As our righteous fight to save our public schools approaches the final battle, it is fitting that those unsung heroes who have kept the torch of justice aflame throughout the past decade-and-a-half of DPS’ unwarranted and Jim Crowist state takeover become lauded in this column. Foremost among these heroes have been school activist Helen Moore and her grassroots group ‘Keep-the-Vote-No-Takeover’ and the democratically elected former DPS Board–LaMar Lemmons, Juvette Hawkins-Williams, Elena Herrada, Ida Short, Reverend David Murray, Patricia Johnson-Singleton, Wanda Akilah Redmond, Tawana Simpson. and Herman Davis. It was my privilege to serve pro bono as this rightful Board’s chosen Superintendent until Gov. Snyder’s emergency manager disempowered them and fired me when the unconstitutional Public Act 436 took effect and canceled Michiganians’ overwhelmingly successful but ultimately fruitless rejection of PA 4, the Republican-dominated state government’s detested emergency management law which remains unlawfully alive.
Others who have continued to crusade in our righteous cause on behalf of Detroit’s schoolchildren are Attorneys Tom Bleakley and Herb Sanders, who are fighting school closings in court, Tom Stephens of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management (D-REM), and Drew Paterson, who represented me when I sued the Governor unsuccessfully to regain the Superintendency, Some others are journalists Keith Owens, who has revived this newspaper’s courageous fight to save the schools; Tim Moore, my old half-miler at Southeastern High School, whose streamed show on DETIPTV has similarly strived to save our public schools; R. J. Watkins, who has run DPS-supportIve ads and programs on TV 33; Cliff Russell and Mildred Gaddis, who have spoken out on our schoolchildren’s behalf on their shows on AM910 and AM1200; Tom Pedroni and Curt Guyette, whose research at WSU and for the Michigan ACLU has exposed the decade-and-a-half of destruction wrought by Lansing upon DPS via the 1999 state takeover; Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, who spoke out eloquently against school closures on the Let It Rip show on Channel 2; clergymenCharles E. Williams II, David Alexander Bullock, Horace Sheffield, and Malik Shabazz, who have done the same from their pulpits and on the air; and James Hare, whose Quick-To-Learn program that is about to be piloted on an audacious pay-for-success basis in DPSCD will thwart new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ intent to charterize or voucherize every school in Detroit and ultimately every other urban school in the nation.
I’m aware that some may not be familiar with or indeed perhaps agree that a few of the above-cited heroes are indeed heroes, and I could have mentioned fifty more–but they all contributed in some way to our cause. I now add the names of latecomers to the cause: the newest (and currently interim) Superintendent Alycia Meriweather, the DFT’s Ivy Bailey, and newly elected DPSCD Board members Iris Taylor, Misha Stallworth, Sonya Mays, Georgia Lemmons, Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, Deborah Hunter-Harville, and also NON-latecomer LaMar Lemmons (the only new Board member who also served on the old democratically elected Board that the state government unconstitutionally disempowered). Since Mayor Michael Duggan opposed the takeover recently on my radio show, let’s add him, too, along with my district neighborhood Council representative Mary Sheffield and her Common Council colleagues who have now finally declared that they recognize the mortal danger to our schoolchildren and therefore to all ordinary Detroiters. The Free Press’ Stephen Henderson–plus Detroit NAACP President Wendell Anthony and others among the previously reticent mega-clergy–appear to be coming on board now, too. It remains now for ALL of us to unite, roll up our sleeves, and prepare to do final battle with those corporacratic charter affiliates and other Schuette, Trump and DeVos minions (or dupes) who are on the brink of snatching (or allowing them to snatch) our precious schools away from us, and ultimately Jim-Crow all of them–and all of us–forever. . .