VOICE OF DETROIT (VOD)
Unbought and unbossed, published by Voice of Detroit LLC
P.O. Box 35278 Detroit, Michigan 48235
The Voice of Detroit (VOD), founded in August, 2010, presents in-depth news stories on the people’s struggles, here in Detroit, nationally and world-wide. VOD also features commentary and announcements by progressive organizations of upcoming events. It is based in Detroit, Michigan.
VOICE OF DETROIT HEADER PHOTO:
This photo is a portion of a 2014 mural on Grand River Avenue in Detroit, painted by Detroit based graphic artist SINTEX, who has been countering graffiti painted by non-Detroiters, much of which is nonsensical and non-political, and geared to create chaos and confusion not relevant in particular to Detroit youth. Sintex’s mural photo is cropped to fit in the WordPress header guidelines.
Contact Sintex at Twitter: @SINTEXART.COM, #SINTEXARTIST, and Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sintex.graffiti.
Also see article on Sintex, given name Brian Glass, in Metro Times at http://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/while-artist-sintex-fights-culture-vultures-detroit-gears-up-for-a-graffiti-crackdown/Content?oid=2297092
The mural depicts (l to r) Chief Crazy Horse, Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota, who defeated U.S. General Custer’s troops at the Battle of the Little Big Horn; Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, who established the Nation’s first Mosque in Detroit; Malice Green, Detroit steel plant worker beaten to death by police officers Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers in 1992; Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, murdered by Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley and a Detroit SWAT-style team May 16, 2010 during a raid on her home; and Vincent Chin, a Detroit Chinese-American man beaten to death in Highland Park in June 1982 by Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz in a hate crime motivated by widespread furor against auto imports from Japan.
DIANE BUKOWSKI, EDITOR
Diane is a life-long Detroiter. She produced thousands of ground-breaking investigative articles and photos for The Michigan Citizen for more than 10 years as a professional reporter. In 2000, she broke the story of Eugene Brown, the Detroit police officer who unjustifiably killed three men in 1995, 1996 and 1999, in a piece headlined SERIAL KILLER KOPS?
She continued to expose killer and rapist cops, as well as the failure of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to charge them. She authored numerous stories on battles against prison abuses like juvenile life without parole. She covered the Detroit Public Schools beat for eight years, the devastation of public services and employment, the Detroit Medical Center, and numerous other matters.
In retaliation for her exposes of the police and the Prosecutor’s office, she was falsely convicted of two felonies in 2009, for photographing the aftermath of a fatal State Trooper chase which caused the deaths of two Black Detroit men.
Bukowski worked for the City of Detroit from 1974 t0 1999, in the Health and Human Rights Departments. She was a union leader in Local 457 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for 20 years. Along with Local 457 President Al Phillips, who passed in 1994, and others, she co-founded the Coalition to Stop Privatization and Save Our City in 1992. She retired with 25 years in 1999 and currently writes numerous stories on the assault on Detroit and other majority-Black cities in Michigan, particularly the phony bankruptcy case which is laying waste to the city.
OUR LATE AND DEARLY BELOVED CORNELL SQUIRES, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER; PARALEGAL, LEADER OF WE THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE, RICOBUSTERS, passed November 19, 2016
Cornell Squires had been a community activist in Detroit for many decades. He worked as a City of Detroit EMS technician in the 1990’s, exposing the hazardous condition of the ambulances both for workers and patients for 12 years, until he retired on disability. He is still fighting for his pension benefits.
In 2000, he joined the Original Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality after Detroit cop Robert Feld brutalized him for inquiring why police had stopped his son on the street. Cornell’s father had a heart attack during the incident and died some months later. Then his son and cousins were repeatedly targeted by the police in retaliation. He continues to work on behalf of others whose loved ones have been killed by the police or who have themselves been brutalized.
Cornell founded We the People for the People, spending many years working with renowned activist attorney Leonard Eston, who was part of a cohort of militant 1960’s attorneys including Chokwe Lumumba and Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. Eston and Squires have done pro bono work for countless individuals and families whose children have been taken by CPS, who have lost their homes, and experienced other legal hardships. Eston passed in 2013, but Cornell has carried on their work.
He also works with RICOBUSTERS, an organization formed to challenge the court system as a whole, demanding that it be returned to the common people.
