Remembering Kenny Brinkley

Our good friend, Kenny Brinkley, has passed away. Kenny was 86 years old. Our condolences to his wife, Sandi, and to his many friends. As a young man, Kenny learned to play the saxophone. After a time in the army, Kenny returned to Detroit and got a job playing in the traveling band for a young Motown records. Kenny played horn on Stevie Wonder’s first hit: Fingertips.

Kenny made his living as a musician and in 1973 took over his aunt’s home on Taylor Street in Detroit. His aunt had lived there for 22 years, since 1951. Kenny and his wife Sandi lived in the home on Taylor Street until 2016. Kenny had become ill, Sandi had lost her job, and they were behind on property taxes. Aa tax scavenger from California, bought Kenny’s home at the 2014 tax auction. Kenny and Sandi came to Detroit Eviction Defense and fought a long and difficult battle to save their home.

Kenny stood his ground against the scavenger and his agents from Sussex Immobilier. Kenny stood with other families facing eviction from their homes. He was determined and kind and stood in solidarity with other workers and other people under attack. His spirit was strong.

With the support of DED and others, Kenny and Sandi were able to make very reasonable offers to Sussex to allow Kenny and Sandi to buy back their home and remain in their home. Sussex and their local agents had no interest in working with Kenny and Sandi, calling them and DED a bunch of “terrorists.” While Kenny and Sandi were still in the home, Sussex sent out a gang to cut down trees at the home. Sandi had heart attack, from which she has recovered. Kenny’s health failed. They had to move. Now Kenny has passed.
We honor Kenny’s memory. He was a fighter and a man with talent. He stood his ground and fought the best fight he could fight. He stood with other Detroiters against colonizers and absentee slumlords and the county treasurer who carried out the foreclosures. His strong heart now is still. His strong
spirit is with us and remains wherever ordinary people, working people are standing together in solidarity against oppression and racist attacks.

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