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Good Friday Court Date for Nonviolent Water Justice Defendants

Good Friday Court Date for Nonviolent Water Justice Defendants

Good Friday Court Date for Nonviolent Water Justice Defendants 

Activists employ legal defense of preventing “obvious harm” to Detroit families 
DETROIT –Members of the “Homrich 9” will spend Good Friday in court facing charges from nearly two years ago when they put their bodies on the line to allow low-income Detroit families to have access to water. The defendants who blocked water shutoff trucks of the private contractor Homrich Wrecking Company have a legal defense that rest on their preventing the very obvious harm that comes when people have no access to water.
“As a Christian pastor, my heart today is in the events of Good Friday. We remember Jesus’ trial before the Governor, his sentencing and execution. He speaks the truth in freedom and exposes that all the authorities have, all they stand on, is the power of death. It’s a Good day to be in court on behalf of the people of Detroit.” said Pastor Bill Wylie-Kellermann of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and one of the Homrich 9.
The defendants have been blocked by Detroit Prosecutors at virtually every turn from using the perfectly legal “necessity defense” based on the prevention of harm from denial of access to water. Prosecutors have used strange and unprecedented means to keep the trial from going to the jury.
“This entire process, from the moment of our clients’ arrests nearly two years ago to now, has exposed the underlying political motivations of the City of Detroit and its Law Department,” saidJulie Hurwitz, attorney for members of the Homrich 9. “The prosecutors’ goal has been to block our clients from having their day in court because justice would expose the real issues of the mass water shutoffs and the public health emergency from getting a hearing in court and the public. The actions of the Law Department and the complicity of the Wayne County Circuit Court bench is evidence that our local government is willing to expend tens of thousands of taxpayer money to keep these defendants from having a fair trial.”
Ironically, the defendants are proponents of the Water Affordability Plan (WAP), an income-based water payment plan that would prevent water shutoffs and thus preclude the need to pay Homrich $6 million dollars to shut off water to Detroit families. The WAP was established by the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization that includes Homrich 9 defendant Marian Kramer.
“We’re confident the jury was going to find that we were not guilty of disorderly conduct, even though City prosecutors maneuvered to prevent them from reaching a verdict. The jury heard testimony about the unconscionable conditions families in Detroit are facing, how a water affordability plan could solve these issues, and why it was not disorderly conduct to stop business as usual by using nonviolent direct action,” said Marian Kramer of Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and a Homrich 9 defendant. “A verdict in our favor would have been devastating to the government’s already tarnished credibility, and a rallying cry to everyone willing to stand up for a Detroit where we all can live, not just the wealthy.”
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Video #FlintWaterCrisis Protesting Gov. Snyder’s State of the State

Video from the Building Movement YouTube Channel:

Last night’s State of the State Protest: – Approaching the Capital – East Entrance – West Entrance – North Entrance – #FlintLivesMatter – #SnyderMustGoToJail

Democracy Now (clip) – Thank you Kate Levy!

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Disrupting Denial by Shea Howell

Thinking for ourselves
By Shea Howell
Disrupting Denial
December 12, 2015
This week the corporate elite celebration of the Detroit bankruptcy was brought to an abrupt halt. Gathered on the campus of Wayne State University, the Governor, Mayor, bankruptcy judge, and members of the mainstream media left the stage in the face of protests. Governor Snyder, who was greeted by boos from the audience, left in a huff. Judge Rhodes was drowned out. Mayor Duggan never appeared. Host Stephen Henderson admonished the audience saying, “This is not Detroit behavior.”
The Detroit Journalism Cooperative, a media collaborative that provided coverage of the bankruptcy and its aftermath, sponsored the event.  The gathering was billed as a public meeting to assess the city in the wake of bankruptcy.  
“Detroit Bankruptcy: One Year Later,” however, was put together without any consideration of those who objected to the process or who are being harmed by it. Only one viewpoint was allowed from the stage. If you weren’t willing to say the bankruptcy was a success and everything in the city is better than ever, you were not invited to speak.
That is not a true assessment of the state of our city, which is becoming increasingly divided by race and class, and increasingly impoverished in most neighborhoods.
This event was little more than a public relations stunt, marked by soft questioning from interviewers, canned responses by politicians, and efforts to reduce citizen perspectives to twitter feeds. No one should be surprised that the audience decided to challenge these constraints.
The organizers did not invite anyone who has challenged the bankruptcy, emergency management, the decisions to pursue aggressive water shut offs, the give away of revenue streams and assets, and the decision to use federal money to tear down houses rather than fix up homes.
Henderson defended this decision by resorting to name-calling. In a twitter exchange he said, “Protesters were not on program cuz it’s not the Springer show. They don’t want to discuss; they want to shout down.”
Of course, when people are not on the program, when the destruction of lives are rendered invisible, there is little left to do but to shout. In fact, our humanity requires it.
This defensive response by Henderson and the corporate elite to the disruption of their little show reflects how out of touch they are with the most of the people in the city.
The reality is that the direction set by this bankruptcy has resulted in a boom for a few neighborhoods. It has increased the number of young whites in midtown at the expense of elder African Americans and opened a kind of land rush in neighborhoods as foreclosures force out long-term residents. These contradictions of race and class are increasing tensions all over the city. The Mayor, Governor, and the Judge refuse to talk about them. But they are real.
According to U.S. Census Bureau between 2009 and 2014, median household income in Detroit fell by 20 percent from $32,493 to $26,095. The poverty rate increased from 33.2 percent to 39.8 percent. On any given day almost half the city is behind on water bills that are not affordable. Nearly 3,000 customers were threatened with water shutoffs last month alone.
We should applaud all those who raised their voices to disrupt the denial and evasion of the real questions facing our city. Pretending that our future is measured by bond ratings and buildings, rather than the quality of life of all our people and the care we show for one another, will lead to disruptions far beyond those of a simple meeting.
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From Friends of Riverside Park –