SEE VOD’S MEMORIAL ARTICLE ON CORNELL SQUIRES, WHICH GARNERED OVER 1200 FACEBOOK LIKES, AT http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/11/20/beloved-detroit-peoples-activist-cornell-squires-called-home-to-the-ancestors-nov-19-2016/.
TRAVIS HERNDON, LEGAL CONSULTANT
Travis Herndon has studied law and related fields for over 34 years. He works as a paralegal consultant and pro se legal document author with individuals inside the prison system as well as those dealing with legal issues outside the walls. He is well-known across the MDOC and in the legal field. Many lawyers and prisoner advocates consult with him on a regular basis, due to his astute analytical skills. He has helped free many prisoners during the past decades.
He focuses particularly on arguing actual innocence issues, which are recognized by the federal courts but frequently not by Michigan state courts, which prefer to depend on “newly-discovered evidence,” a much more complicated issue.
He is a vital part of VOD’s staff, since the paper focuses many stories on mass incarceration, wrongful convictions, police misconduct, and related issues. VOD’s editor and other writers depend on him to advise them when dealing with these stories.
Mr. Herndon was born in 1955, and grew up in Highland Park, attending schools in that city’s system.
RICARDO FERRELL, FIELD EDITOR
Ricardo Ferrell’s stories focus largely on the world of the Michigan Dept. of Corrections, along with other issues in the “world” outside. He portrays his fellow prisoners in his articles with respect and true love, and reports enthusiastically on programs they all participate in, such as periodic poetry “SLAMS,” among others. His articles show the contributions prisoners could make to the world outside, if only they were not part of the largest prison system in the world.
The U.S. has five percent of the world’s population, and 25 percent of its incarcerated population. The U.S. is the only country in the world that sentences juveniles to death in prison. It is also the only country that has true “life without parole,” with prisoners actually dying inside the walls. Most countries average a total of 15-20 years for sentences of any kind. There is currently a growing movement here to completely abolish both juvenile life without parole as well as life without parole for adults.
Mr. Ferrell has been incarcerated since 1982, and is currently at the Michigan Reformatory of Ionia (MRI).
He writes, “I am exactly seven years without any type of misconducts. I am considered a model prisoner by some staff members here at RMI where I’ve been housed for two years now. The same when I was housed at MTU for tw0 years, three months, and when I was housed at URF for tw0 years. seven months. I worked two jobs at MTU, URF and here. I am Chapel Clerk and in the Prisoner Observation Aide Program (suicide watch) each with exceptionally excellent work evaluations.”
He has been working diligently towards eventual parole as well currently seeking placement again in The Youth Deterrent Program at Ryan Correctional Facility. He was a co-founder of that program in 2008.
CORTEZ DAVIS-EL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER
VOD is honored to welcome Cortez Davis-El to its staff. Along with being an extremely gifted writer and reporter, Cortez Davis-El is a certified paralegal, American Sign Language Tutor, Master Gardener, certified Substance Abuse Relapse teacher, and youth mentor with the G.O.A.L.S. program at the Michigan Department of Corrections Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, MI. Voice of Detroit has now published four of his articles and looks forward to many more.
Mr. Davis-El’s accomplishments and determination during the 23 years he has spent as a juvenile lifer in the MDOC are astounding. He was re-sentenced April 27 to 25-60 years and is now back “in the world.”
Davis survived a horrific childhood, growing up in drug-infested surroundings, at one point becoming homeless, and dropping out of school in eighth grade to support his younger siblings. He was 16 when he was incarcerated for first-degree murder in a robbery where he was not the shooter or even close to the victim; he was on the other side of the street.
Recorders Court Judge Vera Massey-Jones refused to sentence him to LWOP, saying she felt he could be rehabilitated during a term of 10-40 years, and that the system had been “throwing him away” for most of his life. Twenty years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that Juvenile Life Without Parole is unconstitutional, Judge Massey-Jones said that JLWOP was “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. But her original sentence of 10-40 years was overturned on appeal.
Mr. Davis-El will be reporting not only on prison-related issues, but on other topics of his choice. He has a wealth of experience both from inside the walls and outside in the world and VOD looks forward to his continued growth as a brilliant commentator and reporter.
KENNETH SNODGRASS, ACTIVIST, PHOTO/VIDEOGRAPHER, JOURNALIST
Kenneth Snodgrass, author of From Victimization to Empowerment, The Challenge Of African American Leadership, The Need Of Real Power, is an African American intellectual, who has been a political activist for more than 44 years. His work with numerous community organizations has supplied him with an arsenal to study the lessons of our ancestors and people from the past and present.
