By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Two weeks after the statue of former Mayor Orville Hubbard was removed from the grounds of the Dearborn Historical Museum, 915 S. Brady, demands to rename Hubbard Drive and the Hubbard Ballroom are being made by protesters.
A Dearborn for Black Lives protest and march June 14 began at the police station just across the Hubbard Ballroom inside the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center and concluded at Hubbard Drive.
“We will not allow our city to continue to uphold and celebrate a known racist and segregationist, I hope that sinks in to everyone here today,” protest organizer Amanda Saab said as she addressed the protesters. “The only thing mattering to me today as a mother, as a human, as an Arab-American and as a Muslim is black lives matter.
State Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Dearborn) followed and said the past few weeks have been very trying, but that she will continue to fight to make sure that there are policies in place for police department accountability as well as for systemic injustices impacting black people.
“We have been standing up for many plus years for what is right, but it is a time in our country — in our world — that things must and shall change,” she said. “We will continue to make sure that black lives matter because until there’s injustice against one of us, there is injustice against all of us.”
“We have to maintain a presence,” state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-15th District) said. “We have to be vigilant and persistent in order for us to see the reforms that we’re asking for.”
City Councilwoman Erin Byrnes said the purpose of the protest was to stand together and say black lives matter, but also to demand justice, transparency and change.
“In order to create change we have to have not only sustained dialogue, but sustained action,” she said.
She spoke about the proposal she brought to city council on a naming and renaming policy with regard to city facilities. The proposal passed unanimously.
“I want to share with everyone, we are in the process of taking Mayor Hubbard’s name off the ballroom,” Byrnes said. “That is happening this summer. But of course you know that’s not enough. We’re marching today down and towards Hubbard Drive. We have Hubbard Manor East and Hubbard Manor West. We still have roads and facilities in our city that carry the name of a known racist and segregationist and put them in a place of honor. That has to change.”
After Hubbard’s bronze statue was removed from the Dearborn Historical Museum grounds June 5, his family took ownership and plans to place it at his gravesite in Union. Before its removal, a Black Lives Matter T-shirt was placed on the statue.
Hubbard was mayor from 1942 to 1977, during which time he helped build Camp Dearborn and kept the city clean and safe. As well, he was also known for his thoughts on segregation and use of racial slurs.
In 1989, the bronze statue was displayed outside city hall — now the Artspace City Hall Lofts — and moved to the museum grounds in 2014 after the city sold the complex.
The city moved the statue to Garrison and Brady in 2015, but two years later it was moved again to the side of the McFadden-Ross House where it was less visible.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])