Boggs Center – Living for Change News – 5-12-2022

May 9th, 2022

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Thinking for Ourselves
Moral authorities

Shea Howell

As the war in Ukraine intensifies, the only solution being offered by most western powers is to provide more weapons. The Biden administration has now pledged $3.8  billion in military weapons of various sorts. Meanwhile Russia is glorifying its invasion as a triumph of military force. There are few voices for peace as the US and much of the world justifies accelerating arms in a conflict that is dangerously close to engulfing the globe.

As we watch this military buildup, I find myself thinking about Beirut and the destruction of that ancient city. Beginning in 1975 a bloody civil war erupted in Lebanon as people protested the authoritarian rule of Assad and as the Palestinians developed an independent power base.  Over the course of nearly a decade of fighting  more than 130,000 people were killed. Some of the most brutal massacres in modern history , at Sabra and Shatila, occurred there. Syrian, Israeli, and UN  forces intervened, often intensifying killing in the name of peace. In 1983 the US suffered the largest military defeat since Viet Nam when a lone suicide bomber blew up a Marine Barracks, killing 241 people. Earlier that day, 58 French soldiers were killed in a similar attack. Both groups were part of a larger multinational force attempting to establish peace.

Just prior to the US withdrawal of troops  in February of 1984, with little resolved, an American pilot, Robert Goodman, was shot down while flying over Lebanon. Goodman was a high profile hostage held in Syria. US military might was not able to affect the release or safety of the pilot.

In a stunning announcement, the Reverend Jesse Jackson organized a peace mission to Syria and Lebanon. He put together  a group of well known civil rights ministers, including Louis Farrakhan, and set off to negotiate for Goodman’s release, in spite of the fact that he had no government support and Assad had refused to acknowledge his communications.  After a week of careful negotiations, Goodman was released, returning home with Jackson.

Over the next few years Jackson continued his efforts at direct negotiations on behalf of people held hostage. He persuaded Slobodan Milosovic, Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein, as well as Hafez-al-Assad, to free American captives.  In doing so, he cast himself as a “citizen of the world” and as a man representing the moral authority of the civil rights movement.

On the 30th anniversary of the release of Goodman, Jackson reflected on the experience saying that it was only possible because of the respect people around the globe had for US civil rights activists who had challenged the  authority of the US government. He said, “I think the Civil Rights Movement in America has moral authority in the world community. Our authority may not have an official office, but there’s a certain moral authority that the Civil Rights Movement has.”

In today’s political landscape it is impossible to see where such moral authority resides. Our most visible public figures challenging the legitimacy of the government do so from a position of fear and hate, justifying violence, limiting basic rights, and protecting white power and male privileges. Those of us who challenge them, and the racial capitalist system they support, have yet to find a clear, strong ground from which to project a different, loving future.  The development of a broad movement for peace, rooted in the fundamental belief that we can yet create loving, justice communities is our most urgent task.

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Eastside Solutionaries Collective
Spring 2022 Newsletter

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In the midst of a community benefits negotiation with Stellantis on Detroit’s east side, emerged the Eastside Solutionaries Collective. The Collective began to advocate for support of area community groups working to improve the quality of life for residents at community benefits meetings. Their goal was to negotiate benefits from the auto plant in exchange for Stellantis continuing to encroach and pollute the area neighborhood. As that plan failed, the group continued to meet but was soon met with challenges as a pandemic later emerged.

Persistance was had as the group has since then launched a quarterly newsletter focused on highlighting community groups, organizations, and people who are committed to solution-driven opportunities for the east side, further promoting self-sufficiency and sustainability while raising the need for critical conversations. You can now read their latest newsletter, check out their blog, or reach out via email if you’d like to find how to get involved.
“To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.” -bell hooks

 

What We’re Reading

Riverwise Magazine – Spring 2022
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cover art: “Evolution” by Alicia Polk

The latest issue of Riverwise Magazine is here as it features a number of poems from local talent — including An Ode to Rev. Mama Sandra by Charles Ezra Farrell, art exhibit Womxn House, updates regarding the People’s Food Co-op, and article “Self-Care Isn’t Selfish: Implementing Well-being Practices in your Organization Benefits the Organization, the Movement, and Recognizes our Humanity”, and so much more.

You can find the full issue here, or grab a copy at various places throughout the city including:

  • 27th Letter Books
  • Good Cakes and Bakes
  • Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum
  • Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe
  • Bert’s Warehouse
  • Cafe 1923
  • Boggs Center
  • Samaritan Center
  • Georgia St. Community Collective

The Tea

The Tea’s latest issue features three dope transgender,gender-nonconformig, intersex, queer (TGNCIQ) folks working to help us heal. Check out the story, “The Healing Benefits of Kink” from guest writer, Sara Elise. The Tea correspondent, Tomme Faust also converses with Breya Johnson about reproductive justice, sexual violence, gender-expansive identities, and what consent looks like within our communities.

