Boggs Center – Living For Change – April 15th 2019

April 15th, 2019

grace and jimmy
boggscenterlogo

Thinking for Ourselves

Fearless Love
Shea Howell

Sanctuary cities are back in the news. Trump has renewed his efforts to punish cities that have declared sanctuary for people coming to this country seeking safety and new ways of life. In both a speech and a tweet, Trump vowed he is thinking about rounding up people who are being detained at the border and sending them to cities that have declared sanctuary. He is taking special aim at California.

No one but Trump and his advisor Stephen Miller support this. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the idea to transport people to cities offering sanctuary had been “floated and rejected” many times since Trump took office. The next day, Trump insisted the idea was still being given “strong consideration.”

“California certainly is always saying, ‘Oh, we want more people,’ Trump told reporters Friday. “And they want more people in their sanctuary cities. Well, we’ll give them more people. We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply. Let’s see if they’re so happy.”

“They’re always saying they have open arms. Let’s see if they have open arms,” he continued.

The notion of shipping people to Sanctuary cities has been pushed repeatedly by Miller.  Homeland Security officials “sought a formal legal opinion which said that the plan would be inappropriate and not in accordance with federal law.” That is a nice way of saying it is illegal.

Trump pays little attention to the law in his efforts to whip up anti-immigrant hatred and to intimidate those who oppose him. He has persisted in efforts to block funds to sanctuary jurisdictions. Every one of these efforts has been ruled illegal. At least seven federal courts have blocked Trumps unilateral efforts to cut funds to sanctuary jurisdictions.

This latest effort at intimidation brought forceful responses. California Governor Gavin Newsom said, “It is illegal. It is immoral. It is unethical. It is sophomoric. It is petulant. And it is par for the course.” The head of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said Trump’s idea is “a reminder that the Trump administration’s reckless immigration agenda is not about keeping the country safe, but about partisan politics and wantonly inflicting cruelty.”

This is the context giving rise to equally cruel, cowardly, and immoral efforts at the Michigan State Legislature. Earlier in the week two bills were introduced by republicans Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain and Pamela Hornberger of Chesterfield Township that would prevent Michigan cities and counties from passing sanctuary policies. House Bills 4083 and 4090 would ban decisions by municipalities and counties to limit police agencies from detaining people solely for being undocumented. HB 4083 also stipulates a court could assess a civil fine between $2,500 and $7,500 against a local official it deems “knowingly and willfully enacted or enforced a law, ordinance, policy or rule in violation of this act.”

The bills were originally introduced with names that clearly explained what they intended. They were called the Local Government Sanctuary Policy Prohibition Act and the County Sanctuary Policy Prohibition Act. In an effort to make them more palatable the names were changed Tuesday. The proposed legislation is now titled the Local Government Law Enforcement Protection Act and the County Law Enforcement Protection Act.

But changing their names does not change their intent. Nor does it change the reality that this is an effort rooted in racism and xenophobia. It is an attempt to bring Michigan in line with inhuman and callous policies advocated by Trump. It is an effort to ask us to endorse cruelty.

We should resist these bills forcefully. By now it sure is clear that we cannot appease Trump and his ilk. Cities in Michigan should stop trying to evade criticism or to escape Trump’s wrath by calling themselves “welcoming.” We should declare Sanctuary loudly and clearly. If history has taught us anything, it is that only fearless love can overcome hate.

 

black legacy

justice4


May 2 Brightmoor Maker Space Event Invitation

 

A tiny house program in Detroit helps people avoid homelessness, and get a head start on building equity.

Boggs Center – Living for Change News – April 8th, 2019

April 8th, 2019

grace and jimmy
boggscenterlogo


baba

[Cover Photo: from Homrich 9 action. credited to ACLU]
Let’s pack the court room THIS WEDNESDAY for Baba Baxter’s motion hearing in regards to an injury he sustained while being forced into an ADA noncompliant van by the police during a direct action protesting water shutoffs #Homrich9

2PM in ROOM 226 @ Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse

!!!SHARE AND SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Bring a Picture I.D.
No cellphones or weapons!

An Update from the Highlander Center

What we know:

As most of you know, a devastating fire burned down our main office early Friday morning. Thankfully no one was inside the building and no one was injured.
We also found a symbol connected to the white power movement spray-painted on the parking lot connected to the main office.

