double jeopardy standard.

(Maher was the judge who tried to take the law license of the late Kenneth Cockrel, Sr. for telling reporters that Maher was a racist, in multiple and certain term.)

She said she found it difficult to believe the first jury ignored the testimony of the officer’s partner and numerous eyewitnesses to the murder, who said another man driving a white Lincoln Mark IV shot Officer Gerald Sypitkowski, and chose instead to believe the testimony of three juveniles who said they were with Lewis when he killed Sypitkowski.

She said the juveniles’ version of events  was “a scientific impossibility,” and noted none of the eyewitnesses reported seeing the juveniles at the scene. None of the juveniles testified that they actually SAW Lewis shoot the officer, just that he was with them in a yellow Ford Gran Torino followed by a green Mustang. No other witnesses reported seeing such cars.

Thomas  also cited Maher’s jury instruction, “Now you have heard evidence tending to show that the Defendant, Charles Lewis was GUILTY of another shooting in the course of an armed robbery for which he is now on trial here.”

She opined, “This Court believes that the above instruction was a structural defect which defied analysis by the harmless error standard of review. I would reverse this case based on the above instruction. This Court is of the opinion that any time a judge instructs a jury that the Defendant is GUILTY of any element of the offense, regardless of his motives that it should be deemed reversible error.”

The outline of this sketch was drawn in 1976 by a DPD evidence technician. Referencing testimony at third trial, VOD has added a RED LINE with a white Lincoln Mark IV, driven by Leslie Nathanial, going west on Harper, then crossing Barrett. Eyewitnesses said they saw three Black men in the front seat. The medical examiner Werner Spitz testified the source of the gunfire could have been as much as 7 feet away from victim, although the actual shotgun was never found or tested, and no firearms expert testified.     The GREEN LINE  shows the route juveniles said they took, driving south down Barrett and left to go east on Harper. They said Officer Sypitkowski was killed at bus stop, but did not actually SEE Lewis shoot him. No other witnesses saw the juveniles or the two cars at the scene. Most, including the officer’s partner, who was closest to him, said there were no other cars present. Sypitkowski’s partner and multiple eyewitnesses were walking toward officer from  OTY’S BAR AT 11903 HARPER, close to the intersection, when they saw gunfire from the Lincoln Mark IV and Sypitkowski fall mortally wounded in center of area marked with blood, etc.

To read Atty. Schulman’s complete motion, go to http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/lewis.charles.mtn_.6.dismiss.actual.innocence.pdf.  To read Judge Deborah Thomas’ opinion, go to http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Judge-Deborah-Thomas-2006-opinion.pdf.

MOTION TO DISMISS THE PROSECUTION’S UNTIMELY AND INADEQUATE REQUEST TO SENTENCE THE DEFENDANT TO LIFE WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE PURSUANT TO MCLA 769.a

Atty. Schulman writes that Third Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell Jr. first granted Lewis’ re-sentencing on Oct. 17, 2012, pursuant to the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court’s Miller/Jackson v. Alabama declaring mandatory juvenile life without parole unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court later confirmed  this was a valid re-sentencing date under Miller/Jackson and remanded the case to the Michigan Supreme Court to comply.

Judge Edward Ewell

Judge James Chylinski

“The Michigan Supreme Court reversed the Michigan Court of Appeals August 29, 2013 and remanded this case to the trial court,” writes Atty. Schulman. “On REMAND this case should have returned to either Judge Edward Ewell Jr., the judge that granted resentencing on October 17, 2012 or the current judge of record Judge James Chylinski for resentencing.”

Lewis says that his case WAS originally set for a hearing in front of Judge Chylinski by the judge, but that Asst. Criminal Court Clerk David Baxter (now retired) unilaterally and illegally refused to have Lewis writted out for the hearing, instead giving his case to Judge Lillard. It was under Baxter’s supervision that Lewis’ court file went missing.

Schulman continues, “In August of 2016, assistant Wayne County Prosecutor, Jason Williams filed a motion to conduct a mitigation hearing pursuant to MCLA 769.25 to resentence the Defendant Charles Lewis to life without parole. When Jason Williams filed the motion . . . there was no criminal file in this case. Because there was no criminal file in this case Jason Williams did not have anything to base his request for life without parole on. Jason Williams did not recite the procedural history of this case in his request for life without parole. Jason Williams also did not recite the facts of this case in his request for life without parole.”

Jenard Sharp, charged with felony murder

Cortez Davis El, now VOD staff writer.

Schulman goes on to argue that Williams’ motion violated ex post facto laws because MCLA 769,25 was not passed until 2014, so it should not have applied to Lewis. Other juvenile lifers including Cortez Davis, whose trial judge Vera Massey-Jones ordered his re-sentencing in 2012 have raised the ex post facto issue as well. Davis was re-sentenced to a term of years and is now free, but his attorney Clinton Hubbell still appealed the re-sentencing. Hubbell had moved to have Davis sentenced to the original term of 10-40 years Judge Massey-Jones wanted in 1994, declaring long before the U.S. Supreme Court rulings against juvenile life without parole that she did not believe in throwing away the lives of children. Davis was 15 when he was convicted.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy used boiler plate motions like Lewis’ to ask that  67 Wayne County juvenile lifers die in prison, 97 percent of them Black. No reasons to set them aside from other juvenile lifers who were recommended for a term of years were cited.

From discussions VOD has conducted with other juvenile lifers, they were evidently selected with the concurrence of attorneys from the State Appellate Defenders’ Office (SADO). In at least one case, that of Jenard Sharp, attorneys from the Michigan ACLU and a New York law firm have also contested the lack of specifics in the prosecutor’s sentencing memorandum. Sharp is charged with “felony murder,” meaning he did not actually kill anyone. Many juvenile lifers who were actually the shooters received recommendations for terms of years (not to say they should have received LWOP recommendations, which are reserved for only the “rarest” child).

Schulman writes, “There have been dozens of other similar cases in Michigan where a previously imposed mandatory life sentence was imposed on a juvenile and the prosecutors did not seek to have the sentence of mandatory life reinstated. Instead, in the vast majority of ‘juvenile lifer’ cases, a term of years has been imposed. What makes this case different and distinguishable is unclear even to this date. Such an arbitrary and unreasonable application of this statute makes it unfair and a violation of due process and constitutional rights.”

Entire motion:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/lewis.charles.mtn_.2.dismiss.769a.pdf

THE DEFENDANT WAS DENIED HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF TRIAL COUNSEL GUARANTEED BY THE SIXTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS OF THE US CONSTITUTION, WHERE DEFENSE COUNSEL ARGUED TO THE JURY THAT THE DEFENDANT WAS GUILTY.

In this motion, Atty. Schulman cites the appalling opening statement of Lewis’ court-appointed attorney M. Arthur Arduin, Jr. (family name Arduino), known to have ties with Detroit mob figures. Arduin was also previously a campaign manager for Judge Thomas Poindexter, head of the Greater Detroit Area Homeowners’ Council which campaigned to keep Blacks out of white neighborhoods during the volatile era of the ’60’s and ’70.s.

Judge Thomas Poindexter wanted Blacks kept out of white neighborhoods.

M. Arthur Arduin Sr at 91, obituary photo; original name Arduino

Arduin: “There’s been a killing; there’s been an attempted robbery; there’s been a attempted robbery prior to this matter at issue today. Now we have here only one Defendant. But originally there were four young blacks. If they are part of a gang, I don’t know. But let’s assume they’re part of a gang. . . . .We’ re going to prove four lads who are part of a gang who are — who are expertise. Expertise, -they knew how to steal cars and God only knows if they knew how to rob. Now that’s what we’re going to prove. And they started out on this day, July 31st, four of them — four of them — to steal a car and to go out and commit a robbery. And they took with them the tools of their trade.

“And I’m going to prove to you that these lads made a deal, they made statements with the understanding that they would not be prosecuted in this court. And I’m going to prove to you that the prosecution depends on the efforts of the police and they did not make any effort to prosecute these lads. That was the agreement: for them to testify against their pal and friends. We’re going to prove to you that at the time another crime was committed this shotgun was a one-shell shotgun. It was an old thing, it was stored in the garage of one of the other lads who used his garage as a gang get-together. And we are going to prove to you that this one shell was fired from this gun in this other attempt aborted hold-up as Mr. Morgan has stated to you: that that gun was never refilled. Never refilled with another live shell. That the prosecution is depending on the proof that that was the gun that killed the deceased. That’s my opening statement; that’s what we hope to prove. (TRIAL TRANSCRIPT PG 21-24)”

Retired Detroit police officer Dennis Van Fleteren/Facebook

“The Defendant’s trial attorney was grossly ineffective,” Atty. Schulman argued. “Arthur Arduin refused to tell the jury that off duty Detroit Police Officer, Dennis Van Fleteren testified that he was talking to the deceased when Leslie Nathaniel pulled up next to the deceased and shot and killed him. The result would have been different if Arduin had argued to the jury that eye witnesses identified Leslie Nathaniel as the killer.