Catch all of the Tea in their latest newsletter and subscribe here.
Looking for something new to jam to? Check out music from Jay Marie is Holy (they/them) who The Tea describes as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and gender- and genre-busting artist who’s on a mission to reclaim W-Holy-ness in a binary world meant to break
Check out their new single below!

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Allied Media Projects

AMP

In their latest blog post, AMP shares the news of piloting a 4-day work week in the name of rest and breaking capitalist-driven rituals. They also announced the opportunity for groups to learn together during their upcoming Allied Media Conference as they introduce AMCPods. They describe the project as “a way to create critical connections in the places we live”. This can include your collective, neighbors, biological & chosen family, colleagues, comrades, lovers & friends — apply here.

 

People’s Forum Report on Compensation

Check out this newly published report from The Coaltion for Property Tax Justice which follows feedback given from Detroiters who attended their People’s Forum this past January. The report summarizes feedback into categories of how Detroiters would prefer to be compensated should the city reimburse those who’ve experienced their home being overtaxed by the city.

People’s Forum Compensation Report
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The Coalition is also calling for folks to write Mayor Duggan, demanding compensation for overtaxed Detroiters.

What We’re Watching

Detroit is Different presents: 
Mom, what’s a mayor?

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In their latest podcast episode, Detroit is Different features mayor, Monique Owens of Eastpointe, MI as she discusses how her love for East Coast Hip-hop and Church was a balance she found. Owens also shares of her diverse background as police officer, comedian, and now mayor, leading into her candidacy for State Senate.

Owens was elected in 2017 as Eastpointe Michigan’s first black councilwoman. In 2019, only two years into her term, she decided to run for mayor and became Eastpointe’s first black woman and youngest mayor to hold office in Macomb County’s history.
Check out the full interview

Detroit is Different is planning to expand and improve their outdoor podcast studio, ‘a Lot of Studio’ as they plan to raise $25,000 to help support a bigger stage, liver performance, more conversation, all new landscaping, and so much more. ‘a Lot of Studio,’ takes place in the community garden started by Detroit is Different founder Khary Frazier and steps away from the Detroit is Different incubator. ‘a Lot of Studio’ is an eclectic mix of welcoming culture, creativity, and community inside a legacy Detroit westside neighborhood.

If you support their vision and want to help, be sure to donate to their GoFundMe or spread the word!

Uplifting & Supporting Our Community

Finding Home: Stories of Displacement
Curation by Laura D. Gibson featuring Black Bottom Archives

BBA_displacement

Artist, Laura D. Gibson recently launched her latest exhibit, FINDING HOME: Stories of Displacement which “reflects on stories of home, displacement, and memory while exploring narratives of specific marginalized communities in America, through the eyes of local Detroit artists. FINDING HOME showcases work that advocates against displacement while shedding light on its historical consequences.”

The exhibit features Black Bottom Street View, Bryce Detroit, Parisa Ghaderi, Oren Goldenberg, Rebeca Maxon, Wayne Ramocan Jr., Darryl DeAngelo Terrell, and Anna van Schaap.
You can learn more here and catch the exhibit on display at Detroit Artists Market – 4719 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI through May 21

Birwood Community House presents:
Community Lens Program Showcase

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Community Lens Program Showcase
Friday, May 27 – 5pm – 7pm
Detroit Association of Black Organizations
12048 Grand River Ave., Detroit, MI 48204
Birwood House presents their Community Lens Program showcase where participating students will be honored and celebrated for their community involvement. Students who participate in the Community Lens Program will share their experiences as community stewards in the annual showcase, hosted by Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO).

The program emerged in 2017 with a unique collaboration between the Birwood Community House and Noble Elementary-Middle School which has allowed students to learn in dual environments. Birwood House is a non-profit organization that operates within the same neighborhood as the Noble school. Please join them as they welcome neighborhood residents, community stakeholders, and family members to celebrate the learning and community advocacy created by these students within the past year.
“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” – Audre Lorde

 

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Boggs Center – Living For Change – April 24th 2022

April 24th, 2022

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Thinking for Ourselves

Earth Day Challenge
Shea Howell

Earth Day is an opportunity to challenge and expand our thinking, to draw connections between people and issues that are often seen as separate.

