Tags Whirlpool Corp.
Tag: Whirlpool Corp.
Rev. Edward Pinkney is the kind of preacher that Martin Luther King would have admired. Pinkney has for years advocated for his community, fighting for water rights, fair elections and social justice for the people of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Because of his political activities, he’s been targeted by the government, tried by the Michigan political machine before an all-white jury and, with no evidence, convicted of allegedly altering five petition dates!
On Dec. 14, civil rights leader and political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney will have spent a year in Michigan state prison. An all-white jury convicted him of five felony counts of forgery for changing dates next to signatures on a petition drive for a recall election, though no evidence of guilt was presented. While Pinkney’s appeal proceeds slowly through the grinding gears of the judicial system, he remains in the clutches of the state.
A heavy and cruel hand has been laid upon me. On Oct. 6, 2015, I was transferred back to Marquette Branch Prison, a two-day ride on the bus, shackled, mistreated and intimidated. I was forced to strip on five different occasions. I am forced into overcrowding, inadequate exercise, lack of clean clothing and inadequate medical care which violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Another post-conviction motions hearing took place on April 14 in St. Joseph, Michigan, involving the conviction by an all-white jury late last year of a leading civil rights activist, Rev. Edward Pinkney. People traveled from throughout the state of Michigan and across the United States to support the Berrien County leader who many feel has been denied justice by a corporate-controlled racist system in the southwest region of the state.
Berrien County Judge Sterling Schrock sentenced the leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, Rev. Edward Pinkney, to 30-120 months in prison based on an all-white jury’s verdict of guilty on five felony counts of forgery. The charges stemmed from a successful recall petition drive against Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower, who is perceived as a tool of the Whirlpool Corp. and the political power structure in the area.
Benton Harbor reminds me of Mississippi in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I have never been one to rave about how much progress my generation has made, but I had hoped to see an end to these horrors in my lifetime. All citizens have the civil right to recall an elected official or initiate a referendum by way of petition. This is our only outlet. Berrien County sheriffs are intimidating, harassing and using Gestapo tactics to infringe on the civil rights of citizens of Benton Harbor.
For well over five years now, Rev. Edward Pinkney, living in the depths of the de facto apartheid-type township of Benton Harbor, Michigan, has been waging a relentless struggle on behalf of the people of Benton Harbor (Berrien County) against the avaricious, blood sucking, wily Whirlpool Corp. and its mentally somniferous lackeys. It has been and remains, a real people’s struggle to, in the words of Huey P. Newton, “determine and control institutions, so that they reflect the integrity of the people” – in this case Benton Harbor. After he was locked up for over a year in eight different Michigan prisons, an appeals court has ruled in his favor.
An all-white Berrien County jury had convicted Rev. Pinkney, the founder of Benton Harbor's Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers (BANCO) and an associate pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, in March 2007 on allegations of voter fraud. He won release from prison on bond in December 2008 only after the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took an interest in his case and helped with his defense.
Due to the great outpouring of support in Michigan, Rev. Edward Pinkney has become the Green Party candidate in the 6th District Congressional race. He is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a political heir to Whirlpool Corp.-Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment Inc.