Detroit community activist becomes a county official. (Getty Images)

Rochelle Riley, the Detroit Free Press columnist, writes about Heaster Wheeler, a civil rights activist and community organizer who recently became a county official.

Heaster has entered the building.

Heaster Wheeler, that is. The passionate civil rights activist and community organizer known for always carrying protest signs in the trunk of his car has gone into government as Wayne County's newest assistant executive. From his 31st-floor office in the Guardian Building, the Detroit native who has been fiercely loyal to the city now must become fiercely loyal to the county and region.

He's already there.

"What happens in the city of Detroit ultimately impacts what the county looks like. There ain't no way to separate the two," Wheeler said at his desk — 3 miles and a world away from the headquarters of the Detroit Branch NAACP, where he spent 12 years as executive director.

Read Rochelle Riley's complete column in the Detroit Free Press.

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