Saturday, July 22, 2017

CONYERS: Commemoration" Detroit Rebellion 50th Anniversary

This year marks 50 years since the Detroit Rebellion. During the summer of 1967, the city of Detroit was marred by a civil disturbance that erupted in response to acts of police brutality at an unlicensed bar.

The events to follow those acts of injustice left the city in turmoil for several days. Police officers and civilians were injured; buildings, homes, and businesses destroyed; and many citizens and community members were arrested, injured or killed.

President Lyndon B. Johnson called me to verify these reports were true.

During that time, I was in the midst of my second Congressional term. I took to the streets in hopes of redirecting the people’s rage into more proactive actions. I grabbed a bullhorn and climbed on top of a car in the middle of the crowd and I began to urge my friends and neighbors to stop the destruction and the violence.

My argument was that we as a community could not achieve anything through violence.

Unfortunately, this series of events stemmed not only from what happened at that 12th Street and Clairmont Avenue speak easy – but from years of built up frustration with segregation, discrimination and police brutality as well as oppressive and seemingly unbreakable poverty.

The Detroit Uprising lasted for five days before order was restored to the city. More than 7,000 people were arrested and more than 40 died.

For some, the uprising was a turning point for the city of Detroit. The city saw a massive growth in activism and community engagement. Following the rebellion, Detroiters elected its first black mayor, Coleman A. Young.

Fifty years later, I’ve witnessed drastic transformation at home and across the nation. However, the frustration that Detroiters felt is still very much alive for African Americans and people across this nation.

More can and must be done to prevent this from ever happening again.

As I did in Detroit during the time of the rebellion – I will continue to urge people to fight for equality and justice through strategic, meaningful and peaceful action.

As the Ranking Member for the Judiciary Committee, I’ve worked with my Republican Chairman to form a bipartisan Congressional working group with a focus on finding common ground between police and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve.

We have a long way to go. But history shows us we have and will continue to overcome these challenges.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

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