Interview with Belinda Brown
Editor’s Note: Belinda Brown is a leader in the struggle for a just Benton Harbor. She was interviewed by Joseph Peery of the People’s Tribune.
PT: Talk about your fight with the corporations as a business owner.
Belinda Brown: I originally started my business in the early 90s before I was awakened to what was really going on. I was on a pursuit to incubate other businesses for the community. But I came to find out that the Chamber of Commerce is tied into Whirlpool; it was called Cornerstone Alliance at that time. I gave them my business plan to bring jobs to the community. Disturbingly, I soon found out that all businesses that take their business to Cornerstone Alliance are automatically sabotaged. This happened to me and to friends of mine. Whatever anybody tried to do that didn’t fit into their plan of their 25-year take over of Benton Harbor is automatically sabotaged. There’s no way to compete with these corporations. You are going to get kicked to the curb. If you don’t fit into their plan, you’re going to fail.
PT: Could you talk about how to get youth involved in the struggle?
BB: We’re excited. We feel that our new Benton Harbor chapter of the NAACP is going to make a great impact on our young people. Pastor Pinkney is the President and he is a fighter. He is going to make something happen with the situation we’re facing. We’re focusing on the education issue and trying to get our young people involved to be a powerful movement to take back our city. We feel that we have had enough. It’s not too late and if we work hard and expose to the world what happens when you rise up and take a stand against the forces that be, no matter how powerful they are, we can win. Our young people are excited about this.
PT: What kind of a new America, new Benton Harbor, could we have?
BB: Now that the young people have educated themselves to what happened and how it happened, the fight is on. I mean the fight to change this world in regard to how people are treated. Young people hate that they are subject to this type of struggle in this century. They looked at the conditions that their parents suffer from because of this planned take over of Benton Harbor by the corporations so they are looking for opportunities to keep it from happening to anybody. Because they had to experience this, they can be a model to help educate. This generation is fearless and ready for something different.This is what is going to be needed to see a new America. They are saying we’re going to make something better happen.