"The history of liberty is the history of resistance."  
Woodrow Wilson

The political climate of 2017 can be disheartening with its fake news, immigration ban, the proposed wall, increased defense spending and projected social service cuts, terrorism concerns, climate change denial and the list of issues goes on and on. People have gone from shock, anger, apprehension, fear and disgust, to being stressed out. Fortunately for many, the current political climate has inspired a new found activism and resistance. Many of you, some first time activists, have attended the women's march, the science march and the climate march. You have rallied on behalf of immigrants  and refugees, to end the water shutoffs, and to raise the minimum wage. New grassroots groups like Indivisible and Forward Action Michigan are getting people involved at the grassroots level at town hall meetings and sit ins at congressional and state offices. You have written letters, made posters and phone calls to make your concerns known on a variety of issues including healthcare, social security and the war in Syria. MCHR wants to encourage you to keep up the resistance and join with us when you can to preserve democracy.

MCHR's board members who represent a diverse coalition of individuals who focus on a variety of  human rights issues, offer their reflections below on matters that they are passionate about. We hope these articles will encourage you to stay  engaged and connected. You are important to us and to our work. 

"Small acts when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world." Howard Zinn

On a positive note....
Good News on our 2017 Annual Dinner
  by Stuart Daly, MCHR Dinner Coordinator

Since you are reading this article you probably contributed to the success of our 2017 MCHR Annual Dinner, so let me begin with a sincere thank you!

As a result of your efforts we had the largest turn out on record for our Annual Dinner, and the masses were not disappointed. It was one of the most diverse and enthusiastic audiences we have ever had.

Many came to pay tribute to Dr. Gloria Aneb House. Dr. House received our Lifetime Activist Award adding to her many awards for her work as a civil and human rights advocate. She is a Professor Emerita of Humanities and African American Studies at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, and former Director of the Africa and African American Studies Program. Dr. House is also Associate Professor Emerita in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department of Wayne State University, where she was a member of the faculty for 27 years.
Others came in support of the campaign to TAKE ON HATE,
led by the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), an ACCESS institution It was an honor to hear from both the outgoing coordinator, Asha Noor, as well as the incoming coordinator Ahmad Abuznaid. They are both inspirational activists in our community.

Still others came to recognize the awesome work of our Organization Activist Awardee; ACLU Michigan. After helping to expose the Flint water crisis ACLU Detroit has lead the legal effort to ensure safe drinking water to all Michigan residents. Fighting the Trump Administration's Executive Order banning immigration from seven Muslim countries; fighting tax foreclosures for Detroit residents; and awarding $50 million in food assistance to Michigan families cut off because a family member has a felony record are just some of the ways that ACLU Detroit continues to give a voice to those in need.

And all were inspired by the presence and message of our 
keynote speaker, Morris Dees. It was an hon
or to have this human rights icon and tireless activist share sto
ries from his past, and inspire all of us to recognize the opportunities to care for each other and that no act of compassion is in significant. Nearly a half century ago he began the 
Southern Poverty Law Center and he remains their Chief Trial Counsel today. 

Trump Administration is a Threat to Middle East Peace
        by MCHR Board Member,                                       Abayomi Azikiwe

President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel is designed to reinforce the existing foreign policy emanating from successive administrations in the United States.

International press reports which are often obscured in this country detailed the cholera outbreak in Yemen in recent days. This country, the most underdeveloped in the Middle East, has been bombed on a daily basis by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies since March 2015.

This outbreak of cholera which has impacted an estimated 8,500 people according to the National Salvation Government in Sanaa, is a direct result of the targeting of infrastructure, food and water sources, ports and residential areas by the Saudi-GCC coalition which utilizes U.S. manufactured warplanes, ordinances, refueling technology and diplomatic support from the State Department.

During the Trump administration visit to Saudi Arabia yet another arms deals was discussed to the tune of $300 billion. This large scale transfer of weapons should be opposed by the peace movement because the weapons are utilized against the people of Yemen. Saudi Arabia has been accused of financing and training armed opposition groups in Syria and other states in the region.

Moreover, the human rights violations of the Saudi monarchy is well documented. The suppression of women, economic migrants and the impoverished majority population of the country should be a concern of the White House.

