Black religious leader, protesters hand-deliver Oreo cookies to Detroit officials

Malik ShabazzSaying some Detroit officials are “black on the outside, but white on the inside,” Minister Malik Shabazz and more than a dozen protesters tried to hand-deliver Oreo cookies this afternoon to city hall offices in the latest protest against an emergency manager in Detroit.

“We have Oreo cookies for Mayor Bing and the emergency manager,” Shabazz said, knocking on the door of the mayor’s office, where staff kept the doors locked. “It’s just a gift. They earned them.”

Shabazz, a former black separatist, said he meant no offense to white people. In fact, some of the protesters were white.

“There’s nothing wrong with being born white,” Shabazz told me. “But if you’re black, why are you acting white on the inside?
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Shabazz also tried to deliver the double-stuffed Oreos to Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown, who either wasn’t in his office or wouldn’t come out.

About 10 minutes later, more than 30 protesters wedged onto the 11th floor, where the mayor’s office is. There, they prayed, sang protest songs and pledged to escalate the demonstrations until the city becomes “ungovernable.”

So far, the protests have been peaceful.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy and restructuring expert, took office last week. He was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, who said the city’s budget is a train wreck and needs immediate intervention.

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Steve Neavling, who lives on the city’s east side, is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Neavling explores corruption, Detroit’s unsung heroes and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

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.