Benton Harbor, Berrien County, and Whirlpool Corporation, in an effort to isolate and silence me, all working together sent me to prison. I was fighting against the power of the land-grabbing, job outsourcing, criminal Whirlpool Corp. that has its headquarters in the City of Benton Harbor.
We must make the business world of Whirlpool Corp. more accountable for their action and inaction. We must take, for example, the situation of Whirlpool and their relationship to the Black community. Black people spend millions and millions of dollars, but get little or no benefits, no jobs, nothing in return.
Whirlpool Corp. takes our money and invests it, but does not invest in the Black community. They take our money and build half-million dollar houses, a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, and $500 million marina/residential golf course complex. We cannot afford to live in the complex and the banks refuse to loan the residents of Benton Harbor money. We can no longer tolerate this behavior.
Benton Harbor and its sister community across the river, St. Joseph, are in Berrien County on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. Historically, the Whirlpool Corp., a global appliance manufacturer, has been the largest single employer and the main political influence in the county. What had once been a relatively prosperous working class in Benton Harbor became plagued with unemployment and poverty as Whirlpool began transitioning the area from industrial to a tourist, real estate, and service-based economy. This process has prompted resistance from the people of Benton Harbor and that resistance prompted an attack on the people by Whirlpool and its local political machine.
But it seems that things have changed today for the worse. The problem is gentrification that is both visible and obvious to anyone approaching the issue of Benton Harbor and Whirlpool in good faith.
Gentrification has become the topic of conversation across Benton Harbor, with many asking some very serious questions. How is it that development became one and the same with increasing inequality in general and intensifying it? Why is it that our city government, dominated by Blacks for decades, offers absolutely no alternative to this increasing inequality?
Gentrification is not the underlying problem. Gentrification is the name for the broader problem, capitalism--which is the real problem. The much larger problem is the destruction of the City of Benton Harbor.
The attack on democracy in Benton Harbor shows Whirlpool Corp. power structure and they are determined to crush anyone who stands in its way. Whirlpool Corp. is committing genocide in Benton Harbor, Michigan. We must confront Whirlpool Corporation together!
-Rev. Edward Pinkney