For example, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, 1990, a number of Detroit organizations brought together the violence to children and the violence to our earth. Under the leadership of Save Our Sons and Daughters (SOSAD), We the People Reclaim Our Streets (WEPROS), Detroiters Uniting, and the Detroit Greens, activists decided to plant a tree for every life lost to gun violence during the intervening years since the first Earth Day.  That turned out to be a forest, as 10,000 people had died over those two decades. Schools, churches, community organizations, and block clubs joined the effort taking trees. Groups held ceremonies, recalling the names and lives lost to gun violence in their schools and neighborhoods. A memorial grove was planted on Belle Isle in memory of the children of SOSAD. The day included music, workshops on conflict resolution, and sessions on urban gardening.

If we were to do a similar action today, to bring attention to the violence by police and the violence against the planet, we would need to triple this effort. Since 1990 we have lost more than 30,000 people to police killings, almost 1100 people each year.

The bullets that killed, the tactics of control and confrontation, the weapons of surveillance and control, have their origins in the refinement of military might.

Creating connections enables us to understand how deeply we need to transform ourselves and our culture. Understanding the interconnections of the violence required to maintain and advance racial capital enables us to think more clearly about the challenges of truly transforming how we are living.  Such connections demonstrate why efforts at reforming small practices have achieved so little.

Efforts this year to connect the violence being done to the earth with the violence of war are especially important. Not only is the US the largest arms dealer on the globe, but our military is among the top polluters, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more CO2e than dozens of smaller countries. Maintaining our “standard of living” means we deal in death.

The destruction of people and places goes far beyond direct conflicts. The very presence of US military bases dedicated to war causes massive environmental damage by simply existing. As we in Michigan know, communities surrounding the nearly 800 military bases globally experience assaults on our drinking water, land, and air.

Today the US is dumping billions of dollars of weapons into Ukraine. This will only prolong the conflict and diminish the possibilities of peace. While arms dealers and weapons manufacturers benefit, the rest of the world suffers.

Ramon Mejia,  an anti-militarism national organizer at Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, said

“Earth Day is a bridge between movements and a bridge between communities to say that we all inhabit this world. If we want to leave a better world after we transition, then we have to build movements across struggles…The systems that seek to harm us are intersectional, and we have to be an intersectional movement that bridges across the struggles we are fighting, whether they present as imperialism, capitalism or extractivism…So it’s important that we continue to carry on [Earth Day’s] legacy.”

Earth Day is part of  a legacy that we can call upon as we build new ways of living, rooted in the ethics of respect for each other and the earth upon which we depend

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What We’re Reading
Taraxacum Officinale – The Teeth of A Revolution

dandelion

When I say “Dandelion”, what is your immediate thought?

That is the narrative that you have about dandelions?

A lot of the work that I do around curating a healthy lifestyle involves narrative shifting and narrative change. (My own included!)

I think we all could give an example of a pervasive narrative that is not exactly helpful to our well-being, self-esteem, societal structure, etc…

I think this blog post exemplifies the power of narratives very well. especially if you think of dandelions as a nuisance, something to eradicate, something that lessens the beauty of your property, something that generates an angry feeling within you… Something that has you reaching for the chemicals.

Try on a new narrative.

Read more here

CoalitionPropTax 2
People’s Forum Report on Compensation

Check out this newly published report from The Coaltion for Property Tax Justice which follows feedback given from Detroiters who attended their People’s Forum this past January. The report summarizes feedback into categories of how Detroiters would prefer to be compensated should the city reimburse those who’ve experienced their home being overtaxed by the city.
People’s Forum Compensation Report

The Coalition is also calling for folks to write Mayor Duggan, demanding compensation for overtaxed Detroiters.

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What We’re Watching
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On Being podcast: The Future of Hope 

Join guests, Ai-jen Poo and Tarana Burke along with host, Krista Tippett on the On Being podcast as they focus on the future of hope. You can expect intimate, revelatory conversation, rooted in trust and care as you hear about journeys and experiences from them both. It’s also an invitation to imagine and build a more graceful way to remake the world.

Happy listening!

Uplifting & Supporting Our Community

Copy of Michigan Auto No-Fault Flyer

We Can’t Wait urges support and call for survivors and supporters of those who have faced auto-accident injuries. The group has planned weekly protests at the capitol to speak out about Michigan’s auto no-fault reform that fails to protect this vulnerable group.

Find them on Facebook or call (313) 251-5777 for more information on how to join them every Tuesday at the Capitol at 10am

Detroit Independent Freedom School presents:
Deciphering Detroit — Date change!

New Date - DIFSM _ Deciphering Detroit 2022 Reading Discussion Series Flyer3

The last 2 sessions of the Deciphering series is upon us as a new date was announced for the next session! You can catch DIFS hosting their next discussion, Food Sovereignty/Food Security on April 30, 2pm. Their last sessions is still scheduled for May 7, featuring a discussion on the Call for Reparations.

