American Federation of Teachers hold 2012 Convention in Cobo Center #AFTCOVN2012 #TellUsDetroit #TellUsUSANewsNetwork

The AFT convention in Detroit, its first one here in several decades, has so far drawn 2,350 delegates from across the country. The convention began Friday and runs through Monday. (Photo by Scott Sullivan/Tell Us Detroit)

By Angelina Czarnecki/ Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) – Cobo Center Hall was filled with over 3,000 delegates for the American Federation of Teachers 2012 convention . Those representing were teachers, paraprofessionals, school-related personnel, higher education faculty, government employees, and healthcare workers.

For the first day of the convention AFT President Randi Weingarten presented “solution driven unionism,” a redefinition of unionism that advances solutions focused on members. Through this process members may work together to solve key issues facing their community.

“For me, solution driven unionism took root when I saw our members in the ABC Unified School District in Southern California commit to a unionism that focuses on solving problems, not on winning arguments. It unites those we represent and those we serve, and in so doing, it ensures that we don’t merely survive, but we succeed” AFT President Randi Weingarten in her keynote address.

Highly noted speakers featured at the event included Vice President Joe Biden, columnist for the New York Times Charles Blow, NYU historian of education and best selling author Diane Ravitch, UAW President Bob King among many others. Speakers addressed the issues holding back our school systems within the city of Detroit and nation wide. These individuals are striving for higher quality education systems, working to fight for an end to the fixation on high-stakes testing, and preparing students for work. AFT’s annual convention aims to solve these issues, and create a better learning environment for teachers, and students.

The AFT represent 1.5 million pre-K through 12th grade; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.



Judge Damon Keith to be honored by colleagues at his 90th Birthday celebration #JudgeDamonKeith #Damons90thBirthday #TellUsDetroit

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge Damon Keith stands before a display of his career at a VIP luncheon held at the McGregor prior to the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Center for Civil Rights which will bare his name. (Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

By Laydell Wood Harper/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) – The Association of Black Judges and other judicial and community leaders will gather at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church on Sunday, July 8th for a special 11 am service to celebrate the 90th Birthday of the Honorable Damon J. Keith, Senior Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Born on July 4th Judge Keith is one of the nation’s most well respected leaders and civil rights icons. “I am both delighted and honored to celebrate the 90th Birthday of Judge Damon J. Keith, a dear friend, nationally respected Jurist and civil rights icon on Sunday at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, said Dr. Charles G. Adams, Pastor of Hartford. “His contributions to the legal field are invaluable; The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights represents the foremost resource for the legal history of the Civil Rights Movement and historic accomplishments of African American lawyers and judges. We are proud of you Judge Keith, as a church and as a community. You have paved the way so eloquently for future Jurists of color.”

Judge Keith is also a hometown hero; born and raised in Detroit he has a long and proud history with the judicial system. Since 1977 he has been a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Court. He has also served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and recently named Senior Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for Sixth Circuit Court. He has consistently stood as a courageous defender of the constitutional and civil rights of all people, a common thread that is prominent throughout his career.

In the United States v. Sinclair, commonly referred to as the Keith Decision, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Judge Keith’s landmark ruling prohibiting President Nixon and the federal government from engaging in warrantless wiretapping in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Judge Keith was heralded for that decision in Joseph Goulden’s book, The Benchwarmers, as “a prime example of an independent federal judge” who “had the courage to say ‘no'” in the face of “a presidency which likened itself to a ‘sovereign.'” “The strength of the judiciary,” Goulden wrote, “is rooted in just such independence as that displayed by Keith.”

Known as a “Fighter for Justice,” Judge Keith has never forgotten his roots. He is passionate about his long time involvement with the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP and speaks at length about some of their well-documented accomplishments under the leadership of his best friend Arthur Johnson as they worked side by side to bring about change. His annual Black History Month Soul Food luncheon is the talk of the town and attended by everyone from Governor Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing to many of his former law clerks including former Governor Jennifer Granholm, and also business and community leaders. Many of whom attend every year.

