DETROIT - Author, lecturer, university professor and renowned activist Angela Davis is the scheduled guest speaker at an Oct. 24 rally in Detroit.
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of her 1972 acquittal on trumped-up murder and kidnapping charges, many prominent figures here have joined in sponsoring her visit. Detroit played a special role in helping Davis defeat the attempted frame-up and the city has always held her in high regard.
"It was a broad movement that won freedom for Angela Davis - 10,000 people gathered at the State Fairgrounds to welcome her to the city," said the Honorable Claudia Morcom, a retired judge and co-chair of the early 1970s Free Angela Davis committee in Detroit.
"Today, the same forces that tried to silence Angela Davis 40 years ago are now polarizing our nation and undermining democracy. Professor Davis will speak on how we can combat these attacks and fight to restore democracy," Morcom said.
Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world. Her work as an educator - both at the university level and in the larger public sphere - has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.
In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early 1970s as a person who spent 18 months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.
Detroit City Councilmember JoAnn Watson said that as a lifelong activist she has always "been lifted up by Angela Davis." Watson recalled her time as national director of civil rights for the YWCA when she had the opportunity to work closely with Angela Davis and Charlene Mitchell, who were leaders of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. "It was a mountaintop experience for me and it will be a joy to welcome her to Detroit."
Professor Davis is being welcomed by a host of labor and community leaders and elected officials, including Rev. Wendell Anthony, Pastor of Fellowship Chapel; Saundra Williams, President Emeritus, Metro Detroit AFL-CIO; Emily Divendorf, Policy Director of Equality Michigan; Millie Hall, President, Coalition of Labor Union Women; musician Ozzie Rivera; Sacred Heart and St. Elizabeth Churches; and Congressman John Conyers. Democratic Socialists of America and the Communist Party of Michigan have also joined in welcoming her.
Councilmember Watson emphasized the particular importance of having Davis in the city days before the Nov. 6 national election, saying, "What a great fire it will ignite; what a great time in Detroit October 24th will be."
The event is free to the public. It takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday Oct. 24 at Fellowship Chapel church, 7707 West Outer Drive Road in Detroit.
For more information contact: detwelcomesAngela@gmail.com