Detroiters dis rally

April 29, 2020

From the May-June 2020 issue of News & Letters

Detroit—Most Detroiters were dismayed by last week’s rally of hundreds at the state capital, Lansing, Mich. Despite pleas by organizers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, hundreds  of people got out of their cars to flout social distancing guidelines, scream fantastical conspiracy theory propaganda, and flaunt assault  weapons. The “I wanna catch the virus” rally reflects the majority Republican state legislature, which already curtailed the length of time the Governor may extend her stay-at-home order.

Despite concerns about too much state authority, older Black residents are adhering to the executive order. People recognize that the President’s pandering to his right-wing supporters and to some youth denying the severity of the pandemic, is the main danger now.

Detroit Public Schools, six weeks after closing, have still not provided families with paper lesson packets to be picked up at 17 sites across the 139 square miles of the city, along with breakfast and lunch packs. The Internet learning, despite delays in enabling access, appears to be of high quality and engaging to students, who can video call their teachers and classmates. Long-term consequences for teachers and the effects of about half the students without adequate technology must be considered now.

For more dispatches from Detroit see: and

—Susan Van Gelder


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