While we do not know the names of the culprits, we know that the white power movement has been increasing and consolidating power across the South, across this nation, and globally.

Since 2016, the white power movement has become more visible, and we’ve seen that manifest in various ways, both subtle and overt. They’ve targeted and exploited working class and cash-poor white communities searching to find a sense of belonging, dividing them from people who support efforts to improve the material conditions of all people. Their attempts to increase in size and scale impact the realities of our daily lives here because the majority of Black people in this country reside in southern states. As islamophobic attacks become more prevalent, we’re hyper-aware that the majority of Muslims in this nation are Black people. We know that anti-Semitic attacks have rocked the Jewish community. We know that anti-immigrant forces are consolidating, attacks on reproductive freedoms abound and the politics of the federal government’s executive branch are speaking to the privilege-based fears of the white power movement, emboldening them in ways the 21st century hasn’t seen.

Even in the face of these realities, the southern freedom movement is alive and well. Our folks are winning campaigns. They’re organizing and base building. People are fighting for progressive policies and using direct action to hold people in power accountable.

Highlander is a sacred place built by communities of the most affected people and it has become a home to those who believe in freedom and collective liberation here in the south, across the U.S and around the world. Because of our history we are not surprised that this space, one where marginalized people working across sectors, geographies and identities show up consistently, has been repeatedly targeted over our 87 years of existence.

What’s next:

The safety of our people is and has always been our first concern. The investigation is nowhere near over. We are continuing to survive and monitor the process that takes more time in a rural geography with limited public resources. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will continue their investigation. The Tennessee Bomb and Arson people will continue to do theirs. We are not confused about how rarely people are ever charged with arson; however, we are surviving and monitoring these investigations.

This is a time for building our power. Now is the time to be vigilant. To love each other and support each other and to keep each other safe in turbulent times. Now is not the time to dismiss how scary things are, which makes it even more important to have concrete assessments of concrete conditions, and sophisticated strategies to build a new world.

What’s next for Highlander is that we will continue to be that sacred place, that movement home, that place where strategy is developed, that place where principled struggle happens, that place that accompanies movement, that place that incubates radical work, and that place that demands transformative justice.

We love you all, we appreciate your patience and questions, and please continue to be vigilant.

Thinking for Ourselves
Critical Days
Shea Howell
April 4th is an important day for our country. It is the day Martin Luther King Jr. denounced the Vietnam war and called for a radical revolution in values, in 1967. It is also the day he was murdered, one year later.  Over the past two years, this day has been acknowledged widely. In 2017 thousands of people gathered to read Breaking the Silence and discuss its meaning 50 years later. Last year, people gathered to consider how movements live beyond individuals, shifting and changing to overcome the challenges we all face.

This year, these events received little public attention. Perhaps these moments of collective experience are dimming. Most of the people who were part of them are gone now, especially those closest to King.

Still, in honor of that day, I always read King words. I find them a searing indictment of who we are, and a compassionate longing for who we might become. “America,” he says, “Can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So, it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.”

These words were still with me as I read the news of Donald Trump’s visit to the U.S.-Mexican border town of Calexico. There he announced. “Our country is full.” He said, “The system is full. We can’t take you anymore.” “Our country is full…Turn around.” He continued, “When it’s full, there is nothing you can do. You have to say, ‘I’m sorry, we can’t take you.’”

These words were followed by another threat to close the border and more bluster about the wall. Trump was especially flattered by a plaque that his Secretary of Homeland Security had installed in October of 2018, to ensure that Trump got credit for a little over two miles of new fence, initiated by his predecessor. It reads below the presidential seal, “This plaque was installed on October 26, 2018, to commemorate the completion of the first section of President Trump’s border wall.”

Missing from the entire affair was Trump’s nominee to head ICE, Ronald Vitiello, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol. Trump abruptly announced he was withdrawing the nomination because he wants someone “tougher” in charge of immigration enforcement.