The proposed Riverside Park land deal (between the City of Detroit and the Detroit International Bridge Company) was reported out of the Planning and Economic Development Committee on Thursday. This means that council as a whole may be voting on it on Tuesday, July 14 at 10 AM. We are asking that you show up Tuesday, July 14 at 10AM, Coleman A Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Ave, 13th Floor! In addition please email and call councilmembers between now and Tuesday expressing your concerns. Please see the contact numbers and emails of all 9 city council members. Below is a sample script for your phone call or email:

“I am very concerned about the Riverside Park proposal and urge you to take more time for deliberation before city council votes on the deal. There are too many unanswered questions and the original deal was drafted without community input. My neighbors and I deserve better especially with regard to the amount of money being given up front to the city by the bridge company, environmental and public health concerns, clearance with regard to the use of outdoor park space, and the lack of legally binding community benefits.”

City Councilmembers’ contact information:
Brenda Jones, Council President, At Large: 313.224.1245,
Janeé L Ayers, At Large: 313.224.4248,
James Tate, District 1: 313.224.1027,
George Cushingberry, Jr., District 2: 313.224.4535,
Scott Benson, District 3: 313.224.1198,
Andre Spivey, District 4 313.224.4841,
Mary Sheffield, District 5: 313.224.4505,
Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, District 6: 313.224.2450,
Gabe Leland, District 7: 313.224.2151,

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Update: Gov. Snyder signs HB4052, Water Detroit to Flint, Duggan D4 Meeting Next Week


July 2, 2015
HB4052 Update

On Tuesday, June Governor Snyder did in fact sign HB 4052.

Detroit Peoples Platform will continue to raise the issue of the value of the CBA ordinance in advancing both racial and economic justice here in Detroit, particularly as it relates to investment of public dollars in private development. We believe that we must centralize the issue of race and advance more coherent policy recommendations that address racial equity across all aspects of our lives as residents in this community.  We believe that the CBA ordinance is one such policy.

Please NOTE that Mayor Duggan’s District 4 Community Meeting has been RESCHEDULED – The meeting will take place on July 9th at 7PM. The meeting will take place at the Salem Memorial Lutheran Church, 21230 Moross Road, Detroit, MI 48236

Detroit to Flint, Water Justice Journey July 3- 10, 2015

Join us as we walk from Detroit to Flint demanding clean, affordable water for all.

Friday July 3
8:00am: WATER CEREMONY @ Memorial to the Underground Railroad, Hart Plaza, Detroit
9:30am: MEET-UP @ Central United Methodist Church, 23 E. Adams Ave, Detroit
10:00am: SEND-OFF RALLY @ Spirit of Detroit, Corner of Woodward & Jefferson, Detroit
2:30pm: CULTURAL CELEBRATION @ Nandi’s Knowledge Café, 12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park
4:00pm: TOWN HALL & RALLY TO KEEP OUR WATER PUBLIC @ St. Luke’s AME, 363 Labelle St, Highland Park
9:00pm: DETROIT LIGHT BRIGADE @ Corner of 9 Mile & Woodward, Ferndale

Sunday July 5
7:00pm: CROSS-COUNTY SPEAK-OUT! @ Baldwin Center,
212 Baldwin Ave, Pontiac

Friday July 10  
10:00am: RALLY FOR CLEAN & AFFORDABLE WATER @ City Hall, 1101 South Saginaw St, Flint
11:00am: DELEGATION TO LANSING post-rally, details TBA