The Honorable Judge Keith continues to shine the spotlight on the principles represented in the United States Constitution while ensuring equal rights for all who have been victims of discrimination. The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School held its grand opening last Oct 19, 2011. The Keith Center honors the life and legacy of Judge Keith by carrying out his vision of civil rights.

The public is invited to this 90th Birthday celebration to be held Sunday, July 8th at 11 am at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens Hwy., Detroit, Michigan 48235. For more information call (313) 861-1285


Donna Brazile, Tucker Eskew, Harold Ford Jr. Provide 2012 Election Insight #MPC12 #TellUsDetroit

Harold Ford Jr., Former U.S. Representative; NBC News Analyst; Donna Brazile, Vice Chair, Voter Registration and Participation, Democratic National Committee; and Tucker Eskew, Former Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush. (Photo by Detroit Regional Chamber 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference)

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI – Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. joined political strategists Donna Brazile and Tucker Eskew on the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference stage tonight for a session focused on the upcoming elections, bringing a national perspective to the 2012 Conference.

Eskew and Brazile engaged in a lively banter around the upcoming presidential election. They discussed issues that will be most important to voters and how they expect the election to pan out in November.

Brazile, Eskew and Ford all agreed that the election will ultimately come down to independent voters. Brazile said millions of Americans are dissatisfied with the economy and will look for a convincing argument before placing their votes. Eskew agreed with the overall dissatisfaction throughout the country and said that is how the election has gotten to such a close and heated race.

Brazile said that Americans understand the problems the country faces and the key to securing their votes is making them understand the creativity, innovation, in-sourcing and common sense solutions that are already taking place within the country and will continue to. Eskew said that when it comes to the economy, people feel how they feel regardless of statistics. He said that in Michigan, they feel the comeback that is taking place and that it is important to stop arguing about the past and build on the future.

As the panelists concluded their commentary, the audience was able to participate in a live vote on the presidential candidate they think will be elected this year. The results showed 71 percent in favor of President Barack Obama and 29 percent in favor of Governor Mitt Romney.

Brazile is vice chair of voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. Eskew has more than twenty-five years of experience in state-level and presidential politics. As Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush and Director of the White House Office of Global Communications, he developed strategic communications to promote American policies around the world and led the administration’s wartime messaging.


Detroit’s ‘Future’ discussed at Mackinac Policy Conference #MackinacPolicyCon #TellUsDetroit #Detroit #GovernorSnyder

Gov. Rick Snyder wants the Detroit Financial Advisory Board to meet with or without the two Detroit members the city council has neglected to appoint. “What they’ve (Detroit City Council) elected to do is not appoint members to the board, and my view is I think the board should meet,” Snyder said. “If they don’t show up, there’s no reason the board can’t meet, if you look at the agreement. (“Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI (Tell Us Det) – The 32nd annual Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference kicked off Tuesday afternoon with an opening address from Governor Rick Snyder, emphasizing the importance of positioning Michigan to succeed in the 21st century global marketplace and how crucial that is to moving the state forward.

Some of the state’s top entrepreneurs and innovative CEOs discussed the state of business and the return of jobs to detroit and the region, how entrepreneurship can be the catalyst for economic recovery for Michigan.

Detroit’s public officials are all on the island, and the city’s turnaround will be the focus of discussion at many power meetings and media interviews.

The event is also giving a chance to potential candidates to test the political waters and drum up support from potential donors during the evening’s networking buffet on the Big Porch at the Grand Hotel.

Detroit Regional Chamber Tuesday announced a new campaign effort to raise $2 million annually from the private sector to spur economic development in Detroit and southeast Michigan.

The “Detroit Regional Prosperity Campaign” will be co-chaired by DTE Energy Chairman, President and CEO Gerry Anderson and Meritor, Inc. Chairman, CEO and President Chip McClure, who joined other officials for the announcement at the conference.

“This whole effort is about driving job growth and business creation in southeast Michigan,” said chamber president and CEO Sandy K. Baruah on the porch of the historic Grand Hotel. “It’s presenting ourselves nationally and internationally and making sure we have the resources in the region through our counties to execute.”

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