Saying the new emergency manager bill unfairly targets predominately African American communities, civil rights leaders pledged today to march in Superior Township — home of Gov. Rick Snyder —on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
They plan to march in the township — about 12 miles east of Ann Arbor — on Jan. 16 in an effort to call attention to a bill that could soon lead to an emergency manager in Detroit.
The cities under an emergency manager are Flint, Benton Harbor and Pontiac. Detroit Public Schools also has an emergency manager.
The group opposes the bill because an emergency manager has unilateral authority to cut union contracts, sell assets and dismiss elected officials, such as the mayor and city council.
“We’ve been fighting the dictator bill since its passing, all the time knowing it was meant for unilateral opportunity to take over Detroit just like it did in Benton Harbor,” said the Rev. Charles Williams II, pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church and one of the state’s leaders of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. “An emergency manager has yet to prove that it can get rid of deficits.”
Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group plans to “occupy” Snyder’s home by demonstrating outside his house.
"We started this fight in Benton Harbor but we plan to end it in Superior Township,” said Rev. D. Alexander Bullock, local leader of the Michigan Chapter Rainbow Push Coalition, a social justice group founded by Jesse Jackson. “We will show the world that democracy is at stake in Michigan just as it is in Libya or Egypt.”
Snyder’s office has long denied race was a factor and said it only is intervening in cities that are the most financially distressed.