Detroit Raw by Sam Riddle
Detroit Freedom Riders
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Walking up Woodward to the coffee shop on Mack, mind snacks competed with Detroit’s weather version of March Madness as the wind juked me with a snow assist. Yep, it was a Gortex-layer-over-polar-fleece day. As the coffee drip trickled into the cardboard pots (should have called ahead) I mind snacked on the prison-cell wisdom of knocking out pushups, dips and row machine weights at the Boll Y. A fella never knows when he has to take out the trash or deliver java to modern day Freedom Bus Riders.
Wet snow could not put out the fire in the hearts of Detroit Freedom Riders as they boarded Betsy, a National Action Network bus, in an Eastern Market parking lot bound for the Cleveland, Ohio headquarters of the Snyder law firm of choice, Jones Day, as it preps to loot Detroit in a conflict of interest orgy. Nasty weather for nasty times as Detroit democracy is buried in a GOP/Banking/Bondholder avalanche, suffocating the right to vote of the majority Black population that back-in-the-day Deep South white supremacists would only envy.
Making do with what you have, stretching every single dollar, is a way of life for the majority of Detroiters. Every now and then we give to others that which we could have spent on ourselves but felt that another might have needed at that moment a bit more than our own needs dictated. Sometimes when you don’t have the dollars, you give that most precious of gifts — yourself. That’s what most of the Freedom Bus Riders dropped in the democracy collection plate as they headed to Cleveland on a bad azz weather day. I placed the coffee on the bus and started helping folk up the bus steps, including one woman with a walker determined to fight for her rights.
Why Cleveland? Because that’s where the real brain trust of the democracy-destroying pirates are. It is irrelevant whether Snyder Black proxy Orr worked there. The concern is institutional practices, not replaceable Dale Carnegie knock-offs. Jones Day is the lily-white law firm retained by Mayor Snyder to restructure Detroit finances, so it is no surprise that Snyder’s Black proxy, a Jones Day lawyer, was named EFM for Detroit. This white riot will be nothing but a slick looting of Detroit led by pinstripe suit-wearing Jones Day gangbangers.
Historical facts: Freedom Bus Riders know no political geographical boundaries but confront perpetrators of injustice on location. As a teenager, I remember reading of the Freedom Bus Riders of the early ‘60s that dared challenge the racism and economic injustices of a hypocritical nation during the dangerous days of the civil rights struggle. The parents of famed Michigan trial attorney Geoffrey Fieger were Freedom Bus Riders that risked their lives to shape an America that we can all be proud of. Coalition building was important then and remains vital as we identify friends and enemies on the basis of behavior, not skin color.
The Michigan NAN Freedom Bus Riders traveled to Cleveland in the spirit of those Freedom Bus Riders of yesteryear who risked all to make this nation live up to being just for all, including deliverance of the right to vote. Blood was shed. Lives were lost.
As she boarded the bus, former Detroit school board member Marie Thornton gave me a sardonic grin, adding, “It’s in my blood, I’ve got to go to Cleveland.” Thank you, Marie, and thank you, NAN, for riding and standing up during awful weather to protest injustice.
What about the gift of police cars and ambulances? This is a Beads for Manhattan insult to democracy. These guys waited until the duly elected council and mayor were impotent and incapable of consummating a democracy-based act to give this so-called gift. No thanks for enabling Democracy Destroyers. The real crisis is not a financial crisis, it’s a democracy crisis. Money comes, money goes, but democracy that comes and goes is democracy denied that will destroy the very nation that holds itself out to the world as the beacon of freedom. The world hates hypocrites.
We must never let haters cause us to lose hope or dislike ourselves and never, never let haters make you weak in your faith. Keep the faith. Stay on the battlefield.
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