“In this case one of the eye witnesses, Dennis Van Fleteren, was also an off duty Detroit Police Officer, and the best friend and partner of the deceased. Defense counsel completely abandoned the then seventeen year old juvenile and left him totally defenseless. The defendant’s lawyer was ineffective for failing to make that argument to the jury that Leslie Nathaniel shot and killed the deceased. Six eye witnesses testified that the shotgun blast that killed the deceased came from a white Mark IV. Defense counsel for the Defendant failed to make that argument to the jury. The result would have been different if Arduin had argued to the jury that eye witnesses identified Leslie Nathaniel as the killer.”

Motion: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/lewis.charles.mtn_.1.iac_.pdf .

DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR BOND PENDING RESENTENCING

Lewis’ previous attorney brought a motion for bond that she did not support with the proper legal precedents given her by Lewis, who has become a highly proficient jailhouse lawyer and worked directly with Atty. Schulman in drafting the current motions.

AP Thomas Dawson’s response at the time was basically to laugh it off, pointing to Lewis’ record of disciplinary actions while incarcerated, most of them minor for “being out of place” in the law library, where he now works at the Lakeland Correctional Facility. 

AP Thomas Dawson and AP Jason Williams share a laugh during one of Lewis’ hearings.

Dawson did not consider the state of mind and the anger that Lewis must have experienced on entrance to the MDOC , knowing that he was innocent of the first-degree murder charges, and expecting he would never see freedom again. But he  immediately set about to learn the law that had imprisoned him unjustly and to use it to help himself and others get free. He took a paralegal course along with many others to educate himself. He has also honed his musical skills, leading prison bands which play jazz, R&B, rock, and rap during the last four decades.

Atty. Schulman has presented powerful arguments calling for his innocent client to receive a bond, just as Judge Lillard granted to falsely convicted Bernard Young in the video above. 

”The Defendant is currently being held in prison illegally,” Schulman states. “The Defendant’s first jury was dismissed sua sponte by Judge Joseph E. Maher on March 22, 1977. All subsequent Legal proceedings held after March 22, 1977 were double jeopardy barred by People v Benton, 402 Mich 47 (1979).

“ On August 22, 1980 the Michigan Court of Appeals granted the Defendant a Pearson evidentiary hearing pursuant to People v Pearson, 404 Mich 698 (1979). Pursuant to Pearson the prosecution had 30 days to conduct a Pearson evidentiary hearing or the conviction was automatically vacated. The prosecution’s 30 days began on August 22, 1980 and ended September 22, 1980 with no Pearson evidentiary hearing. The Defendant’s conviction should have been automatically vacated on September 23, 1980. 

Wayne County Deputy Court Clerk David Baxter had control of files, Register of Actions, which disappeared.

“Judge Lillard did not have the power or authority to order Thomas Dawson, assistant Wayne County Prosecutor or David Baxter Deputy Wayne County Clerk to reconstruct the defendant’s criminal file. . . .It is one of the necessary and fundamental rules of law that the judicial power cannot interfere with the legitimate discretion of any other department of government. So long as they do no illegal act, and are doing business in the range of the powers committed to their exercise, no outside authority can intermeddle with them; and, unless the action complained of was beyond the legal discretion of the city, the circuit court had no jurisdiction to grant the injunction which was allowed.

“. . . .The Defendant is entitled to a bond pending a hearing to determine if he should even be locked up.”

Lewis says that when he goes to Jackson Prison’s medical clinic for treatment of macular degeneration of his eye, the guards there cannot figure out whether they should even handcuff him because they can find no record of a current sentence. The disease in his eye is an effect of the severe diabetes he contracted after being incarcerated. Lewis has also had three heart attacks during his incarceration. After the last one, the MDOC denied him surgery for a stent.

During the nearly three years of re-sentencing hearings, he has commented, “I think they are just waiting for me to die.”

Charles Lewis, now 59, on guitar, Bill Lemons, now 74, on keyboard, both noted musicians, play in prison band.

But he says he is determined that he will come home, and that since 42 years of his life has been stolen from him, he hopes that his battles and the research attendant on them will assist the prisoners who come after him. He says he is seeing more and more young men, products of the school-to-prison pipeline, enter MDOC, to swell the ranks of mass incarceration in the U.S.

Lewis says Lakeland is a prison where the MDOC sends individuals to die, and that about 50 prisoners die there annually. He still remembers many who died who were good friends of his, but he refuses to follow in their stead. 

“Well, they had a bad day, but I’m still here,” he jokes drily. Aside from being a world-class musician who can play nearly every instrument and regularly organizes concerts for his fellow prisoners, Lewis wants to be a stand-up comic when he comes home.

He says, “I try to find a little bit of fun and a little bit of joy in every day.”

Motion at

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/lewis.charles.mtn_.2.dismiss.769a-1.pdf

OBJECTIONS TO JUDGE QIANA LILLARD’S ORDER OF NOV. 11, 2016

Atty. Schulman has also re-filed Lewis’ pro se motion objecting to Judge Lillard’s order to reconstruct his file, which raises multiple U.S. and Michigan Supreme Court rulings that the loss of an official court file, even in part, means the conviction and sentence must be vacated and remanded for a new trial.

Motion at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/C-Lewis-Objections-6-23-17.compressed-1-1.pdf.

Some of Charles ‘K.K.’ Lewis supporters rally outside courthouse.

#FREECHARLESLEWISNOW, #FREEMICHIGANJUVENILELIFERSNOW, #ENDMASSINCARCERATION, #ENDSCHOOLTOPRISONPIPELINE 

Related stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2018/08/12/will-charles-lewis-247-michigan-juvenile-lifers-die-in-prison-due-to-re-sentencing-delays-or-go-free/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2018/07/23/advocates-support-wrongfully-convicted-juvenile-lifers-police-victims-at-detroit-courthouse/

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2018/08/03/charles-lewis-juvenile-lifer-sentencing-expert/889887002/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2018/07/15/prosecutors-cops-techs-lied-falsified-evidence-vs-thelonious-searcy-atty-says-in-final-hearing/

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2018/07/02/missing-file-holds-up-juvenile-lifers-bid-freedom/735086002/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2018/05/27/u-s-supreme-court-rules-for-death-row-inmate-robert-mccoy-whose-lawyer-conceded-guilt/

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STOP THE GENOCIDE! SAVE OUR BABIES! DETROITERS BLAST DPS, DWSD OFFICIALS FOR CONTAMINATED WATER

Joanna Underwood rallies up the crowd against long-term poisoning of Detroit’s children.

A coalition of organizations held an impassioned protest outside the headquarters of the Detroit Public Schools “Community District” Tues. Sept. 4, the first day of the school year.  School officials had just announced that water would be shut off to all DPS schools due to high levels of lead and copper, although they knew of the contamination weeks before the schools opened.

Schoolchildren also sweltered during a heat wave that lasted into the next day, Sept. 5, experiencing temperatures that approached 100 degrees. Protesters wanted to know why  the schools of Detroit are not air-conditioned like the offices of Mayor Mike Duggan, Dan Gilbert, and the corporatocracy that rules Detroit.

THEY CALLED FOR AN IMMEDIATE SHUTDOWN OF DPSCD SCHOOLS DUE TO A HEALTH EMERGENCY.

Helen Moore, leader of Keep the Vote No Takeover, addresses rally.

By Diane Bukowski

September 6, 2018

DETROIT — Furious Detroiters demonstrated outside the headquarters of the Detroit Public Schools “Community District” Sept. 4, the first day of the new school year, reacting to Superintendent Nikolai Vitti’s announcement that water to 106 schools and nearly 50,000 students left in the devastated district will be shut off indefinitely. 

Results from initial tests in 34 schools showed elevated lead and copper levels, Vitti said. The tests were performed in the spring, but Vitti waited until Aug. 30 to make his announcement about shutting DPSCD water off.  He claimed he wanted to err on the side of caution by shutting down water to all schools. 

“Although we have no evidence that there are elevated levels of copper or lead in our other schools where we are awaiting test results, out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of our students and employees, I am turning off all drinking water in our schools until a deeper and broader analysis can be conducted to determine the long-term solutions for all schools,” Vitti said in a statement. 

Vitti claimed The Environmental Protection Agency ceiling for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion, and for copper, 1.3 parts per million. He told reporters the district used those levels to identify problem spots. 