Sponsored by:
People’s Water Board Coalition*
Highland Park Human Rights Coalition**
Flint Coalition for Clean Water***
*Michigan Coalition for Human Rights

For daily walk times and updates, go to or call (313) 579-9071

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Mayor Duggan’s D2 Meeting – Tuesday, June 30th

ActionAlertHeaderJune 29, 2015

D2Tomorrow! Mayor Duggan’s District 2 Community Meeting – June 30th at 7PM. Will take place at the Northwest Activities Center, 18100 Meyers Road, Detroit, MI 48235

District 2 People’s Platform members and supporters will come together to demand economic justice and racial equity in public supported development.

Ask the Mayor for an accounting of our public investment in private development – who is benefiting?

Join The Conversation:

Please Note: The District 4 Community Meeting has been RESCHEDULED – The meeting will take place on July 9th at 7PM. The meeting will take place at the Salem Memorial Lutheran Church, 21230 Moross Road, Detroit, MI 48236. 

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We Must Fight for Freedom During the Freedom Festival

from the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality

June 16, 2015


Contact: Ron Scott, 313 399 7345

We Must Fight for Freedom During the Freedom Festival

Today, the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality release the following statement as it prepares to testify before the Detroit City Council regarding the latest revision of the Detroit Police Department’s Emergency Ordinance proposal imposing a teen curfew during Freedom Festival Weekend:


“This new ordinance creates a Soweto-like, police controlled and monitored zone which restricts the movement of youth in the designated area. This draconian measure flies in the face of the City of Detroit’s anti-profiling ordinance. It is ironic that it is being proposed at a time when America and Canada are celebrating their democratic traditions. We urge those who support the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution to stand up and stop repression and the criminalization of a generation.


According to applicable case law around the country during the last two decades, the police department has to show a compelling interest in the changed ordinance based on public safety concerns. We wonder: what the department can say specifically regarding their fears and concerns? Internet chatter and specious intelligence reports are not enough to justify prior restraint of an entire generation and/or ethnic group.


That is what the First, Second and Third installments of the American Revolution, also known as the Revolutionary War, Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, fought to achieve: 1) to establish constitutionally mandate republic; 2) to maintain and extend the rights of citizens who had previously been enslaved; and 3) to restore the rights of formerly enslaved citizens and their descendants. All this work took great human effort and sacrifice. We must continue to do the same thing today. Youth must be brought into the process of building safe communities—just like we come together during Angels’ Night—and not criminalized and left outside of the process because of who they are, how they look, or where they live.


The world will be watching to see how Detroit handles this.

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Action Alert – Contact Governor Snyder #DontSignHB4052

ActionAlertHeaderDetroit People’s Platform Action Alert
Monday, June 15, 2015

Action: (1) Contact Governor Snyder, Urge him not to sign HB4052, the “Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act” that the Senate passed last Thursday. (2) Contact friends and family throughout Michigan and ask them to call the Governor.

Governor Rick Snyder
PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 – Constituent Services
twitter: @onetoughnerd

Talking Points:
HB 4052 is anti-worker and anti-family.
HB 4052 is anti-local control and transfers all power over the economic lives of citizens to politicians in Lansing.


Click to Tweet to your followers
Tweet: Contact Governor Snyder #DontSignHB4052 its anti-worker anti-family and shifts power to Lansing Governor Snyder #DontSignHB4052 its anti-worker anti-family and shifts power to Lansing


Click to Tweet Governor Rick Snyder
Tweet: The state government should not take a one-size-fits-all approach to law-making. @onetoughnerd #DontSignHB4052 The state government should not take a one-size-fits-all approach to law-making. @onetoughnerd #DontSignHB4052

Tweet: Local control needs to be protected @onetoughnerd #DontSignHB4052 Local control needs to be protected @onetoughnerd #DontSignHB4052

Tweet: The needs of people living in urban areas are not always the same as the needs of people in small towns. @onetoughnerd #DontSignHB4052 The needs of people living in urban areas are not always the same as the needs of people in small towns. @onetoughnerd #DontSignHB4052

Tweet: When local communities get to decide what is best for them, it fosters  innovation. @onetoughnerd #DontSignHB4052 When local communities get to decide what is best for them, it fosters innovation. @onetoughnerd #DontSignHB4052


HB4052 Background:
State Rep. Poleski from Jackson County re-introduced this bill in May. HB4052 is a zombie version of the Anti-CBA bill that died on the House floor last year. The bill passed the full Senate last Thursday, June 11, by a 22-16 vote. The bill is currently going back to the House for concurrence in the changes made by the Senate. The bill was narrowly passed by the House last month.

