Satisfied with promises the City of Detroit made to Detroit sewage-plant employees, the union that represents them ended its five-day strike against the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, AFSCME Local 207 said in a news release.
“The courts, the mayor, the Water Board, working in concert, could not defeat this strike,” Local 207 president John Riehl said in the statement.
The tentative agreement with city officials included reinstatement of the 34 fired workers who walked out on Sept. 30, a promise by city officials to discuss the issues the workers struck over, and a promise to reopen their labor contract for renegotiation if the union wins a federal appeal, according to Riehl.
The union is appealing rulings in September and November 2011 by federal district court Judge Sean Cox, who also ordered the Oct. 1 temporary injunction against the Local 207 strikers. Cox’s 2011 rulings ordered the City of Detroit to meet 1977 EPA findings under the federal Clean Water Act. Also in November 2011, Cox denied the request of Michigan Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees to intervene in the case. Local 207 is part of AFSCME Council 25.
Cox denied the city’s request to dismiss. But he also ruled that in reorganizing to comply with the EPA findings, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and the city don’t have to observe city ordinances, the city charter, and union and labor contracts.
Shanta Driver, an attorney representing Local 207 in the negotiations with the city, said in the statement that the tentative agreement shows that the people of Detroit can fight off privatization or a takeover by the suburbs surrounding Detroit. The Detroit water department provides water and sewer service to cities and towns within an approximately 1,000-square mile area.
Riehl ‘s statement said Local 207 will continue to negotiate with the city and members will vote on any final contract.
Day 1: Jennifer Britt’s supporters start vigil. Photo by Terry Hall
On Wednesday, July 18, a district court judge signed an order evicting Jennifer Britt from her Detroit home, ending for now a complicated legal battle to save her house that began in 2006. On Thursday, July 19, protesters and supporters began a vigil to bar anyone from removing Britt, her family, or their possessions.
“We’re going to be there every day until Fannie Mae agrees to drop the eviction attempt and negotiate a fair deal,” says evict-defense activist Nancy Brigham.
So what’s it like to join a vigil during the long hours and days between rallies, press conferences, and the cameras they attract? ODFP photojournalist Terry Hall shares his experiences.
The proposal: Jennifer would rent the home from Fannie Mae for 2 years. At the end of the two-year rental, she’d have to move out of her home, and Fannie Mae would sell it. Since Fannie Mae just made the offer, it’s too early to know whether Jennifer will consider it as presented.
It’s easy to see how Fannie Mae would benefit: it would avoid further negative attention of an unpopular eviction, establish Jennifer Britt as a renter rather than owner, and provide a caretaker (Jennifer) for the house. Hard to see how Fannie Mae could lose under those terms. When Jennifer makes her decision, the eviction-defense team will be ready to fully support it.
Jennifer Britt talks about Fannie Mae offer with supporters at a potluck on her lawn. Photo by Terry Hall.
Week 3, Mon, Aug. 13
There’s a laid-back potluck dinner scheduled for tomorrow evening on Jennifer’s lawn, starting at 5pm. It’s for everyone who supports her and her cause, including those who stand vigil to protect her house.
Weekend, Aug. 11-12
As the vigil protecting Jennifer Britt’s house continues, it’s important to remember that foreclosure-eviction cases like hers often go on long after courts withdraw eviction orders and banks say they’ll (finally) try to work o.ut something homeowners can afford. The vigils may end, but supporters, activists and neighbors will come back if they need to.
This Thursday, Aug. 16, activist supporters of paraplegic Jerome Jackson plan to rally at the Inkster 22nd District Court, where a judge will hear his eviction case again. At a previous hearing in early June, the court gave Jerome a 60-day stay.
The bank, as usual, is Fannie Mae, which bought the mortgage; a second player, a dysfunctional Wayne County assistance agency, caused the mess to start with. During the two-month stay, negotiations fell apart, largely, according to anti-eviction coalition Moratorium NOW!, because the same county agency wouldn’t cooperate.
People in Jennifer Britt’s position, despite all the physical support, legal assistance, and media attention, don’t get solid deals for months or longer. How would you feel if someone were trying to legally force you out of your own house, to back a dumpster up to your door so they could hurriedly clear out your possessions? When would you feel secure and safe again?
