"We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it." 
Barack Obama

Vote November 8th!
With the 2016 elections approaching in just one week, this third issue of the MCHR newsletter will focus on issues of the election and issues that our MCHR board members are passionate about. I hope you will be inspired to action by reading these article, especially to vote and to protect the vote for all. 

If interested in poll watching, canvassing to get out the vote, protecting vulnerable voters, here is a brief list of ways to get involved:

Problems Voting?: 1 866 OUR- VOTE or 866 867-8683
Complaints - MI Board of Elections: 517 373-2540

Ride to polls: 313 744- 3661 
A Philip Randolph Institute (canvassing and election day): 313 744-3661
Detroit NAACP: (rides, phone banking): 313 871-2087
W itness the Vote (protecting vulnerable voters) Sojourners: 

When Elections Matter
We tend to be election skeptics we human rights activists. Presidential elections are especially challenging. We know that presidents come and presidents go but white supremacy, brutal endless wars, discrimination against women, attacks on unions-eugenic capitalism itself relentlessly marches on.

Precisely because we recognize the limits of electoral politics we seek a larger frame in which to view the world. That is why we are the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. It is why we pursue a broad range of strategies and tactics to advance social change.

And while we know that some elections may offer little impact toward improving human rights one way or the other-we also know that taking the vote away, whether by restricting eligibility, emergency managers or other means is profoundly wrong. The fight for the franchise and for voting rights is a core struggle for MCHR.
This year does offer some important elections for the MCHR community. We h ave advisory board members running for office in important education positions. Former Board member Gloria Aneb House has created a suggested Readings for the 2016 Presidential election. It is part of the curriculum for the Detroit Independent Freedom Schools movement. The Freedom School meets at several locations including the Charles Wright Museum from 9:30-12 noon on Saturdays through December 17.

Detroit voters have a choice between a People's Community Benefits Agreement Ordinance (Proposal A) that would genuinely give residents a voice on economic development in the city and a sham ordnance (Proposal B) supported by the wealthy and powerful to create confusion. Also in Detroit, several candidates in the large field running for the school board have a proven record of supporting public education and human rights.

As for the 2016 Presidential election, we have witnessed flagrant bigotry and ignorance purporting a clear and present danger to all who support human rights. One candidate does challenge patriarchy and male supremacy, however, in most other respects however, both candidates represent the very status quo policies MCHR seeks to transform.

From the party candidates chosen by two dominant political parties to the superficial saturation coverage by the mainstream media, this year's election could hardly be farther from the national conversation we need on the dangers we face not just to the quality of life but to its very existence. That said, the Presidential election is a referendum on whether US politics at its worst can capture either the popular vote or an electoral college majority. Either way, MCHR will have much to work on after the election.

                                                                                                                          by Frank Joyce, MCHR Board Member
The Community Benefit Agreement Ordinance is on the ballot!

After nearly four years of organizing, the proposed Community Benefit Agreement Ordinance will be on the November 8th 
general election ballot.   This is a Detroit only ballot question.  Members of the community based CBA coalition, Rise Together Detroit and the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan (EJAM), led the organizing effort to collect enough signatures to get the proposal on the ballot.

Known as Proposal A, the proposed ordinance meets all the criteria of a strong community benefit agreement (CBA).  Proposal A triggers the CBA process when large scale developers have a project greater than $15 million dollars and are requesting $300K in public subsidy for a particular development project.   Proposal A requires that developers meet with and negotiate a legally enforceable agreement that specifies benefits with community residents who reside in the host community where the development will occur.

The oppositional proposal known as Proposal B guts the heart out of the CBA and sets the development trigger at $75 million dollars with $1 million dollar in public subsidy.  Our research indicates that of the past 55 economic development projects here in the city, only 1 would have qualified under the Proposal B -   eleven (11) would have qualified under Proposal A.  In addition, Proposal B forbids community from entering into a legally binding agreement with the developer and all negotiations are done by the city administration.  Only two (2) members are selected from the host community to serve on what is essentially an advisory group with no power. 

