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Sharpton jumps into federal lawsuit, fight over emergency managers

via wikipedia

The Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network are the latest activists to jump behind the fight to Michigan’s emergency manager law.

Sharpton was in Detroit as opponents filed a federal lawsuit today.

Critics maintain that Michigan’s emergency manager law violates both state and federal law by stripping local voting rights in cities and school districts with emergency managers.

And they also argue it’s a racial issue, with black voters disproportionately affected.

Herb Sanders is an attorney with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 25, one plaintiff in the suit.

He says the emergency manager law effectively disenfranchises more than half the state’s African-Americans.

“Your vote for your City Council doesn’t count, your vote for your school board doesn’t count, your vote for your mayor doesn’t count,” Sanders said. “Those individuals will be less likely to vote at all. Minimally, your vote has been diluted.”

Sanders says the law also disenfranchises the majority of Michigan voters who repealed the state’s old emergency manager law, Public Act 4, last fall.

Sharpton led a small crowd down the street from AFSCME headquarters to Detroit’s federal court to file the suit.

Sharpton said he’s concerned what’s happening in Michigan with emergency managers will spread “like a cancer” throughout the country, and Governor Snyder has “drawn a line in the sand.”

“We’re coming from everywhere around this country, to stand up and stop this anti-democratic movement right here in the city,” Sharpton told the crowd.

Both Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson have promised big protests and some unspecified “major civil disobedience” in Detroit in the coming months.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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