The Rev. Edward Pinkney wasted no time getting back to his first love, organizing for social and economic justice on behalf of the dispossessed. He was paroled in June after serving the minimum 2-1/2 year sentence on trumped-up phony charges of voter fraud. Even though 30 months of his life had been stolen, by mid-July he was leading a demonstration at Michigan’s Berrien County Courthouse.
“We had a tremendous protest this morning!,” he wrote in his regular column in the People’s Tribune. “We talked about the corruption within the courthouse and the growing number of young community members who are in jail. The most important thing is that the lady with the scales of justice no longer exists in Berrien County. We had to do something.
“I also wanted a welcome back home party right in front of the courthouse so they would know I was home,” he wrote. “And we wanted to send a message that the reason we fight is for the people who don’t have the courage to fight for themselves or their children. It’s crucial that we start standing up for what’s right. It doesn’t make a difference what color you are— black, white, brown, red, yellow, green, pink, blue and all others. It doesn’t make a difference. It’s time that we come together and take a stand.”
Pinkney announced he will join a new Poor People’s Campaign being organized in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1967 call for a “radical redistribution of economic and political power.” King was assassinated before he could lead the march on the nation’s capital by poor people from all over the nation, which was carried out by his staff later in 1968.
“Yes, we are going to bring the tired, poor, the huddled masses,” Pinkney said in a statement on his organization’s website. “We are coming to demand our government address itself to the problem of poverty. We read in the Declaration of Independence,’we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ but if a man doesn’t have a job or, an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.”
Pinkney also issued a statement on the recent White Supremacist violence in Charlottesville: “We must take advantage of this shameful display of White Supremacism at its best in Charlottesville, Virginia. We must start to organize and mobilize the country, city-by-city, county-by-county, state-by-state . . . But if we are going to protest the confederate symbols and flag, we should also protest the American flag, the red, white and blue, because Black people have caught just as much Hell under the red, white and blue as the confederate flag and symbols.”
The long-time activist on behalf of the residents of Benton Harbor, MI, 90 percent of whom are low-income, was convicted of altering dates on voter signature recall petitions despite no direct or circumstantial evidence. The petitions urged the recall of Benton Harbor’s then-Mayor James Hightower because of the mayor’s support of gentrification tactics by the Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in Benton Harbor. Supporters are convinced he was framed to stop his organizing activity. Writer Jackie Miller says it was because he had been a thorn in the side of the establishment for years, and Michigan’s power elite tried to buy him off to shut him up – and it didn’t work. Click HERE for the real story.The Michigan Supreme Court recently requested oral arguments in his appeal.
Rev. Pinkney writes a column every month in the People’s Tribune. Click HERE to read more about the work he is doing.