Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991, in Washington DC, drafted and adopted 17 principles of Environmental Justice. Since then, The Principles have served as a defining document for the growing grassroots movement for environmental justice.
A Learning Journey in Detroit: A Brave New World Recreating Itself As Beloved Community
October 25-28, 2012
led by Margaret Wheatley in partnership with The Boggs Center of Detroit
and timed with the publication of Margaret’s new book
So Far From Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World
To register or for questions concerning this journey please contact in Detroit: Diane Reeder at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about the co-hosts, we encourage you to visit:
www.margaretwheatley.com or www.boggscenter.org
By Grace Lee Boggs
March 3rd, 2013
In his February 12 State of the Union address, President Obama referred, almost in passing, to the potential in 3D printing to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.
The following week, on February 21, the Home section of the New York Times featured a fascinating article about “A Factory on your Kitchen Counter.”
In this period of double digit joblessness, I hope that these two references to a new mode of digital production will encourage every concerned citizen to begin exploring how to implement it in our workplaces and communities.
Implementing digital production in our communities at this time on the clock of the world can be as profound and far-reaching as the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture 11,000 years ago and from agriculture industry four hundred years ago.
In his best-selling book, The Third Wave Alvin Toffler views a digital mode of production as the basis of a “prosumer economy” because it makes possible local production in small, medium and large quantities as needed.
A prosumer economy provides a local, consumer/community-initiated and consumer/community-controlled alternative to the globalized production which in the last few decades has been impoverishing and devastating our communities and cities while expanding and enriching corporations like Walmart.
To begin our understanding and exploration of digital production we need to distinguish between “additive“ and “subtractive” manufacturing. Wikipedia explains the distinction:
“Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process of making a 3 dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model.” It differs from today’s manufacturing process which is mostly subtractive, i.e. relies on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling.
Additive production is known as Digital Fabrication because it turns data into things.
In his article “How to make almost everything” in the Nov.-Dec. 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs, Neil Gershenfeld defines Digital Fabrication as “the ability to turn data into things and things into data.” He writes:
“A new digital revolution is coming, this time in fabrication. It draws on the same insights that led to the earlier digitizations of communication and computation, but now what is being programmed is the physical world rather than the virtual one. Digital fabrication will allow individuals to design and produce tangible objects on demand, wherever and whenever they need them. Widespread access to these technologies will challenge traditional models of business, aid, and education….. Many years of research remain to complete this vision, but the revolution is already well under way.”
Frithjof Bergmann, University of Michigan Emeritus Professor, New Work theorist and community catalyst, has been helping rural African women to manufacture dry compost toilets and to build homes in one day by using digital fabrication.
In Detroit Blair Evans is engaging young people in digital fabrication with Incite Focus. One of Evans’ uncles was the late Rev. Albert Cleage aka Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman, founder of the Shrine of the Black Madonna and of the Black Christian Nationalist Movement/BCN.
By Aljosie Aldrich Knight, National Council of Elders
March 10th, 2013
Fay Bellamy Powell, one of the South’s most amazing lifelong organizers for human rights, justice and social change, won’t be around to celebrate International Women’s Day this year. On January 4, 2013, she succumbed to cancer in Atlanta, Georgia.
On February 22 hundreds of people gathered in the auditorium of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in Atlanta to celebrate her life and legacy.
Fay’s life is a road map for young and old, searching for inspiration, clarity, and direction.
Growing up in the small town of Clairton, PA. not far from Pittsburgh, Fay suffered the discrimination and racism experienced by all African Americans, but in 1955, when she was 17, the brutal murder of 14 year-old Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi, transformed her consciousness. Just being concerned with her own life lost its flavor. Then, in 1963, when Fay heard of the four little girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, she knew, she said, that “play time was over.”
Searching for the “baddest” Civil Rights organization, Fay joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was assigned to Selma, Alabama, to run the field office. With top notch skills acquired in business school, she became “the glue of the field operation.” Between the demonstrations held every other day and under dangerous, hostile conditions, she wrote press releases, worked with national and international press, coordinated logistics, documented operations and participated in the second Selma to Montgomery March.