However, the EPA’s list of National Primary Drinking Water Regulations indicates the acceptable level for lead is ZERO. (See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/National-Primary-Drinking-Water-Regulations-Lead-0_complete_table.pdf .)

The EPA says the presence of lead comes from both household plumbing systems as well as “erosion of natural deposits” and from water lines coming into households and other buildings from the supplier.

DWSD chart showing lead in Detroit household water in 2016. Red dots indicate highest levels, 10.0-11.0.

In a combined statement, the Great Lakes Water Authority and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department denied any responsibility for the DPS crisis. They said they “want to assure Detroit residents and customers of GLWA’s regional system that they are not affected by the lead and copper issues that the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is experiencing. Aging school infrastructure (i.e. plumbing) is the reason for the precautionary measure of providing bottled water. The treated drinking water provided by GLWA and distributed by DWSD not only meets, but surpasses all federal and state Safe Drinking Water Act regulations for quality and safety.”

However, the last Water Quality Report for DWSD,  published in 2017, said “The sampling results show that all the homes tested had lead levels below the EPA action level, which is 15 parts per billion (ppb). The MDEQ certified that DWSD’s 90th percentile for lead was 4 ppb, well below the EPA action level.” (See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/GreatLakesWater-2017WaterReport.pdf).

Former Wastewater Plant workers including Bill Davis, a supervisor, told VOD earlier that previous “boil water alerts” and flooding in the City of Detroit, along with increased contamination of Lake Erie and other bodies of water, was caused by continuing layoffs of qualified staff, and the release of toxic elements including sewage into lakes and homes in the six-county area governed by DWSD.  More than 41 percent of DWSD workers were laid off before the creation of the Great Lakes Water Authority, and the management of the Wastewater Treatment Plant was turned over to a notorious privatizer, the EMA, which earlier caused record flooding in Toronto.

Dr. Saulius Simolaunius

Most recently, VOD was informed by Dr. Saulius Simoliunas, a longtime senior chemist at DWSD, that he and other chemists who sat on the board of the Senior Chemists and Technicians Association (SCATA) were singled out for lay-offs in 2015, because of their militant demands that the department adhere to strict guidelines regarding wastewater discharge. SCATA filed a complaint with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, which was dismissed outright in 2017.

Dr. Simoliunas is well-known around the U.S., meeting with different associations charged with safeguarding the quality of water nationally.

In Simoliunas’ post-complaint brief, filed by Attorney Jack Schulz, the chemists contended, “Testimony established that SCATA contacted MIOSHA regarding untrained chemists pouring chlorine into the river. MIOSHA came in and met with Simoliunas and the waste treatment plant manager (Jurban).  SCATA contacted MIOSHA regarding an explosion in the lab. Concurrently, SCATA submitted a request to Respondent seeking the removal of Kuriakose for his connection to the incident. Ultimately, MIOSHA fined DWSD as a result of the explosion partially because an employee was not properly trained.” (See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/SCATA-Post-Hearing-Brief-9.29.17-C15K-1444925.pdf)

Gary Brown

Freman Hendrix

“They have operators doing our jobs, who they sent out to Pelican Laboratories for training,” Simolanius told VOD. “Pelican does not follow standard methods. Our water is so polluted. They are falsely claiming they are meeting all standards. They are not. This is a crisis. The water should be shut off. It’s dangerous for our children. It’s more effective and cheaper to use carbon filtration to clean the water, not chlorine. Nobody on either the GLWA or DWSD board is qualified to be on those boards. Freman Hendrix  was appointed to the GLWs Board as the second , Detroit representative, and Gary Brown, a policeman, runs the DWSD. Detroit has serious  environmental problems including the trash incinerator, a defunct Water Department, and no real Drain Commissioner to build ditches for rain to escape flooding.” 

Freman Hendrix was the first chairman of the Detroit Board of Education after the state takeover in 1999, which began the long destruction of the original DPS. Gary Brown sat with convicted child molester Charles Pugh on the DWSD “Roots Cause Committee” which caused havoc with its recommendations for drastic staff cutbacks and other atrocities.

The lay-offs occurred during the turbulent period prior to the GLWA takeover of DWSD, when skilled classifications were being combined and often eliminated, then filled with unqualified workers. Although the Simoliunas complaint related to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, a boil water advisory was issued for a wide swath of Detroit’s east side after employees failed to identify a malfunction in the Water Treatment Plant on E. Jefferson and Cadillac, and numerous other occasions of putrid water and sewage released into homes have happened, as VOD outlined in its 2017 story, http://voiceofdetroit.net/2017/03/08/do-not-drink-the-water-no-qualified-testers-in-detroit-glwa-crises-cause-ongoing-contamination/.

Both the GLWA, the DWSD and the DPSCD have therefore been caught up in monstrous lies that endanger the health of Detroit’s children, similar to the lead contamination of the entire city of Flint.

DPS children turned out to protest water shut-off.

There, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Emergency Manager decided to separate Flint from the DWSD water system in anticipation of the construction of a duplicate pipeline (the Karegnondi Water Authority) which was way behind schedule. Meanwhile, Flint’s EM decided to use Flint River water instead of Great Lakes water (which had been used by the DWSD), but treat it with Flint’s temporary treatment plant, only to be used in emergencies for period of no more than two weeks.

As time dragged on, the entire city became contaminated, but the chief instigators, Snyder, the EM, and Jeff Wright  of the Karegnondi Water Authority, have not yet gone to jail. See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/02/15/bi-partisan-deal-led-to-flint-water-poisoning-for-profit-the-karegnondi-water-authority-kwa/.

The following is an official message from DPSCD on upcoming Water Meetings:

Dear Community, 

Please read and share the following message I received as a DPSCD staff member, from Superintendent Dr. Vitti, regarding upcoming meetings related to water quality and shutoffs in our schools.  Please share widely in your networks so we can be more well informed and diligent as a community.

Mail – erin.martinez@detroitk12.org

District Staff,

To provide everyone in the district and the greater community to receive more information about the water situation in our schools and ask questions, we will conduct four engagement sessions in September from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the locations below. In the meantime, please visit our website on the water topic at http://detroitk12.org/content/drinking-water/ where we have included a thorough FAQ document that should address the majority of questions and concerns that you may have. This is also the site where final water results from each school will be posted.

Please note that the only topic that will be discussed at the meetings is DPSCD water in schools. Questions or comments related to other topics will not be addressed at the meetings.

Dates and Location 4:30 to 5:30 PM

Monday 9/10 – Mumford High School

Wednesday 9/12 – East English High School

Monday 9/17 – Western High School

Tuesday 9/18 – Ben Carson High School 

Helen Moore, long-time leader of Keep the Vote No Takeover and her organization sponsored a meeting just after the Sept. 4 rally. VOD was not able to attend.

“Why are the news stories only saying the contaminated water is in DPS’s?,” she asked.  “What about the charter schools who bought the schools from DPS.  What about the other buildings in Detroit that have been there for years?  How long has our water been contaminated?  Who is covering up this crisis? We the people of Detroit and Welfare Rights have been warning us for years to no avail.  We need answers and we are going to find out what has been covered up!!!!!!!  IF YOU HAVE ANSWERS, ATTEND THE KEEP THE VOTE/NO TAKEOVER MEETING, TUE. AT 6PM, 11825 DEXTER CENTER.  LET’S ORGANIZE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!”

Please contact Elder Moore for updates on planned actions at 313-934-7721 or helen-moore@att.net.

Other contacts: Call 319-0870 for updates from the Moratorium NOW! Coalition.

DONATE TO VOICE OF DETROIT TO KEEP OUR STORIES COMING:

Voice of Detroit is published pro bono. You don’t have to pay to access our stories. But there are substantial out of pocket costs associated with its publication. Currently we are running in the red, so any donation amount is much appreciated. Donate by clicking https://www.gofundme.com/VOD-readers-up. 


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DETROIT STUDENTS DESERVE SAFE WATER! DEMONSTRATE TUES. SEPT. 4@4PM, FISHER BLDG. W. GRD. BLVD./2ND

ALSO: KEEP THE VOTE/NO TAKEOVER MEETING, TUE. SEPT. 4 AT 6PM, 11825 DEXTER CENTER. 

Elder Helen Moore of the Keep the Vote No Takeover Coalition protested the devastation of Detroit Public Schools through bank debt that has drained district of per-pupil funding.

From Helen Moore: Why are the news stories only saying the contaminated water is in DPS’s?  What about the charter schools who bought the schools from DPS.  What about the other buildings in Detroit that have been there for years?  How long has our water been contaminated?  Who is covering up this crisis?