In the November 8th election, voters must vote on BOTH proposals.   Rise Together Detroiters urges Detroiters to vote YES on Proposal A and NO on Proposal B.
For more information on how to get involved with the campaign, volunteer or donate please go to the website risetogetherdetroit.com.                                                                                                                             
by Linda Campbell, MCHR Board Member


Connecting an Entire Region Through Transit
This November citizens in Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties as well as the City of Detroit will have a major say in whether to expand public transit to connect South East Michigan or keep the unworkable status quo. There was a time before 1956 when persons could get everywhere they wanted without having to use cars seven days a week.

In fact Detroit was the center of public transit for the entire Great Lakes region. With the construction of our multiple freeway system folks were forced out of Detroit along with several employees and other businesses. Multiple other events (1967 Riots) Urban renewal programs among others, further divided Detroit from the suburban sprawl that was dominant in both Oakland, Macomb and western Wayne counties. Public funding for transportation systems was cut and several surrounding communities opted out of allowing any bus service to pick up or drop off any passengers within their limits.

As younger adults including college grads left this area by droves for user friendly cities that included mass transit among many other amenities those who stayed behind began to question the real possibility of why not here? Citizens in this region  chose to establish a Regional Transit Authority by popular vote in 2014 to begin the serious work of making this region work. The final draft can be found on the RTA website. All 4 counties will have the chance to vote on this proposal come November.

I encourage everyone to weigh in at that time and vote YES to support this cause. Whether or not you currently ride the bus, there are thousands who rely on this mode to get to work, church, school, shopping, doctors, hospitals and recreation opportunities.
Personally, I may not be able to drive in a few years and would still like to be able to get around without having to rely on others. Look for RTA volunteers at many events around
the area to see how you can get involved or call me directly at (248)591-9444.

                                    (Brother) Thomas Zerafa (OFM III), MCHR Board Member

MCHR Statement on Standing Rock against the DAPL

Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) hereby declare our heartfelt solidarity with  the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their current struggle to protect what remains of their  ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites.

We recognize that Native American and First Nation peoples have endured centuries of  violent settler colonialism that has dismantled and robbed them of home, heritage, dignity,  land, livelihoods and life itself.

We acknowledge that Native American and First Nation struggles to protect indigenous  territories have ultimately been struggles on behalf of all humanity to save the Earth we  share from toxic globalization of neoliberal and capitalist policies that threaten all our

MCHR unwaveringly stands with all working people as they struggle for dignity, respect  and justice in the workplace and in their communities; whether we're fighting for clean  water in Flint, Mich., against bad trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the rights  of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to safeguard their community.

MCHR will continue to fight against the interests of the 1% and corporate greed and firmly  stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against the   environmental and cultural degradation of their community.

                                                                                                                                    With respect, love, solidarity and hope,
                                                                                                                Michigan Coalition for Human Rights Board Members  


The plaintiffs who have been challenging the lawfulness of Michigan's draconian Emergency Manager law - based on its 
unconstitutional denial of substantive due process and equal protection rights as well as violation of the federal Voting Rights 
Act -- have been dealt another blow by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. In November 2014, the district judge 
George Steeh, granted the State's motion to dismiss on all of the plaintiffs' legal claims except for their race-based 
equal protection challenge. After a year of intensive discovery on that remaining claim, the plaintiffs were able to file a 
claim of appeal to the 6th Circuit on all the other claims that had been dismissed. We traveled to Cincinnati to argue the 
appeal on August 4, in front of an extremely right-wing conservative panel, but with hundreds of supporters at our backs
 in the courtroom.