In 1965, with co-worker Silas Norman she went to Tuskegee, Alabama, to talk to Malcolm X and ask him to come to Selma to speak. There is a photo of her sitting next to Malcolm in the pulpit of Brown Chapel in Selma.
In her essay in Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women of SNCC, she writes how proud she was that Malcolm complimented the work SNCC was doing and said that he wanted to work with SNCC. Three weeks later he was assassinated in New York City.
After joining the national staff of SNCC in Atlanta, Fay started a newsletter, The African American, to enhance communication and unity between office staff and field staff. She pressed SNCC to open travel opportunities to rank and file staff. Her own travel opportunities included the USSR, Europe, and Central Asia. During these trips, meeting with local people and learning more about liberation struggles, she grew in international consciousness.
Elected to SNCC’s Coordinating Committee and Executive Committee, Fay strongly supported black power, African liberation struggles, Palestinian Independence, and protested against the War in Vietnam. Her co-workers, James Forman and Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) are publicly recognized but nobody worked harder than Fay Bellamy Powell. After long work days, she volunteered nights in the law office of SNCC attorney, Howard Moore, Jr. In a letter read at the celebration of her life, Moore said that he would not have been able to handle the high volume of legal cases without Fay’s skilled typing and transcribing work.
Like most women, Fay Bellamy Powell, did not operate on just one front. She co-founded WRFG Radio Free Georgia (www.wrfg.org), a station dedicated to progressive information. Her show, “Inside Out”, remained on the air for 26 years. The program combined jazz, news, social commentary, and interviews. An initial focus on prison issues gained her a following with inmates at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. Her strong, loving, intelligent, socially conscious, no nonsense qualities made her a mentor to many young women who are now community organizers and activists. She also developed her artistic and entrepreneurial capacities by converting some of her landscape photographs into greeting cards which she printed or mounted as wall art and sold to an appreciative audience.
Fay was my cherished friend, talented co-worker at the Institute of the Black World, a fierce worker for social justice and exemplar of female leadership.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to recall the life and legacy of leaders for these times. It is a day to gather our daughters and granddaughters as well as our sons and grandsons to read about the lives and legacies of women leaders. It is a day to talk with them about the children of Selma, Alabama who were the backbone of the Selma Movement, to read about Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Wangari Maathai (Unbowed: a Memoir, 2007), Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (My Beloved World, 2013) and 97 year-old philosophic activist Grace Lee Boggs (Living for Change: An Autobiography, 1998). Turn off the televisions and other electronic devices. Spend time together talking about women leaders in your community or your family.
I plan to share stories about “Ma B”, my mother, Mamie Aldrich Baker, a self-appointed community leader during my childhood in Salisbury, NC.
I will remind my children and grandchildren that we are the leaders we have been waiting for.
The mission of AIHFS is to help ensure the survival of Native families and individuals by providing acceptable quality health care and by supporting the healing process. We encourage, educate and empower our clients as they seek and maintain wellness, and as they enhance the quality of their lives. We facilitate the quality and accessibility of comprehensive health care for the Native American community.
The Beloved Community Center is committed to fostering and modeling a spirit of community based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.” In this spirit, we envision and work toward social and economic relations that affirm and realize the equality, dignity, worth and potential of every person. Click on a working group to learn more about who we are.
By Shea Howell
April 14th, 2013
This week the Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) firmed up the foundation of his operation. After reinstating the pay of elected city council members, the EFM announced they were welcome to meet, but he has the final say. All decisions are his alone. A few days later, a consulting firm recommended that the City Council be reduced to part time and cut its staff.
The consulting firm of Conway Mackenzie of Birmingham was paid $4.2 million dollars for its recommendation that would reduce the counsel staff from 115 to 37 and “save” the city $7.4 million in expenses. We the citizens are no doubt to assume that a part time council with virtually no staff will be effective in answering our concerns about lighting, public safety and general civic business. After all, citizens have been assured that the EFM will make sure city services improve.