We the People of Detroit and Welfare Rights have been warning us for years to no avail.  We need answers and we are going to find out what has been covered up!!!!!!!  IF YOU HAVE ANSWERS, ATTEND THE KEEP THE VOTE/NO TAKEOVER MEETING. LET’S ORGANIZE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

COALITION RELEASE: The recent announcement that drinking water in all of Detroit public schools is being shut off due to the water supply being contaminated with toxic levels of lead and copper reflects a crisis of immense gravity.  It comes at a time when the Detroit Public Schools Community District has no funding supply available to effectuate the $500 million in repairs they acknowledge are needed to insure the safety of the students.

The late Tashi Kiya at protest against water shut-offs in Detroit.

Copper and lead contamination in drinking water can cause permanent brain damage, kidney problems and retardation of physical growth, and is toxic to every organ in the human body. Children are particularly vulnerable to its effects.

Teachers who came to work last week in preparation for the school year found themselves working in schools with no operating water fountains and no bottled water being supplied.  They have received no information as to how much water will be supplied.  In some schools such as Gompers, the water was completely shut off in the entire building last Wednesday, with no water provided to staff to wash their hands or flush toilets.  There are reports that the air conditioning is off in the elementary wing of John L. King.

Even when the water fountains are shut off, toxic water is still running in sinks and toilets for flushing.  If students ingest that water, they are subject to the dangerous longtime effects of lead and copper poisoning.

These issues are not new.  On April 16, 2016, 19 DPSCD schools had their drinking water shut off due to dangerous levels of lead and/or copper in the water supply.  The bottled water that was supplied was one four-ounce (half-cup) bottle to each child per day, far below the amount of water needed.  Despite the drinking water not being turned on through the summer months, the supply of bottled water was terminated after about one month. 

In August 2016, the water was turned on via a big public relations announcement that nearly all DPSCD schools buildings were safe. But after a couple weeks, new testing showed the water was still toxic and water had to be shut again to many of the schools, with the result that the students had been fully exposed to toxic water during that time.  The DPSCD has been cited and fined for its toxic water supply by MIOSHA over the years.

Superintendent Vitti acknowledges that problems with the infrastructure are likely responsible for the toxic water in Detroit schools. Last June the DPSCD estimated that the repairs would cost $500 million. But under terms of the state “bailout” the district has only $25 million available for repairs and no authority to raise funds.  There has never been an audit of what happened to the $2 billion that was raised for infrastructure repair under state oversight.

With these overwhelming structural problems in the schools, it is not hard to understand why recent tests reflected that only 11.3% of 3rd grade DPSCD students were proficient in English Arts and only 10.7% were proficient in Math.

Called by a Coalition of Water Activists including People’s Water Board, Welfare Rights Organization, Moratorium Now Coalition, and many others – Call 313-319-0870 for info.

VOD COMMENTARY:

It is questionable whether it is only the DPS infrastructure at fault here. The same excuse was given for the lead poisoning of the entire city of Flint, when in fact it was directly related to Gov. Rick Snyder and his Flint Emergency Manager, who ordered that Flint separate from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) system, in anticipation of the creation of a duplicate pipeline by the profit-hungry Karegnondi Water Authority. Eventually, Flint was forced to reconnect to Detroit’s system, but the Great Lakes Water Authority had already taken over the DWSD.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, hands on Detroit, shows how much of 6-county DWSD region will be taken over by Great Lakes Water Authority, during bankruptcy proceedings Sept. 9, 2014

Ever since that takeover, sanctioned by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County Executives during the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings in 2014, there have been constant “boil water alerts” throughout the six county region originally governed by the DWSD.

At least 41 percent of DWSD workers were laid off prior to the takeover, including sanitary chemists who monitor the water for health and safety purposes. Management announced it was combining their duties with those of lower-paid operators, who had no specializing training and even had to be given remedial math education.

Under the GLWA, things have worsened greatly. The DWSD operates only a small part of its original system, minor pipelines within the borders of Detroit. All wastewater treatment plants, other facilities and major pipelines are run by the GLWA, a regional takeover of breathtaking proportions since DWSD originally provided water to 40 percent of Michigan’s population. 

No doubt the Detroit Public Schools infrastructure has deteriorated over the years as huge chunks of its public revenue went to pay off its debt to the banks, but it cannot be the only cause of this latest greed-driven crisis.

See previous related VOD stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2017/03/08/do-not-drink-the-water-no-qualified-testers-in-detroit-glwa-crises-cause-ongoing-contamination/ 

BI-PARTISAN DEAL LED TO FLINT WATER POISONING FOR PROFIT: THE KAREGNONDI WATER AUTHORITY (KWA)

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/09/10/detroit-bankruptcy-great-lakes-water-authority-to-steal-largest-asset-of-largest-u-s-black-city-4/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/10/13/will-regional-takeover-of-detroit-water-make-residents-of-6-counties-drink-flint-water/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2017/08/18/streets-of-detroit-76-other-communities-serviced-by-glwa-could-soon-be-filled-with-sewage/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/08/21/near-catastrophic-failure-of-detroit-sewage-pumps-caused-detroit-floods-toledo-water-crisis-city-retirees-say/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/08/03/detroit-water-shut-offs-city-takeover-still-on-full-blast/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/03/12/grand-theft-of-detroits-water-dept-imminent-water-board-mtg-wed-march-13-2pm/

The Voice of Detroit is planning an update on this latest crisis, which will include the Michigan Employment Relations Commission decision to affirm the layoffs of DWSD chemists. But we are struggling to stay afloat right now, (no pun intended), and desperately need whatever people can afford in donations to the newspaper. 

DONATE TO VOICE OF DETROIT TO KEEP OUR STORIES COMING:

Voice of Detroit is published pro bono. You don’t have to pay to access our stories. But there are substantial out-of pocket costs associated with its publication. Currently we are running in the red, so any donation amount is much appreciated. Donate by clicking https://www.gofundme.com/VOD-readers-up. 


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SUPPORT FOR NAT’L PRISONERS’ STRIKE GROWS ACROSS AT LEAST 11 STATES, CANADA, PALESTINE

Marchers occupy Michigan Avenue in Lansing, MI to support the demands of prisoners striking across the U.S., Canada, and Palestine.

Immigrants in detention in Tacoma, Washington join strike

Heroic Sept. 9, 2016 strike at Michigan’s Kinross prison and retaliation against strikers publicized by march’s organizers

By Diane Bukowski

August 28, 2018

Lansing, MI – More than 100 people took the streets in Lansing Aug. 23 to support the national prisoner’s strike taking place from Aug. 21 to Sept. 9, called by a coalition of prisoners and their organizations. The march began with a rally in Durant Park and blocked Michigan Avenue for miles afterwards, proceeding past City Hall, where speakers addressed the crowd, and then to the Michigan Department of Corrections headquarters, where organizers posted placards supporting the prison strike on its doors.

Michigan Avenue rang with chants of  “No Mass Incarceration, We Don’t Want a Prison Nation,”  “Fire to the Prisons, Free all the Prisoners,” and “Brick by Brick, Wall by Wall, We Will Make the Prisons Fall,” as drums and noisemakers sounded. Drivers of many cars honked their horns in solidarity, although they were temporarily blocked by the march.

Video above: Alejo Stark, a PhD candidate at U-M, and spokesperson for Michigan Abolition and Prison Solidarity summarizes goals of rally.

Stark added in a release, “We want a world in which prisons do not act as catch-all solutions to our society’s problems, a society that perpetuates violence with more violence–by putting people in cages. Prisoners are going to keep rebelling against confinement, so we can’t help but ask, ‘Can we imagine a society without prisons? Michigan spends just over $2 billion dollars on the MDOC. Imagine what we could do with that money in a state where Flint still does not have clean water and Detroit is closing down schools to the students.”

Since 2004, Detroit has virtually demolished its entire public education system, once considered world-class and high-achieving. The majority of youth in Detroit now attend non-accountable charter schools, many of them for-profit. Most have inferior curriculae, not including music, band, athletics, social workers, libraries, and many other programs that made the schools unifying anchors for communities.

Southwestern High School, now closed and devastated, as are many other once proud public schools in Detroit.

Long-term prisoners in the MDOC have noted a new influx of young prisoners, a product of the “School-to-Prison-Pipeline.”

The devastation of education for Detroit’s majority-Black youth has created despair, involvement in crime to support families, and killings throughout the city’s neighborhoods tied to the drug trade and a lack of direction for the youth.

Dennis Boatwright spent 24 years in the Michigan prison system and now devotes his time to raising public awareness and organizing to abolish the prison system, a demand that many young people raised after the historic Attica Rebellion in September, 1971. Then, they chanted, “Tear Down the Walls,” and “Prisons are Concentration Camps for the Poor.” The Attica Rebellion gave birth to other uprisings in prisons across the country, and a new consciousness about a country that has five percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its incarcerated population.

