Detroit youth march for jobs

April 4 protest.WW photo: Kris Hamel

April 4 protest.
WW photo: Kris Hamel

Demanding jobs and an end to the corporate theft of city services in the municipal bankruptcy case, several dozen people marched through downtown Detroit on April 4, the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Called by the youth group Detroit FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together), it was a march for jobs and justice, which attracted activists from various groups as well as college students, young unemployed workers and low-wage workers, as well as a handful of students still in high school.

The marchers covered a lot of ground in the downtown area. Starting with a rally at the iconic Spirit of Detroit statue outside city hall, they then headed to the Chase Bank building, the botched Wayne County Jail project and through Greektown, chanting and stopping to rally at each stop.

Detroit’s overall unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 64 is 49 percent, and for those under the age of 30 it is closer to 60 percent. The demonstration stressed the dire need of people in the city for employment.

Over the last year, the state-appointed so-called “Emergency Manager,” Kevyn Orr, has spent $96 million on a handful of corporate consultants from Wall Street to come into the city and conjure up ideas as to how the city can be revitalized into an economically viable entity. Although that money is only a drop in the bucket of corporate theft from the public, it is enough money to employ 3,000 young people at a salary of $30,000 a year! This served as a rallying cry for those who marched and demonstrated.

Youth see that there are homes that need restoration, roads in need of repair and schools that need to be staffed to teach children. Protesters say the money is there, and instead of diverting it into the already deep pockets of Wall Street parasites, use the money to put the people of Detroit to work at good-paying jobs that are desperately needed.