Remaining lasses will take place Saturday April 30 and May 7 from 2-3:30pm EST. You can register here

Celebrating You Ruined It w/ Anastasia Higginbotham
RuinedIt

Join Source Booksellers for an in-person event hosting author, Anastasia Higginbotham as she discusses her children’s book You Ruined It. Purchase a ticket for access to the event including a book reading and book signing of any book from Higginbotham’s series.

In You Ruined It, Higginbotham, acclaimed author of Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, sheds light on the counfusion and pain that many children feel in the aftermath of incest and sexual assault.

Find more information or purchase a ticket

MuralCallOut

the earth is a living thing Lucille Clifton is a black shambling bear ruffling its wild back and tossing mountains into the sea is a black hawk circling the burying ground circling the bones picked clean and discarded is a fish black blind in the belly of water is a diamond blind in the black belly of coal is a black and living thing is a favorite child of the universe feel her rolling her hand in its kinky hair feel her brushing it clean 

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Boggs Center Detroit – Living For Change April 11th, 2022

April 11th, 2022

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Thinking for Ourselves

Urgent choices
Shea Howell

For more than twenty years I have spent April 4th with Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech Beyond Vietnam: Breaking the Silence. This year marked the 55th anniversary of the evening at Riverside Church where King called the US the “greatest purveyor of violence” on earth. He identified militarism, materialism, and racism as the cornerstones of a culture of violence moving us toward “spiritual death.”

This year I joined with the Breaking Silence Project for a virtual gathering that included an introduction by Rev. James Lawson, a comrade of Dr. King, and life long advocate for non-violence. The reading by well-known activists was followed by an engaging panel discussion led by Stephen Ward of the Boggs Center. Robin D.G. Kelley, Andrea Ritchie, Crystal Cavalier, Justin Pearson and Nse Ufot  talked about how much the speech still remains relevant and how much work we have to do to  create loving communities rooted in a culture of peace.

This year, as the world is engaged in the most dangerous armed conflict since WWII, King’s call for peace seems especially important. Rev. Lawson called for a nonviolent movement for peace far beyond anything we have seen. He identified the hypocrisies of our own country, defending democracy in Ukraine but not voting rights in Georgia or Texas. He talked about our concern for children fleeing Russian bombs, while refusing to protect children in the first year of life in the US.  And he offered the hope that this is a moment of new choices, new opportunities to look honestly at who we are, and the kind of people we may yet become, if we make the right choices.

But the world of today is much more violent and dangerous than it was on the night King spoke.  Over this half century, we have engaged in war after war, advanced our weapons of mass destruction, created sophisticated mechanisms of thought control, and systematically undereducated our people. The crises we face are not only those of military conflict and nuclear catastrophe, but collapsing ecological systems no longer able to sustain life.
We are in the midst of an earth shift. All that was once solid has melted into air. Yet, it is the control of capital and the drive for profit that continue to shape the decisions that are destroying life. Here, the call from Dr. King still resonates when he said:

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person- oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

Shortly after the reading of King’s speech I read a statement by Rafael de la Rubia, founder of Organization World without Wars and Violence. He, like Rev Lawson and Dr. King calls us to move in “a clear direction towards multilateralism and towards solving the main problems of humanity: hunger, health, education and the integration of all peoples and cultures…so that the brutes who represent us are made aware: we can no longer afford more armed conflicts. Wars are the dregs of humanity. The future will be without war or not at all.”

Or, as King says, ” We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace” and “rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter—but beautiful—struggle for a new world.”

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What We’re Listening To
#WaterWednesday Webcast

Check out The People’s Water Board Coalition lastest webcast for #WaterWednesday where they featured special guest and resident, Mike Shane. Shane shared his experience with testing the water in his home and what he found about the lead levels in Detroit.

The People’s Water Board Coalition advocates for the human rights to water and sanitation and equitable access and affordability for impacted communities.
You can check out their latest webcast episode every Wednesday at 12pm EST on their YouTube channel
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What We’re Reading

Allied Media Projects

AMP Newsletter

Allied Media is welcoming spring while welcoming their new co-directors and opening up registration for their 2022 Allied Media Conference. You can check out an interview of joy-affirming and inspirational things, featuring their new directors, MARS Marshall and Toni Moceri here. Or you can save your spot at their upcoming conference happening June 30 – July 3 which will be a hybrid conference of in-person and online events.

Highlander Center

If you’re a BIPOC poet and/or movement maker, you may want to check out the Witches and Warriors Retreat. They’re taking applications until April 30!

Highlander’s Seeds of Fire is calling for youth between the ages 13-25 to apply for their inaugural East Tennessee Fellowship. Participants will receive a $5,000 educational stipend, learn about their communities, how to organize in their communities, and build solutions to the problems they see around them. Apply now!