These cases aren’t over until every possible document is signed and witnessed; every piece of state, county and city red tape is satisfied; and every imaginable loophole is closed. Only then could you walk in the door, plop on the couch, and sigh in relief. Am I right?
Day 16, Friday, Aug. 3
It’s been a long week. Thankfully, others are relieving us for the weekend. It’s quiet after the drama of the last few days. Talk moves to other current events. A caregiver who grows medical marijuana talks about related appeals court decisions. During the day, the Michigan Supreme Court rules that the question seeking appeal of Public Act 4, the state emergency-manager law, will appear on the November primary ballot, ending a long battle. Click here to see decision. Big news.
Next up: a controversial proposal for the state to take over management of Detroit’s Belle Isle. For decades, the city’s recreation department hasn’t had the money or workforce to keep up the island. The prized Detroit gem has great views of downtown Detroit on one side of the Detroit River and Windsor, Ontario, on the other. The 982-acre island park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York City. Belle Isle’s larger than Central Park; in fact, it’s the largest island city park in the nation. Many of its famous attractions were designed by globally recognized architects Albert Kahn, Eero Saarinen, and George Mason, who designed the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Some of the attractions have closed or are declining.
We don’t talk about the Britt family’s eviction today. We know we don’t know what will happen next. Instead of fear, I feel reassured that we’re here together to take whatever action becomes necessary. I can feel a shared sense of determination.
The last line of defense: blocking the driveway. Photo by Terry Hall
Day 15, Thursday, Aug. 2
For a while this morning, I’m the lone watch guard. The sleep deficit from standing vigil in the early morning, often at lunch, and in the evening after work, along with making entries here, is starting to get to me. I can hardly keep my eyes open, so I grab my camera, lean on the trunk, and watch the street.
I think only about the importance of saving another person’s house and of saving energy for winning this long struggle.
For the moment, my mind is free from frustrated anger over banks’ arbitrary foreclosure practices, their toxic responsibility for the devastation of the economy, and the bonuses they walked away with. I’m not thinking about Edward DeMarco’s decision not to let government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide debt relief to people whose mortgages are underwater.
DeMarco, a Bush holdover and acting head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, told Congress today that loan forgiveness (aka principal reduction) doesn’t benefit taxpayers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it doesn’t change borrower behavior enough. DeMarco’s decision is a refusal of an Obama administration request.
My mind is too tired for such heavy weights. The banks want us to believe that they are in control, but we choose to believe in ourselves instead.
Day 14, Wednesday, Aug. 1
One advantage of serving in the vigil is getting to know the people I see almost every day and others who join the watch as their schedules permit. Between the core people and the others, someone is always covering the vigil. Today we talked hopefully about an imminent deal.
Jennifer Britt sits with us, drinking in reassurance that she’s helping others as well as herself and her family. Few people are as brave as she is. Many suffer in silence and walk away from their homes. This eviction defense is both crisis intervention and an outreach to people who don’t know where to turn when their banks say “no.”
Day 13 , Tuesday, July 31
Early morning and noon are quiet. After work, I learn that Steve Babson of the People Before Banks coalition asked Jennifer Britt whether she thinks the vigil should continue or break for a few days to see kind of offer Fannie Mae comes up with.
Babson says he fears that the defense might dwindle because people are getting tired. All of us there agree that the vigil continues. We can’t risk the work we’ve invested here, let alone the work of people like attorney Joe McGuire and all the groups supporting Jennifer.
Day 12, Monday, July 30
BAMN’s Tristan Armand Taylor with Jennifer Britt. Photo by Terry Hall
Early morning: There’s a bigger crew, about 15 people. I catch up with Tristan Taylor from BAMN. He says U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow has told Fannie Mae representatives that Jennifer Britt isn’t moving out, that she’ll have to be dragged out publicly in front of the cameras — which would make Fannie Mae look bad and the eviction-defense movement look very good. Word is that the eviction remains on hold, but nothing official yet. The vigil continues.
Swiss public television crew. Photo by Terry Hall
Noon: A small crew from Swiss public television is here to shoot some footage of the eviction defense and vigil. The crew, from SRG SSR was already filming in Detroit, a subject of international fascination.