This is absurd. The point of all of this was for the EFM to provide some political cover for difficult decisions and some protection from the federal lawsuit pointing out the unconstitutionality of this whole scheme. But the EFM also wanted to make clear he is the one paying the bills, so he is in charge. The real bottom line is that the Governor and his cronies control the assets and revenues of the City of Detroit.
In this moment, the decision by the Sierra Club of Michigan, Detroit Chapter, to release its State of the Environment Report is welcome. It is a well-researched, thoughtful document, raising important questions about ecological justice and environmental policies. At a press conference in front of the Detroit Works Project (Detroit Future City)
Executive Director Rhonda Anderson said simply, “We have in the City of Detroit, in the area of 48217 (ZIP Code), River Rouge and Ecorse, the most polluted areas in the state of Michigan.”
As significant as the data in the report is, the context given by the Sierra Club for conducting it is crucial. The Sierra Club raises the question of public integrity. It is offering a clear standard of accountability on the part of non-profit organizations in our city.
In the opening paragraph of the report they acknowledge that Detroit Works (DWP) asked the Sierra Club to collaborate on an Environmental Report. After becoming engaged in the process, the Sierra Club determined three important things. First, they believed that the DWP lacked “genuine community direction and protections.” Second that their “membership includes individuals and organizations that perpetuate environmental injustices,” and, third, the DWP was faced with a significant “conflict of interest.”
While applauding the blue and green emphasis within the Strategic Framework, the Sierra Club pinpoints the core decision of the DWP, to channel resources to some “target areas of the city while neglecting others remains intact and fundamentally contradicts the principles of environmental justice.”
They also conclude that DWP plan “offers nothing toward alleviating existing environmental justice hazards” and that the “continued push of privatization of public lands and resources with respect to land use, air and water quality is also not addressed and remains a concern.”
The clear, forceful introduction of these principles into public debate is essential. The report calls for “Complete and transparent independence from any entities significantly contributing to environmental hazards in the city” and argues that this “is critical if local environmental groups intend to advocate on behalf of the general public.”
The Sierra Club’s bold, clear action is part of the growing effort by Detroiters to not only carve out a new political space, but to clarify the values and responsibilities of all those who claim to speak on behalf of the people.
Based in Southwest Detroit, Bridging Communities Inc. is a grassroots collaborative involving local unions, businesses, residents, social service and faith-based organizations working together to create caring communities where people of all ages can live in dignity in Southwest Detroit. Our work improves the quality of life for the elders of Southwest Detroit by meeting their needs and the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods, through creative collaboration and innovative programming.
The programs of CCSS began as a part of Cass Community United Methodist Church. The church is a diverse and vibrant congregation. The 11 a.m. Sunday worship services are loud and lively, mixing traditional music and liturgy with gospel selections, contemporary skits, and motivating sermons.
Throughout the week, the Cass congregation offers a variety of educational, recreational and volunteer activities that include weeknight programs for children and youth, an adult book club and cycling group, music classes and choir rehearsals, as well as men’s basketball.
Coalition Against Police Brutality and Peace Zones for Life present:
JAZZ and JUSTICE pre-election fundraiser!
OCTOBER 21, 2012 from 5pm – 9pm
Detroit Yacht Club 1 Riverbank Drive, Det, MI 48207
Guest Speakers Danny Glover, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. & Honorable Judge Claudia Morcom
Musical performance by Pianist Bill Meyer, Det’wah and more . . .
$100 – reception and event
$75 – event only
Table for 10 – $750 or $1000
Click here to download the flyer: Community Concert
Saturday, October 20, 2012
7:30pm – 9:30pmMarygrove Theater (Liberal Arts Building) 8425 McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221
In our quest for humane responses to gentrification, foreclosures, school closures, joblessness, emergency managers, transportation cuts, and police brutality, people are working diligently every day to re-imagine everything from democracy to public safety, education and work. This year, as we commemorate the 50th Anniversaries of Malcolm X’s Message to the Grassroots at the historic King Solomon Church, Dr. King’s march on Woodward in Detroit before over 100,000 people and James Boggs’ epic release of The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook, we invite the world to join us as we come together again this summer to build on the abundant soul growth that we experienced in Detroit last July.