Register for the next workshop in their Threads series, happening Wednesday, April 20 at 7pm EST or catch up on past workshops here. The Threads workshop series is about grassroots community organizing for transformation, weaving popular education methodologies with campaigns to demand a better world and to build real community-based alternatives.

If you or someone you know is in the area and looking for a part-time hospitality position, Highlander’s Radical Hospitality Team would love to see you apply for their open PT kitchen and dining crew position. Apply here

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Uplifting & Supporting Our Community

ACLU Town Hall

Join ACLU and their panel of speakers as they host an informative discussion regarding various public policies that are centered towards the LGBTQ+ community. You can expect to hear from:

  • Cristina Patzelt, Thrun Law
  • Jay Kaplan, ACLU of Michigan
  • Amritha Ventakaraman, HRC of Michigan
  • Dr. Maureen Connolly, Ruth Ellis Center Health and Wellness Center

Save the date and tune in on Wednesday, April 13 at 6:30pm EST using this zoom link!

Visionary Organizing Lab

VOL_April

Join Visionary Organizing Lab as they announce their upcoming course, Community Self-Reliance: People and Projects. Planting Seeds for New Systems. The class will explore how people and communities are meeting their needs and transforming themselves by creating projects that can replace dying capitalist systems.

Their classes are sliding scale-based, $150-250. Scholarships and group registration rates are available. Contact info@visionarylab.org for more information.
Classes will take place on Zoom every Tuesday, April 19–May 24, 6:30P – 8:30P EST.

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A call for public comment at Detroit’s City Council meeting – April 12 @ 10am

Moratorium Now! Coalition is calling for folks to consider making public comment at Detroit’s City Council meeting regarding the protection of City of Detroit General Fund retirees and encouraging City Council to vote and fully fund the Right to Counsel ordinance.

This statement lists instructions for joining the meeting, along with talking points to support both comments if you choose to participate. You can also read more of their statement submitted to Duggan and councilmembers here.
‘There are about 11,200 General Fund retirees with an average yearly pension of $20,000 (2020 figures). A 7% “booster shot” one-time payment would be $1,400 to rescue these retirees from this severe loss. The cost to the City would be less than $16 million – less than 2% of the total American Rescue Plan package. This is what these funds were intended to do!’

Learn more about this initiative here
‘HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT!

There is a war that the Duggan administration is waging on poor Detroit African American women and their children right now. This administration is pulling out all of their guns to shoot down the Right To Counsel ordinance that the people have crafted. In 2021, 17,920 eviction cases were filed in 36th District Court, about 1,500 new cases each month.

Using this data for 2022, since January there were approximately 4,500 filings. That is about 4,000 Black women and 4,000 children who could be thrown to the curb.’

Learn more about the Detroit Right to Counsel

Detroit Food Commons

Join Detroit People’s Food Co-op as they celebrate the start of construction for Detroit Food Commons. DFC will be the home for the People’s Food Co-op and Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.

The ceremony will take place Saturday, April 23 at 1pm, followed by the community celebration. Contact tjackson@realtimesmedia.com to RSVP or if you can’t make it, consider becoming a member of the food co-op or making a donation!

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Detroit Independent Freedom School presents:
Deciphering Detroit — 2 sessions left!!

Deciphering Detroit

Hopefully you’ve been able to tune into the educational series hosted by DIFS. If not, there’s still time! Their last 2 sessions are in the coming weeks, featuring educaiton on food sovereigntly and the call for reparations.
Remaining classes take place Saturday April 23 and May 7 from 2-3:30pm EST. You can register here

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“Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls
as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”

 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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Boggs Center Detroit – Living For Change – April 4th, 2022

April 4th, 2022

revolution image final


Thinking for Ourselves

Fostering safety
Shea Howell

It has been two years since Breonna Taylor was killed by Louisville police when they burst into her apartment in the middle of the night. This week the Washington Post published a study about the controversial police strategy that was linked to her killing. This strategy is being encouraged around the country and here in Detroit. It is behind the efforts of Detroit police to increase their reliance on technologies such as Project Green Light and ShotSpotter.

The philosophy is called “place network investigations” and encourages focusing police on specific areas of “high crime.” At the time of Breonna Taylor’s death, Louisville was one of only 3 cities that emphasized this strategy. They abandoned it as part of the investigation of her killing. Now, at least 9 other cities are adopting it.

This strategy is not new. Police have long targeted certain neighborhoods for “over policing” and “under protecting.” Since the 1980s and the crack epidemic police have targeted specific times of day and neighborhoods for an increased police presence. These areas became known as “hot spots” and some studies indicate the practice results in limited crime reduction. These studies also indicate that the hot spots “lead to more men of color being swept up into the criminal justice system.”

