Efforts are underway to stop the anti-woman group “A Voice for Men” from holding its first international conference in Detroit the last weekend in June. This “Men’s Rights Advocates” group, based in Houston, promotes male supremacy, sexism and sexual violence against women. It was designated a hate group in 2012 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes against oppressed people in the U.S.
Hundreds opposed to the conference rallied and marched through downtown Detroit on June 7. Organized largely through social media, the diverse and mainly youthful crowd rallied at Grand Circus Park where speakers denounced the misogynist, hate-based terrorism of MRAs and their anti-woman agenda. Some spoke about surviving sexual assault. Several raised the group’s anti-lesbian-gay-bi-trans-queer agenda and racist nature of MRAs. The LGBTQ community was well represented in the crowd, and Motor City Pride weekend started later that day.
The case of Marissa Alexander in Florida and the right of women to fight back were raised. Alexander now faces a 60-year sentence for standing her ground and firing a warning shot into the ceiling as her estranged spouse threatened her. The young African-American mother was freed from a 20-year prison sentence and granted a new trial because of an international struggle on her behalf. She is being prosecuted for three felonies to be served consecutively by the same team that failed to convict George Zimmerman in the racist killing of young Trayvon Martin.
UNITE HERE Local 24 representatives passed out signs to “Boycott Doubletree” and denounced the hotel for hosting the conference of bigots. The union is waging a struggle for union recognition, decent wages and dignity for hotel industry workers, many of whom are women and people of color.
Unafraid and undeterred by male supremacist threats and possible MRA spectators, the protesters marched right up to the Doubletree Hotel and held the street in front of it. They refused to back down as Detroit police first ordered, then begged organizers to “stop the protest.”
The crowd chanted “Hey, Doubletree, what do you say, would you host the KKK?!” and “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, MRAs go away!” as hotel management refused to accept more than 3,000 petition signatures demanding Doubletree cancel its reservations for the “men’s rights” conference. After about an hour, a hotel representative finally took the petitions.
As of June 8, the “Cancel the men’s rights conference” petition at change.org had more than 3,565 signatures. To add your name, go to tinyurl.com/mxvsgqn.
To demand the company cease catering to bigots who threaten violence against women and cancel the June 27-29 conference, call Atiya Frederick, international public relations manager of Hilton Hotels, at 703-883-6599 and/or email [email protected].