By James Casey
DETROIT — The Reverend Charles Williams acted as a kind of a facilitator today at his church here on 14th street in Detroit. He holds monthly meetings at the King Solomon Missionary Baptist church for the “National Action Network,” a kind of neighborhood clearing house for getting priority issues addressed, where the various groups show up at each others’ events when numbers are key to gaining notice.
At last month’s meeting he said, “I feel an enormous amount of power in this room,” then indicated, “You can’t have just a little democracy,” and used the story about the walls of Jericho as an illustration of how even small numbers matter when you have a heavy- duty reputation.
This month when I got to the meeting, a minister from Jackson, Michigan was talking about how his son Joe Hines was beaten by more two dozen white police officers in Columbus, Ohio near the Ohio State University campus. Mr. Hines’ beating tapes made it to U Tube, and that prompted a guy named Jose’ to contact the Reverend Hines so the march in Columbus would be, “For Joe and Jose” because Jose’ told him that he recognized some of the same officers that beat him and knocked his teeth out in the video.
Mr. Hines said that both the young men who were beaten told him that they were sure that something good would come out of the pain and abuse that they were made to feel.
Rev. Williams said that Yvette Dukes, NAN’s attorney is going to do everything she can to help and would be looking into the matter.
“We are going to light this issue up,” he said, noting that it seemed like these two young didn’t do anything but the right thing and were beaten up any way,
“Just like the state department issues travel advisories, we should issue a school advisory, they will wake up to the pocket book issue,” as a comment on how things are in and around the Ohio State campus.
“I think the suffering of the four little girls in the Baptist church in Alabama fifty years ago to the day will lend faith to our feet no matter what religion we may be and we will be going to Columbus,” he said as he made a temple bell gesture with his thumb and forefinger.
Then Rev. Williams turned his attention to the Service Employees International Union’s one day strikes of fast food restaurant employees for a decent living wage.
“This all ties in with bankruptcy,” he said. “Public bankruptcy, private bankruptcy. It’s important for us to help our young people take on responsibility. They won’t have time to get involved in all this violence. When people take their job seriously, when they have a mortgage that helps to solve the violence problem too.”
As I was getting an espresso and a danish in the church vestibule and getting ready to go, Krystal Crittendon was already addressing the assemblage on what was planned to address the suburban/ex-urban banks vis-a-vis Detroit’s pensioners and bankruptcy. (See notice at head of article.)