Mr. Snodgrass’s writings show his deep conviction, dedication and spirit. He considers himself an African Warrior struggling to bring about economic, political, and social changes in America that will help to empower African people in America and the Diaspora. His writings, opinions and poetry continue to be provocative and controversial occasionally! They express his originality, creativity and his analysis!
They reflect the reality of Two Americas, one white and powerful and one Black, a nation of people who have been subject to hundreds of years of Slavery, white supremacy and Jim Crow. They reflect the need for collective struggle, strength and commitment, by African Americans locally, nationally and internationally.
Mr. Snodgrass believes that we need to evaluate the concepts, ideas, writings and projections of our past and present historians, intellectuals, because there are so many different viewpoints about the movement. We need to begin answering these new questions about our future with new ideas, new thoughts and new projections.
One of Ken’s past editors Wanda Roquemore, publisher and editor of “All About Detroit,” said, “Your writings and analysis always challenge you to think about the problem and to think about the solution.”
Mr. Snodgrass has a philosopher’s understanding of what is Freedom, Citizenship, Political Direction, Culture and sub-Culture, our Identity, Dignity, Pride, Spirituality, Humanity, Collective Struggles, Freedom, and the African Identity. Questions we ask as a people and as a nation will need to be answered in the 21 century.
Mr. Snodgrass has worked with many community and political groups, e.g. Black Panther Party, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the All African Peoples Union (AAPU), the Committee for Political Development, the Advocators, National Organization for America (NOAR), Save Our Son and Daughter (SOSAD), the Michigan Committee to Organize the Unemployed, Detroiter’s for Dignity (a senior citizen group), U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange, the Justice for Cuba Coalition, Black Left Unity (BLU), and many other issue oriented groups.
Mr. Snodgrass (Ken) is opposed to the U.S.A. dominating international policies on Central America, Africa and the Third World Countries, because it projects American chauvinism and racism and works against the development of self-autonomy of their Nations. Also the USA is in the process of carrying out low intensity warfare. He supports the liberation struggles of oppressed people for humanitarian advancement i.e. their struggles for the elimination of racism, sexism, materialism, consumerism, militarism, colonialism, U.S. hegemony, environment destruction etc.
Kenneth has been writing publicly for the last 25 years and his articles have appeared in over 50 different weekly and monthly publications, including journals, newsletters, local and national newspapers and national wire services. Some of the publications were weekly and some are monthly.
VOD NEEDS OTHER REPORTERS, WRITERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, MARKETERS AND STAFF. At this point, VOD is not able to pay, but we are working on setting up advertising and links with other organizations to eventually produce revenue for an uncompromising newspaper that addresses the struggles in this city’s majority Black community as well as struggles of poor and working people world-wide.
To submit articles, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 313-825-6126
Comments on this site are allowed, after review. THEY WILL BE DELETED IF THEY ARE NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE, INCLUDING COMMENTS EVIDENCING RACISM AND HOSTILITY TO THE PEOPLE OF DETROIT.
Creative Commons License: ORIGINAL ARTICLES AND PHOTOGRAPHS FROM VOICE OF DETROIT REPORTERS AND COLUMNISTS MAY BE RE-PUBLISHED, IN WHOLE AND WITHOUT ALTERATION, WITH ATTRIBUTION TO THE REPORTER OR COLUMNIST AND THE VOICE OF DETROIT, AND A LINK TO THIS WEBSITE, http://voiceofdetroit.net.
SPECIAL THANKS GO TO KATHY RUSSELL, WHO CONTRIBUTED HER TIME AND SKILLS PRO BONO TO BUILD BOTH BUKOWSKI’S LEGAL DEFENSE SITE, AND THE VOICE OF DETROIT SITE. SHE HAS BEEN A TRUE FRIEND IN THE STRUGGLE.
I wrote you a messenger on Messenger from your Facebook page. I would appreciate you taking time to read it.
Our webpage is currently under construction.
Sorry but I don’t use Messenger. You can email me at email@example.com. Thanks.
Hello! I work at the Health Communication Research Laboratory on the Washington University in St. Louis campus. One of our newest projects is 211Counts.org, the first web-based tool to provide real-time, searchable, and visual presentations of data about community-specific needs of vulnerable populations. It covers not only the entire state of Michigan, but also 15 other states, and more on the way! 2-1-1 Counts displays a count of 2-1-1 callers’ needs in usable form and reports data at the ZIP code, region or call center level as recently as yesterday.
