Pelosi: Detroit 'still engaged in a great freedom walk'

Apr 29, 2013

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, says Detroit is "still engaged in a great freedom walk … and a campaign to preserve the dignity of all Americans."

Pelosi made the remarks as the featured speaker for the Detroit NAACP’s 56th annual gathering last night.

Here are a few highlights from Tammy Stables Battaglia's coverage for The Detroit Free Press:

“You’re game changers. ... You give us a path,” Pelosi said. “These game changers are essential … to strengthening the middle class, the backbone of democracy. If we don’t make those game changers a reality, our middle class will be weakened. … Clearly we have work to do.”

Pelosi said the U.S. must address economic disparity, including making the minimum wage a living wage. She said CEO salaries now average 350 times the wage of the average worker.

Pelosi also said that all children must have access to good schools.

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education,” she said.

Detroit NAACP’s president, Rev. Wendell Anthony, told the crowd it was no accident that Pelosi was invited to speak.

“We did not invite Nancy Pelosi here tonight because she is a Democrat,” he said. “We invited her here tonight because she has been a champion of the issues that are important to all of us.”

MLive's David Muller reported that prior to Pelosi's speech, several speakers at the event talked about the appointment of an emergency manager in Detroit. Then Pelosi mentioned the topic:

Pelosi said of Mayor Dave Bing, “Isn’t he a wonderful mayor? We don’t need anyone else around here running the city of Detroit.”

Muller reported several speakers at the NAACP event decried much of Republican Gov. Snyder’s policy.

Michael Eric Dyson, an author, radio host and professor of sociology at Georgetown University, said the governor’s implementation of an emergency financial manager represented the move of a dictatorship.

“Right here in Detroit, who would’ve thought we’d experience a third world shenanigan” said Dyson, a Detroit native and recipient of the NAACP’s Ida B. Wells Freedom & Justice award.

“It ain’t about them being decent people,” Dyson said of the EFM office. “They’re good, but we voted for Dave Bing.”

City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson thanked the Detroit NAACP “and freedom fighters everywhere” for support as the city comes under rule of an EFM.

“Somebody needs to fight to restore democracy in Detroit,” she said.

Detroit's NAACP chapter is celebrating 100 years of service.

- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom