‘More Than A March’

n Monday, May 28, Rainbow PUSH Michigan and our allies held a mock funeral for democracy. We believe the Snyder administration has developed an intentional attack on voting rights in Michigan.

In Michigan, democracy has been put to death. Liberty has been lynched. The passage of Public Act 4 in the late spring of 2011 signaled the beginning of the conservative assault on democracy.

In the wake of this legislation, Benton Harbor, Flint, the Highland Park School system, the Muskegon Heights School system and Detroit have had their elected representation compromised by state occupation of all administrative processes.

The vote has been made null and void by the appointment of emergency managers and or coerced support for a consent agreement. When elected officials are displaced by state appointed czars with absolute and indefinite authority over all public matters democracy has been replaced. The vote has been suspended.

In this same season of our struggle, Michigan has become one of the 39 states in the union that are attempting to suppress the vote.


There is a package of bills in the state House of Representatives (Bills 741-745, 803-831) that will change voter registration and restrict voting behavior. Michigan faces the twin evils of voter suspension and voter suppression.

We mourned the passing of democracy, as poll taxes, restricted voting and the silencing of the vote become the norm in Michigan. Michigan is indeed the new Mississippi where a states rights agenda demonizes federal intervention and uses state occupation to benefit large corporate interests while destroying the fabric of democracy and the quality of life of children and seniors.

On Aug. 25 we hope for the resurrection of democracy as we march for the end of violence and poverty. We did not bury democracy with no hope of her return. We buried democracy to signal the need for all citizens to fight for voting rights, full and equal employment, and urban reinvestment.

The death of democracy coincides with the death of community and the rise of senseless violence. With over 7,000 African American deaths via gun violence every year in America by mostly African Americans we see the break down of community.

When the state bullies 50 percent of the African Americans in Michigan by taking away their elected representation there is little out rage. When more than 300 African Americans have been killed in Detroit in 2012 there is little out cry.

This is because voter suppression and senseless violence have become accepted. Additionally, there is no strong democratic impulse that seeks to organize the shared interests of community residents, find common ground and fight bullies whether government occupiers or gangsters.

So, we march to reignite the bonds of community. We march to find common ground. We march to protect the right to vote, to demand urban reinvestment and neighborhood stabilization. We march because our collective action will resurrect the grand vision of democracy and democratic engagement in the face of voter suspension, voter suppression, and senseless violence.

We will meet in Highland Park at McGregor Library on Woodward Ave. at  noon on Aug. 25. We will march north toward Eight Mile and bury the history of racial separation and inequality.

We march toward Eight Mile and stop at Woodland Cemetery to commit ourselves to stop the violence. We march toward Eight Mile and pause at the state fair grounds demanding regional transit and economic recovery. 

In the tradition of Dr. Martin L. King Jr., and in memory of the youth who kept the movement for jobs and freedom alive in the 1960’s, we march. Join the Crusade for America Parent and Youth March and stand up for voting and against violence.

D. Alexander Bullock is pastor of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church, president of the Highland Park NAACP, Rainbow PUSH Detroit Chapter, and state coordinator of Rainbow PUSH Michigan.

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