The Rev. Jesse Jackson called for a mass, nonviolent protest in Detroit against the new emergency financial manager at a rally this morning at city hall.
The activists alongside Jackson pledged to file a lawsuit next week challenging the constitutionality of Michigan’s new emergency manager law, which takes effect Thursday and grants broad powers to the incoming emergency financial manager, Kevyn Orr.
Jackson, who was joined by Detroit Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, Congressman John Conyers and a union representative, also called on the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene to protect Detroiters’ right to vote.
Gov. Rick Snyder last week chose Orr, a Washington, D.C., bankruptcy lawyer, to be Detroit’s emergency financial manager. Critics have said Orr’s appointment takes away residents’ right to elect their leaders.
“We marched too long and bled too much and died too young for the right to vote to have a governor, whether it’s Gov. Snyder or Wallace or whoever … to take away the impact of our vote,” he said.
Jackson warned an audience of about 100 people that the emergency financial manager’s arrival eventually could force Detroiters from their homes. He described a scenario in which rich people buy up acres of neighborhoods, turn them into vacant lots and sell off the property.