On September 14, 2016, the 6th Circuit panel - predictably - upheld all of Judge Steeh's rulings, going steps further
 by holding that the State has the power under the law to literally deprive selective local communities of 
their right to elect local representatives to govern, regardless of the fact that the State has targeted only those
 communities in which a majority of African Americans reside and vote! Precisely because the courts are a 
reflection of the ideological views of the judges who preside, we had no delusions about the outcome; indeed,
 just knowing who the 3-judge panel was (which we learned of 2 weeks prior to August 4), it would have been 
shocking had the outcome been different.
We are preparing a petition to the full Court of Appeals for a rehearing en banc, which we plan to file by 
October 3. Assuming that petition is denied, and depending on the outcome of the upcoming election, we will 
then consider seeking certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the struggle against Emergency Manager 
laws must continue in the streets, in our communities and in the voting booth!

[Pro Bono Legal Team: National Lawyers Guild (MCHR Board member Julie Hurwitz); Sugar Law Center (John Philo);
ACLU ( Mark Fancher); Center for Constitutional Rights (Darius Charney); Cynthia Heenan; Herb Sanders]


All of the activists who were arrested on July 18, 2014 while blocking the Homrich Inc. driveway to prevent further Detroit water shutoffs, have been waiting for rulings from Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway on a number of appeals filed by the City Law Department/Duggan, since November 2015, after: 1) the jury trial of two of the defendants was "stayed" after the jury heard closing arguments and jury instructions, immediately before they were going to go into deliberations to render a verdict; and 2) the bench trial of the remaining five defendants was "stayed" before their trial could begin.  

On September 2, 2016, Judge Hathaway finally ruled on the City prosecutor's appeals from the 36th District Court: 1) Claiming that the jury trial of MCHR board member Bill Wylie-Kellerman and his co-defendant Marian Kramer was so "tainted" by evidence of the injustices surrounding the 
mass water shut-offs that the prosecution was denied a fair trial and therefore they were entitled  to a mistrial; and   
2) Claiming that the not-yet-tried bench trials of MCHR board member Kim Redigan and her co-defendants 
Marianne McGuire, Jim Perkinson, Hans Barbe, and David Olson should not be allowed a bench trial and should not be 
allowed to present evidence to show that their actions were justified by preventing the imminent harms caused by sudden 
water shutoffs in the City of Detroit, i.e. the "duress defense." In his rulings, Judge Hathaway, as expected, issued two
 opinions ruling in favor of the City on all these issues. 

On September 23, 2016, the legal team filed two Motions for Reconsideration in order to preserve their continuing rights to
 appeal further. The legal defense team -- the activist/arrestees and a group of pro bono attorneys and legal workers - 
will be meeting over the next few weeks to formulate the strategy for next steps. Undoubtedly, the City continues 
to take a highly aggressive approach toward these cases and is continuing to use these cases in an attempt to "chill"
 fundamentally protected rights to protest against the inhumane policies causing untold suffering to tens of thousands of
 poor and working Detroit residents.

[Pro Bono Legal Team: National Lawyers Guild: Julie Hurwitz (MCHR Board member), John Royal, Allison Kriger, 
Rick Haberman, Lee Andrews, with volunteer contribution from Ashley Carter; and Bill Wylie-Kellerman (MCHR Board member), 
in proper]

BREAKING: Homrich 9 will be back in court. Tuesday 11/1 10am in Judge Ruth Garrett's 36th District Court. Michael Hathaway
 declared a mistrial in September so we are starting trial all over again. Come to the Rally and press conference out front a
t 9am. Join us in the courtroom for the 10am pre-trial. Stop the Shut-offs. Water affordability.

                                                                                                                   by Julie Hurwitz MCHR Board Member


                                                                                            FLYER BY FRANK HAMMER, MCHR Board Member

 Flyer by Barbara Ingalls, MCHR Board Member

Coming Up:

MCHR Human Rights Day Program, Thursday, December 8th 7 pm

CLIMATE CHANGE: Speakers and location to be announced. Stay tuned

OR BY CALLING TOM AT 313 595-9444 OR MCHR OFFICE AT 313 579 9071

MCHR | support@mchr.org | 313 579-9071 | www.mchr.org
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