But as the ACLU points out, the “data” about crime reduction is controversial. Carl Takei, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU notes,  “The data they have about where crimes are committed and by whom is all based on police decisions about where and how to collect the information.  He goes on to explain, “It often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that the police will focus a great deal of resources on certain Black and Brown neighborhoods.

A more realistic assessment of this strategy comes from our neighbors in Chicago and their efforts to assess the ShotSpotter technology. ShotSpotter is a gun detection system that has been installed in Detroit to help lower crime in the city. Recently the Mayor and Police Chief  announced they want to spend $7 million to expand the program using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The system uses microphones to pinpoint sources of gunfire in communities. This enables “real time” responses by police. The purpose of the system is to overcome the reluctance of many of us in communities that hear gun fire to report it to police. We know that all too often the police coming into our neighborhoods will only make matters worse.

In Chicago ShotSpotter played a critical role in the killing of Adam Toledo by police and in the killing of two police officers, Eduardo Marmolejo and Conrad Gary. An extensive study by Chicago’s Inspector General “analyzed 50,176 ShotSpotter notifications from last January through May. Just 9.1% indicated evidence of a gun-related offense was found. Only 2.1% of the alerts were linked directly to investigative stops, although other stops were detailed in reports that referenced the technology but didn’t correlate with a specific ShotSpotter notification.”

Such dangerous and ineffective technologies should not be supported.

There is one very effective way to reduce crime in a neighborhood. People on the streets looking out for one another. In Detroit in the 1980s, in response to increased drug trafficking and related violence in neighborhoods, some communities organized to walk through the neighborhoods once a week and highlight the drug houses for public scrutiny. In one neighborhood, the group WEPROS reduced overall crime by 80% in six months. No one was arrested or swept into prison.  The slogan of the group was one of love for the young people, while hating the presence of drugs. This public activity led to strengthening ties with the local schools, creating opportunities for recreation, and encouraging the skills and talents of youth.

Expensive technologies only work after a crime has been committed. Caring for each other and creating community ties foster peace and safety among us.

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Politicking w/ police
AreSee

 

As I listened to James Craig speak about his candidacy for Michigan governor recently, I became outraged. Filled with confusion, I searched for the comedic relief that usually brings comfort in the most awkward situations. Certainly it was awkward when the relief I found resided in the memory of Craig receiving the Sambo award years ago.

 

Craig spoke of running for governor to a concerned crowd at Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe. He spent the majority of folks’ time reminiscing on his time as a cop, followed by his emphasis on the importance of people not forgetting he’s from Detroit, despite his running as a republican.
IMG_8558 3

Though I can’t say that I’m one to support any side of the political party coin, Craig’s rhetoric as a declared republican is a cause for concern rather than support.

I’d like to take this time to address questions that went unanswered as the former chief failed to utilize the allotted time for questions. As seems to be his practice, he made a hasty departure before serious questions could be asked. It’s almost as if the ghost of scrutiny appeared, manifesting as the long line of concerned citizens waiting to speak, causing him to flee.

At some point (aspiring or current) politicians should understand the harm they create when leading campaigns in misleading ways that are not rooted in critical conversations.

“We are in danger as a nation when silencing any form of speech that goes against the status quo” – bell hooks

On that note, below are some thoughts that went unexpressed.

Dearest former police chief James Craig:

You spoke on the need for the return of constitutional policing and I’d love to hear what constitutional policing means to you considering the constitution’s failure in protecting Black and brown people since and prior to its emergence. Who deems it constitutional and is it voiced from the perspective of those most affected?

The delusion and contradiction you presented when you stated your support of the truckers who “peacefully” protested at the Canadian border recently left me wondering why you did not have that same compassion for bodies who peacefully protested against police brutality in Detroit recently.

What does the protection of all people look like to you and what beliefs are they rooted in?

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Read more here

?Boggs park Community meeting

 

Uplifting & Supporting Our Community

 

 

Boggs Park is hosting a community meeting, calling on residents to help envision an inclusive gathering space for the area. RSVP with angela@BoggsSchool.org for the Zoom link or give them a call at (313) 923-2301 to participate.

If planning’s not your thing and you’d rather get hands on at the park, they’re also hosting a cleanup and table build event, Saturday April 23, 2022 at 12pm — 7600 Goethe Detroit, MI 48214. Bring your eagerness to beautify the park and meet new faces!

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CVA Rally flyer

Charlevoix Village Association is calling for citizen participation in Detroit’s city budget hearing taking place Monday, April 4 at 4pm. The Association is urging city officials to consider a budget that prioritizes the housing needs of long-time city residents rather than allocating money to demolitions and developers.

You can read their full statement to City Council on the budget on their Facebook page.

If you need a ride to the rally, the group will meet at Genesis Hope, leaving at 3:30pm for the hearing. Give a call to 313-241-0941 for more information.

