2022 and the Shout Out to the Future

January 14, 2022

2022 and the 'SHOUT OUT" for the Future. 

From the 2022 Martin Luther King Day edition of the Detroit People's Platform NEWS.

Detroit People’s Platform (DPP) and our network of supporters across the seven (7) city council districts welcomes the newly elected and returning City Council members. DPPs near decade long vision for a just and equitable Detroit is rooted in our belief that government has a critical role to play in advancing the economic and social well-being of majority Black Detroit. We believe that when majority Black Detroit prospers – all Detroiters prosper. 

However, when we look across our city there is evidence that city government, as most Detroiters experience it on a daily basis, is not working on their behalf.  In the recent past the city administration and city council allies have embraced a philosophy that asserts that when the rich, white and powerful benefit, Black Detroiters will also benefit.  Hence, the rationale for diverting millions of dollars in public tax revenue in the service of corporate welfare with the promise of jobs and pathways to middle class prosperity for Detroiters. 

Sadly, the recent census data and research contradicts this proposition and documents the following: 

  • Declining rates of Black home ownership (a much heralded barometer of economic mobility and security) in contrast to the increasing eviction rates among majority Black women led households with children; 
  • The flight of the Detroit Black middle class to nearby suburban locations; 
  • Stagnant income growth for the average Black Detroiter in contrast to the double digit income growth among white Detroiters; 
  • The many left behind neighborhoods that exist in the shadow of growth and segregation in select neighborhoods that attract whiter, wealthier and younger residents – built on the public dole of corporate welfare and tax subsidies;  
  • Until the covid pandemic, the routine denial of basic city services like water to low income households had become justified 
  • Enactment of zoning laws along with planning variances that enable industrial polluters to reign environmental havoc on long time Black neighborhoods. 

Contrary to the typical ‘Blame Detroiters’ narrative, what is illustrated by the above is a broken government that lacks vision for how to address 21st century urban problems. The over-reliance on a failed mid-twentieth century model with inherent systemic and structural biases in governance, planning and community development is stunning! 

Once known as the birthplace for many Black radical and progressive movements, Detroiters are now the victims of a politics that weaponize Detroiters against one another using fear and favor. Recent news articles reveal that elected council members have organized with dark money interest to undermine the voice and power of Detroiters. 

Even the courts seem to align against the rights of Detroiters as two lower courts ruled against advancing Proposal P (the revised city charter) to the ballot. Only the last minute intervention of the State Supreme Court resulted in Proposal P appearing on the August ballot.  It is no wonder that many Detroiters have disengaged from the democratic process as reflected in low rates of voter participation.

Yet, and in the face of it all, the past decade has witnessed a renewed commitment by many Detroiters to organize and demand that government work for majority Black Detroit. Detroiters have organized and petitioned their government for action, created and advanced progressive and just public policy recommendations that speak to a Detroit that is equitable and just. 

DPP believes that with the election of six (6) new city council members and new leadership at the table, this coming legislative year may present the opportunity to move a legislative agenda that is in service to and prioritizes the needs of everyday Detroiters. In support of that mission, the Detroit People’s Platform offers to our city council the following guiding principles:

  • Be courageous and wield your power in service to the vision of the ancestors whose struggles and sacrifices made this time possible for you. 
  • Know the issues and do the hard work of legislating on behalf of your primary constituents – Detroit residents. 
  • Name the injustices and indignities that majority Black Detroiters are forced to confront and deal with on a daily basis. 
  • Center the values of racial equity and racial justice in your legislative efforts and all residents will benefit. 
  • Embrace the promise of Black liberation as real and worth fighting for in the nation’s largest majority Black city.
  • Align the work of the city council with the national movement to protect democracy and advance the democratic rights of BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) communities.
  • Hear and respond to the calls for justice from your constituents no matter how imperfect the message or the messenger may be. 
  • Center human development as the key driver of economic success for Detroit.
  • Safeguard and prioritize investment of Detroit’s precious resources in creating a robust and sustainable Commons that benefits us all.

We call upon our elected leaders to look beyond politics and accept the challenge and the opportunity and demonstrate courageous leadership.  

This is YOUR time!


People's Platform NEWS 21

Vol. 21, Martin Luther King Day 2022