The next phase in our project is to increase our marketing efforts, and we would be interested in advertising in the Voice of Detroit Can you tell me more about prices, etc that would go along with advertising? I read on your website that the VOC is just beginning to set up advertising, so I’m not sure if this information is available yet, but I wanted to check.
Excellent paper… good to know you are here.
Keep me posted. Thank you.
My name is Minister Gloria Lee. Recently I have initiated The Wall Project to teach prisoners to read. We need to work with these men before they are returned to the community. We need to instill hope and belief in the future or these men will return to prisoner for longer and longer prison sentences or these men will be killed attempting another violence act or robbery. These men are needed in our community as fathers, sons and brothers. So our community should support the rehabilitation of these men and women. I was wondering if we can partner together in this venture. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734 686 1444. If you follow the link on youtube below you can learn more about The Wall Project
Hello Ms. Bukowski I believe an existing law that is well recognized by the city of Detroit and the state of mi. is be purposely disobeyed . a statute of limitations exists of six years on parking tickets per Herrada vs City of Detroit 2001 case, this case is used nation wide in defenses against other municipalities and is a landmark decision in abuse of govt . power. my problem is that the city of Detroit ignores its standing and has continued to extort millions of dollars from citizens along with the state of mi. in full cooperation. I find it appalling that a city with 43% poverty rate has the audacity to subject its population to such a long term punishment with no mercy for such trivial offences. people are being made into criminals for unpaid 10 year old parking tickets. there drivers licenses are suspended and they are forced to drive without a license or not feed there family. they are loosing there jobs if they have a profession related to transportation and there marketability is diminished to any employer who observes they must travel by bus. the premise of statute of limitation is engrained in our system of laws, people who have committed felonies are protected by a huge variety of laws that are less than 6 yrs. I have witnessed many poor detroiters who are subjected by the Detroit parking authority to finance the paying off of there tickets.It is disgusting to me how a city that just filed bankruptcy and effectively screwed hundreds of thousands of people out of money they were owed to have so little mercy as to extract there pound justice upon its own citizens.
Detroit, as I knew it-
This message is for Diane Bukowski. Your 10/31/2015 article on William Melendez includes a list of victims. Do you know the racial breakdown of these people? I’m having a hard time finding information about them on the web.
Additionally, if you are aware of published stories or reports on racism against African Americans, local or national, please do submit them at http://www.exhibit-a.org. Thanks so much for your great work here and for any assistance you can provide.
I will post this notice on the front page of Voice of Detroit. If you have any graphic or flyer for this event, please email it to me at email@example.com.
I’m so glad I came across this website. This is a cool website with great news about Detroit. We need more people like this that are willing to get the facts and will back down for nothing and no one.
Great job and a hope to see more.
Do you cover stories about Metro Detroit? There is a peace rally in Inkster at Inkster High School at 9:30 am on 7-13-13. Its a story I think should be covered! The violence has got to stop in our cities.
Also can anyone give an article to be published here?
I’d like to ask you about writing an article on your website. I have an idea that would improve education in Detroit public schools. I call it ‘Labor Education’. The idea of labor education involves teaching students a course in labor politics. The course would also include a brief history of the labor movement. I think Labor Education should be mandatory for all students in Detroit public high schools.
In a class in Labor Education, the students will learn that when they graduate from high school, they may get a job in a non-union shop. If they work in a non-union shop, they may be treated unfairly, and their rights may be violated. Classroom instruction in Labor Education would teach students the basics of labor unions, it would teach them the basics of union organizing drives, so they would be motivated to join unions, as soon as they graduated from high school, and got jobs.
Do you think the Republicans would oppose this idea? Where do you stand on this issue? Does ‘Voice Of Detroit’ have a policy on Labor Education, of do you wish to treat it like a non-issue?
Is anyone at VOD involved with Community Radio?
Thank you for helping MaryAnn and her daughter. I am experiencing similar ,charges in Ingham County. I am a former Circuit Court Judge first and only Black female, District and Circut Judge. I was removed from the Bench for attempting to expose at the bias and prejudice I experience. I served 18 years with a blemished serving the community well….I wish VOD was involved in my injustice….Is it too Late. My reputation and character and the truth exposed for my family is what I pray for daily/….Thank you again, Bev 517-721-1549
I’d like to be able to speak with you in confidence regarding recent activities in Ingham County.
