By Steve Neavling
Independence Day should not be celebrated tomorrow; it should be mourned, Detroit Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said this morning.
The oft-misunderstood councilman questioned the wisdom of Detroiters celebrating the Fourth of July at a time when the city is anything but free. The state has partial control of the city, and Detroiters remain disproportionately impoverished.
The fight for independence, Kenyatta said, came at the expense of Native Americans and African slaves, who continue to suffer following decades of institutional racism.
“So as you wave the flag tomorrow, be aware of what you are celebrating,” Kenyatta urged Detroiters during a council meeting this afternoon. “Tomorrow is a result of something that was taken, something that was fought for on the backs of Native Americans and African slaves.”
Kenyatta also suggested the city fight for its freedom in the way colonists fought the British.
“They said ‘Arm yourselves and prepare to fight.’ They said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’ They said, ‘Fight.’ They said, ‘Struggle.'”
The audience erupted in applause.
Contact Steve Neavling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.