Boggs Center – Living For Change – March 26, 2017

Jimmy and Grace  
Our mission is to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities. Through local, national and international networks of activists, artists and intellectuals we foster new ways of living, being and thinking to face the challenges of the 21st century.
Living for Change News
March 27th, 2017
Thinking for Ourselves
World Water Day
Shea Howell

World Water Day passed without a word from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Soon it will be three years since he got control of the Water Department and he has done almost nothing with this power. His direction has failed Detroiters and he is failing the future. His lack of leadership is stunning.

In July of 2014 when he was given control of the Water Department, Mayor Duggan said he welcomed “the responsibility for dealing with the Water Department issues.” He promised a plan to deal with the shut offs, to provide support for people unable to pay their bills and to improve services. None of this has happened.  He has utterly failed to advocate for water as a human right and failed to address concerns for water as a public trust.

Instead, water shutoffs continue with one failed payment support scheme after another. The Mayor stubbornly refuses to make the Water Affordability Plan passed over a decade ago by the City Council a reality. Instead, he continues policies that enrich a private corporation, giving it what seems to be a blank check to go around the city shutting people off. The Homrich Wrecking Company has expanded its original $5.6 million dollar contract for water shut offs to $12.7 million as of last fall. That is as much as the City of Flint paid Detroit for its entire water usage prior to its own man made crisis.

Meanwhile, the Mayor ignores the public health consequences of these shutoffs and he has done little to address the real possibility that new sewerage costs threaten the very existence of hundreds of churches across the city.

Most disturbing is the Mayor’s refusal to provide leadership around the growing global crisis of safe, affordable drinking water. That is why the United Nations has asked people to participate in World Water Day. Since 1993, the UN General Assembly has understood it was essential to draw attention, thinking, and action to water. This year they have especially asked people to consider the implications of wastewater, as we poison the water we depend upon.

The UN declared, “This year, we focus on wastewater and ways to reduce and reuse as over 80% of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature polluting the environment and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.” Currently, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated.

The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, framed the issues we face clearly. She said, “Access to safe water and sanitation services is essential to the human rights and dignity, and the survival, of women and men across the world, especially the most disadvantaged.”

Rethinking our understanding of water is critical. She explains, “In the face of growing demand, wastewater can be a reliable alternative source of water – this calls for shifting the paradigm of wastewater management from ‘treatment and disposal’ to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle and resource recovery.’ Wastewater should no longer be seen as a problem, but as part of the solution to challenges that all societies are facing. Treated wastewater can be a cost-efficient, sustainable, safe and reliable alternative source of water for a variety of purposes – from irrigation and industrial uses to drinking water, particularly under conditions of water scarcity. For this, we need to change mind-sets, to raise awareness and redouble educational efforts to share the benefits of wastewater reuse.”

Thousands of people around Michigan understand we need to shift our thinking to see water as a human right and public trust. Many converged in Lansing on World Water Day under the leadership of The People’s Water Board of Detroit. They, not the Mayor, are thinking about the future of all of us.

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History, Time, Ideas and Vision Matter!
Rich Feldman

March has been a month for several tours and visits to the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center. During the last few weeks of March, artists came from Indonesia & Morocco representing the Ghana Think Tank and students came from Williams College. We’ve welcomed art students from Stanford, spring semester visits from University of Massachusetts in Boston, Georgetown University in DC, Concordia College in Minnesota, educators from Pittsburgh and women from the League of Women Voters. They came with a curiosity to understand the past and to imagine the future.

ghana think tank
Visitors come to both learn the story of Detroit, through the writings and organizing of James and Grace Lee Boggs as well as to begin to think differently about time & ideas.  From our discussions which focus on the difference between riot & rebellion & between rebellion and revolution we engage in site visits emphasizing the need to think dialectically and the importance of reflecting on our practice and our dreams.  The Tour titled: From Growing our Economy to Growing our Souls, (not growing our economy and growing our souls), provides a glimpse into changing space through historical discussions.  While some visitors are more prepared reading articles, viewing videos, and watching We R Not Ghosts  or the documentary of Grace Lee Boggs, American Revolutionary, we all engage in a serious conversation about the resilience of the land and the Anishinaabe indigenous presence which began more than 1,000 years ago and we emphasize the resistance which took place with The Battle of Bloody Run that was fought during Pontiac’s Rebellion on July 31, 1763 on what now is the site of Elmwood Cemetery.