After leaving Saudi Arabia, Trump took his entourage to Tel Aviv ostensibly to both reiterate the U.S. unconditional alliance with Israel and to work towards a settlement to the Palestinian question. The Palestinian people have been waiting for nearly 70 years for the realization of an independent state.

It is the billions of dollars given to Tel Aviv every year by Washington that sustains its domination over the Palestinian people. Until this assistance is halted there will be no movement on the part of the Israeli government to negotiate a lasting resolution to the continuing war of colonial occupation.

These events illustrate clearly that the Trump administration has no intentions of working towards peace in the region. Only the people of the U.S. working in solidarity with the people of the Middle East can create the conditions for a genuine and lasting peace throughout the region.

Change the Narrative: Slogans for Your Pro-immigrant Posters
     by Dr. José Cuello, MCHR Vice President

If we are going to speak out and protest in favor of undocumented immigrants, we may be more effective if we change the narrative a little. Instead of pleading for victims, let us point out the immorality, insanity and impracticality of our policies and practices. Here are some slogans that would change our message. Warning: some are sarcastic.

Stop your hate. Love instead!       

Stop violating human rights!
United States of the Police
Legal doesn't make it right!
I'd rather be illegal than immoral!
You cannot moralize cruelty to humans
I am 100% American. We got two continents
Resistance is futile. You must diversify
What you do unto the least of us, you do unto yourself
Do unto others...
Protect families. Don't persecute them!
Jesús is our brother
María = MOM
An injury to one is an injury to all
Do the right thing!
Americans don't have a birthright to hate

Ban Them Nation
They pay for our social security
They make our food affordable
Without Mexico, our economy collapses
Stop buying Mexican products
Hot dogs! Not tacos!
Ban Mexican food!
Don't marry an immigrant!
Mexicans work harder than we do
Don't bite the hands that feed you
Let my people go to work
Don't deport my ____________________________ fill in the blank:
house cleaner

Deportation Nation
Raise food prices. Deport the immigrants!
Go to the end of the line that's not there
Ban Black and Latino music!
Ban maize. It came from Mexico!
Deport Taco Bell!
Deport the most interesting man in the world!
Deport my grandfather Now!
Deport my daughter. She married one of them!

Let's parody the sins of our fathers!
I won't lie. I just hate foreigners!
Patriotic American Movement to Deport Illegal Babies (PAMDIB)
National Association of Americans Born to Condemn Others (NAABCO)
United Americans for the Right to Stone Other Humans (UARSOH)
American Stone Casters (ASC)
Citizens for Legal Slavery (CLS)
Support the American right to stone! Again and again!
Cast the first stone! It's your Biblical right!
Deport the bones of our immigrant ancestors
Change the Constitution. We can't protect everyone!
Let's all go back to where we came from-- Africa.

The laws you enforce shape your identity!
What would Jesus do?
Jesus is coming for ICE
Follow your conscience!
How can you sleep?
Just following orders?
You got the wrong job!
There is a higher court than Homeland Security
You feed your family by breaking ours up!
Serve and protect?
Why enforce bad laws?
With liberty and justice for all!
Your job stains your soul
What would God say about what you are doing?
Your family values are not worth sacrificing
Revive your conscience. Do the right thing!
How do you wash your hands?
Resign now! Save your soul!

Read the results of a recent study on the impact of water shutoffs to health issues............

Then Participate in .........

Then contact your state legislators about the following water bills....

A Journey with a Climate Activist
by Brother Thomas Zerafa OFM III, MCHR Board Member

Among the many lobby days in both Michigan's State Capital Lansing and Washington D.C. (a total of 20+ trips in the past 12 months)one event attended stands out from this past April 29th in D.C.: The "Citizen's Climate March". I was with a contingency of folks representing the Michigan Sierra Club bus riding over night from Detroit and greeting DC in 78% weather (which rose to 94% within 3 hours).

It was estimated that over 350,000 folks from around the country participated in this march. Large groups from east coast states as well as activists from as far as Alaska, California, Hawaii, and some Canadian Provinces met on the Capital Mall and proceeded to the White House to make their message known that concerned people are not going to allow our government to throw our climate security under the bus. Our Michigan delegation (about 250) was met by US Congresswoman Debbie Dingell who encouraged us to continue the fight for climate justice and demand that our political leaders get on board to protect our beloved state from those individuals and corporations who want to exploit our natural resources for their own selfish greed. I am committed to expounding this message to everyone that I encounter as we proceed to fend off attacks from climate change deniers (business and politicians). We get one chance to keep mother earth as the gift given to us by a creator. We must be clear that by our actions we can preserve earth or facilitate its future slide.

Those wishing to be further involved should contact the website of the Michigan Sierra Club of which I am humbled to serve on the state committee. We have many opportunities for volunteer lobbying and local actions that everyone can participate.


5 Years Later, No State Fairgrounds Development in Sight
By Frank Hammer, Board member, Greenacres-Woodward Civic Association (GWCA) , State Fairgrounds Development Coalition (SFDC)

April 9, 2017 marked the 5th anniversary of Gov. Rick Snyder signing Public Act 74 at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Although the new law gave the Governor several choices, he elected to place the historic, 160-acre site under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Land Bank "Fast Track" Authority (MLB). One of the law's co-sponsors, State Senator Virgil Smith, said Snyder took the "the best option because the State Land Bank would be able to quickly clean the property," and prepare for its development.

Five years later, nothing's changed at the site, except that the historic buildings - the Coliseum, Band Shell, Poultry Building, and others - are showing more blight. The Michigan Land Bank "Fast Track" Authority no longer exists; Snyder abolished it with an Executive Order on May 22, 2014. Now there's just a Land Bank spokesperson functioning out of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDSA).

Earvin "Magic" Johnson not part of the deal 
The MLB was quick to turn the site over in 2012 to a group headlining basketball star "Magic Johnson," Lansing developer Joel Ferguson, Greektown Casino's Marvin Beatty and real estate developers REDICO. But the partners, dubbed "Magic Plus, LLC" have not come up with the financing to go forward with their (much-criticized) plan. They are out of compliance with the terms of the "Development Agreement" signed June 24, 2014. Two of the partners have dropped out: REDICO and "Magic" Johnson.

An MLB spokesperson in 2015 told Deadline Detroit that the MLB "was pleased that the entities appear to be making progress." She said, "We are monitoring closely, " but that the City was now "in the driver's seat."

It's a year and a half later, and no one has called the developers to account - not the Governor's office or the MLB, not Wayne County, nor the City of Detroit. The landmark remains in the State's hands, unattended.

Construction promised to begin a year ago
When City Planning Director Maurice Cox joined the City in June 2015, he brought a lot of promise and excitement. He represented the fresh thinking needed to correct the visionless, 1990's Big Box store plan presented by Magic Plus LLC. He said he wanted ongoing community involvement but in the near-three years of his tenure, there's just been two public meetings. A promised meeting in March this year did not materialize.

District 2 Manager Kim Tandy, at the 2/15/2017 GWCA Board meeting, stated the developers "were still trying to get their 'financials' together." This has been a consistent theme dating back to 2015 when Deadline Detroit reported: "Financing for
the overall investment remains in flux." Deadline Detroit also quoted Joel Ferguson declaring that "construction will begin in the spring" - a year ago!

The Development Agreement included requirements with specific completion dates - none of which have been honored. The "financials" to which Kim Tandy referred, were supposed to be completed March 25, 2015 - two years ago!

Governor Snyder is turning a blind eye to the MLB's lack of oversight, enabling Ferguson and Beatty to sit on the property without any accountability to the people of the State of Michigan. It's the residents of the City of Detroit who have the most to lose. Who will stand up for the City?

What's the future of the fairgrounds?

SAT. JUNE 10 - 1-3 PM
2371 Woodstock, @ Woodward. Park & entry in rear

MCHR ANNUAL MEETING, Thursday, June 15th
TALK - 7:30 pm:  
"Technology, Trolls & Toxicity: Social Media as the New Political Battleground"

Come learn about a new campaign to start this fall that will help all of us with truth/fake news on social media.



                                    OR BY CALLING MCHR OFFICE AT 
313 579 9071

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