June 4, 2020
Here, in the United States, we have chosen to systematically perpetuate slavery 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. We have created an entire population of second class citizens who legally have had to fight in court to be recognized as full humans and as citizens and, for the right to vote and be educated; for the right to use the same water fountains, restrooms and swimming pools; for the right to safe housing; for the right to compete for jobs, college acceptance, and access to capital; and, for the right to not be lynched.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest lynchings and threats this week by police and white citizens, who assumed they would not be held accountable by the justice system, culminated in uprisings and protests all over the country. These protests represent a crying out to be heard, to be seen, and for change, not just for the murders of Black men and women by police officers, but for decades of pain and anger as a result of systemic racism that is part of the daily reality for so many. This is the case even here in Detroit, where 55% of the police force is African American, in a city where 77% of the population is African American.
It is the murders of African Americans by police, and these inequities along racial lines, that have inspired thousands of people here in Detroit to protest in solidarity. For far too long, Black Detroiters have been impacted by systems that perpetuate racism and that create stark inequities in incarceration, health, housing, income, education, employment, and wealth. Because 40% of Detroiters live in concentrated poverty, 40% of the COVID19 deaths in Michigan were African American, 51% of Detroiters are rent-burdened, and 38% of Detroiters work outside of Detroit in a low-wage job.
These challenges are not new. This is about police brutality and it is also about so much more. This is a fight for humanity. A fight to be an American.
Detroit Future City kneels in solidarity and vigilance with every protestor trying to be heard. We commit to continue working towards economic equity and inclusion for all Detroiters and to create spaces where community voices are heard and can inform policy discussions.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and it does seem to me that notwithstanding all these social agencies and activities there is not that vigilance which should be exercised in the preservation of our rights.” – Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Anti-Lynching Crusader and Journalist.
Detroit Future City