These tours in 2017 emphasize the historical significance of the 50th anniversary of the Detroit Rebellion and the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence and provide an important discussion of the need to create new values and a new American Dream.  We need a new dream not a return to the past.  The tours are about counter-revolution and revolution.  Through our site visits to Heidelberg, the Boggs School, Can Arts, Avalon, and Feedom Freedom Growers we, witness the emerging commitment to create structures of hope, transformation and vision.

Our friends from the Ghana Art program were also engaged in creating a community art initiative in the North End, visited Incite Focus while our visitors from Pittsburgh were here to learn from and work with the Allied Media Project. People come to understand and learn about history and see/experience the future.  One of the Moroccan artists did a wood-craft of Grace Boggs.

wood carving

Everyone visiting leaves wondering how they can gain an understanding to challenge the current media-Gilbert-Illich narrative that downtown gentrification will be the resurrection of Detroit? Is gentrification anything more than displacement, ethnic cleansing and a renewed attempt to renew and continue the self-destructive and dying values of individualism, greed, materialism & racism?

The tour takes on the tough discussions of the pains of capitalism and acknowledges that “Taking back Detroit” for Hockey, Restaurants and the fun of a few at the expense of water shut-offs, foreclosures and “blight ticketing” will not create a Detroit we can all be proud to call our own.  Another Detroit is Happening and it is happening in the communities, not downtown.

While Donald Trump’s election has been a wake-up call and the removal of the veil of our nation’s history of exclusion, with a constitution that accepted slavery, our tour provides a narrative to see that we are movement city creating ideas, institutions, and structures based upon a call for  the “beloved community” and a radical revolution in values.

Detroit No More Heroes Event

What We’re Watching

Love & (R)evolution
Hull House, 2009

Jane Addams Hull House Museum hosts activist and writer Grace Lee Boggs in a discussion about the connection between evolution and revolution. This program was produced by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

WATCH THE TALK HERE


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

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3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

Boggs Center Living For Change News letter – March 20th, 2017

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Living for Change News
March 20th, 2017
1967 Shock Waves Flyer 5

Thinking for Ourselves
Beyond Toxic Talk
Shea HowellHow we talk is intimately connected to how we think. Words define our world and give meaning to our lives. Thus, one of the many dangers of this moment is the deterioration of our capacities for political thought. When public values are reduced to single words, blasted in all capital letters on Twitter, we are all diminished. BAD, SAD, FAKE, LIES are judgments devoid of substance, but they infiltrate our consciousness and erode our conversations.

In sharp contrast to this dismal use of language, people around the country are consciously moving to deepen our capacity for reflection, conversation, strategic thinking, and powerful action. There is a growing recognition that actions must be enriched by reflection, that the path to a better future requires collective efforts to create a new vision.

For example,

Movement for Black Lives provides a thoughtful agenda about the kind of future we can create.  They invite everyone to join in the conversation and study of their platform saying, “We have created this platform to articulate and support the ambitions and work of Black people. We also seek to intervene in the current political climate and assert a clear vision, particularly for those who claim to be our allies, of the world we want them to help us create. We reject false solutions and believe we can achieve a complete transformation of the current systems, which place profit over people and make it impossible for many of us to breathe.” They invite us to study, think, argue and act in relation to these broad, visionary projections.Recently,

Movement Generation offered a new Just Transition Zine in both English and Spanish. The Zine “offers a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all its members.”They explain, “A Just Transition requires us to build a visionary economy for life in a way that is very different than the economy we are in now. Constructing this visionary economy calls for strategies that democratize, decentralize and diversify economic activity while we damper down consumption, and (re)distribute resources and power.  This zine is our offering towards that end – it is a humble point of departure for folks interested in building collective vision and action towards Ecological Justice that does not separate humans from nature, or social equity from ecological integrity.”