Dennis Boatwright spent 24 years in the Michigan prison system and now devotes his time to raising public awareness and organizing to abolish the prison system, a demand that many young people raised after the historic Attica Rebellion in September, 1971. Then, they chanted, “Tear Down the Walls,” and “Prisons are Concentration Camps for the Poor.” The Attica Rebellion gave birth to other uprisings in prisons across the country, and a new consciousness about a country that has five percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its incarcerated population, at least 70 percent of whom are Black and Latino. They are treated worse than animals.

Ricardo Ferrell, 60, in prison since 1982.

Charles Lewis, 59, in prison since 1976.

MDOC prisoner Ricardo Ferrell quoted Kate Cox of the Osborne National and Burden Association in a recent article addressing the aging population of prisoners in the U.S.

“At its most basic, hard time is profoundly hard on the body,” Cox wrote. “Incarceration makes existing medical issues worse and increases the risk of developing new ones. It leads to a process of ‘accelerated aging’—which is a gentle way of saying that inmates’ physiological age begins to outpace their chronological age, sometimes by as much as ten or fifteen years, such that 50 year-olds seem more like 60- and 65-year olds, and 70-year-olds seem as old as 85.”

Charles Lewis, 59, who has been wrongfully incarcerated for 42 years in the MDOC, frequently lists the names of men he has befriended who died far earlier than expected due to the horrible medical care and food that Michigan prisoners receive. He himself developed severe diabetes after going to prison at the age of 17, has had three heart attacks, and suffers from numerous other ailments. 

As a long-time prison activist herself, and now editor of the Voice of Detroit, Diane Bukowski also addressed the rally to call attention to the plight of Michigan’s 247 “juvenile lifers.” They continue to be incarcerated despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016) outlawed the practice of sending children ages 17 and under to die in prison. The Michigan Supreme Court recently contravened the highest court in the U.S., claiming that judges who are re-sentencing these men and women, many of whom have spent decades in prison, do not have to specify factually whether they are the “rarest” child incapable of rehabilitation.

Boat with huge banner declaring “Solidarity with the National Prisoners Strike”  on Grand River in Lansing

“In 1955, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed segregation in southern schools in Brown v. the Board of Education,”  she noted. “When the states refused to comply, federal troops were sent to force them to obey the law of the land. We need federal troops to free our juvenile lifers.”

Organizers also recalled the historic rebellion at Michigan’s Kinross Correctional Facility on Sept. 9, 2016, during which hundreds of prisoners rose up against bestial conditions and treatment. The radio broadcast below contains reports from Kinross prisoners of those events, and the severe retaliation meted out to them afterward. Another source said at least three Kinross organizers died in the aftermath; the cause of death is not known.

For more information on the organizers of this march, go to:

https://michiganabolition.org

https://www.facebook.com/michiganabolition/

https://rustbeltradio.org/

PRISONERS NOW STRIKING IN AT LEAST 11 STATES

IMMIGRANTS IN WASHINGTON DETENTION CENTER JOIN NATIONAL PRISON STRIKE

 Aug 28, 2018, 5:14pm Tina Vasquez

Re-Wire News

Prisoners at Hyde Correctional Facility, N.C. join nation-wide action

Immigrants detained in the Tacoma, Washington Northwest Detention Center have joined the national strike, whose leaders also call for the abolition of I.C.E.

In a handwritten letter shared on the NWDC Resistance Facebook page, immigrants participating in the hunger strike said they were “demanding change and closure of these detention centers.”

“We are acting with solidarity for all those people who are being detained wrongfully and stand together to help support all those women who have been separated from their children, and to stop all the family separations happening today for a lot of us are also being separated and we have U.S. citizen children,” immigrants participating in the hunger strike said in a handwritten letter shared on the NWDC Resistance Facebook page.

One week into the national prison strike, a movement led by incarcerated people demanding an end to “prison slavery” and improvements that recognize their humanity, immigrants in detention have launched a strike of their own in solidarity.

Newsweek first reported on Thursday that an estimated 60 immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington, are participating in a hunger strike. In a statement to Newsweek, ICE initially denied the hunger strike was taking place. On Tuesday afternoon, in an emailed statement to Rewire.News, the agency confirmed that six people detained at NWDC are currently participating in a hunger strike. 

“Rumors of a widespread hunger strike are false,” the agency said.

This morning, Maru Mora Villalpando, a spokesperson for the undocumented-led immigrant rights group, NWDC Resistance, told Rewire.News the number of immigrants participating in the strike is fluctuating. She said that she could confirm six hunger strikers at NWDC had been placed in solitary confinement by ICE and that the strike may spread to Oregon and California.

“People are getting moved to different pods, people are being sent to solitary; it’s hard to track. We thought it officially launched on Tuesday, but we’ve now heard that some may have begun striking on Monday,” Mora Villalpando said in a phone call. “I spoke to a hunger striker last night and he told me that the medical unit is full, and so is the solitary unit and that he is one of six people in medical isolation. They could be full because people are being transferred there for retaliation or because people are getting sick from not eating or drinking because of the strike. Of course that is concerning because of the poor medical care they will receive. We want to make it clear that we are not the ones organizing this strike. That is the last thing we would do. This is being led by people in the facility. They are already tortured in there, we would never tell them not to eat or drink.”

In a handwritten letter shared on the NWDC Resistance Facebook page, immigrants participating in the hunger strike said they were “demanding change and closure of these detention centers.”

“We are acting with solidarity for all those people who are being detained wrongfully and stand together to help support all those women who have been separated from their children, and to stop all the family separations happening today for a lot of us are also being separated and we have U.S. citizen children,” the letter reads.

Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA/AP photo

Women in detention have told Mora Villalpando that they too would like to participate in the hunger strike, but she said, ICE has told them that if they hunger strike, they will be moved to a different facility, away from their children. ICE has a history of transferring hunger strikers to other facilities.

The prison strike, launched by prisoners in SouthCarolina in response to
the riot
in the state’s Lee Correctional Institution in which seven prisoners lost their lives, began August 21, on the anniversary of the death of incarcerated activist George Jackson. “Jackson, a member of the Black Panther Party, was a leading voice and theorist in the 1970s prison movement—a time that saw hundreds of uprisings behind bars. On April 24, prisoners in South Carolina announced the strike, which is expected to last for 19 days and ends on the anniversary of the Attica prison uprising in New York,” Raven Rakia reported in the Nation,

In April 2018, Project South filed a lawsuit against the nation’s largest private prison company, CoreCivic, on behalf of Shoaib Ahmed and other immigrants detained at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. The lawsuit alleges that the company “violates human trafficking laws and employs a deprivation scheme to force immigrants detained at Stewart to work for sub-minimum wages, and then threatens to punish them for refusing to work through solitary confinement or loss of access to necessities.” In 2014, the law firm Outten & Golden filed a similar lawsuit against the nation’s second largest private prison company, GEO Group, for engaging in similar practices at the Aurora Detention Center in Colorado, in violation the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Both U.S. citizens in prisons and immigrants in detention centers are detained in facilities run by private prison companies, and they are subjected to similar conditions. Much like the immigrant detention system, which has become synonymous with human rights abuses and in-custody deaths, advocates have called the nation’s private prison system a “national disgrace,” synonymous with “violence, abuse, and death.”

“The huge strike is about solidarity, but a lot of the people in detention also came from prisons. After they served their sentence or got parole, they were immediately transferred to ICE custody. They were never really free,” Mora Villalpando told Rewire.News. “I’m not joking when I say that these people who have known both kinds of facilities actually say that prison is ‘better.’ By that I mean we all know prison is horrible, but in prison you have some sense of when you will get out or there is equation programs. Sometimes you get contact visits. That’s not how it works in detention centers, so these people truly understand the prison strike. Those who have not been in a prison still want to participate in the [hunger] strike because no matter what GEO says about NWDC, it is a prison.”

Currently, Mora Villalpando and other organizers with NWDC Resistance are in search of legal representation for the hunger strikers in solitary confinement, one of whom says ICE told him that if he does not eat, he will be force-fed. While ICE has previously denied it retaliates against detainees, there are documented cases of the agency moving to force-feed hunger strikers. As Rewire.News reported in December 2015, detainees at the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama, ended a 14-day hunger strike after hearing that a district judge authorized officials to force-feed one of the hunger strikers at Etowah.

An enslaved African is depicted being force-fed.

“The idea that immigrants are being threatened with force-feeding in the United States is so wild to me, but it also isn’t. We have a history of this. This happened during slavery,” said Kevin Steel. Steel, an organizer with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, which is led by formerly incarcerated people, is referring to the ways enslaved people were force-fed if they attempted to stop eating.

“When I think of what they’re risking to be in solidarity with us, that touches me. As a Black man, as someone who was in prison, that is important to me. I stand with them, and I’m glad they’re standing with us in this fight.”

Steel, who was incarcerated in New York and still remembers seeing men put their feet in toilets because their cells were so hot during summer days and the facility had no fans or air conditioning, said he understands why prisoners are striking.

“It’s about basic human decency,” Steel told Rewire.News. “It’s about not having access to basic human stuff, like cool air and food that isn’t raw and disgusting.”

Over 100 prisoners rally on the Hyde Correctional Facility, N.C.  yard while holding up banners featuring demands. Banners read, “Parole,” “Better Food,” and “In Solidarity.”

Protesters outside Hyde support prisoners there.

Related from the New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/opinion/national-prison-strike-slavery-.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/26/us/national-prison-strike-2018.html


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NAT’L PRISON STRIKE AUG. 21 (1971 GEORGE JACKSON ASSASSINATION) TO SEPT. 9, 2018 (1971 ATTICA REBELLION)

For details of  rally: https://www.facebook.com/events/228130971150468/

Nat’l strike endorsed by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, It’s Going Down, Michigan Abolition, GEO, more

Men and women incarcerated in prisons across the nation declare a nationwide strike in response to the riot in Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina. Seven comrades lost their lives during a senseless uprising that could have been avoided had the prison not been so overcrowded from the greed wrought by mass incarceration,  and a lack of respect for human life that is embedded in our nation’s penal ideology. These men and women are demanding humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery.

The United States incarcerates the highest number of people in the world, both in absolute and relative terms. But prisoners and abolitionists are challenging the foundations of mass incarceration. Over the past decade, a wave of prison rebellions has swept the country, increasing in both frequency and intensity.

In September 2016 the largest coordinated national prisoner strike occurred in facilities around the country. These rebellions prove time and time again that caging and torturing humans is violence and will be resisted by those locked up by the system. Prisoner resistance demonstrates that instead of solving the crisis of capitalism, prisons themselves are the crisis.

WE ALL AGREE TO SPREAD THIS STRIKE THROUGHOUT THE PRISONS OF AMERI$$$A! FROM AUG. 21ST TO SEPTEMBER 9TH, 2018, MEN AND WOMEN IN PRISONS ACROSS THE NATION WILL STRIKE IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:

  • WORK STRIKES: Prisoners will not report to assigned jobs. Each place of detention will determine how long its strike will last. Some of these strikes may translate into a local list of demands designed to improve conditions and reduce harm within the prison.
  • SIT-INS: In certain prisons, men and women will engage in peaceful sit – in protests.
  • BOYCOTTS: All spending should be halted. We ask those outside the walls not to make financial judgments for those inside. Men and women on the in side will inform you if they are participating in this boycott.
  • HUNGER STRIKES: Men and women shall refuse to eat.

We support the call of Free Alabama Movement Campaign to “Redistribute the Pain 2018 as Bennu Hannibal Ra – Sun, formerly known as Melvin Ray has laid out (with the exception of refusing visitation). See these principles described here: https://redistributethepain.wordpress.com/

The Attica Rebellion began September 9, 1971, sparked uprisings in other prisons across the U.S. 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  • Make the nation take a look at our demands. Demand action on our demands by contacting your local, state, and federal political representatives with these demands. Ask them where they stand.
  • Spread the strike and word of the strike in every place of detention.
  • Contact a supporting local organization to see how you can be supportive. 
  • Be prepared by making contact with people in prison, family members of prisoners, and prisoner support organizations in your state to assist in notifying the public and media on strike conditions.
  • Assist in our announced initiatives to have the votes of people in jail and prison counted in elections.
  • If you are unsure of who to connect with, email millionsforprisonersmarch@gmail.com.

George Jackson was assassinated Aug, 21, 1971.

TO MAKE PRISONS OBSOLETE, WE HAVE TO SUPPORT THE STRUGGLE OF THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS AND PRISON REBELS BEHIND BARS.

Some places to find updates about the prison strike:

https://itsgoingdown.org/ 

https://incarceratedworkers.org/

https://michiganabolition.org/

For the Media: Inquiries should be directed to prisonstrikemedia@gmail.com

The author of this release, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, is a national collective of incarcerated people who fight for human rights by providing other incarcerated people with access to legal education, resources, and assistance. The national call to action has now been endorsed by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) as well as various other prisoner-advocacy and abolitionist groups around the country.

Join GEO in Lansing, MI for National Prison Strike Rally!

GEO (AFT-MI Local 3550, AFL-CIO) supports the National Prisoners Strike, August 21st to September 9th, 2018. In order to draw attention to incarcerated workers’ demands, and to deter retaliation against participating prisoners, we call upon workers to join the solidarity march and rally in Lansing on Thursday, August 23rd.

The nationwide strike is being called in response to the incident of violence at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina, April 2018, in which dozens of workers were injured and seven were killed. These deaths could have easily been avoided had the facility not been overcrowded; had the inmates not been subjected to hopeless and violent conditions; and had prison guards and EMTs not waited hours before intervening. In the aftermath, all Level 2 and 3 facilities in South Carolina were put on statewide lockdown, denying prisoners any freedom of movement, regular access to showers, recreation, or meals outside their cells.

From one of Michigan’s prisons

Organizers of the strike are thus fighting for humane living and working conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform, and an end to mass incarceration. (The full list of demands can be found here.)

The strike call has also been endorsed by, amongst others, the Graduate Employees’ Organization (IFT/AFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW); Jailhouse Lawyers Speak; Millions for Prisoners; The People’s Consortium.

Further information:

§  Common Dreams’ report in the lead-up to August 21

§  GEO 6300 at UIUC’s solidarity statement

§  Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee’s solidarity statement

§  MAPS (Michigan Abolition and Prisoner Solidarity) action page.

https://michiganabolition.org/kinrossvoices/

For day by date updates on prison strike: http://sawarimi.org/

AMERICA’S PRISONERS STRIKING FOR THEIR LIVES


By Issac Bailey

SPLINTER

I won’t ever forget the photo of the minutes-old murder a prisoner at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina sent me. It wasn’t a high-quality picture. But I could clearly see the blood, which covered the white clothes of a bearded inmate looking in the direction of the camera. I could see the desperation in his eyes.

The murder occurred in a prison where one of my youngest brothers, James McDaniel, was more than a decade into a 16-year-sentence for his role in an attempted armed robbery of a fellow drug dealer that ended in the death of one of the potential assailants. My mind reflexively jogs to that image every time I think about what prisoners throughout the country will be attempting to do beginning today, when they launch a national prison work strike organized by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

 They want to finally be heard, both by a public which has long ignored them and by correctional officials and elected leaders who seem unbothered that they have been forced to live an inhumane existence.

The first of the prisoners’ 10 demands is simple: Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women. Their other demands are important as well. They include a decent wage for the work they do; a restoration of Pell grants; better funding for rehabilitation services; better ways to air legal grievances; and an end to sentences without the possibility of parole, among other reforms.

One of many marches across the U.S.

But those goals won’t mean much if the first one isn’t met. Without “immediate improvements,” some prisoners won’t even live to benefit from any fruit that comes of the strike. Others may end up psychically and emotionally scarred beyond recognition even if they physically survive.

Prisoners are trying to raise awareness with a nationwide strike because all their other attempts have fallen on deaf ears.

That’s not hyperbole. Rape is an ever-present threat in prison. (It’s estimated that more than 200,000 men are raped behind bars every year.) The last time I visited a prison in South Carolina several months ago, anti-rape posters were plastered throughout the visiting area.

Violence is another constant. Earlier this year, the deadliest prison riot in recent memory happened at Lee Correctional—the place where James is trying to survive, and that my oldest brother Moochie had to navigate before being released after 32 years. Seven prisoners were killed in the riots; several others were severely injured.

Before that event, James had been telling me that something awful was brewing because of the conditions inside those bars. People had to fight off rat and roach infestations. They were locked in their cells for longer periods of times every day, with fewer breaks. Even their right to shower was curtailed because of cutbacks in prison personnel. There were fewer guards to supervise the seemingly mundane and routine tasks that allow men behind bars to feel fully human.

For info on how to sign the petition above: http://sawarimi.org/archives/1775

The incentive for prisoners to join gangs increased as the number of guards on duty began dropping. It was one way they felt they could keep themselves safe, because they knew if they ran into trouble, in was unlikely a guard would show up on time to stop the attack. That’s precisely what James said happened to the man in that photo I’ll never forget.

The dead prisoner in the photo had supposedly violated a gang code against the use of hard drugs. He had been using something called “ice molly,” and other such things that frequently got smuggled inside. He had barricaded himself in his cell after getting high on the drugs.

