Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Dining for dollars to build a movement against poverty in MI

Dear MI Poor People's Campaign Community,

Greetings! As we emerge from the chill of winter, we are fortunate to live in a state where spring gently unfolds the beauty and fragility of our natural environment. It's also a time when we often reflect on the sacredness of life and our spiritual connections. Among our most vulnerable, poor and low income communities, it has been another harsh season of struggling with the basics of survival: affordable and accessible housing, utilities, living wage incomes, adequate food and water, medical care, transportation and more.

Throughout April, the national Poor People's Campaign is launching the Truth and Poverty Tour across more than 30 states. Michigan PPC members will participate with a caravan to poverty impacted communities beginning in Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo. Your contributions will help us fund the outreach work.

In support of this, there will be three fundraising dinners in Southeast Michigan to fund the April tour and the legal defense of PPC arrestees at last summer's 40 Days of Action at the MI Dept of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). You are warmly invited to participate:
  • Saturday, May 4th -- Faith Leaders and Communities Across Michigan Rise Up for Justice! -- Dinner tickets $25. Starts at 5pm at the Islamic Organization of North America, Warren, MI. Tickets available on Eventbrite and at the door.
Please support these fundraisers in any way possible. If you would like help organize a PPC fundraiser and/or 'Introduction to the PPC' event in your community (e.g., dinners, house parties, workshops), please contact the MI PPC Coordinating Committee at Michigan@PoorPeoplesCampaign.org -- along with any interest you have on how to assist with upcoming tour planning and fundraising dinners.

Finally, we provide you with an update on the trials and legal defense of residents who were arrested during last summer's 40 Days of Action:
  • Detroit trial of 7 defendants (aka #Gilbert7) for blocking the Quicken Loans building and QLine light rail train on 6/18/18: Of 22 arrested PPC activists, seven sought a jury trial. On 1/29/19 two defendants were found not guilty of Blocking a Street Car. The jury was hung on the remaining 5 defendants and on 4/2/19 a victory settlement was reached with Detroit prosecutors for only civil infraction tickets of impeding traffic. The protests and defense focused on gentrification, foreclosures, water shut-offs, and corporate profits on the back of poor Detroiters. Read more here.
  • Lansing trial of 14 defendants (aka #MDEQonTrial) for blocking MDEQ parking lots on 6/4/18: Thirty persons were arrested outside of the MDEQ building parking lot. See video on PPC action at MDEQ. Fourteen defendants will begin a jury trial in Ingham County court on 5/14/19 in a justification defense of actions to protect the water, air and soil harms against residents and the environment under MDEQ's watch. We hope to pack the court! More info to come soon.
Both trials have been generously supported by the movement solidarity labor of the National Lawyers Guild in Michigan and other private attorneys. After several years of defense work on behalf of activists, they have requested modest support for trial expenses. We wholeheartedly agree and are raising legal defense funds this spring too.

As always, thank you for pledging to build this movement to end poverty; and for the national call for a moral revival that challenges the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation's distorted morality.

In Solidarity and Appreciation,

The Michigan PPC Coordinating Committee

Join the PPC
Contact the MI PPC
Donate to the MI PPC