Keeping watch, with sign. Photo by Terry Hall
Evening: Last watch of the day, five people here. I talk to Jennifer, who agrees that while resolution may seem close, we haven’t reached the end. We stow the chairs in the garage for the night.
Days 10-11, weekend of July 28-29
Terry takes the weekend off, but a skeleton crew keeps watch.
Day 9, Friday, July 27
Early morning: Another skeleton crew preventing any attempts to evict 49-year-old Jennifer Britt, her 74-year-mother, 77-year-old uncle, and two children. The watchers don’t just walk the walk; they’re talking the talk. I join the others’ discussion on the economic and social theories of philosophers Karl Marx, Ptolemy, and Noam Chomsky; on the similarities and differences among capitalism, Marxism, communism and anarchy.
How would revolution work down-to-earth? How many chickens will I need to trade for a Nikon camera? After some chuckles, talk turns to the Vietnam War, the era’s protests against ROTC presence on school campuses, and the deep mental toll Vietnam vets suffered and suffer today.
Wow. One of us works at the same company (name withheld) as I do, and another used to. Small world.
Back to my “wage slave” gig. All’s quiet, but word is we’re gearing up for possible dumpster-truck attempts Monday and Tuesday unless Jennifer has a signed deal in hand. As long as Jennifer waits, we wait.
Day 8, Thursday, July 26
Early morning: It’s raining lightly. I join four men under the tent-canopy, chewing over tactics for moving forward with eviction defense; occasional, generational communications gaps within Detroit’s broad activist community. Good conversation. Getting here in the morning is worth it. No matter how worthless my work day might seem, I know I’m doing something very important. It keeps me going.
Noon: The subjects have switched to mortgage-principal reduction and debt forgiveness. The weather’s nice, the neighborhood’s quiet. The only real noise is from larger trucks passing a block up on Grand River. The discussion’s a good break from my daily routine.
Evening: Not long after I get here, another meeting starts, focused around Occupy Detroit participation. This one’s being run by Dianne Feeley, a Detroit-based editor and longtime contributor of Against the Current. She callsherself a socialist feminist. The weather has cleared. Jerome Jackson, whose own eviction order was stayed in early June for two months, shows up with pizza and chicken wings.
Meeting at Jennifer Britt’s home. Photo by Terry Hall
We hear some encouraging information, off the record for now. After a few shots, I pack up to go catch up on personal business that built up over the last week. I leave Jennifer Britt’s house knowing it’s well guarded. No one’s going to drop the ball. People keep showing
up, including new people at the meeting. It looks like the word is getting out.
Day 7, Wednesday, July 25
Early morning: It’s quiet today, cool and sunny in Rosedale Park. There are seven of us here, chatting about Jennifer Britt’s case and eviction defense. I’ve heard the same thing at other eviction defenses: Jennifer’s fought hard for years, but if she’d known to get legal help earlier, it likely would have been much easier to stop the eviction. And how shame sometimes immobilizes and isolates people facing foreclosure or eviction, leaves them feeling powerless.
Just before I leave for work, we get a visit from some people in a local group they call Y.O.U.T.H. Inc. The group is based in an old bakery not far from the Britt House. It’s good to see more community involvement.
Y.O.U.T.H. Inc. visitors. Photo by Terry Hall
Noon: The few people in Jennifer’s yard are cleaning up, gathering trash and recyclables, putting the yard in order. It’s still quiet. We get some curious looks from passersby.
James Hunter. Photo by Terry Hall
Evening: I walk into a surprise meeting. James Hunter, from the Sugar Law Center for economic and social justice, is giving a talk about today’s hearings in Lansing about Public Act 4, the emergency manager law. He was there. He tells us it looks good for getting a referendum on repealing the law on the November ballot; he expects a decision within a week. The justices were tough on the attorneys for both sides of the issue, Democracy Now (in favor) and Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility (against). It’s a good sign, he says. The justices will have solid legal basis to rule in favor of putting the question to a public vote. As a progressive, I’m cheered by Hunter’s impressions.
As I head out, it feels good to look at people I stood guard with and once again say “see you in the morning.”