If signed by the Governor, this bill would destroy local governments ability to make economic decisions on behalf of their citizens. This legislation would give Lansing politicians too much control over our local communities.

House Bill 4052 would prohibit local governments from enacting any ordinances or policies that would “Regulate the relationship between an employer and its employees or potential employees” exceeding those imposed by federal or state law.”

This bill would affect ban the box ordinances, paid sick leave ordinances, minimum wage ordinances, prevailing wage, apprenticeship/training requirements, etc.

This bill is an attack on community benefit agreements and the CBA Ordinance that has been and would have a tremendous impact on Detroit residents.

Local communities are best positioned to know and understand the needs of their communities. Local governments exist to make sure that laws and policies meet the needs and values of the people who live there. As long as local laws do not violate state laws, the state government shouldn’t punish localities by standing in their way.

It is wrong for the state government to take a one-size-fits-all approach to law-making. The needs of people living in urban areas are not always the same as the needs of people in small towns. This is why local governments exist – to make sure that laws and policies meet the needs and values of the people who live there. As long as local laws do not violate state laws, the state government shouldn’t punish localities by standing in their way.

Community Benefits Ordinance Background:
Over the past two years, Detroit People’s Platform members, partners, supporters and allies have come together around the importance of Community Benefit Agreements, CBAs, in Detroit. CBAs have been a part of successful development projects across the US and help to insure that everyone benefits from large development projects that use public funds or resources, like land. In the last year, continuing to support the work of the Equitable Detroit Coalition and the efforts of Council President Brenda Jones we have moved to organize around a city-wide Community Benefits Agreement Ordinance.

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Michigan Senate approves HB 4052, the Anti-Worker, Anti-Community bill


June 12, 2015

Advisory Alert – Yesterday the Michigan Senate approved a bill prohibiting local governments from having wage, benefits laws.  HB 4052, the Anti-Worker, Anti Community bill goes back to the House for concurrence next week.

“The bill passed the Senate Competitiveness committee Thursday morning on a 4-1 vote and in the full Senate a few hours later by a 22-16 vote. Republican Sens. Tom Casperson of Escanaba, Mike Nofs of Battle Creek, Margaret O’Brien of Portage and Tory Rocca of Sterling Heights joined all Democrats in opposing the legislation.”

“The bill – HB 4052- moves to the House for concurrence in the changes made by the Senate. The bill was narrowly passed by the House last month.” Read More…

Please stay tuned for further updates and an Action Alert.


“LANSING, Michigan — Local governments would be prohibited from setting local minimum wages or other employer requirements under a House bill that moved quickly through the Senate on Thursday.”

“The Senate’s Michigan Competitiveness Committee approved the bill 4-1 Thursday morning along party lines after changing some of the language. Within a few hours, the full Senate passed the bill 22-16, with several Republicans joining Democrats in voting against it.”

“The legislation would prevent a patchwork of local ordinances that could deter economic development, according to bill sponsor Rep. Earl Poleski, a Republican from Jackson. He has pointed to new laws setting minimum wages in cities such as Los Angeles as an example of what he wants to prevent.” Read More…

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ActionAlertHeaderJune 12th, 2015
Action in Solidarity with Detroit’s Youth!


While the rest of the city will be celebrating American freedom, Detroit youth 17 and under will have to be on lockdown in their houses starting at 6 p.m. June 22 (Fireworks Night) and at 8 pm June 19-22 (River Days). In 2012-2014, similar ordinances allowed police to harass, handcuff, fine, and detain hundreds of youth just because they were outside on a long summer night.
This year’s proposed ordinance:

  • will last for four days (June 19-22). On Fireworks night, the curfew is citywide and will even apply to young people who live miles away from the riverfront
  • makes it illegal for youth to leave their houses without a responsible adult, or detailed, written documentation
What you can do to stop this:
Attend the public hearing on Tuesday, June 16 at 2 p.m. to make a public comment or to help show your opposition to this unconstitutional ordinance. Location: 1340 Coleman Young Building (13th Floor), 2 Woodward Avenue, downtown Detroit.
Call your Detroit City Council members and tell them not to enact this unprecedented, unconstitutional ordinance that stereotypes and criminalizes Detroit youth and turns the city into a police state. Updates and contact information available at:

Brenda Jones, Council President, At Large
Janeé L Ayers, At Large

James Tate, District 1

George Cushingberry, Jr., District 2

Scott Benson, District 3

Andre Spivey, District 4

Mary Sheffield, District 5

Raquel Castañeda-López, District 6

Gabe Leland, District 7