“They got tired of waiting on him to come out, so 10 of them kept beating on the door until they got in the room,” James told me. “It’s a little Asian dude smaller than me, so about 15 of them ran into the room and started stabbing him…they stabbed him out of fear.”

James has also seen drug overdoses and suicides as prisoners respond to what they have increasingly begun calling “a death trap” of an existence.

“This white dude was telling his counselors he was going to kill himself, but they didn’t believe him,” James told me. “The next day, he stood on the top rock by the TVs and jumped head first into the concrete.”

That’s why prisoners are trying to raise awareness with a nationwide strike, because all their other attempts have fallen on deaf ears. They are literally striking for their lives.

For many Americans, awfulness being visited upon people who have done awful things to others represents just desserts. They did the crime, so they must do the time. They have no right to our empathy or sympathy.

Not only are such sentiments cruel, they are short-sighted. We routinely provide second chances to the wealthy and powerful. Leaving redemption’s door open to those who messed up while trying to navigate a life full of challenge would be one of the most effective ways to ensure equality.

There is a more practical reason to advocate for the more humane treatment of prisoners. Most of them will be released one day. It would be better for society–for us all–if they come out healthier and stronger than they went in.

#PRISONSTRIKE

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Related from VOD:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2018/08/12/will-charles-lewis-247-michigan-juvenile-lifers-die-in-prison-due-to-re-sentencing-delays-or-go-free/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/09/peacefully-marching-prisoners-at-michigans-kinross-teargassed-zip-tied-left-out-in-rain/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/09/12/remember-attica-michigans-kinross-prisoners-join-nationwide-strikes-protests/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2017/04/26/detroit-youth-protest-wayne-co-jail-deals-demand-schools-housing-water-not-prisons-police/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2018/08/17/prisons-the-new-mental-institutions/


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LONG LIVE THE QUEEN OF SOUL AND CIVIL RIGHTS CHAMPION ARETHA FRANKLIN

Jefferson North Assembly plant  line shut down on news of Aretha Franklin’s death.

Above, videographer “MacSpeaking” interviewed grass roots Detroiters standing outside New Bethel Baptist Church, 8430 Linwood Street (C. L. Franklin Blvd.), Detroit, MI 48206, on Aug. 16, 2018. The church had opened its doors to people who were grieving the loss of Aretha Franklin and, apparently, some people set up a temporary memorial space outside the church doors. Franklin died in hospice at her home after a long bout with cancer, as Detroiters held vigils everywhere.

The funeral for Aretha Franklin will be held August 31 in Detroit, according to the singer’s publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. The service, for family and friends, will be held at 10 a.m. ET that day at Greater Grace Temple. Public viewings will be held August 28 and 29 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Quinn said.  Franklin will be entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.

ABOVE: Videographer Kenny Snodgrass paid tribute to Aretha Franklin with selection from Chaka Khan at her funeral.

Below is her obituary as published by the Swanson Funeral Home in Detroit (taken from the New York Times).

Photo published by Swanson Funeral Home.

DETROIT–Aretha Franklin, universally acclaimed as the “Queen of Soul” and one of America’s greatest singers in any style, died on Thursday at her home in Detroit. She was 76. The cause was advanced pancreatic cancer, her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, said.

In her indelible late-1960s hits, Ms. Franklin brought the righteous fervor of gospel music to secular songs that were about much more than romance. Hits like “Do Right Woman — Do Right Man,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools” defined a modern female archetype: sensual and strong, long-suffering but ultimately indomitable, loving but not to be taken for granted.

Aretha Franklin wasn’t just a vocal genius. She was a model of empowerment and pride.

When Ms. Franklin sang “Respect,” the Otis Redding song that became her signature, it was never just about how a woman wanted to be greeted by a spouse coming home from work. It was a demand for equality and freedom and a harbinger of feminism, carried by a voice that would accept nothing less.

Ms. Franklin had a grandly celebrated career. She placed more than 100 singles in the Billboard charts, including 17 Top 10 pop singles and 20 No. 1 R&B hits. She received 18 competitive Grammy Awards, along with a lifetime achievement award in 1994. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987, its second year. She sang at the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009, at pre-inauguration concerts for Jimmy Carter in 1977 and Bill Clinton in 1993, and at both the Democratic National Convention and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968.

Aretha Franklin in earlier years.

Succeeding generations of R&B singers, among them Natalie Cole, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys, openly emulated her. When Rolling Stone magazine put Ms. Franklin at the top of its 2010 list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time,” Mary J. Blige paid tribute: “Aretha is a gift from God. When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her. She is the reason why women want to sing.”

Ms. Franklin’s airborne, constantly improvisatory vocals had their roots in gospel. It was the music she grew up on in the Baptist churches where her father, the Rev. Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, known as C. L., preached. She began singing in the choir of her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, and soon became a star soloist.

Gospel shaped her quivering swoops, her pointed rasps, her galvanizing buildups and her percussive exhortations; it also shaped her piano playing and the call-and-response vocal arrangements she shared with her backup singers. Through her career in pop, soul and R&B, Ms. Franklin periodically recharged herself with gospel albums: “Amazing Grace” in 1972 and “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,” recorded at the New Bethel church, in 1987.

But gospel was only part of her vocabulary. The playfulness and harmonic sophistication of jazz, the ache and sensuality of the blues, the vehemence of rock and, later, the sustained emotionality of opera were all hers to command.

Ms. Franklin did not read music, but she was a consummate American singer, connecting everywhere. In an interview with The New York Times in 2007, she said her father had told her that she “would sing for kings and queens.”

“Fortunately I’ve had the good fortune to do so,” she added. “And presidents.”

For all the admiration Ms. Franklin earned, her commercial fortunes were uneven, as her recordings moved in and out of sync with the tastes of the pop market.

After her late-1960s soul breakthroughs and a string of pop hits in the early 1970s, the disco era sidelined her. But Ms. Franklin had a resurgence in the 1980s with her album “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” and its Grammy-winning single, “Freeway of Love,” and she followed through in the next decades as a kind of soul singer emeritus: an indomitable diva and a duet partner conferring authenticity on collaborators like George Michael and Annie Lennox. Her latter-day producers included stars like Luther Vandross and Lauryn Hill, who had grown up as her fans. Onstage, Ms. Franklin proved herself night after night, forever keeping audiences guessing about what she would do next and marveling at how many ways her voice could move.

Mother Sang Gospel

Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis on March 25, 1942. Her mother, Barbara Siggers Franklin, was a gospel singer and pianist. Her parents separated when Aretha was 6, leaving her in her father’s care. Her mother died four years later after a heart attack.
C. L. Franklin’s career as a pastor led the family from Memphis to Buffalo and then to Detroit, where he joined the New Bethel Baptist Church in 1946. With his dynamic sermons broadcast nationwide and recorded, he became known as “the man with the golden voice.”

The Franklin household was filled with music. Mr. Franklin welcomed visiting gospel and secular musicians: the jazz pianist Art Tatum, the singer Dinah Washington, and gospel figures like the young Sam Cooke (before his turn to pop), Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland, who became Ms. Franklin’s mentors.

Future Motown artists like Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross lived nearby. Aretha’s sisters, Erma and Carolyn, also sang and wrote songs, among them “Piece of My Heart,” a song Erma Franklin recorded before Janis Joplin did, and Carolyn Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way,” a hit for Aretha. The sisters also provided backup vocals for Ms. Franklin on songs like “Respect.” From 1968 until his death in 1989, her brother Cecil was her manager.

Ms. Franklin started teaching herself to play the piano — there were two in the house — before she was 10, picking up songs from the radio and from Ms. Ward’s gospel records. Around the same time, she stood on a chair and sang her first solos in church. In David Ritz’s biography “Respect,” Cecil Franklin recalled that his sister could hear a song once and immediately sing and play it. “Her ear was infallible,” he said.

At 12, Ms. Franklin joined her father on tour, sharing concert bills with Ms. Ward and other leading gospel performers. Recordings of a 14-year-old Ms. Franklin performing in churches — playing piano and belting gospel standards to ecstatic congregations — were released in 1956. Her voice was already spectacular.

But Ms. Franklin became pregnant, dropped out of high school and had a child two months before her 13th birthday. She had a second child at 15 by a different father. She also had two sons, Ted White Jr. and Kecalf Cunningham (her son with Ken Cunningham, a boyfriend during the 1970s).

Complete information about survivors was not immediately available.

In the late 1950s, following the example of Sam Cooke — who left the gospel group the Soul Stirrers and started a solo career with “You Send Me” in 1957 — Ms. Franklin decided to build a career in secular music. Leaving her children with family in Detroit, she moved to New York City. John Hammond, the Columbia Records executive who had championed Billie Holiday and would also bring Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to the label, signed the 18-year-old Ms. Franklin in 1960.

