Enviro, social justice activists rally in metro Detroit for Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan

By: - October 19, 2021 11:21 am

“We finally have the opportunity to pass something,” said Cindy Reese. “Pass the dang-on bill. This bill is really what we need.” | Ken Coleman

Environmental advocates and community justice groups held rallies in Detroit and Warren on Monday to urge passage of the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act, a measure that addresses climate change, immigration reform, education funding, rising health care costs and other measures.

“Government is about people,” said U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) during one of the rallies held at Pallister Park in Detroit. “We’re supposed to be about investing in people, in families and in children.”  

Mary Freeman, the wife of U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.), attended the Warren rally on his behalf, according to Levin’s district office.

Participating groups at the rallies included Sierra Club MI Chapter, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan People’s Campaign, Detroit Action, Mothering Justice, 482 Forward, MI Liberation, We The People – Action Fund, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, Michigan Climate Action Network and SEIU Michigan

On Aug. 24, the U.S House of Representatives passed the legislation. It is now being debated in the U.S. Senate. Two centrist Democrats, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, oppose parts of the plan and have called for less spending. The U.S. Senate is split between those who vote with Democrats and those who vote with Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, holds a tie-breaking vote.


Aisha Wells of Mothering Justice, a social-action nonprofit, called for Congress to support the measure. 

“As a mother of a disabled 14-year-old boy, I know exactly how it feels to go to the intensive care unit, then drop back to work, and then go back to the intensive care unit again,” said Wells. “It’s abysmal.”

Cindy Reese of Metropolitan Organizing Strategy for Enabling Strength, better known as MOSES, a metro Detroit social action group, said that millions of Americans would benefit from the legislation and can not believe that some Senate Democrats “are on the fence” regarding the legislation.

“We finally have the opportunity to pass something,” said Reese. “Pass the dang-on bill. This bill is really what we need.”

A call to the Michigan Republican Party on the events was not returned.

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman writes about Southeast Michigan, history and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on Black life in Detroit.