Evolving Community Commitments By Kim Sherobbi

KimEvolving Community Commitments

By Kim Sherobbi

December 12, 2015

For years, I’ve been attending community gatherings on the northwest side of Detroit near the Jefferies Freeway and Wyoming. In the past, I would see the same faces at neighborhood events. Recently new faces have emerged. These newcomers appear eager to learn more about our community and have their voices heard.

On Friday, December 4, 2015 people from the area attended a Race & Power in Detroit discussion about blight sponsored by the Michigan Round Table (MRT). The event was held at the Northwestern Christian Church. It was the first time that several people had attended a MRT conversation. That evening, I was the moderator for the panel discussion, table dialogues and report-outs. Although the definition and framing of blight needed more grounding, many first timers experienced the satisfaction or frustration of hearing differing opinions about blight.

The community engagement that was taking place was just as important as discussing the deterioration in our neighborhoods. This increased level of residents participating in neighborhood activities is a welcome change because it is only through interacting with one another that we will be able to make collective decisions.

Another event that took place in the area, where both regulars and newcomers were present, was the Detroit Police Commission meeting. Adams Butzel Recreation Center hosted the event on Thursday, December 10, 2015. Those who attended the meeting were able to get policing updates, celebrate ten police officers for their outstanding work and hear acknowledgements about the dedication of recently deceased community activist Ron Scott. The majority of the meeting was focused on Ron’s commitment to the people of Detroit. A salutation about Ron was read by Police Commissioner Rev. Edgar Vann, comments of admiration for Ron flowed freely, and a moment of silence for the usually seven minutes that Ron took at the mic, when he should have taken 3 minutes, gave people in the room a moment to smile as we reflected on his dedication to humanity. Having new people hear about the life of Ron Scott was a wonderful way for them and us to learn what community participation is all about.

 

Rethinking Education with the North Dakota Study Group By Kimberley Sherobbi

Rethinking Education with the North Dakota Study Group

By Kimberley Sherobbi

KimAt a time in our country when many people have given up on public education, there is a group of educators who believe that their voices and influence can make a positive difference in the educational lives and experiences of children no matter what type of school they attend. Hence, the North Dakota Study Group (NDSG) continues to meet every summer to plan for its Annual Meeting. NDSG participates consists of all levels of educators from across the country. Some NDSG participates have been gathering to discuss, debate and support ideas about education for over 42 years. The Boggs Center has been part of this process for nearly a decade.

This summer, planning took place in South Texas at the Llano Grande House. The Llano Grande House is a community space in Elsa, Texas which is located near the border of Mexico. At Llano Grande, students and other community members are taught how to make meaningful connections between school and cultural education, breaking down the walls between school and community learning.

NDSG Annual Meeting planners selected the theme Moimento Sin Fronteras (Movement without Borders) for the 2016 gathering. The Annual Meeting will be held in South Texas during the month of February. Participates in the Meeting will examine and address educational trends like opting out of testing, restorative justice practices, and race relations.  During the planning session, one planner stated that NDSG Annual Meeting is not a conference. It is a process. It’s a way to commit to living life.

The NDSG Annual Meeting should prove to be a very engaging and insightful experience for anyone who attends. If you want to learn more about NDSG or register for its Annual Meeting, go to www.ndsg.org. The Boggs Center will be organizing a group from Detroit as well.