This week the Women’s March named its 5th action of the first 100 days

Reflect and Resist. Organizers say the action, “is designed to educate some, and refresh others, through study, reflection, and courageous conversations, so that we can all be empowered by, and learn from, the work of activists who came before us while being mindful not to perpetuate the mistakes of the past. Community is key to activism, so bring your huddles, neighbors, and your march partners back together, collectively choose a book or article to read, or film to watch. Take time to reflect and, together, discuss the topics that they highlight and the issues that women experiencing multiple forms of oppression have faced and continue to face”.The

National Council of Elders is asking us to organize public readings of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Breaking the Silence speech, to reinvigorate his call for a radical revolution of values against racism, materialism and militarism. They ask us to hold conversations following the reading about what his ideas mean for us today.These are just a few of the efforts emerging around our country. They are essential to counter the toxic talk flowing from those in authority. They are acts of resistance and of vision.  All of us need to join in creating these spaces for collective reflection. They are the sources of our best hopes.


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Detroit No More Heroes Event

What We’re Reading

Giving Up Toxic Masculinity To Build Real Resistance
Frank Joyce
Alternet

Fifty years ago the times were tumultuous, as they are now. Activists were fragmented by gender, race, tactics and issue silos then too. The machinery of surveillance and repression by local, state and federal government was intense and about to become more so.

Despite knowing the risk of speaking out, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King stepped forward to offer clarity and direction. His speech, Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence [3] was delivered on April 4, 1967, to an overflow crowd at Riverside Church in New York City.

Now the speech is receiving new attention, not for reasons of wistful nostalgia but as a vision even more relevant to our times than it was then. To learn more about events already organized to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “A Time to Break Silence” speech or how to help initiate one yourself, go here [4].

In his speech, Dr. King identified the triplets of racism, militarism and materialism as the legacy we must overcome. Why triplets? Rabbi Arthur Waskow, a peace movement veteran, explains [5]: “Why did Dr. King use the word ‘triplets’ when ‘three’ or ‘triad’ would have been enough? Perhaps because biological triplets share a great deal of their DNA. What DNA do these triplets share? The DNA of subjugation, of top-down power.”

To be clear, Dr. King’s remarks did not incorporate the possibility of ecocatastrophe or the structures of patriarchy and sexism into his analysis and call. Can there be any doubt that today he would?

KEEP READING

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riverwisedetroit.org

contact or summit material info@riverwisedetroit.org


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

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3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

Boggs Center – Living For Change News Letter – March 13, 2017

Jimmy and Grace  
 
Living for Change News
March 13th, 2017

Breaking-Our-Silence-March-18-Event-White-BG


Water Stories of District 7
Monday, April @ 6pm

16400 Warren Ave W, Detroit, MI 48228-3705, United States

Come gather as we hear water stories of District 7. We need to stand together and get the Detroit City Council to pass and implement an income-based Water Affordability Plan Ordinance. Join us for a community meeting to discuss next steps on water affordability in Detroit!


Thinking for Ourselves
Fear to Hope
Shea Howell

Over 400 people gathered at the UAW-GM Center in Detroit to celebrate International Women’s Day. This was the 7th year of Women Creating Caring Communities, initiated by the UAW and Boggs Center. The theme was “The healing power of loving communities.” This was a gathering reflecting honesty, passion and resilience as we talked about our fears and hopes for this moment.

I was part of the opening conversation, emphasizing the question often asked by Grace Lee Boggs,  “What time is it on the clock of the world?’  I shared with the gathering my thinking about what Grace would most likely be saying to us, if she were there, as she had been for the first years of these sessions.

I think she would caution us to not become stuck on Trump. Rather she would be encouraging us to look to the forces behind him. The forces of violence and white supremacy have a long history in America. They are the forces that began the genocide against the indigenous peoples of this land at Plymouth Rock and they are the forces that are carrying it out today at Standing Rock.  They are the forces that stole people from their homes in Africa to enslave them and are now the forces stealing homes from African Americans through foreclosure, school closings, and water shut offs.

At the same time, I think she would insist that we make distinctions between those forces in the past and the dangers and opportunities of this moment. History echoes through the present, but does not repeat itself.

Over the last few years of her life, Grace often said that we were witnessing the growth of counter revolutionary forces and we were in a period of revolution and counter- revolution.  Whatever the United States will become over the next few years, we will not be going back to the way things were. Something new is emerging, and it will be up to us to determine whether that something new will be better, or worse, than the past.
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Grace also liked to remind us that while we do not choose the times into which we are born, we do choose how we respond to the times in which we live. Certainly it is important that we resist the efforts of those forces that are pulling us backwards, for the sake of our own humanity.  But resistance is never enough. In periods of such possibility, we have the responsibility of projecting the kind of futures we want. Visionary organizing, she said, was critical to creating programs and processes that would give us a glimpse of a better future.

