Rev. Edward Pinkney is founder of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), an organization that defends Benton Harbor, Michigan poor against unjust incarceration and works to reform the court system.The largely African-American city, once a thriving industrial town, now has over 60% poverty rate and extremely high incarceration especially the youth.
In recent years, the powerful Whirlpool Corporation led a redevelopment plan that included the take over of valuable lakefront property(deeded to the city of Benton Harbor). In a bitter struggle led by Rev Pinkney, The community exercised their democratic right to a recall election of a public official backed by Whirlpool that assisted the take over. In 2007, after a successful recall election, Rev Pinkney was arrested for "voter fraud" and convicted by an all-white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth.
In 2014 Rev Pinkney was again charged with "voter fraud" in a recall attempt of another public official backed by Whirlpool. Around this time, the state of Michigan signed into law new legislation that allowed for the ouster of a city's elected officials to set the stage for corporations to take over the public assets of many Michigan cities. This is the environment, which gave rise to the second attack on Rev Pinkney. It was stated by the court that no evidence against Rev Pinkney was needed to send him to prison. He was convicted by an all white jury. His appeal to the Michigan Appellate Court was denied, stating he must have told somebody to change the dates, no evidence was presented on this theory and he served 30 months in prison under life threatening conditions.
In a tremendous victory for the people, Michigan Supreme Court exonerated Rev Pinkney in May 2018. The attack on Rev Pinkney and democracy in Benton Harbor shows that corporate power is determined to crush anyone who stands in its way. It is a harbinger of the future of America if people do not act. We must confront the evil ,wick, empire.
Invite Rev Pinkney to speak in your city! for more information on booking Rev Pinkney, contact Speaker for a New America at 800-691 6888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 269 925-0001