Mr. Hammond saw Ms. Franklin as a jazz singer tinged with blues and gospel. He recorded her with the pianist Ray Bryant’s small groups in 1960 and 1961 for her first studio album, “Aretha,” which sent two singles to the R&B Top 10: “Today I Sing the Blues” and “Won’t Be Long.” The annual critics’ poll in the jazz magazine DownBeat named her the new female vocal star of the year.

Her next album, “The Electrifying Aretha Franklin,” featured jazz standards and used big-band orchestrations; it gave her a Top 40 pop single in 1961 with “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody.”

Her later Columbia albums were scattershot, veering in and out of jazz, pop and R&B. Ms. Franklin met and married Ted White in 1961 and made him her manager; he shares credit on some of the songs Ms. Franklin wrote in the 1960s, including “Dr. Feelgood.” In 1964 they had a son, Ted White Jr., who would lead his mother’s band decades later. (She divorced Mr. White, after a turbulent marriage, in 1969.)

Mr. White later said his strategy was for Ms. Franklin to switch styles from album to album, to reach a variety of audiences, but the results — a Dinah Washington tribute, jazz standards with strings, remakes of recent pop and soul hits — left radio stations and audiences confused. When her Columbia contract expired in 1966, Ms. Franklin signed with Atlantic Records, which specialized in rhythm and blues.

Pivot Point in Muscle Shoals

Jerry Wexler, the producer who brought Ms. Franklin to Atlantic, persuaded her to record in the South. Ms. Franklin spent one night in January 1967 at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., recording with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, the backup band behind dozens of 1960s soul hits. Ms. Franklin shaped the arrangements and played piano herself, as she had rarely done in the studio since her first gospel recordings.

The new songs were rooted in blues and gospel. And the combination finally ignited the passion in Ms. Franklin’s voice, the spirit that was only glimpsed in many of her Columbia recordings.

The Muscle Shoals session broke down, with just one song complete and another half-finished, in a drunken dispute between a trumpet player and Mr. White. He and Ms. Franklin returned to New York. Yet when the song completed in that session, “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You),” was released as a single, it reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 9 on the pop charts, eventually selling more than a million copies.

Some of the Muscle Shoals musicians came north to complete the album in New York. And with that album, “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,” the supper-club singer of Ms. Franklin’s Columbia years made way for the “Queen of Soul.”

“We were simply trying to compose real music from my heart,” Ms. Franklin said in her autobiography, “Aretha: From These Roots,” written with Mr. Ritz and published in 1999.

Aretha Franklin performs during the 85th annual Christmas tree lighting at the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“Respect,” recorded on Valentine’s Day 1967 and released in April, was a bluesy demand for dignity, as well as an instruction to “give it it to me when you get home” and “take care of T.C.B.” (The letters stood for “taking care of business.”) Her version of the song resonated beyond individual relationships to the civil rights, counterculture and feminism movements.

“It was the need of the nation, the need of the average man and woman in the street, the businessman, the mother, the fireman, the teacher — everyone wanted respect,” she wrote in her autobiography.

“Respect” surged to No. 1 and would bring Ms. Franklin her first two Grammy Awards, for best R&B recording and best solo female R&B performance (an award she won each succeeding year through 1975). By the end of 1968, she had made three more albums for Atlantic and had seven more Top 10 pop hits, including “Baby I Love You,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think” (written by Ms. Franklin and Mr. White) and “I Say a Little Prayer.”

But amid the success, Ms. Franklin’s personal life was in upheaval. Songs like “Think,” “Chain of Fools” and “The House That Jack Built” hinted at marital woes that she kept private. She fought with her husband and manager, Mr. White, who had roughed her up in public, a 1968 Time magazine cover story noted, and whose musical decisions had grown increasingly counterproductive. Before their divorce in 1969, she dropped him as manager and eventually filed restraining orders against him. She also went through a period of heavy drinking before getting sober in the 1970s.

Her early 1970s pop hits, like her own “Day Dreaming” and the Stevie Wonder composition “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” took a lighter, more lilting tone, a contrast to her rip-roaring 1972 gospel album, “Amazing Grace,” which sold more than two million copies, making it one of the best-selling gospel albums of all time. Ms. Franklin recorded steadily through the 1970s and continued to have rhythm-and-blues hits like “Angel,” a No. 1 R&B single in 1973 written by her sister Carolyn.

But her pop presence waned in the disco era, and her 1976 album, “Sparkle,” written and produced by Curtis Mayfield, was her last gold album of the decade. It included “Something He Can Feel,” a No. 1 R&B single. When Ms. Franklin made a show-stopping appearance as a waitress in the 1980 movie “The Blues Brothers,” she revived an oldie: her 1968 song “Think.”

Ms. Franklin was married to the actor Glynn Turman from 1978 to 1984, and the divorce was amicable enough for her to sing the title song for the television series “A Different World” when Mr. Turman joined its cast in 1988.

Ms. Franklin’s father was shot in the head during a break-in at his home in 1979 and stayed in a coma until his death in 1984. During those years Ms. Franklin shuttled monthly between her home in California and Detroit. As her marriage to Mr. Turman was ending, she moved back to Detroit in 1982.

Ms. Franklin was deeply traumatized in 1983 by a ride through turbulence in a two-engine plane that was “dipsy-doodling all over the place,” she recalled. She gave up flying, traveling instead by bus to her shows, and ended all international performances. In recent years she had hoped to desensitize herself and fly again, “even if it’s just one more time,” she said in 2007.

Divas and Duets

Ms. Franklin changed labels in 1980, to Arista. There, her albums mingled remakes of 1960s and ’70s hits — “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Everyday People,” “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” “What a Fool Believes” — with contemporary songs.

Luther Vandross’s production of her 1982 album, “Jump to It,” restored her to the R&B charts, where it reached No. 1. But Ms. Franklin did not reconquer the pop charts until 1985, with the million-selling, synthesizer-driven album “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” The singles “Freeway of Love” and “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?,” both produced by Narada Michael Walden, placed Ms. Franklin back in the pop Top 10, and a collaboration with Eurythmics, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves,” reached No. 18.

Ms. Franklin had her last No. 1 pop hit with “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” a duet with George Michael from her 1986 album, “Aretha.” Her 1987 gospel album, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,” featured performances with her sisters Carolyn and Erma, and with Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers, as well as preaching from the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Cecil Franklin.

Ms. Franklin recorded more duets (with Elton John, Whitney Houston and James Brown) on “Through the Storm” in 1989, and she made another attempt to connect with youth culture on “What You See Is What You Sweat” in 1991. She released only a few songs — singles and soundtrack material — through the mid-1990s.

But she rallied in 1998 with televised triumphs. She made a noteworthy appearance at the 1998 Grammy Awards, substituting at the last minute for the ailing Luciano Pavarotti by singing a Puccini aria, “Nessun dorma,” to overwhelming effect. On “Divas Live,” for VH1, she steamrollered her fellow stars in duets, among them Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. In the meantime, she had been working with younger producers again for her 1998 album, “A Rose Is Still a Rose”; the title track, produced by Lauryn Hill, reached No. 26 on the pop chart. After her 2003 album, “So Damn Happy,” Ms. Franklin left Arista, saying she would record independently.

Arista released the collection “Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets With the Queen” in 2007, including a previously unreleased song with the “American Idol” winner Fantasia. Ms. Franklin said in 2007 that she had completed an album to be called “Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love,” with songs she had written and produced herself, but it was not released until 2011, on her own Aretha’s Records label. In 2008 she released a holiday album, “This Christmas.”

Ms. Franklin stayed musically ambitious. She repeatedly announced plans to study classical piano and finally learn to sight-read music at the Juilliard School, but she never enrolled. She received several honorary degrees, including from Yale, Princeton and Harvard.

In 2014, Ms. Franklin returned to a major label, RCA Records, with her executive producer from her Arista years, Clive Davis. “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” presented her remakes of proven material: songs that had been hits for Adele, Alicia Keys, Chaka Khan, Gloria Gaynor, Barbra Streisand and Sinead O’Connor. It reached No. 13 on the Billboard album chart and No. 1 on the R&B chart.

She had five decades of recordings behind her, but listeners still thrilled to her voice.

OBITUARY FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES/AUGUST 16, 2018

Arrangements handled by Swanson Funeral Home in Detroit, Michigan.
Winnfield Funeral Home will conduct a memorial service in Alexandria for local fans.

Aretha Franklin’s final public performance took place in New York on November 7, 2017 at a gala celebrating the 25th anniversary of Elton John’s AIDS foundation. AP


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