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We Can’t Wait is urging folks to join them at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 12 from 9:30am – 12pm (Senate) or 12:30-3pm (House) in support of their fight against Public Act 21-22 changes.

The no-fault reform was implemented July 2021 by Michigan lawmakers which has resulted in the limiting of resources to survivors of severe auto injuries and their families, along with agencies and rehabilitation centers that provide care.

The reform has left many survivors with no care (there are 6500 with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries). Those who have families are exhausted physically, emotionally, and financially trying to fill in the gaps. The 56-hour limit on paid in-home care hours is forcing families to seek outside employment but they cannot find caregivers for their loved ones.

Eight survivors have died since the reform’s passing due to lack of funding for care. Others are forced into facilities that lack capacity to care for survivors properly, or families are left facing heavy financial burdens.

The reform which has been presented as a promising piece of savings to auto drivers has shown lack of regard for those injured in accidents.
Read their entire press releasedonate to their fundraiser, follow their Facebook page for more information, and show up to the Capitol on April 12 if you can. 
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What We’re Listening To

In Praxis
Season 3: Community Driven Strategies for Food Justice

The Praxis Project presents two new episodes from Season 3 of their podcast In Praxis, focusing on food justice.

Emanuel Brown, executive director and steward of Acorn Center for Restoration and Freedom, explores freedom through the ability to access healthy and health promoting food and our connection to the land.

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Carlton Turner, co-founder, co-director, and lead artist of the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, tells his food story—a deeply compelling tale that tells the socio-political and economic history of Utica, Mississippi as it connects to the current day.
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See what else The Praxis Project has going on at their website

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What We’re Reading

 

 

There will be no scenery after the battle
On the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine
by MaryAnn Tenuto-Sanchez
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To those who signed the Declaration for Life:

To the national and international Sixth:

Compañer@s and herman@s:

We tell you our words and thoughts about what is currently happening in the geography you call Europe:

FIRST – There is an aggressor force, the Russian army.  There are big capital interests at stake, on both sides.  Those who now suffer from the delusions of some and the cunning economic calculations of others, are the peoples of Russia and Ukraine (and, perhaps soon, those of other geographies near or far).  As Zapatistas, we do not support one state or another, but those who fight for life against the system.

During the multinational invasion of Iraq (almost 19 years ago), with the US army at the head, there were mobilizations around the world against that war.  No one in their right mind thought that opposing the invasion was siding with Saddam Hussein. Now it’s a similar situation, although not the same.  Neither Zelensky nor Putin!  Stop the war!

Read the entire statement here

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“Intelligence is ongoing, individual adaptability. Adaptations that an intelligent species may make in a single generation, other species make over many generations of selective breeding and selective dying.”
 – Octavia Butler

 

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Boggs Center – Living For Change News – March 28th, 2022

March 28th, 2022

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Thinking for Ourselves

People not governments
Shea Howell

This week there were two important actions related to police violence. The first was the announcement that the Detroit Police Department has identified 128 officers who reflect “high risk” behaviors. The identification of these officers is the result of the work of a new unit created by Chief James White in an effort to hold officers who receive multiple complaints to be disciplined.  White announced the identification of problem officers, acknowledging that until recently officers with records of repeated abuse and multiple citizen complaints have “slipped through the cracks.”

This image does not convey the dimensions of abuse citizens have endured at the hands of Detroit police, nor does it deal with the systemic failures of those who are supposed to police the police. Accusations range from the use of racist language and sexual harassment to the targeting and subsequent death of individuals.

The dimensions of repeated allegations of abuse of force are staggering. Today, 133 officers have amassed at least 30 complaints from people over whom they held life and death powers. 58 have been sued at least  5 times and another 93 have been disciplined at least 10 times. One officer, notoriously, had 85 separate cases for discipline. Under former Chief Craig, he was promoted. Craig’s excuse was he was unaware of all the problems. This individual was sued at least 8 times, costing the city $830,000.

The 128 individuals singled out are about 5% of the total number of people on the street. Most have been with the department less than 5 years, but they reflect a culture that has trained them and often rewarded people who do the very things these officers have.

All of this information and action did not come willingly from the Detroit Police Department. Rather, local news media forced the issue.  Local reporting on police abuse, police misconduct and cover ups brought this information to light. The Detroit Police Department does not report statistics of use of force of death at the hands of police in any routine, transparent way. Nor does it provide statistics on citizen complaints, allegations of abuse or other concerning behaviors like domestic violence in ways that allow for public oversight.