Welcome to Rosedale Park. Photo by Terry Hall
Day 6, Tuesday, July 24
6 a.m. Another hot, muggy morning. Two people are standing at each corner of the block as look-outs. Tense defenders turn their heads every time they hear the air brakes of a truck. I’m one of them. There’s no sign of the truck carrying the dumpster before I leave for work.
Truck lookouts Mark Anderson and Curtis McGuire. Photo by Terry Hall
Noon. BAMN organizer Tristan Taylor and Occupy Detroit’s Joe McGuire, the attorney representing Jennifer Britt, tell me that Fannie Mae has apparently halted the eviction for two days while someone there reviews Jennifer’s mortgage and the long history of her case.
Steve Babson on vigil status. Video by Erik Shelley, Occupy Detroit
Joe’s still waiting for confirmation from the court that ordered the eviction or Fannie Mae lawyers. It looks like Fannie Mae is bending under pressure from Michigan’s representatives in Washington: Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, and 13th District Rep. Hansen Clarke, who was here yesterday.
Nick Pohl provides the music. Photo by Terry Hall
Evening. I’m back after work. The mood’s upbeat. Everyone’s eating barbecued chicken and corn on the cob off the grill while listening to a one-man blues band. He’s playing everything: guitar, drums, harmonica. Until Jennifer Britt and Fannie Mae sign a solid deal, there’ll be people standing watch here.
I’ll be back in the morning.
Day 5, Monday, July 23
4:30 p.m.: It’s been a long, hot day. Everyone gathers in the shade on Jennifer’s front yard, working out plans for the morning and the expected arrival of the dumpster truck. They are ready.
3:22 p.m.: Steve Babson of People Before Banks just issued an urgent warning to expect a dumpster truck tomorrow. The warning urges every supporter, activist, and witness available to join the vigil and keep the dumpster away from Jennifer’s house.
Noon: Clarke expresses his support for Jennifer and his frustration with lack of housing-market oversight. “Foreclosures are devastating our neighborhoods.”
video by Erik Shelley, Occupy Detroit
6:00 a.m.: Today’s vigil starts under a cloudy sky. It’s hot and muggy. There’s a steady pulse of excitement and determination beneath the calm faces of the 40 or so people in front of the well-shaded house.
2:19 a.m.: Today Michigan U.S Rep. Hansen Clarke is scheduled to hold a press conference here at noon. He has proposed a law to halt mortgage foreclosures and evictions, make banks cut mortgage principal to a home’s real market value, and save neighborhoods like this one.
Jennifer Britt with Hansen Clarke. Photo by Terry Hall
From the first day of the eviction-defense vigil, Terry Hall has joined Jennifer Britt’s defenders from 6-8 a.m. weekdays before going to his full-time day job. He returns daily, whenever he can, to participate, watch, and listen. These are some of his impressions and photos from that first morning. Starting on the fifth day, Monday, July 23, he began keeping a daily journal.
Day 1, Thursday, July 19
It’s very hot. People are taking turns going out into the bright sun to catch the attention of drivers on Grand River with signs protesting evictions from foreclosed homes. When they retreat to Jennifer Britt’s lawn for shade and water, they’re getting caught up in discussions. One is about what it means to win a case like Jennifer’s.
Holding protest signs for traffic. Photo by TerryHall
Does a homeowner win when a bank agrees to modify a mortgage by lowering payments but stretching out the length of the mortgage? Or when a bank lowers payments temporarily? Or is it only a real victory when an embarrassed banker agrees to sell a foreclosed home back to its owner at current market value?
Another subject getting a lot of interest: Who’s responsible for homes losing so much value? How did it happen?
Everyone’s watching out for the truck that could come at any time hauling a large dumpster. If the truck gets through the defense line blocking the street and drops the dumpster next to the Britt house, Jennifer and her family will have just 24 hours to clear out their belongings. After that, a work crew will toss out anything left behind.
Another shift on sign duty. Photo by Terry Hall
Detroit police aren’t getting involved in enforcing evictions because they’re civil cases, not criminal. So far, so good.
Like other battles to stop foreclosures and evictions in Metro Detroit, the effort to save Jennifer Britt’s home is the work of a coalition of groups including People Before Banks, Moratorium NOW!, BAMN, and Occupy Detroit.
