Detroit — Five guys sat exterior a barbershop on the metropolis’s east aspect Saturday speaking politics.
Among them: A former NBA superstar-turned-businessman, the second-highest rating elected official in Michigan, and the high regulation enforcement official in the state’s largest county.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, State Rep. Jewell Jones, D-Inkster and Detroit activist Teferi Brent gathered in rather a lot subsequent to Rayfield’s Barbershop on Cadillac Street on Detroit’s east aspect to stump for presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“The reason I’m here is to tell young Black men they can’t sit on the sidelines; you have to bring about change with your voice and your vote,” stated Johnson, a Lansing native and former Los Angeles Laker star who retired and constructed a enterprise empire that features investments in eating places and film theaters.
Saturday’s event was a part of Biden’s “Shop Talk” program, that are recurring “round table” discussions about points that affect African Americans. After Johnson appeared in the Detroit event Saturday, he stated he was headed to Lansing to assist mobilize voters.
“We need Joe Biden. We need Kamala Harris,” stated Johnson. “It can change our community and our lives to have someone who cares about the same things we care about … voting for them will bring the country together, because it’s so divided right now.”
Gilchrist stated each vote counts, pointing out that President Donald Trump gained Michigan in the 2016 election by somewhat over 10,000 votes.
“Then, when (Gov. Gretchen Whitmer) and I appeared on the ticket, Detroit showed up to vote, and we flipped that 10,000 votes and made history, and you sent a Black man from the east side to become the highest-ranking Black person in Michigan history,” Gilchrist stated.
Napoleon, who served as a Detroit police officer and police chief earlier than changing into sheriff, stated voters modified Detroit perpetually after they elected Coleman Young the metropolis’s first African American mayor in 1973.
“When I first started at DPD in 1975, the department was only 10% African American,” he stated. “I ended up being in charge. That’s because of the voters who elected Coleman Young, who changed the police department. Your vote matters. If you don’t get a seat at the table, you’re on the menu.”
Brent stated individuals who need to impact change should do greater than protest.
“Protest without policy is pure performance,” he stated. “The reason I vote is to improve policy, and improved policies affect my life, especially as a Black man.”
About 70 individuals attended the event, together with a couple of dozen Wayne County Sheriff’s Office deputies who offered safety and site visitors management. Napoleon stated they volunteered to police the gathering.
“Nobody was paid,” he stated.
Richard Smith, who stated he lives on Cadillac down the road from the barbershop, requested the group: “How do we recover from coronavirus and systemic racism?”
Gilchrist replied: “The depth of destruction is the result of Trump’s policy failure. One of the things we did was to take it seriously. Michigan, like no other state, has responded to how this virus has affected people of color. If I was not lieutenant governor, we’d not be prioritizing people of color as it relates to COVID.”
Netta Johnson, whose father Ray Field opened the barbershop in 1967, shortly earlier than the riot began in July, stated some issues have continued for a long time.
“I’m told my dad sat on the roof (of the barbershop) all night to protect it from the looters, and it was one of the businesses that wasn’t touched,” Johnson stated. “The same things we were fighting for back then, we’re still fighting for now.”