BENTON HARBOR, MI — A spirited birthday celebration for Rev. Edward Pinkney, on October 27 in Benton Harbor, MI, drew family, friends, and activists from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, California and even Denmark. Rev. Pinkney’s daughter Latoya Williams sang for the gathering, commenting that she “loved everything about the party.” Marvin Haywood thanked the reverend for his “support for the Benton Harbor community and concern for justice for those who have no voice.” Dorothy Pinkney said her husband’s “70th celebration was very successful with an amazing turn out.”
The highlight of the evening was actress and activist Jane Fonda. “You are a brave man Rev. Pinkney” said the actress who spoke about low wage women and the One Fair Wage proposal on the ballot in Michigan, and the need to get out the vote. “It’s unconscionable what they are doing to black voters across the country. They don’t want you to vote. We need to get people into office that don’t think that Whirlpool and Senior PGA is more important than the rights of people in Benton Harbor,” said Fonda.
Patrissa Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, said the One Fair Wage is about “who is deserving to feed their children, have shelter, and live a life of dignity.” She honored the victims and survivors of the temple shootings in Pittsburg, adding that, “So many of us have to survive a government and vigilantes that see us as part of their sacrifice.”
Benton Harbor resident Emma Kinnard said, “It was an honor that Jane Fonda took the time out to come to a little town like Benton Harbor.” Claire McClinton, after wishing Rev. Pinkney a very happy birthday, said, “Flint is the face of abandonment and man made disaster foisted upon the people, compromising our health and lives, and you, Rev Pinkney, are the face of resistance to the dismantling of democracy in this state.”
“We must fight to keep legislators from choosing corporate interests over the interests of the workers,” said Rev. Pinkney. “We must confront the legislators, along with the corporations who stand behind them, and keep up the fight after the elections.”