Protest: a disorganized and chaotic reaction by activists and other people to political or economic actions extremely likely to affect their lives negatively. To the uninitiated, this definition might make sense. But now that I’ve participated, I realize that a successful demonstration is neither disorganized nor chaotic.
Lucianna Sabgash, event organizer, debriefs media. Photo by Terry Hall
Here’s one case: On January 16, 2012, a large turnout from numerous activist groups marched from Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s personal residence, a house in an exclusive gated community outside the city.
I reached the rendezvous point with my wife and two fellow activists well before the march started. I was marching that day not just to observe and photograph, but to participate alongside other demonstrators. When the TV news crews brought out the cameras, I saw protesters evaluating the need to mask their identities. The choice was largely driven by fears their employers might use their their participation against them at work, or by fears the government might use it against undocumented people seeking U.S. citizenship.
As the crowd grew, I started taking shots, trying to capture the determination of free people exercising their right to free speech. I watched as more and more people arrived, until the last protesters climbed down from several large tour buses full of marchers.
I saw well-crafted signs with words and images displaying anger and contempt at Snyder’s policies, including the controversial emergency manager bill that became Public Act 4 of 2011 when Snyder signed it in March that year. The emergency manager law allows a governor to hand over control of insolvent or financially distressed cities, towns and school districts into the hands of powerful managers he appoints.
An emergency manager can restructure debt, slash budgets, sell city assets, re-negotiate or void contracts with public-employee unions, and fire or dis-empower elected officials. Since the emergency manager isn’t publicly elected, the appointment nullifies the citizens’ votes that elected their leaders and representatives. People who live under control of emergency managers have no say in decisions that seriously affect their lives.
I moved toward the front of the march to find a good place in the column that was forming. In the faces of activists already lined up, I saw signs of nervous excitement, determination, and defiance focused on the attitude Snyder expressed during his gubernatorial campaign. Snyder was frequently quoted saying Michigan should be “run like a business.”
As with similar campaign promises, Snyder already was trying to justify the means he planned to use for an end no one asked for in the first place.
Marching toward Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s privileged subdivision. Photo by Terry Hall
The column started moving. We were marching. I felt a determined calm among the battalion of protesters, who chanted quietly, saving energy. We passed TV cameras; helicopters buzzed over our heads. I saw that a bend leading the road up a hill was approaching fast.
I jogged hurriedly up the turn to find a convenient vantage point for capturing the marchers. With a wide lens on my camera, I turned, focused, and took a few shots.
It wasn’t until I pulled the camera away from my face that I realized how massive the crowd really was. It was the largest protest I’d ever participated in. There’s a feeling of empowerment that comes when so many common voices merge into one. It’s not easy to describe, but I felt our fear slip away and our hope return with that visibly palpable unity.
After a brief rest and protest rally at a public park along the way, the march continued to the governor’s neighborhood. His front lawn was safe from any threat of occupation. The march stopped at iron gates apparently intended to protect the inhabitants inside from any dangers outside.
Those gates were a perfect symbol of the 1%. The rest of us, the 99%, could only peer over but not cross into the privilege on the other side. At that moment, the protest ignited. The restraint was gone, the voices angry and loud.
Police, protesters converge at the gates guarding Snyder’s private community. Photo by Terry Hall
Police exchanged nervous looks, unsure what would happen next and how far the protesters would go to make their point. At times, protesting groups seemed to be competing with each other. A youth-activist group, BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) planted themselves in front of the gates, shouting their chants without budging, refusing to go “to the back of the bus,” words from one of the chants.
Meanwhile, a large group faith-oriented protesters, led by pastors, struggled to be heard singing “We Shall Overcome.” The few conflicts between participants were easily contained. Children and parents from the other side of the gates came out to gawk at the protest through the rails. They seemed strangely amused. Their faces and posture showed the familiar superior attitude and indignant annoyance of the well-to-do forced to face people in lower classes.
From behind the gates, a middle-aged woman told us she knows someone who’s serving in the military to give us the rights to “do this” — expresses ourselves in protest marches. I think I responded “precisely,” but maybe “thank you” would have been better. Some people just don’t get it.
Later that night, we saw newscast about the demonstration. At first we hoped the masks would obscure our identities. But as we watched ourselves marching, a sense of elation quickly replaced any worries.
