The following letter was sent by Roland Lawrence, chair of the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee, to the UM Board of Regents; it also calls for city-wide observations in commemoration of Aiyana’ death on May 16, the one-year anniversary.
March 18, 2011
Board of Regents, University of Michigan:
Julia Donovan Darlow, Laurence B. Deitch, Denise Ilitch, Olivia P. Maynard, Andrea Fischer Newman, Andrew C. Richner, S. Martin Taylor, Katherine E. White Mary Sue Coleman (ex officio) President, University of Michigan
The University of Michigan, 2074 Fleming Building, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1340
Dear Regents of the University of Michigan:
In the early morning hours of May 16, 2010, the Detroit Police Department, accompanied by an A & E film crew, threw a flash grenade bomb into the home where 7 year old Aiyana Jones as she slept. In addition, according to some reports, a gunshot to her head sealed her premature death.
I have organized a group called Justice for Aiyana Committee that will help to stage mass community action events on the one-year anniversary of Aiyana’s death on May 16, 2011. On this day, we hope to have individuals, block clubs, organizations, schools, etc. to forge a community action event in their communities including concerts, town hall meetings, open mike sessions, musicians playing on streets corners, etc. We invite the University of Michigan to join this effort. As such, young Aiyana, by no choosing of her own, became a child martyr.
In stark contrast, your group, the Universityof Michigan Board of Regents, voted unanimously to allow Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to speak to our future leaders at their graduation ceremonies in May 2011. Your group also, it is reported, will bestow upon Governor Snyder an honorary doctorate degree. Not only are these approvals wrong, they fit well into a result that will create even more horrific and dangerous environments that, for instance, cost young Aiyana and countless others a death that came too, too soon.
More specifically, we are strongly urging this Board to pass a resolution condemning the actions of the City of Detroit, the Detroit Police Department and the A & E Network for their role in the death of Aiyana Jones. Also, we are strongly urging this Board to rescind the allowance of Governor Snyder to speak to the graduates of the University of Michigan during their May 2011 commencement. We also strongly urge this Board to rescind giving Governor Snyder an honorary doctorate.
Surely, this Board has a conscience alongside its other admirable traits. Finally, we strongly urge this Board to act as members of a caring, loving and humane family of individuals.
Roland Lawrence, Chairman
Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee