Michigan Chronicle Editorial Board
With Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, only about two weeks away, registered Detroit voters will have to make critical decisions that will shape the future of their city and region for years to come.
Yet, while the mayoral race is primarily grabbing all of the headlines, perhaps one of the most impactful issues facing Detroiters will be whether to vote “yes” or “no” on Proposal R and Proposal E. The Michigan Chronicle fully endorses “yes” votes on both Prop R and E for a variety of reasons that primarily, we feel, would ensure better economic opportunities for Black residents from reparations to the decriminalization of entheogenic plants.
A Case for Prop R
On July 21, Detroit City Council unanimously passed to have a ballot question proposed to citizens in the November general election. Per Ballotpedia, the ballot question will appear as:
“Should the Detroit City Council establish a Reparations Task Force to make recommendations for housing and economic development programs that address historical discrimination against the Black community in Detroit?”
The Reparations question has been discussed and presented as legislation in Congress by John Conyers and HR1 at the local level in the City of Evanston, Ill., in which an ordinance was passed to help address the housing disparity caused by the racial divide which started as Slavery, the Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus reported.
A “yes” vote supports creating a city reparations committee tasked with making recommendations for housing and economic development programs for Black Detroit residents, according to www.ballotpedia.com.
Michigan Democratic Black Caucus Chair Keith Williams is pro-reparations and is on a path toward addressing some of those needs with local political leaders he’s teamed up with to close the gap for Black Detroiters.
The plan will be funded by a 3 percent tax on recreational marijuana and donations, Williams confirmed.
Back in June, Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield passed a historic Reparations Resolution.
The effort garnered thousands of signatures (the deadline for signatures to put a reparations proposal on the November ballot was June 13) and succeeded in creating a committee to oversee the creation and development of a “Reparations Fund.”
This would be to make recommendations for funding allocations “to address historical discrimination against the Black community in Detroit,” according to the article.
“While it will take several lifetimes to fully repair the harm caused by slavery and the systemic oppression of African Americans in this country, the time has passed for us to embark upon this righteous journey,” Sheffield said in a statement. “Reparations is not only necessary to level the playing field for those impacted but it is imperative for America to maintain some semblance of moral authority in the world.”
Voting for Prop E
The Michigan Chronicle also supports the “yes” vote of Proposal E, which would legalize the therapeutic use of entheogenic drugs, according to Ballotpedia.
Proposal E reads:
“Entheogenic Plants: Shall the voters of the City of Detroit adopt an ordinance to the 2019 Detroit City Code that would decriminalize to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults and make the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority?”
A “yes” vote supports the measure by ballot initiative to:
- Decriminalize the possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants, including psilocybin mushrooms, peyote and iboga, and declare that police shall treat the possession and use of entheogenic plants by adults among the lowest law enforcement priorities.
The Michigan Chronicle supports a “yes” vote for Prop E because the Black community already has a history of being criminalized above and beyond in the judicial system because of inflated charges, unjust treatment, and more toward drug-related crimes. Decriminalizing the use of magic mushrooms, especially for medicinal purposes, is what the Black community needs.
Recently, Michigan State Senators Jeff Irwin of Washtenaw County and Adam Hollier of Detroit introduced Senate Bill No. 631 on September 2, 2021, proposing to decriminalize the manufacture, possession, delivery and use of entheogenic plants statewide in Michigan.
Keep the momentum going and vote “yes” on Proposal E.