Some of this is the product of union protections, distorted to challenge any effort to discipline egregious behaviors. But much of it is also the fault of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. To say the  Board is” dysfunctional” does not grasp the degree to which they have become a source of embarrassment to the city and contribute to the lawlessness of police. I have personally witnessed a police commissioner trying to raise legitimate questions about facial recognition being silenced, ruled out of order, and removed from a meeting in handcuffs. I have seen commissioners resort to holding signs up during zoom meetings announcing they are being muted by the chair, unable to voice even the simplest of questions.  This behavior has been going on for a long time. In an editorial chronicling the sorry history of this commission by the Detroit Free Press reported that  “by 2000, an analysis of 11 years of BOPC proceedings found that board members had become steadily less inclined to challenge the status quo, even when  a rash of police shootings precipitated a protracted period of federal oversight. The BOPC stood silent as shootings and citizen complaints soared, unconstitutional practices like dragnet arrests became commonplace, and the cost of liability lawsuits ballooned.”

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Uplifting & Supporting our Community

A Time to Break Silence

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?The 55th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘A Time to Break Silence’ speech takes place April 4th. A coalition of national partners encourages your participation in the webinar they are hosting an evening to include a pre-recorded reading of the speech and a live panel discussion with well-known activists hosted by a broad coalition of civil and human rights, peace, and justice organizations.

This speech went beyond civil rights to condemn militarism, racism, and extreme materialism, enforced by a culture of violence, as the source of the ills that plague U.S. society and stands as one of Rev. Dr. King’s greatest accomplishments. By holding national and local readings, with discussions and actions relevant to the issues of today, we evoke Rev. Dr. King’s prophetic lessons, ground ourselves in these timeless truths, and keep his words alive by using them to guide our thoughts and actions in our work for justice today. Please join them.

Register for the event and find more information on their intiative here

Detroit Independent Freedom Schools
Deciphering Detroit post 2021 elections

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Don’t forget to join DIFS as the group continue to host biweekly discussions to regarding reparations food sovereignty, capitalism, and more. You can register for one or all of the upcoming sessions, happening Saturdays 2pm – 3:30pm. The next session takes features the discussion: Land and the Theft of African Americans’ Homes in Detroit 

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The Boggs Center is Hiring!
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The Boggs Center is seeking 2 candidates to work as co-directors in the space of programming and operations. If you’re interested in applying, applications are being accepted until March 31 with a start date in June 2022.
Find out more information and next steps to apply here


What We’re Hearing
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At the start of Black Feminisms Month, Movement 4 Black Lives held a critical discussion with movement leaders Rukia Lumumba, Marbre Stahly-Butts, and Ash-Lee Woodward Henderson. A Black Feminist’s State of the Union broke down Biden’s version and shared an on-point assessment of the state of this union for Black people. You can check out the full video here.

Oil & Water Don’t Mix
Shut Down Line 5 & Say No to Oil Tunnel
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On March 17, 2022, 100% of the public comments given before the Michigan Public Service Commission called for the denial of the Enbridge oil tunnel permit and to shut down Line 5. You can watch the recap of the public meeting above or at this link.

Oil & Water Don’t Mix is calling for folks to continue submitting public comments to request the rejection of the tunnel permit.

They’ve made it easy for you to submit a comment here!

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Catch episodes of Freedom Dreams here! Freedom Dreams explores the many paths to building a truly just future for everyone. Centered in abolitionist thinking, this podcast, produced by the Detroit Justice Center, expands beyond the realm of criminal justice into conversations around what we could be building and prioritizing instead of punishment and further harm to make our communities genuinely safe.


What We’re Reading

Resilient Neighborhoods: This faith-based Detroit nonprofit helps young Detroiters succeed

Church of the Messiah was recently featured in an article from Model D, highlighting the work of the church’s separate organization, BLVD Harambee. BLVD — Building Leaders for Village Development — pairs with Harambee, meaning ‘all pull together’ in Swahili.

The article features young entrepreneurs, John Giovanni of Giovanni Enterprises and Ryan Smith of Stay Ribelle, along with comentary from Pastor Barry Randolph who leads the initiative at the church. 

“Our thing was, how do we get people to a point where they are empowered? And they can change their life so they don’t have to come to the church to get food. They don’t have to get clothes,” says Randolph. “How do we help them make those next steps?” 
Read more of the story here.
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The New Economy Roundup spends this newsletter issue talking about putting the values of a care economy into practice, resources for anti-imperialist study, an upcoming series for May Day on radical municipalism around the world, the growing anti-eviction movement in Brazilactions on International Working Women’s Day, participatory budgeting in Mexico, and more.

You can find additional readings within the subject matters mentioned above, along with archived newsletter issues here.

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“The lessons are clear: changing white hearts or training more cops won’t do. To put out the fire this time requires dismantling the entire state and corporate machinery of violence.”
 – Robin D.G. Kelley

 


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