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March for Justice: From Birmingham to Birmingham

By Trey Battle/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) - On Saturday, April 5, 2014, the 153 Churches in the Michigan Conference and the 31 churches in the Detroit Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ will sponsor an “Interfaith March for Justice from Birmingham to Birmingham.” This action is on behalf of the citizens of Detroit and of the eight other cities in Michigan that no longer have a choice in the selection of their mayors and are subject to emergency managers. We believe that because of these actions, the quality of life for citizens of these cities along with pensions of former city workers, are at risk.

Speakers and selected guest will include national and local area clergy from different denominations, legal, academic, political, union leadership and many of the affected citizens. Scheduled presenters include Rev. Dr. Campbell Lovett, UCC Conference Minister; Bishop Demosthene Nelson Shrines of the Black Madonna; the Rev. David Bullock, Greater St. Mathews Baptist Church, Rev. Charles E. Williams II, Historic King Solomon Baptist Church and president, Michigan Chapter of the National Action Network; Prof. Peter J. Hammer, director, WSU Law School Damon J. Keith Center; Ponsella Hardaway, executive director, MOSES; the Rev. Louise R. Ott, Congregational Church of Birmingham UCC; and Mamie “Zwadie” Chalmers, civil rights icon.

Mamie Chalmers personifies the Birmingham, Mich. to Birmingham, Ala. connection in the struggle for human dignity. At age 20, the Alabama native joined the movement and in 1963 was among the demonstrators attacked by police dogs, and eventually losing part of her hearing from the water hose blasts. She was arrested and spent five days in the Birmingham County jail. Yet, she attended the historic March on Washington that year.

“Emergency financial managers are being appointed in cities, that are primarily populated by minority residents, from Rhode Island to California. This economic racism is becoming a popular social experiment, the effects of which are further exacerbated by the recent diminishment of the Voting Rights Act,” wrote the leader of the UCC Michigan Conference, the Rev. Dr. S. C. Campbell Lovett.

The 153 churches of the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ are located from the Upper Peninsula to the Ohio and Indiana border and seven are in Detroit. Recently, this body passed a resolution denouncing the loss of voter rights, and the loss of pensions for retired city workers, widows and family members of slain and lost police and firemen who served their communities. Organizations are urged to bring their posters and signs expressing their concern.

For more information, contact the DMA Office at 313 864-1411 or 248-891-7509. Free parking is available at the Chester Street Garage on Chester St. and Martin, one block west of the park.

For more information contact Paul von Oeyen M.D, of the United Church of Christ Birmingham at 248/ 891-7509 or the Detroit Metropolitan Association UCC at 313 864-1411 or


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