Visions don’t come to us out of nowhere. They emerge as we engage with each other in probing conversations about how to solve the problems we face, imagining new possibilities.

Throughout the day, women and men talked together, acknowledging our vulnerabilities, gaining strength from sharing stories of our lives and hopes.  We talked of the importance of listening deeply to one another, opening our hearts as well as our heads.  As the day concluded with sounds of drums and dancing feet, most of us walked away with a new resolve, knowing that we have tremendous power to create communities where love and justice thrive.


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WHAT WE’RE READING

 

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On July 23rd, 1967, the eyes of the world fixed on Detroit, as thousands took to the streets to vent their frustrations with white racism, police brutality, and vanishing job prospects in the place that gave rise to the American Dream. For mainstream observers, the “riot” brought about the ruin of a once great city, and the municipal bankruptcy of 2013 served as a bailout paving the way for Detroit to be rebuilt. Challenging this prevailing view, Scott Kurashige portrays the past half-century as a long “rebellion” whose underlying tensions continue to haunt the city and the U.S. nation-state. Michigan’s scandal-ridden emergency management regime comprises the most concerted effort to put it down by disenfranchising the majority black citizenry and neutralizing the power of unions.

Are we succumbing to authoritarian plutocracy or can we create a new society rooted in social justice and participatory democracy? The corporate architects of Detroit’s restructuring have championed the creation of a “business-friendly” city where billionaire developers are subsidized to privatize and gentrify Downtown while working-class residents are squeezed out by rampant housing evictions, school closures, water shutoffs, toxic pollution, and militarized policing. From the grassroots, however, Detroit has emerged as an international model for survival, resistance, and solidarity through the creation of urban farms, freedom schools, and self-governing communities. This epoch struggle illuminates the possible futures for our increasingly unstable and polarized nation.

GET YOUR COPY TODAY!

 


HELP SAVE THE CASS COMMONS

An Appeal to the Social Justice Advocacy Community in Detroit

From the Eastern Michigan Environmental Action Council
In 2011, the Eastern Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC) received as a gift the property of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church (First UU), located at the corner of Cass Avenue and Forest Street. This property consists of the august church building and sanctuary, as well as the adjoining elegant parish house, which has a spacious vestibule and parlor, a very large social hall, a kitchen, and several floors of multipurpose rooms. Constructed in 1916, the structure has been awarded an historic designation, and occupies a prime site in midtown Detroit, a central hub of corporate gentrification.
Protecting and Securing a Vital Base

Given this synergy of organizational activities over the years, the property has become a true “commons” for social justice advocacy and cultural development. However, the care and maintenance of an aging, 44,000 – square feet facility involves heavy financial responsibilities. Though EMEAC has succeeded in securing grants, a few major rental contracts, and intermittent income from rentals for events such as weddings, workshops and conferences, these strategies have not generated the volume and regular flow of funds required to cover operational costs.

 

An Immediate Goal of $60,000

As major corporations appropriate the heart of the City, dislocating and dispossessing working class neighborhoods, people of color and the poor, we social justice activists who are current EMEAC board members want to secure this valuable, strategically located community center. We are convinced that this base is indeed treasured by many community members. Therefore, we are inviting those organizations and individuals who have created projects and relationships here — relationships and mutual efforts which, in fact, constitute the commons, to join us in implementing a program that will secure this property while advancing our capacities to build movement unity.   Our immediate goal is to raise $60,000. Then we will work to generate an income of $10,000 each month.

DONATE TODAY

 

 


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

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3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

Boggs Center – Living For Change News Letter – March 6, 2017

yesmagazine.org Why Science cant be Silent

Up against the White House’s “alternative facts” and attempts to hide climate data, can new allies—citizens and science—prevail against politicians and corporations? Climate science is looking like a new front line, and scientists are increasingly its freedom fighters. Citizens need to support them by engaging in daily research, demanding truth, and forcing government and industry to use research for the common good.

click here http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/science?utm_source=YTW&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=20170303