Todd Perkins: Kudos for Standing Up After the Ugly KKK Flag Display in Grosse Pointe Park

February 21, 2021, 12:21 PM

KKK Flag in Grosse Pointe Park

This commentary is by an attorney who lives Grosse Pointe Shores and met Friday with the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department. It's reposted from Facebook with permission.
By Todd Perkins

JeDonna Matthews Dinges
There are heroes in our community who need to be uplifted and supported.
One is JeDonna Matthews Dinges, a resident of Grosse Pointe Park who refused to be bullied or threatened by the hatred, ignorance and loathsome behavior of her neighbor, a white man who felt comfortable hanging a KKK sign in his window for this lady to see (and her family – it is a sign that faces the common area between the houses).
She did not back down, and she went to tell it on the mountain. From calling the FBI, the media and calling out the Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety.

Friday, several days after the sign was displayed for several hours, I had the pleasure of being her representative in a two-hour meeting with the acting chief and other representatives of the Grosse Pointe Public Safety.
Ms. Dinges, although hurt and angry about the treatment by those who are entrusted to protect and serve, was eloquent, exacting and demanding for accountability and a commitment for them to do better. To say I was proud would be an understatement.

I cannot overlook Greg Bowens, former president of the NAACP for Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods.  He introduced me to Ms. Dinges. He made this happen. He was present and made sure, along with Ms. Dinges, to demand more diversity in a department which has NONE. This is what Greg does, and he should be commended for his work in the community. But, this is not why he is my hero.

Todd Perkins" "We fail to see the fire."

Many see Greg as a statesman, being diplomatic, speaking the King’s English and an advocate for our community. But we fail to see the fire.

I saw it. He called out an officer for what he believed to be an intimidating tactic. While this story requires a separate post, it is important to know that Greg, like Ms. Dinges, is not afraid to voice his complaints about racial intimidation, racial bias, bigotry, unfairness and inequality (just to name a few).

I want to thank both of them for allowing me to be present and witness their individual greatness and their greatness in these moments. Let’s make sure to spend more time recognizing greatness in our community, in our fighters, our soldiers and our leaders.
A rally to protest the displaying of the KKK flag is scheduled Sunday at 2 p.m. in Grosse Pointe Park. It's hosted by the Grosse Pointes-Harper Woods NAACP, St. Paul AME and the Grosse Pointe Democratic Club. Click here for details.


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