Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Donations needed for Rev. Pinkney's defense.

Checks can be made payable to: BANCO

The t-shirt (Benton Harbor Most Wanted) will be mailed to you for a donation of $20.00 or more.

1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Contributions are tax-deductible. BANCO is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

View the t-shirt: Front, Back and Side

Monday, May 30, 2005

Benton Harbor's Most Wanted







View the t-shirt: Front, Back and Side

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Other Info of Interest

Bob Goodsell on the 2003 uprising.

Independent Progressive Network

This Place is Near Me and it is All True: Benton Harbor, A City Under Seige

Benton Harbor News:WNDU 16 News

Benton Harbor, A Plan for Positive Change:Final Report of the Governor’s Benton Harbor Task Force

BANCO has registered over 1200 BH voters, and is still working hard on this task.

BANCO candidate Marletta Seats won the Berrien County 3rd District Commissioner seat . It was a well executed effort by BANCO.

Berrien County has the highest rate of juveniles tried as adults IN THE STATE. It also has one of the highest, if not the highest rate of infant mortality IN THE STATE.

Michigan is the only state in the US where a percentage of the fines that judges impose after they have convicted someone goes into their own pension fund.

Friday, May 27, 2005


The Whitewash of the Whirlpool Corporation

The Whirlpool Corporation, the world¹s largest manufacturer of household appliances, has its corporate headquarters in Benton Harbor, Michigan. It is a multibillion dollar corporation, but has never made a major investment in the city¹s predominantly black community to rescue the people from poverty, nor given substantial numbers of jobs to black people. Instead, Whirlpool, with lower taxes, favorable land deals to expand its plants, and other corporate demands, has profited from the dire situation of the black population. The truth is that Benton Harbor is a company town, and Whirlpool controls the local economy and the political structure. Black people in Benton are desperately poor, while the whites in St. Joseph are prosperous and powerful. Whirlpool apparently wants it that way.

Most telling is that Fred Upton, an heir to the Whirlpool corporate founder, has served in the U.S. Congress since 1986 as a "Newt Gingrich Republican," part of the right-wing Republican cabal that has been dismantling the social gains of the 1960s civil rights movement. Upton resides in St. Joseph and is part of its power base. Whirlpool money was used to put him in power and has kept him in office for the last eight congressional terms. A multimillionaire, he has outspent every opposing candidate he has ever had. Although the congressional district Upton serves covers both Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, it is primarily the city of St. Joseph which has benefited from his years in Congress.

Upton has secured millions of dollars in block grants, federal loans and contracts, state community and economic grants, and other funding for the St. Joseph community, while obtaining virtually nothing by comparison for Benton Harbor¹s residents. St. Joseph has fine homes, well paved streets, venture capital for businesses, and has even become a tourist center/ Meanwhile, Benton Harbor has seriously run-down houses, few minority-owned businesses, and has virtually no access to capital or community development funding.

Everyone on both sides of the bridge that separates Benton Harbor and St. Joseph is fully aware that Fred Upton is working for the betterment of St. Joseph, and it is for this reason that many Benton Harbor residents literally curse his name and blame him in large part for their misfortune.There has been a long history of police brutality and misconduct by local law enforcement officials against the black population of Benton Harbor. Residents of the city have been made scapegoats for economic and social conditions beyond their control, and have been subjected to discriminatory practices and procedures by local police agencies and judicial officials who cover for the excessive force and racial profiling of black citizens that goes on routinely. Neither Upton nor any official of the Whirlpool Corporation has ever publicly denounced racism and police brutality in Berrien County, which affects thousands of black residents.

Whirlpool has created a phony civic group, the "Committee for World Class Communities," which many people in Benton Harbor know is a fraud. The group has done nothing to reduce poverty, nor provided any tangible resources for community or economic development, besides being merely based in Benton Harbor. All the committee advocates is useless ³talk² between black politicians and white power brokers in St. Joseph. The committee does not advocating sharing political power nor major reinvestment in the black community. In fact, Whirlpool is the hidden economic base of the racist government in Berrien County. Without Fred Upton and Whirlpool, white officials could not dominate county politics and steal all the community and economic development funds for the white people of St. Joseph.