I took some of my grandchildren to the memory cloud event at the DIA . I writing to find out if I could see all of the memory cloud comment. Thank You
VOD does not use a memory cloud. To see reader’s comments on each article, click on the headline of the story, and the story plus comments will appear.
…this is a continuation of my last post (please forgive me). The rally mentioned in the last post will be aimed at asking for thorough investigations from these particular investigation agencies: http://www.primetime.com, http://www.today.com, http://www.ac360.com, http://www.48hour.com and http://www.dateline.com respectively. Once again thank you for your time and patience concerning this matter.
I will like to inform you that my brother, Michael D. Harris, ( on behalf of all Michigan prisoners who have been wrongly accused and convicted) , who is currently incarcerated in the Michigan prison system is trying to start an internet rally on 06September2011 @ 12pm regarding that the Detroit Police Crime Laboratory as well as the Michigan State Police Crime Laboratory-Lansing falsification of dna and ballistics in hundreds of cases over a 30 year span and wrongly accusing and convicting innocent men. He is asking that all parties concerned log onto their computers and contact these news services to ask for an investigation regarding these atrocities of injustice. Thank you very much for your time and patience concerning this matter.
Keep me up on all events!
I would like to extend to you a public thank you for all of your help and support in regards to getting the word out on phone rate increases with the DOC. Your advice, time, and support is invaluable in keeping families connected during the hard times.
On behalf of many other friends, wives, husbands, girlfriends, children and parents of those incarcerated in the State of Michigan, a sincere thank you to you and your team.
If you need any support on any endeavor, I would be happy to assist in any way.
Is there an email address for Ms. Bukowski?
Thanks for this, and all articles on the Godboldo injustice!
Yes, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you very much. Diane
Yes, this is my email address: email@example.com. Thanks, Diane
hahah….i love how you guys deleted my posts…
You guys claim to represent against biased and against corruption or whatever, but you DELETE people’s comments on your website if you don’t agree with their opinion?? awesome…
I love it…Thats all i needed to know.
watch, now this post will be deleted too…
Too bad you are all too uneducated to know that everything you write is crap and that even the concept of trying to claim that all police are RAPISTS, and murderers, etc is hilarious…You guys must think that ACLU-types agree?? too bad they don’t
go ahead, delete my posts…it just shows how ignorant and truly BIASED you are…Numerous people read it and then saw my posts deleted. I love it…Thats all those detroit residents needed to see
Your current post is being allowed only to let readers know that all such posts will be deleted in the future. This is not the Detroit News or Free Press which allow all sorts of racist remarks from ignorant, uneducated, hostile people who hate everyone in Detroit to be posted. This is an independent newspaper run by our own guidelines. We will not allow posts we consider not to be in the interests of the people. So be warned, all other posts from you or anyone else of a similar frame of mind will be DELETED. Don’t read the paper if you don’t like what it stands for.
I’ve bookmarked you. If I am able to overcome the extreme weather issue, I will move to Detroit because of people like you all. No joke and best wishes.
If the fool would only persist in his folly he would become wise. Wm Blake 1790
I have recieved so much information from this newspaper I feel like I have hit the Jackpot. Is there anyway I can subscribe as well as help advertise your paper. I am the founder of a non profit that deals with many issues I have read in your paper. I want to help mobilize people to get them informed about these issues. I am just getting started and I need help and I want to help in any way that I can, any organization that is about justice and truth. Please keep me updated. Keep up the great work!! The people of Detroit needs a paper like this.
Last week in the news broadcast announcing the firings of Detroit’s Fire Commisioner and Deputy Commissioner, Councilman Andrew Spivey made an odd comment. He said, “We’re (Council members) here to serve the Mayor…” Those who voted him were obviously of the mistaken assumption that if elected, he would be serving Detroit residents. One can’t help but wonder how of the other new sitting Council members understand who they represent. Totally outrageous!!!
Greg sent me your link.
Maybe I should send you some of my writings on what Robert Bobb has done that is absolutely corrupt from a Construction point of view. I am an architect and I am completely aware of what is illegal and appalling.
It’s a gouge to raise monies for the campaign of Mitt Romney against Obama.
Please do; especially now that the new EM has abrogated all union contracts. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, Diane Bukowski