When Ypsilanti City Council member Anne Brown “answered” a Public Comment speaker at the January 5 Council meeting, she chidingly spoke about Freedom Tuesdayz activists “march[ing] around,” “beating the drum,” and “honking horns.” Even though in her extemporaneous comments she tried to show solidarity with pro-Black organizing, that part of her statement belied, perhaps, what she really thinks: that the work of grassroots activists is worth mocking, and maybe that unless they sit in a seat of authority like she does, they’re wasting their time, or going about things the wrong way.
Regarding Ms. Brown’s reference to honking horns: first off, activists aren’t doing the honking; motorists who pass by the biweekly demonstrations are doing the honking, smiling, and fist-raising—in great numbers. Secondly, now that we know Ms. Brown is hearing the honks, one would hope that she feels a sense of urgency. The sheer number of drivers bearing down on their horns makes it crystal clear that Ypsi has a problem with racism and racist policing; Ms. Brown herself seemed to suggest this.
Certain vocal, adamant protesters have done a lot more to raise awareness about Black Life in Ypsilanti than its City Council has. May that not always be the case.