Masked protester hides identity from employer. Photo by Terry Hall
Protests, marches, and demonstrations don’t create change by themselves. They raise the wide-spread awareness that leads to change. Even members of the media, watching from afar, see their concerns rise up the political agenda. After all, they are workers, employees of vast corporations. By protesting, all Americans can exercise the freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. All I can say: This is an experience you can’t afford to miss. It won’t cost you anything unless you fail to do it.
Why did Roy Roberts decide not to close southwest Detroit’s Maybury Elementary School? Was it really because he didn’t want to leave a vacant building in the middle of a neighborhood, or because the school serves a densely populated area?
Or was Roberts, appointed emergency manager of the Detroit public school system a year ago, responding to the momentum of organized activism by students, parents, teachers and community supporters at a growing number of schools?
Either way, Roberts’ announcement in the school’s gymnasium Thursday made a lot of people happy and inspired others. He told parents and teachers, who’d gathered to hear his decision, that Maybury would stay open for at least two more years.
Maybury Elementary’s student body is 80-percent Latino, according to school literacy coach Linda LaVere, who answered her office phone in Spanish. The school sits in the heart of Detroit’s busy southwest district, whose heart is known as Mexicantown.
In February, Roberts revealed a list of nine schools scheduled to close. Maybury Elementary was one of them. “Our parents became active very quickly,” LaVere said. “The parents and the community were overwhelmingly supportive of this school.”
LaVere spoke as she waited for a bus taking teachers and staff to watch a select group of Maybury violin students perform at Detroit’s Fox Theater. A bus full of students had just left. Icing on the cake.
Roberts’ decision followed a series of marches and demonstrations at Maybury that started shortly after he announced the closure list. Occupy Detroit and local members of BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) joined protests organized by a parent-led, community Coalition to Save Maybury.
It also followed a student walkout on April 25 at two Detroit high schools: Southwestern, and Western International. Southwestern is scheduled to close. Western International and the more distant Northwest High School will have to absorb its student body, according to a DPS letter to parents.
Western International students tell their own story
Despite school officials’ threats of punishment, more than 300 students from both schools walked out at 10:55 a.m. and marched through southwest Detroit’s Clark Park in protest, according to a Facebook page created by students who protested.
More than 150 of the Western students were suspended for five days, and one student faced criminal charges, according to the students’ page. Fewer than 30 were suspended from Southwestern.
The students said they were protesting to save schools from closure and to demand better facilities, better treatment by school staffs, and higher-quality educations.
One highly publicized concern over the merger of Southwestern and Western students in one school is increased gang violence.
“There’s a whole bunch of gangs at Western. There’s a whole bunch of gangs at Southwestern,” Western freshman Antonio Vamos told the Detroit Free Press. ”If they bring Southwestern into Western, all hell’s going to break loose.”
Students organized the walkout and rally. Local BAMN members participated, coordinated with other supporters, and marched with the students. So did teachers and, according to one report, the president of Detroit’s now-defunct school board. The board’s powers were transferred to Roberts when he took over the school system.
The late-April, Western-Southwestern walkout was the third in little over a month. It was preceded by a mid-March protest at northeast Detroit’s Denby High, where hundreds of students marched outside for hours to protest the school’s transfer to a newly formed, separate district for the state’s 15 lowest-performing schools.
After the Denby walkout, about 50 students were suspended for walking out in late March at the all-boys Frederick Douglass Academy, where seniors protested a shortage of teachers, the full-time use of substitutes unfamiliar with the subjects they are teaching, and the general poor quality of the education the school provides.
BAMN organizers are calling for a May 16 city-wide walkout to stop all school closings and fight conversion of public schools into so-called charter schools, which are run by private entities using public money.
So why did Roy Roberts take Maybury Elementary off death-watch?
Not because of a change of heart about moving Maybury students into other schools, says Tristan Taylor, a BAMN organizer and member of Occupy Detroit. ”His reasoning for keeping Maybury open holds true for every school on the closure list,” Taylor said. Instead, he said,”This is 100 percent because of the walkouts and the teens organizing at Western and Southwestern. It is a concession to organizing to keep schools open in Detroit.”
– by Janet Braunstein, firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 5/12 to add details and clarify that protests were organized by parent-led community coalition.