Through the Detroit Asian Youth Project, Hmong American and other Asian American youth in Detroit develop leadership skills and awareness of their identity, community, and social justice issues. DAY Project has had two successful summer intensive programs as well as a weekly mentoring program focused on preparing for college. The youth often collaborate with Detroit Summer on community projects.
FYI.. Please get the word out.
Congress of Communities
8638 W. Vernor Hwy.
Detroit, MI 48209
Phone: 313-384-2173 cell
Phone: 313-914-5315 office
From: Ed Egnatios [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2011
Good Neighborhoods Leaders:
The Earn and Learn program starts today. This is a subsidized employment
program targeting 18-24 year olds who are out-of-school and/or high risk.
This is a jobs program and is very positive in potential for our
neighborhood residents. There are only 850 slots over the next 18 months but
you can connect some of your young adults, especially young males of color,
black and brown, with this employment option which is supported with
learning opportunities and services.
To enroll, an applicant must visit a Detroit Workforce Development
Department One-stop Shop and receive a referral. This is a quick process
(as I have been told). These sites include the location at Conner and I94
multi-service center (on the east side); ACCESS employment center on Shaefer
(in Dearborn but is the largest provider of employment services to
Detroiters), and the center at Focus Hope ( Oakman and Linwood) in the NW
corner of Northend. There are other one-stop shops as well.
I know it is a holiday weekend but my concern is that this opportunity will
fill up fast and I want to have a strong percentage of our residents,
particularly young black and brown men of color, to have the opportunity to
participate in this. I also think that this program will be effective – both
in immediate income and in the potential for long-term successful
employment. Linda West and Southwest Solutions are running the program but
the referrals must come through DWDD’s one-stop shops.
Therefore, I need your help. Please help to get the word out asap…
Edward S. Egnatios
Program Director, Neighborhoods
The Skillman Foundation
100 Talon Centre Drive, Suite 100
Detroit, MI 48207
The Hope District is a community in Detroit, MI that starts on Van Dyke & Forest and ends at Cadillac. The organization’s mission is: Jobs & Affordable Housing for Everyone
It’s objectives are to:
Provide a Friendly Environment
Provide a Pleasant Experience for Volunteers
Provide Work Readiness and Skill Training using Technology
Provide Business Opportunity in Construction & Technology
Provide Housing Assistance and Jobs to Recent Immigrants
Provide Relevant Community Resources and Assistance
ProvideOne Major Annual Fund raiser a Year
The organization’s values include: being courteous, treating everyone with equal friendliness, and encouraging businesses to have a workforce reflective of the community.
The Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC) works to preserve and revitalize the Grandmont Rosedale communities of northwest Detroit. We are a non-profit organization formed and operated by neighborhood residents who care about our community and want to see it maintained as a great place to live and do business.
Green Acres Woodward Civic Association is a member of the neighborhood networking organization Neighborhoods, USA. Neighborhoods, USA is a national non-profit organization committed to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations. Created in 1975 to share information and experiences toward building stronger communities, NUSA now continues to encourage networking and information sharing to facilitate thedevelopment of partnerships between neighborhood organizations, government and the private sector.
Tyree Williams has been selected as 1 of 4 high school students in the Country to debate at the Smithsonian Institute in DC for Policy Debate the week of April 17th, and of course his super proud mom, Tawana Petty who attends nearly everything, wants to be there front and center. However, due to recent car expenses, health expenses, etc., she cannot afford the trip to support him.
Please help Tawana to go support her son in Washington, DC.