So we are leading a worldwide boycott of Whirlpool. We think Whirlpool is vulnerable to such an international campaign, since it is just beginning to move into international markets with its products. We ask you not to buy Whirlpool, Kitchen Aid, or other subsidiary products because Whirlpool is clearly subsidizing racism and poverty in Berrien County. (For a listing of Whirlpool¹s entire product line, please go to its website at: WhirlpoolCorp.com). Not until this arrogant and racist company loses millions of dollars in sales and profits will it then decide to genuinely negotiate a just settlement which can economically benefit the black population of Benton Harbor and end economic apartheid in Berrien County.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Background Information

Current Situation:

  • "Pinkney Vows to Keep Working for Benton Harbor, Defeat Charges"
    by John Anthony La Pietra (via IMC)
  • "Michigan Pastor Who Fights for the Poor Is Arrested" by Sandy Reid. May 2005 (via IMC)
  • "Supporters rally to defend pastor who fights for the poor" by Rich Capalbo and Sandy Reid. June 7, 2005 (via IMC)
  • May Press Release

General Background:

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Berrien County Chief Prosecutor James Cherry Advises City Commissioner on How to Commit a Crime

The St. Joseph Herald Palladium reported that Benton Harbor City Commissioner Glen Yarbrough met with a group of people including BH city manager Pete Mitchell to discuss Yarbrough's Feb. 22 recall election after the fact, and then met with prosecutor James Cherry. In a WSJM interview Yarbrough stated that Cherry advised him on how to "get" me and begin investigation. Read on for details.

Two Courageous Men

One notarized affidavit and one tape recording were delivered to the BH city clerk's office recently, both by BH men who decided to tell the truth. Each made his decisions after reading or hearing media reports alleging that I paid people to vote in the Feb. 22, 2005 BH recall election.

Cleophus Kilgor's March 15, 2005 statement reveals that while collecting recall petition signatures in August 2004 Glen Yarbrough found him. Yarbrough, while drinking beer, drove Kilgore to meet BH city manager Pete Mitchell at Le-Chic's bar where Yarbrough and Mitchell gave Kilgore money and drinks. They promised more money if Kilgore could sabotage the recall election.

Mr. Kilgore turned in 286 signatures that were ruled out by county clerk Louise Stein. There were still more than enough "good" signatures to recall Commissioner Yarbrough.

Mansel William's statement indicates that he was approached by Yarbrough while at the BH soup kitchen. Yarbrough paid him $10 to testify that Rev. Pinkney paid him $5 to vote. (Mr. Williams decided to tell the truth before the trial, so he was not asked to give false testimony.)

Cherry Recall

It has been reported to me that Prosecutor Cherry is in the process of being recalled, and that he fabricated evidence and presented it during the Yarbrough recall election trial, April 12, 13, 14, 2005. This action has brought the city of BH together against the Berrien County Courthouse.

Voter Rights and Stop Rev. P. Frame-up Rally:

May 21, 1pm, Benton Harbor Library

These false allegations about me must become common knowledge. If a judge can sit on the bench and make laws and change laws to void an election or cancel your vote, we are in serious trouble. We must fight. Black people are so in fear of losing their lives, they do not always stand up for what's right, or concern themselves with the safety of others.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Take action: Write a letter of support before May 2007

Rev. Pinkney's sentencing is May 14, 2007, at 1:30 p.m. Between now and then, all fair-minded individuals, particularly those who have had the privilege to meet Reverend Pinkney or follow his work, should write letters of support.

THEY SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO: The Honorable Alfred M. Butzbaugh, Berrien County Circuit Court, 811 Port Street, St. Joseph, Michigan, 49085-1187, regarding the case of People v. Reverend Edward Pinkney.

BUT THEY SHOULD BE SENT TO: Hugh M. Davis, Constitutional Litigation Associates, P.C., 450 West Fort Street, Suite 200, Detroit, Michigan, 48226. Phone: 313-961-2255; Fax: 313-961-5999; email: conlitpc@sbcglobal.net

The purpose of the letter is not to accuse the Judge, the Prosecutor or even the jury of being racist, but rather to point out how distressing and suspicious it is that an all white jury would sit in judgment of a black community activist, 50 years after the high point of the civil rights movement. Also, emphasize the nature of Reverend Pinkney's work, how important it is that we have dissident voices in every community and that free speech must be protected. The letters should also indicate that, no matter what view one takes of the evidence against Pinkney, the worst that he did was innocently handle some ballots and become the victim of the testimony of some very shady characters, particularly including Brenda Fox. Tell the Judge that prison is NOT the place for a person like Pinkney, but that he is needed in the community, whether one agrees with him or not. Tell the Judge that the prisons are already filled up with too many black men and are already too much of a drain on the state and local economies. Tell the Judge that prison should be reserved for only dangerous and violent individuals who have to be removed from society. That is clearly not Reverend Pinkney.

Finally, everyone should personalize their letter and, if you have any direct experience with Reverend Pinkney, describe it – what he did, how he helped, what you saw and whether he got any personal gain out of it.

The last important issue is bond pending appeal. Pinkney's attorneys intend to push hard on the validity of the statute and on the denial of the jury challenge. Those efforts could take years. Let the Judge know that you believe that Reverend Pinkney should not be required to serve a sentence, even a short one, when these serious issues are still undecided on appeal. Since it is the Judge himself whose decisions are being challenged, he should not presume the outcome by refusing Pinkney bond.