A coalition of Democrats, local religious leaders and activists are planning a rally in Detroit on Monday in support of Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers, who is accused of sexually preying on his female staffers demanding sexual favors from them.
The rally, first reported by the Detroit Free Press, is meant to send a message to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats who have called on Conyers to resign, after initially declining to do so. The rally will feature Democratic state representatives as well as local NAACP leaders, according to the paper. Conyers’ wife will also be present.
State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo suggested to the Free Press that the calls for Conyers to resign are racially motivated, claiming that Conyers is being treated differently than Democratic Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who is accused of serially groping women’s butts and breasts. (RELATED: Conyers’ Attorney Hints At ‘Allegations’ Against ‘Many Members’ Of The House And Senate)
“We always see a difference when the leader is a person of color. There’s a rush to judgement,” she told the paper. “It tells us that African Americans are disposable and that’s why people are not engaged in the political process. We’re just used to help carry the vote and we’re not going to accept that anymore.”
WATCH CNN POLITICIZE CONYERS’ SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDAL:
Sworn affidavits signed by four of his former staffers describe Conyers as a serial sexual harasser who preyed on young, female staffers and demanded sexual favors from them. He also allegedly abused taxpayer resources to pursue sexual relationships with women.
Conyers paid off one former staffer with more than $27,000 in taxpayer funds in exchange for her silence, after she accused him of sexually harassing her and then firing her for rebuffing his sexual advances.
One of Conyers’ own colleagues, California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, has referred to him as a “predator.”
Conyers has denied all wrongdoing and was not required to admit guilt as part of the settlement. So far, Conyers has indicated that he has no plans to resign. (RELATED: The Four Congressmen Under Pressure To Resign For Sexual Harassment)