The Marygrove College Institute for Detroit Studies presents a Defining Detroit event:
Henry Ford and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black Detroit
Lecture, Discussion, Booksigning featuring: Beth Tompkins Bates
Weds, October 17, 2012 at 7:30pm
Main Dining Room, Madame Cadillac Building
Marygrove College, 8425 W. McNichols at Wyoming, Detroit, MI
Free and Open to the Public
For more info, call 313-927-1291
Huntington Woods Peace, Citizenship,and Education Project. We are residents of Huntington Woods, Michigan — joined by friends and activisits in neighboring communities — who are deeply troubled by our country’s current foreign policy. This reckless pursuit of war and aggression does not make us feel safer in our homes. In fact, it increases the threat of terrorism for all of us, and risks the lives of our young soldiers for ill-considered reasons.
The Hush House offers leadership training, programs for homeless and low income families, space for community meetings and operates a community black world history museum.
New Michigan Media Conference:
Immigration and Michigan’s Economic Future
Monday, July 18, 2011
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wayne State University
McGregor Memorial Conference Center and Community Arts Auditorium
The New Michigan Media Conference brings together policy and business leaders to discuss the impact of immigration in the state and regional economy. Highlighting this statewide conference will be Governor Rick Snyder, who will deliver his first major speech on this topic.
New Michigan Media is a network of the state’s ethnic and minority media. Their conference is presented in collaboration with Global Detroit; it is sponsored by the McCormick Foundation and the New Economy Initiative.
There is no cost to attend, and lunch will be provided.
RSVP at specialevents.wayne.edu/nmmsummer11conf.
For more information about New Michigan Media please visit us at http://newmichiganmedia.com/
Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership – For nearly forty years, the Boggs’ home at 3061 Field St. has been a community center and think-tank drawing together individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds. People from around the world have come to create and discuss visions and strategies relating to local community struggles, workers’ movements, and global campaigns for social justice.
We stand in active opposition to forces that suppress human dignity, freedom and justice. From a position of solidarity with those who suffer oppression and injustice locally and globally, MCHR will promote awareness and commitment to human rights through education, community organization, and action
By Grace Lee Boggs
March 17th, 2013
Detroit’s international Women’s Day Celebration on Saturday, March 9, at the UAW-GM Center was more moving and revealing than any of the many IWD celebrations in which I have participated over the years.
Co-hosted by the UAW Women’s Department and the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, the celebration brought together hundreds of women from many different walks of life and generations.
The theme was LISTEN TO WOMEN FOR A CHANGE!
Besides short talks by UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada and myself, it featured a series of workshops which demonstrated that women are the ones needed to give leadership on the many critical issues now facing everyone in our city and country:
-Taking Back Our Households
-Creating Peace Circles: From War Zones to Peace Zones
-Making a Splash at the Ballot Box
-What’s Love got to do with it? (HIV)
-Seeing Past Hell and onto Hope
Workshop leaders included Andre A Jackson, Julia Putnam, Conja Wright, Bonnie Smith, Deb Kozol, Stephanie Purvis, Wanda Latham, Rev. Sandra Simmons.
In all the workshops it became clear that women are effective leaders because we/they have ways of communicating, caring, and compromising that are specially needed at this time on the clock of the world.
The celebration concluded with a multi-generational conversation.
The IWD organizers will be meeting Wednesday, March 20, 5 p.m. at Solidarity House , 8000 E. Jefferson, Detroit 48214.
Living by the Clock of the World: Grace Lee Boggs’ Call for Visionary Organizing
By: Matthew Birkhold
April 17, 2012
In response to a question regarding advice for young activists, 96 year old movement veteran Grace Lee Boggs recently told Hyphen Magazine that activists should turn our backs on protest organizing because it “leads you more and more to defensive operations” and “Do visionary organizing” because it “gives you the opportunity to encourage the creative capacity in people and it’s very fulfilling.” This quote made its way around facebook, twitter, and tumblr, as fans of Grace reposted it like it was common sense while others thought the quote bordered on conservatism.
We stand in active opposition to forces that suppress human dignity, freedom and justice. From a position of solidarity with those who suffer oppression and injustice locally and globally, MCHR will promote awareness and commitment to human rights through education, community organization, and action.
Pax Christi Michigan works to bring about peace locally, nationally, and globally through prayer, study, and action. We are rooted in spirituality, dedicated to studying issues of justice from the vantage point of all those involved, and espouse working for peace with justice through nonviolent conflict resolution
The Peoples’ Movement Assembly (PMA) is a movement by the people, for the people, and of the people of Detroit
We stand on the principles of the Declaration of Human Rights, the Earth Charter, and the Environmental Justice Principles. From this frame we bring the voice of Detroiters in communities with no voice
We believe that Detroit has rich history and we want to build on existing strengths
* We believe in improvement of the quality of life of Detroiters by providing all with a quality education, and eliminating poverty, joblessness, homelessness, and pollution
* We believe in a grassroots approach and that self-determination should be the voice of the PMA and that the city’s foundations and funding communities cannot dictate the role of Detroiters without involving them in the consultation and planning related to their city.
Neighborhoods are communities that value their history, memory, and identity. These are assets that people need not only to survive but to thrive.
Rightsizing, in the guise of urban renewal without the full involvement and approval of the residents (bottom/up) will impoverish our city
We reject the notion that refusal of services as an “incentive” and reject this form of eminent domain through economic, social, and environmental coercion
By Grace Lee Boggs
April 7th, 2014
The Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership (BCNCL) has issued a new edition of Revolution in the 21st Century (65pp. $5.00).
It was originally published in 2010.
The contents of the 2010 edition were:
Changing Concepts of Revolution
Rediscovering the American Past
Naming the Enemy
Toward a Self-Governing America
Re-affirming Self-Evident Truths
Neighborhood Peace Pledge
Neighborhood Peace Codes
Two new articles have been added to the 2013 edition.
Re-Imagining Work: Another Production is Possible by Richard Feldman
New Work & New Culture by Barbara Stachowski
As the American revolution continues to gain momentum, BCNCL is hosting an increasing number of movement groups from different parts of the country.
For example, a few weeks ago we enjoyed a visit from Movement Generation, a Justice and Ecology group rom the Bay area which is traveling to different cities in order to establish connections between local movement organizations.
In New England they will spend time with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in the Roxbury-Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston.
MG’s members are mostly people of color. Carla Maria Perez, a founder, is a community organizer of Native/Latin American heritage who graduated from UC Berkeley in 1999 with a BS in Conservation & Resource Studies with an emphasis on Environmental Racism.
We are hearing from university professors from around the country that their students want to become more involved. A number of professors include both The Next American Revolution and Living for Change in their syllabus.
Professors from local universities who feel the need of their students to connect their studies to the struggle developing in Detroit are also bringing their classes to the Boggs Center.
During the Civil Rights decade-the 1960s-Reverend Cleage became increasingly Afro-centric in his thought. He changed his name to Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman and then developed an Afro centric version of Christianity, so he renamed his church, The Shrine of the Black Madonna. He contended that Christ and many of his disciples were African in origin and suggested that Europeans had captured and twisted Christianity to assist in their enslaving Africans. He argued strongly for African American control of their own fate.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at Michigan and Trumbull in Corktown, is a small discipleship community with a large legacy of ministry and hospitality. We have strong relationships with two Detroit Catholic Worker houses, The Jeanie Wylie Community and Day House. With the latter, we co-sponsor Manna Community Meal, a daily soup kitchen, and along with them are committed to urban gardening. Out of local need we are exploring community based restorative justice. Ministries hosted and begun at St Peter’s include: Freedom House, Alternatives for Girls, COTS (Coalition on Temporary Shelter), WARM Training, and Young Detroit Builders. Our Sunday worship mixes Anglican liturgy with Methodist, Taize chant with folk and gospel, sacrament with Word and contemplative prayer.
Click here to download the flyer: The 8th Annual Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit Conference
October 19 – 21, 2012
Connect, Collaborate and Celebrate!
Speakers and workshops on sustainability and eco-justice movements.
“Growing Resilient Communities”Marygrove College 8425 McNichols Rd. Detroit, MI 48221
Learn more and register at: www.GLBD.org
Inspired by our community, The Yes Farm is a collective of artists acting as urban farmers, teachers and builders in the Near East side of Detroit.
Fueled by social awareness and environmentally conscious actions: we re-purpose salvaged materials from abandoned and burnt-out houses and factories to rebuild our gallery and homes, work with our community to maintain and expand the large amount of cultivated land, and are personally determined to bring a more attainable understanding of the arts through hands-on workshops and informative art shows.
By Marcia Lee
March 31st, 2013
For the past four years Forbes magazine has ranked Detroit as the most violent city in the nation. Some might argue that this is because we are a city without much financial capital and/or because there are too many guns on the street. Although there is truth in both these statements , I believe, as my colleague Henry McClendon likes to say, “The problem is not that we have a violence problem in Detroit; it’s that we have a relationship problem.”
There was a time when we did not go to the police to solve problems in our communities. Instead we would gather with the people in our communities, with our cousins and elders. Together we would solve conflicts in our communities.
There was a time when the focus was on listening to what people said had happened and working with the people who had been impacted to resolve the problem instead of forced separation and punishment. There was a time when elders guided younger generations and younger generations worked with elders to maintain the community.
Now is a good time to work not only to resolve conflicts after they occur, but to create spaces for healthy relationships that will mean fewer conflicts. Now is a good time to recall older practices, to build relationships with our neighbors, and to rediscover creative and community-guided solutions. Now is a time to share our stories and learn from each others’ wisdom.
This is the focus of restorative justice: working with people in our/their own communities to bring healing to the people who have been harmed by violence and conflict. We work on healing wounds and holding people accountable for their actions.
In line with this vision and in response to horrible violence, the Detroit Area Restorative Justice Center and Corktown Restorative Justice Network were born.
Over the past couple of years small groups have been meeting to envision how to work together to create peace zones in our city. We now have an office in the Hive Space at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
We host trainings on Introduction to Peacemaking Circles and a Speakers Series on alternating months. The office is currently open on Tuesdays if people want to drop in to talk through a conflict or set up an appointment. With the Corktown group, our focus is on supporting people who live in Corktown, but we are also happy to work with people or organizations in other areas to support them in resolving conflicts.
On April 27th, from 9am-4pm , we will be hosting a gathering for Restorative Justice practitioners to come together to learn from each other and create a vision of how to make Detroit into the Restorative Justice City in the United States. Grace Lee Boggs will begin the day for us by sharing her vision.
If you have questions about the Restorative Justice work happening in Detroit or want to become involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together we can make this vision come to life, one relationship at a time.
UNAs are non-partisan secular groups working to support and inspire. The Greater Detroit Chapter hopes to build a river of friends who participate in love and service to our world through our talents, creativity, and sincerity.
As a local chapter, we are dedicated to help bring education, awareness, and inspiration to one another through our united efforts and collaboration with like-minded friends.
The US Social Forum is more than a conference, more than a networking bonanza, more than a reaction to war and repression. The USSF will provide space to build relationships, learn from each other’s experiences, share our analysis of the problems our communities face, and bring renewed insight and inspiration. It will help develop leadership and develop consciousness, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world.
The Veterans of Hope Project is a multifaceted educational initiative on religion, culture and participatory democracy. We encourage a healing-centered approach to community-building that recognizes the interconnectedness of spirit, creativity and citizenship. Our educational materials are designed to support reconciliation, nonviolence and an appreciation for the value of indigenous and folk wisdom for contemporary times.
Virginia Eubanks’ 2012 Book Tour
Monday, October 22, 2012 at 5pm
4201 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI
For more info.: 313-832-1155
Or visit www.digitaldeadend.com
WARM Training Center promotes the development of resource efficient, affordable, healthy homes and communities through education, training and technical assistance.
By Shea Howell
March 31st, 2013
As Kevyn Orr assumes civil powers in Detroit, the mainstream media has launched a campaign to tell us all how glad we should be that such a fine person now has charge of everything. They have shared a “glimpse” of his personal life, detailed facts about his career, and generously overlooked embarrassing tax questions or potential conflicts of interest. They have assured us that he wants to extend “a sincere olive branch and an opportunity for us to work together.”
They have also taken a curious turn in their arguments for why we should all welcome the loss of our democratic rights. It seems we will now have safe streets, with the street lights Stephen Henderson has so longed for back on, and wonderful city services.
In one of the most curious guest editorials I have ever read, former city council woman Shelia Cockrel argued that “Voting is a fundamental right, of course, but isn’t the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of equal importance?” Professor John Patrick Leary offers a critical analysis of this position concluding, “Cockrel’s retail approach to democracy is also a misunderstanding of how rights work: in a truly democratic society, it’s not life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, best two out of three, but all of them, together, of equal importance. You can’t lose one without degrading the others. To rationalize otherwise means that this sort of liberalism is really as bankrupt as the city is about to be.”
This idea of swapping democracy for city services is revealing both for the shallowness of the understanding of fundamental rights and for what is dropped out of the justification for the EFM. The financial rationale is no longer being advanced. Rather it appears as a given background statement of fact labeled “the budget crisis” or “financial emergency.” This is usually followed by the oft -repeated figures of a $327 million deficit and long term debt of $14 billion.
The fact that many analysts question the financial justification for the appointment of an EFM is overlooked.
No one disputes that Detroit, like other cities around the globe, faces serious structural challenges. But many of us do dispute that this crisis constitutes an emergency justifying the loss of local, democratic, self -determination. Tom Barrow recently noted, “Detroit has not missed a single bond payment, interest payment, or payroll.”
Shifting the argument from finances to city services allows those who support the EFM to obscure the State’s role in creating this financial crisis. It is important to remember that since 1998 Detroit’s annual revenue sharing has plunged 46 percent to $181.6 million projected for the current fiscal year from $333.9 million.
Further, it obscures the role of Wall Street bankers. A recent article in Businessweek reported, “The only winners in the financial crisis that brought Detroit to the brink of state takeover are Wall Street bankers who reaped more than $474 million from a city too poor to keep street lights working.”
It also deflects attention away from the shifting mood in Lansing, where republican lawmakers are talking about releasing money to Detroit. Republican representatives John Walsh, Jase Bolger and Randy Richardville are reported open to financial support for the city.
This new openness in Lansing, as well as the philanthropic and law enforcement collaboratives announced by the Mayor, underscore the central element of this takeover.
It is not about improving the quality of life for Detroiters. It is about power and control. The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness will not come from an EFM whose job is to privatize our city. It depends on what we can create in our own communities.
By Grace Lee Boggs
February 24th, 2013
In my last column I called attention to the solutionary/revolutionary role that women play when one society is coming to an end and a new one is emerging because women’s work of raising and caring for home and family is ongoing. It never stops and it doesn’t count the hours.
This is what is happening in India today, according to an article by Frances Moore Lappe who spoke with members of the Deccan Development Society network of 5,000 women farmers in 70 Indian villages who are ending hunger by growing organic, diverse food crops, at the same time creating new lives of courage, dignity, and inclusion.
When Lappe asked them what it was like 20 years ago, they replied:
“We were so poor that in the rainy season our hut floors would turn to mud and we had to pile up branches to sleep on. We were always hungry. We depended on government ration cards. Sometimes the big landowner would pay us for a job with some grains and that would be the only food for our children. We were so poor we had only one sari—not even a second one to change into when we bathe.
“My husband was a gambler, he was not ever here. I lived on sorghum and broken rice. Our life was dictated by bigger people. We had to suffer, even if they beat us. It was a dark time.”
“Then we started meeting, talking. Every week now, at nine in the evening our sanghams [groups of women] come together and make decisions together. We tell each other our problems. If someone was abused, all of us go together to confront him. And now if there is a conflict in our village, they call on us. Through the sanghams, we’ve reclaimed the land. We don’t use any chemicals. We grow as many as 25 crops on an acre or two.”
The movement has grown exponentially because the women film their activities to spread the word to a largely illiterate population.