Detroit’s Violent Crime “Unacceptable” Says U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

The violence “is unacceptable,” he told the more than 6,000 people gathered at the 57th Annual Fight for Freedom Fund dinner of the Detroit chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. (Photo by Thomas Richardson/Tell Us USA News Network)

Story by Karen Hudson Samuels/Tell Us USA News Network

DETROIT (Tell Us USA) -The 100th anniversary of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP brought thousands out for the organization’s Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner Sunday night at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was the keynote speaker for the 57th annual fundraiser, the first African American appointed to that post. Holder addressed the sobering statistics of violent crime in Detroit that claims the lives of young black men at an alarming rate of two per week. Holder called the numbers “shocking” and the exposure of young people to crime “unacceptable”.

Speaking at a news conference before the dinner, branch President Wendell Anthony warned “Democracy is under attack”, referring to the Emergency Manager state law, saying “We do not believe that Michigan should become the new Mississippi. We have come too far, worked too hard and struggled too long, to allow democracy to be set aside.”

The powers of elected officials can be seized by an Emergency Manager who is also given authority to sell city assets and terminate union contracts. The battle to challenge the EM law has been undertaken by U.S. Congressman John Conyers. Anthony said it is a significant time for the flagship branch of the civil rights organization and appealed to supporters to stand guard.

The Detroit branch of the NAACP has long been an advocate of social and economic justice, turning to the legal system for some of its greatest triumphs, particularly in the area of housing discrimination. Holder reminded the gathering of the Detroit NAACP’s role in landmark rulings in housing and segregated schools.

A memorable housing case was that of Orsel McGhee, a black Detroit family that moved into a white neighborhood reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1948 the Justices ruled that restrictive housing covenants violated the 14th Amendment; the covenants put language into deeds that stated a property could only be occupied by Caucasians.

The centennial celebration was attended by Mayor Dave Bing, UAW International President Bob King and members of Michigan’s congressional delegation, including Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Congressman John Conyers.

Major NAACP corporate sponsors were also represented by General Motors North America President Mark Reuss and former Detroiter Ingrid Saunders Jones, Senior Vice President, Global Community Connections for the Coca Cola Company.

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