Half a century ago, a few dozen people, some of them from Michigan, did something terribly brave. They exercised their constitutional right to ride Greyhound buses throughout the south. They had interracial couples seated together, and African-Americans sitting up front. The U.S. Supreme Court had repeatedly ruled that segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminal facilities was unconstitutional, and therefore illegal. They were called Freedom Riders, and they began their crusade in May, 1961. They expected to be arrested. They were, but what happened to them first was much worse. They were attacked by white mobs wielding pipes and baseball bats, while the local police mostly stood by and did nothing. Walter Bergman, a law professor at Wayne State, was beaten so badly he spent the rest of his days in a wheelchair. A twenty-one year old future congressman named John Lewis had his skull fractured. When U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent a special observer to try and calm things, he was beaten unconscious. Local ambulances refused to take the wounded to the hospital. Eventually, national and world reaction was so powerful that Washington forced the states to protect the Freedom Riders. Before the summer ended, the administration ordered the Interstate Commerce Commission to end segregation on the buses and in the terminals. The Freedom Riders had won. More importantly, they inspired other civil rights actions that ended with the downfall of legal segregation. They were heroes. Today, however, few remember them. But that may be about to change, at least in Michigan. On Sunday morning, a bus full of thirty-seven teenagers and a dozen adult chaperones will leave Detroit and follow the Freedom Riders’ trail. The students, black white and Hispanic, will spend thirteen days visiting historic civil rights sites in Mississippi and Alabama, and being trained in the art of nonviolent protest at the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta in Georgia. They’ll meet with civil rights heroes like Diane Nash. One of their chaperones is the 89-year-old attorney and activist Dean Robb, who is bringing six teenagers from Leelanau County up north. All this happened because the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights decided it was essential. Cary McGehee is the group’s chair; its founder was her father, the legendary human rights activist Bishop Coleman McGehee. “A lot of high school students aren’t being taught their history,” Cary said, adding: “It is important they understand how we got where we are now, so that they can help move us forward to keep fighting for equal rights and justice.” Olivia Kinker, a sixteen year old from Northport, couldn’t agree more. In an essay she wrote in a successful attempt to be included, she said, “I have lived in a very small town all of my life. The Freedom Tour would allow me to step out of my comfort zone.” Olivia added, “even though immense victories were won in the civil rights movement, we are still waging a war on discrimination today, whether it is in bullying at school or in the fight for gay rights.” Cary McGehee told me she hopes this year‘s Freedom Tour will “help create some (new) social justice leaders.” After reading the essays of students like Olivia, I have a hunch McGehee's hopes are going to be fulfilled. Click here to read the original article and listen to the story as aired on Michigan Radio.
Channing Robinson-Holmes was featured in a biographical profile published by the Legal News. Read the full profile of Channing here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in coverage by television outlet WJRT/ABC/Flint regarding the process for filing claims in the Flint Water Crisis class action, in which the State of Michigan announced a proposed $600 million settlement....
MIchael Pitt was cited in an article published by the Traverse City Record-Eagle regarding the State of Michigan's proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the full report here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in The Hill (daily newsletter covering the federal govt. and national issues) as part of its coverage of the State of Michigan's proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action....
Detroit Free Press -- "Flint Water Crisis Legal Settlement Totals $600M, Creates Victim Compensation Fund"
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were cited in a Detroit Free Press report on the proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action and how the funds will be distributed. Read the entire article here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in a Detroit News article reporting on the process to be used for making claims in the Flint Water Crisis class action in which a $600 million settlement has been proposed. Read the entire article...
Michael Pitt and Trachelle Young were quoted in NBC News coverage of the State of Michigan's announcement of a proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were cited in WNEM/CBS/Saginaw coverage of the announcement by the State of Michigan on a proposed $600M settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Jennifer Lord was quoted in a Law360 "Access to Justice" feature examining problems experienced by thousands of Americans trying to collect unemployment benefits due to COVID-19-related layoffs and ongoing issues with automated...
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Bridge Michigan report on reaction to the announcement of a $600M Settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Washington Post report on the announcement of a $600 millon settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Legal News -- "Michigan Court of Appeals Affirms $388K Verdict for Jackson Educator in Whistleblower Lawsuit"
Megan Bonanni was quoted in a Legal News report on the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmation of a $388K verdict in the Pennie Davis whistleblower case against Jackson Schools. Read entire article here.
M. Pitt Cited in MLive Report on Midland Area Couple's Claim Filed Against the Federal Energy Resource Commission in Edenville Dam Collapse
Michael Pitt was quoted in MLive coverage of the claim filed against the Federal Energy Commission by a Midland Couple for property and personal damages caused by flooding after the collapse of the Edenville Dam in May 2020. The firm is representing Dan and Cathy Miller and filed a $1.25 million claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Read entire article here.
M. Pitt Cited in Bridge Magazine Report on Lawsuit Firm Filed Against Federal Energy Resource Commission
Michael Pitt was cited in Bridge Magazine coverage of the lawsuit filed by the firm against the Federal Energy Resouce Commission. The plaintiffs are Sanford, Mich. couple Cathy and Dan Allen whose home was severely damaged in mass flooding following the collapse of the Edenville Dam in May 2020.
Mike Pitt, Ted Leopold and Paul Stephen were referenced as plaintiffs' attorneys in a Midland Daily News report on the lawsuit filed June 25 in the Michigan Court of Claims. The coverage notes that the suit's 15 plaintiffs owned property and homes which were damaged or destroyed in the May 19 Midland area flooding caused by the collapse of the Edenville Dam. Read full article here.
Michael Pitt was cited in Detroit News coverage examining the lack of maintenance and repairs at the Edenville Dam and related issues regarding regulation of the dam prior to its collapse and subsequent flooding in the Midland area. Read full article here.
Micheal Pitt was cited in a Bridge Magazine report on the appointment of an independent team of investigators to look into the Edenville Dam failure which resulted in massive flooding and property damage in the Midland, Mich....
Jennifer Lord was cited in an article published by GOVERNING magazine regarding the breakdown in customer service at the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. Read full article here.
Crain's Detroit Business -- "Nonprofit Sues Canton Apartment Complex, Alleging Discrimination of Recovering Substance Abusers"
Robin Wagner and firm client Joseph Paliwoda were quoted in Crain's Detroit Business coverage of the Personalized Nursing LIGHT House vs. Crossings of Canton housing discrimination suit: Read full article here.