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

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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

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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.
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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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Boggs Center -Living For Change News – March 21st, 2022

March 21st, 2022

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Thinking for Ourselves
People not governments
Shea Howell

As the war in Ukraine turns increasingly brutal, those of us who work for peace need to ask some questions. What have we learned about our capacities to stop the drive toward military solutions to human problems? What is the difference between being against a war and building a peace?

For me, one of the most important lessons from the Vietnam War was the distinction between the American people and the US government. The Vietnamese helped those of us who opposed the war to understand this distinction and allowed us to act in solidarity with the people our government was attacking. It made room for some of our soldiers to become strong advocates for peace.

This distinction has been on my mind as I see media accounts emphasizing the growing hatred toward the Russian people.  Globally, some people have been expressing solidarity with Ukrainians by attacking people of Russian origins in their communities. Restaurant owners report abusive, often violent threats. Congress members are saying we should “kick out” Russian students, Russian Orthodox churches have been attacked, and hockey players are asking for special security for their families in face of violent threats.

This global disdain is much more intense in Ukraine. The New York Times said, “If there is one overriding emotion gripping Ukraine right now, it is hate.” This hatred is directed not only at Putin and the Russian government, but at “ordinary Russians.”

Fostering hatred against the Russian people may be the most destructive long range weapon to come out of this war. If we are ever to survive for a future, we are going to have to call upon the best in us to find our ways to see each other as full human beings, capable of love and forgiveness, capable of recognizing our own hypocrisies and contradictions, and capable of transforming ourselves.

We, in the US, owe a great debt to the Russian people. For all its contradictions, the Russian Revolution in 1917 brought a vision of an alternative to capitalist exploitation of people. It was a glimpse that “another world was possible.”

That vision, shaped and reshaped, especially by the Black radical tradition in the American south, opened up our understanding of systemic racism and offered an alternative to life under racial capital. In his groundbreaking work Hammer and Hoe, Robin D. G. Kelley talks about the importance of the Communist Party, supported and often guided by the Soviet Union, in bringing international attention to conditions of African Americans in the south.

This week marks the anniversary of the Scottsboro Boys. On March 25, 1931 nine teenaged boys were arrested in Alabama and charged with raping two white women. Two weeks after their arrest and near lynching, the Communist Party “transformed a local struggle into an international cause.” The Communists saw this case as an opportunity to build a mass movement. They organized an international campaign, including mass demonstrations and public protests. Their efforts inspired demonstrations and defense committees around the globe from Cleveland to Johannesburg, Tokyo, Paris, and Moscow. They made the bold claim that Alabama was “planning a legal lynching” and they challenged the main stream narrative, humanizing the boys  and helping people understand the structural dimensions of racial capital.

Today, some people in Russia are risking their lives to protest this war. Often lead by women and queer activists, Russians are finding creative, courageous ways to demand peace. More than 17,000 Russian artists signed an open letter saying no to war. They have been joined by scientists and other professional groups across Russia.

The world will not survive if we continue down the road to war, hatred, and military might. Creating a culture of peace is our only alternative. Finding our way to radical love is our first task.

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Uplifting & Supporting our Community

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Join We The People of Detroit as they acknowledge World Water Day, hosting a webinar discussing the historical insidious practices of water injustice that are still affecting Detroit residents today. Their webinar will educate attendees on the large-scale water shutoffs that are slated for the city, providing them with the tools to educate and mobilize to create change.
The webinar is online, Tuesday March 22, 2022 from 6-7:30 pm and you can register here

Octavia Butler Week @ University of Michigan

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University Music Society and the U-M Institute for Humanities has partnered to host a week of events in celebration of the work of Octavia Butler. Events will take place March 21-27, with a hybrid of online and in-person opportunities to engage. The week will include a series of discussions, social events, and ending with a weekend of The Parable of the Sower as performed by UM students.

3/21-3/25: ‘Spaces in Community Places’ Scavenger Hunt
3/22: Parable Paint Night
3/22: Reading Octavia Butler: A Panel Discussion
3/23: Art & AfrofuturismVirtual Panel
3/24: Parable Party & Open Mic at NOW Studios
3/25-3/27: Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower

You can read more about the week of events here

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Funding & Training Opportunities

  1. The BlackOUT Collective is looking for Community Training host organizations– we offer Black Direct Action basics to communities interested in skilling up around DA. Our Community Training Program is a FREE opportunity for organizations to bring us to your cities (virtually, in-person, or a mix of the two) for a one or two-day Direct Action 101. More info about the program here, and interest form for hosts at this link.
  1. For those who have been trained by BlackOUT Collective before, and are in the process of planning for direct actions in formations/collectives/organizations led by Black people, our Action Fund is now open. We offer up to $1000 of financial support for all direct action-related expenses. Applications are here. (We are ONLY accepting applications from folks we have trained — sign up to host a Community Training, or contact PG Watkins [pg@blackoutcollective.org] for more info on upcoming training opportunities)
  1. The Davis Putter Scholarship Fund is an opportunity for student activists to receive up to $15,000 in grant funding for their education. More information on the application (Due April 1st)at this link.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________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

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________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

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What We’re Watching
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In celebration of International Women’s Day, activist Loretta Ross hosted a conversation between herself and lifelong activists, Suzanne Pharr and Mab Segrest. The recording of the conversation has been provided for your viewing and can be viewed here!
What We’re Reading
Waltzing Around Armageddon with the Merchants of Death

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Image credit: Mr Fish; The Butcher’s Cut

Journalist and author, Chris Hedges writes in a painstaking yet brutal way the reality we are facing with the war initiated between Russia and Ukraine. Hedges calls for the need for more anti-war rhetoric and action while revealing the effects of perpetuated war efforts thus far between nations. As a war correspondent, Hedges brings to this writing a call for introspection through truthtelling as the recipe for global war is unfolding in real time.
This piece comes from Counterpunch and was originally published on ScheerPost.

Open Letter: Solidarity with Russian anti-war protestors
Code Pink has published the following letter and call for those in support of Russian anti-war protestors to add their name to the letter in the name of solidarity:

Dear Russian anti-war protestors, 

We, women and other feminists (including men) of the world, express our solidarity with you as you protest the devastating invasion of Ukraine, and we join your call for Russian troops to immediately leave Ukraine. We are aware of the risks you face from police and civil authorities and thank you for your profound bravery and sacrifice. We are also moved by the tremendous courage of the Ukrainian people in the face of disaster, and our hearts ache as we bear witness to Ukrainian families huddling in bomb shelters and parking garages, or facing long lines at the border after being forced to flee their homes.

We have experience standing up to our own governments’ aggression. During the U.S./NATO invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, we took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands to oppose the horrific destruction of entire cities and the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Now, as Russian missiles mercilessly wipe out your neighbors’ homes, medical facilities, and schools in Ukraine, we see you take to the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities in peaceful protest, and we are so deeply inspired and grateful. 

As we oppose this brutal war being waged in your name, we are also aware of the role the U.S. and NATO have played in stoking the geopolitical crisis that led to this war. We have opposed NATO’s expansion into Central and Eastern Europe, and we continue to oppose NATO expansion today. We steadfastly believe Ukraine should be a neutral country. 

Today, as Putin has put your nuclear arsenal on high alert, we see the terrifying possibility of this conflict spinning out of control. The U.S. and Russia are guilty of stockpiling 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, putting the entire world at risk, and violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. As we organize today to stop this war, we must work together in the future to force our governments to join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons so we can rid the world of this existential threat to survival on our beautiful planet.  

The imposition of sanctions aimed to damage the Russian economy also concerns us. We have no problem with taking yachts and private jets from oligarchs, but sanctions that hurt millions of ordinary Russians like you and impact the entire global economy are cruel and counterproductive. We have seen the devastating results of sanctions in countries from Cuba to Iran to North Korea–such sanctions harm the civilian population, particularly women, children, and the elderly, and fail to change government policies. 

Instead of indiscriminate sanctions and fanning the flames by pouring more weapons into Ukraine, we demand that Russia and Ukraine engage in serious negotiations, with all the compromises this would entail. 

As women and other feminists, we have had enough of senseless wars that destroy lives and communities while lining the coffers of weapons manufacturers. We’ve seen too many attacks on civilians from Yemen to Gaza to Ethiopia to Ukraine, and we’ve watched in horror as precious resources are poured into wars while families’ basic needs for food, shelter, education, and healthcare go unmet and climate change threatens all life on our planet. A world of violence, hatred, and destruction is not the world we want for our children. With fire in our bellies and love in our hearts, we join with you — across borders — to demand an end to the bloodshed and the destruction.

Russian Troops Out of Ukraine!
Ceasefire Now!
No NATO expansion! 

Peace Talks NOW!
Stand in solidarity and add your name here

“Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness, and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.”
 – Frantz Fanon