Amid shouts of "No justice, no peace," the call to action was clear Saturday as speakers at Historic King Solomon Baptist Church denounced the appointment of an emergency financial manager for Detroit-- and prepared for a battle.
The Rev. Charles Williams II, the church's pastor and president of the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, told more than 100 people at the church that federal intervention was needed immediately to stop emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr from taking office. Orr, a Washington D.C. bankruptcy attorney, was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder earlier this month.
Williams and other speakers alluded to the civil rights movement throughout their speeches, generating thunderous applause.
"We fought too hard. We marched too long. Too much blood (has) been shed for us to turn around," the minister said.
Plans were announced to have protesters possibly line Orr's travel route to the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center his first day Monday. A rally is planned near the "Spirit of Detroit" for 11 a.m. that day, and busloads of protesters are expected to leave from Eastern Market on Monday to travel to Cleveland, where Orr's former law firm, Jones Day, has an office.
The speeches focused extensively on how the appointment of an emergency financial manager circumvents democratic principles.
The Rev. David Bullock of Change Agent Consortium, a social justice activist group with an office in Detroit, said he was there to "stir the pot."
"For the Christians, it's Holy Week," he said referring to the week leading to Easter. "For the emergency manager, it's hell week."
Bullock told the crowd that an emergency financial manager is not there to protect the city's assets but actually to take away control from Detroiters. Orr has indicated that "everything is on the table" as he looks to stabilize the city's finances.
"Don't sell your birthright," Bullock told the crowd.
Mayoral candidate and former top Detroit city attorney Krystal Crittendon said the justification used to appoint the emergency financial manager was faulty.
"They are not going to get away with trying to put us under an emergency manager (based) on a pack of lies," she said.
Members of the news media were invited to stay for the event initially, then were asked to leave partway through. No reason was given.
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