Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, outside the McNamara Federal Building, December 30, 2006. The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice had called for protests against the lynching of Hussein. (Photo by Cheryl LaBash, WW).
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.
Mass Turnout Needed!!!
Supporters of Detroit artist Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts, are calling upon all people of conscience to turn out for a major demonstration and press conference at noon on Friday, March 23, 2007, to protest the assault on Pitts by an employee of the Epicurus Restaurant. The demonstration will be held in front of the restaurant which is located at 111 West Warren, between Cass and Woodward in Detroit. At that time, we will announce the demands for justice that we are making to the owners of the restaurant. Representatives of numerous community organizations, and progressive political leaders have been invited to speak at the demonstration.
This demonstration must be a show of strength and numbers as we are seeking to force the restaurant owners to negotiate with us. Demonstrators are urged to bring picket signs. We expect a large police presence, so demonstrators are encouraged to arrive on time, behave in a disciplined manner, and to disperse in an orderly manner promptly at 1:00 p.m. We are also urging people to bring video cameras to record the actions of the police and the restaurant owners.
The assault on Ibn occurred on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 when he entered the restaurant to use the restroom. A partial account of the incident in Ibn's own words follows: "Just as I turned to relieve myself, the door was jerked open and I saw this angry man proceeding upon me with his fists balled up. I put my head down and covered my face with my arms. He started hitting me and kicking me, then grabbing me around my shoulders and dragged me out of the washroom into the restaurant area, calling me foul names and slinging me towards the door. I hit my head and lost my hat as he threw me out the door."
For the past two weeks, a few of Ibn's supporters have protested daily, urging people of conscience to boycott of the restaurant. Ibn has filed a criminal complaint, which is currently in the hands of the Wayne County Prosecutor. He has also initiated steps to file a civil law suit. Detroit City Council members Kwame Kenyatta and JoAnn Watson, and Wayne County Commission Chair Jewel Ware have expressed their support for Pitts in his struggle for justice.
Ibn is 65-year-old artist, who was recently honored as the Artist of the Year by the Metro Times Newspaper. He is a longtime activist having been a member of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, the National Conference of Artists, and numerous other organizations. He is a member of the Council of Elders of the African Community of Detroit. Pitts has traveled to the Canary Islands, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana.