6th Annual International Women’s Day by Kim Sherobbi & Rick Feldman

6th Annual International Women’s Day
Women Creating a World Without Walls:Real Problems and Real Solutions:
Kim Sherobbi & Rick Feldman

Women Creating Caring Communities brought together more than 500 women and men to network, discuss, question, explore and plan for collective actions, individual transformation and deepen our commitment to creating community, growing our souls and ending the violence. This was the 6th annual event commemorating International Women’s Day in Detroit.

photo 4

Nicole Current of the UAW and Kim Sherobbi of the Boggs Center and the Birwood Block Club co-chaired the event. The day began with a remembrance of Grace Lee Boggs who cofounded the event with Cindy Estrada of the UAW.  A video of Grace speaking challenging us all to create Solutions and imagine possibilities for ourselves and our cities.  Kim ended  this section with the poem:  We are the Children of Martin and Malcolm and emphasized it our time to create a new dream for these times.  Cindy Estrada, UAW-VP, then addressed the filled to capacity auditorium and the overflow live stream area focusing on the importance of responding to the growing anger and fear in our country with a commitment to organize a movement and to grow our souls.

photo 3
The opening panels were multi-generational, engaging high school students, grass roots leaders, organizers and elders discussing environmental racism in the Flint Water poisoning and the Detroit and Highland Park Water shut-offs. Panelists emphasized the Water Affordability proposal in Detroit based on ability to pay. This would make water affordable and keep cash flowing into the system. Panelists also talked about the increased pollution and disregard for community emerging from the Marathon Oil expansion in southwest Detroit and the expanding of the hazardous waste sites on the east side.  The stories and courage of people to break the silence about these disasters inspired participants.

The second panel focused on the crisis in education. Panelists discussed the role of the Emergency manager, the dangerous results from the bankruptcy, and called for the creation of Freedom schools to take responsibility to educate our children as schools fail us.

The final panel highlighted court challenges and legal solutions to issues facing us. Voting and supporting the state wide policy initiatives around water as a human right were emphasized. State Representative Stephanie Chang, who has lead the fight in Lansing around water spoke to the group and encouraged people to call their representatives to support the bills.

Shea Howell of the Boggs Center challenged the group to remember our history. As dark and dangerous as these times are, people for generation have found ways to struggle, to advance our communities, and to become more human. It is time for all of us to join in and find our part in the humanizing struggle that is unfolding in our communities and our country.

The panels emphasized the role of courageous individuals to speak out, organize and build upon the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. They echoed his challenge to Break the Silence and struggle against the evil triplets of racism, militarism and materialism.  

Throughout the day, more than 40 organizations were available for people to volunteer to work on community issues or to learn more about creating safe, caring communities through direct actions.

photo 2 (1)
After a wonderful lunch and inspiration from a  gospel choir from the Church of the Messiah, people networked and went to small facilitated discussions around following questions:
  • What commitments will I make to myself and my community?
  • What walls hold you back at this time?
  • What are some walls that prevent us from growing our souls, organizing healthy communities and creating our movement.
  • After listening to the personal stories of the panelists, what solutions will you work on to create and build a caring community?
For the first time, a youth only session was also held to explore concern and dreams they have for our communities.
photo 1 (1)
In comments at the end of the day, one woman who attended for the first time said :
I have two degrees, I have been looking my entire life to work with and feel the love of people committed to changing ourselves, our families, and our communities.  WCCC has given me hope because there is so much love today…thank you.
Our work continues with a day committed to ongoing workshops and a state wide children’s and women’s gathering to show we will grow our souls and create a movement with real solutions. We will not be silent.  We will listen to women for a change!