Detroit activists not backing down in 'Sambo Awards' controversy
DETROIT (FOX 2) - The president of the Call Em Out Coalition is responding to outcry from Detroit's Police Chief James Craig and city water director Gary Brown after the coalition presented them with the "Sambo Award."
The president, Agnes Hitchcock, appeared on the Riddle@Random Radio Show.
"A Sambo is a negro who serves the interest of his oppressor over the interest of his own people," she said.
The "Sambo Awards" were given our last week at a dinner to honor former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young.
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"When Mayor Young left the city of Detroit, left office, the police department was 95 percent black. Today, the chief is lording over a 55 percent black police department," Hitchcock said.
During a press conference on Monday, Chief Craig addressed the criticism.
"Many African-Americans don't want to be a police officers, so we go through great pain to try to encourage and embrace," he said. "We certainly do a lot in the African-American community in terms of recruitment."
"If you can't find black police officers, you're a Sambo," Hitchcock said. "If you turn black people's water off in the city of Detroit, you're a Sambo."
Activist and radio host Sam Riddle was also present for last week's awards dinner and supports the decisions.
"Unapologetically, I was proud to MC the Sambo Awards to give light to the rampant racism and wealth inequality that's so prevalent in Detroit," he said.
The Call Em Out Coalition says it will not apologize for giving out the Sambo Award. Agnes Hitchcock made this request of Chief Craig live on the radio:
"Meet me on Woodward and Pingree this Thursday at 6 p.m.," Hitchcock said. "I'm telling him that, he wants an apology? We need to have a discussion. Bring the whole 150 nominees for the Sambo Dinner, bring the mayor, Mayor Duggan, bring Gary Brown."
Brown's office said it is declining that invite but the coalition wants that discussion to not only address officer recruitment and water shutoffs, but poverty in the city of Detroit.