Refuse complicity. Go on the record.
Make a history of conscience. Come into exile.
At 8:30 am in Kenneth King’s courtroom of 36th District Court, the Honorable Elena Herrada, a member of the elected School Board in Detroit, and the Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor of St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Corktown, will appear to answer charges of disturbing the peace. The case stems from a disruption of Detroit City Council April 16, 2013, the day the Council approved the contract with the Jones Day law firm. It was also the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
The two are representing themselves and have requested a jury trial. “Given the assault on democracy in our city, by emergency management, by stolen elections, by overturned ballot repeal of the EM law, a jury remains the last vestige of actual democracy in Detroit,” said Wylie-Kellermann.
Herrada called for support from the community saying, “We must express our outrage at the Jones Day takeover of our city. We call upon all people of good will to stand up against corruption and secrecy. This reign of terror has taken over both our schools and our city.”
Jones Day is the third largest law firm in the world and their primary clients are the very banks with whom they are purportedly negotiating on the city’s behalf. Mr. Kevyn Orr resigned as a partner in the firm in order to become Detroit’s Emergency Manager.
Present at the time of their arrests and expected to testify are the Honorable JoAnn Watson, Monica Lewis-Patrick, and Tom Stephens.
Statements by Herrada and Wylie-Kellermann follow.
(For the day of Trial, 8:30am January 27, 2014, “disturbing the peace,” 36th District Court)
Statement of the Honorable Elena Herrada, Elected School Board in exile:
I have never been arrested before for any reason.
It has become necessary to confront immoral legal authority.
If we do nothing, we are complicit.
As an elected school board member, I have been sued by the attorney general of Michigan for being elected.
Judges, lawyers, teachers, politicians and citizens are afraid to speak out against this abuse of power.
The rich do not have to pay taxes and are able to evict residents from their apartments and homes without a hearing.
Sports arenas and casinos take precedent over schools.
Privately owned party buses roam the streets while Detroiters wait for public busses that never come.
Taxes are waived for the rich while the poorest are left holding the bag.
Lighting is privatized, and we are still in the dark.
Police, firefighters and city workers who have carried us for generations are threatened with losing their hard earned pensions so bond holders who did nothing to earn them are stealing them.
Thieves are allowed to open charter schools and crooks are imposed upon the elected school board by the power mad emergency manager.
The library is in danger of being looted by well dressed criminals.
Honest citizens and elected school board members and library commissioners are demonized by the bought and paid for media.
Duggan is mayor, who never suffered any of the degradations Detroiters have been suffering.
People of good will eventually will go into exile with us.
The elected school board has suffered under this tyranny for the past 5 years and now we are told we have another 12 months. There is no end to the looting until we run out these banks. They are never going to be satisfied.
Detroit must stand up.
Statement of Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor St Peter’s Episcopal Detroit
As a native Detroiter, a graduate of DPS Cooley High School, a pastor and 35-year resident in Southwest Detroit, this city is home to my heart. As a community activist committed to nonviolence I have been arrested many times in a forty-year history of direct action in anti-war, solidarity, labor, environmental and anti-nuclear struggles. And so I have been wishing for resistance actions against the unconstitutional and illegitimate authority of these emergency managements. I’m praying for it now.
We were present in City Council chambers on April 16 to break the pall of silence when the contract with the Jones Day law firm was up for council approval. We knelt and sang and would not cease…
Because gathering signatures and passing a repeal ballot measure are made to be meaningless exercises,
Because the disasters of financial emergency are contrived and concocted,
Because, like our public schools, our city is being dismantled by design,
Because the dominating spell of a legal fiction has been cast over this city,
Because the city council willingly exercises only the power allowed it by the forces of emergency management,
Because the multi-million dollar Jones Day contract was an open conflict of interest and an act of public malfeasance,
Because the emergency manager claims authority to make that contract himself and did not need the Council to do so, the majority gave comfort, cover, and the appearance of democratic rule,
Because this law firm, third largest in the world serves, and represents the very banks and financial institutions which hold Detroit hostage, and because Kevyn Orr, a partner in this firm, negotiated the arrangement,
Because their client, Bank of America/Merill-Lynch, far bigger than the city of Detroit, holds it hostage with indebtedness and credit swaps;
Because they should be prosecuted or sued, not compensated further;
Because Jones Day is not “the City of Detroit,” however often they are referred so in bankruptcy court;
Because it was, it is, time for the people of Detroit to withdraw their consent and cooperation,
Because if nothing else we need to go on record; because there must be a history of conscience to tell our young people and children.
For more information contact Detroit Education Task Force 313-974-0501
And Detroiters Resisting Emergency Managements 313-433-1967