Trump’s policies at the border are a crime against humanity. Last week the people held under a bridge, sleeping on gravel, were let go and the ACLU is filing a suit on their behalf. “The detention of migrants for multiple nights in outdoor detention pens is an unprecedented and extreme violation,” the complaint says. “Although CBP has long violated the rights of migrants in its custody, the agency’s decision to detain migrants, including children, in caged dirt filled outdoor areas is an escalation of this administration’s cruelty. Without immediate attention and oversight, we will continue to risk the lives of those seeking refuge in our country.”

King said of Vietnam, “Somehow this madness must cease” for it “is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit.”

He reminds us that we must find new ways to act in love or, “We shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality ad strength without sight.”

Our children will remember what has happened to them and what we choose to do. These are critical days.

 

 

 

River Wise Magazine – Winter Spring 2019

Rest In Power, Mama Lila

As we continue to mourn this great loss in our community, remember her family, close friends, and comrades. A legend, mother, sister, wife, a righteous woman of immovable conviction, water warrior, tireless champion for the people and challenger of the status quo, fierce anti-racist, a trainer and educator of generations, Lila Mae Leaks Cabbil will be sorely missed. The family has asked that donations be made to The People’s Water Board in honor of Lila Cabbil.

Congrats, Mama Aneb!

Aneb Kgositsile, or Dr. Gloria House, is the latest recipient of one of the biggest arts honors bestowed on Detroiters for a lifetime of work.

She is 2019’s Kresge Eminent Artist, an annual award reserved for those who’ve made distinguished contributions to the arts and the community at large. It comes with a $50,000 prize. You can read more about her honor here.

Ending White Supremacy, Here, and Now
The physical destruction of White Supremacy in all of its embodiments requires a political clarity about the moment in which we are living. How much of this still applies today? Of the failure of so-called White allies to support unapologetic calls for uncompromising Black liberation in our lifetime, is El Hajj Malik El Shabazz not speaking prophetically then about our now?  Listen with intent to act.
New Online Presentation of Riverwise Features
community news
The Heidelberg Project has launched a youth arts program! The Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy (HALA) is a free in-school or after-school arts education program designed to empower students in grades 4 through 12 with the tools they need to be active change agents in their community.

HALA’s mission is to empower students through arts, cultural and academic enrichment, STEAM education and social justice projects that cultivate potential and inspire active leadership.

Click to check out the HALA brochure or visit the website for more information.

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Boggs Center – Living For Change – April 2nd, 2019

April 2nd, 2019

grace and jimmy
boggscenterlogo


The Boggs Center would like to extend our love, respect and admiration to the Highlander Center for its 87 year legacy and commitment to social justice.

We are bereaved to learn of your recent fire, and offer our support as you continue your decades long contribution to the betterment of humanity.

In love and struggle, Boggs Center Board




A Message from the Highlander Center

As most of you know, a devastating fire burned down our main office early Friday morning. Thankfully no one was inside the building and no one was injured.

We also found a symbol connected to the white power movement spray-painted on the parking lot connected to the main office.
While we do not know the names of the culprits, we know that the white power movement has been increasing and consolidating power across the South, across this nation, and globally.

Since 2016, the white power movement has become more visible, and we’ve seen that manifest in various ways, both subtle and overt. They’ve targeted and exploited working class and cash-poor white communities searching to find a sense of belonging, dividing them from people who support efforts to improve the material conditions of all people. Their attempts to increase in size and scale impact the realities of our daily lives here because the majority of Black people in this country reside in southern states. As islamophobic attacks become more prevalent, we’re hyper-aware that the majority of Muslims in this nation are Black people. We know that anti-Semitic attacks have rocked the Jewish community. We know that anti-immigrant forces are consolidating, attacks on reproductive freedoms abound and the politics of the federal government’s executive branch are speaking to the privilege-based fears of the white power movement, emboldening them in ways the 21st century hasn’t seen.

Even in the face of these realities, the southern freedom movement is alive and well. Our folks are winning campaigns. They’re organizing and base building. People are fighting for progressive policies and using direct action to hold people in power accountable.

Highlander is a sacred place built by communities of the most affected people and it has become a home to those who believe in freedom and collective liberation here in the south, across the U.S and around the world. Because of our history we are not surprised that this space, one where marginalized people working across sectors, geographies and identities show up consistently, has been repeatedly targeted over our 87 years of existence.

What’s next:

The safety of our people is and has always been our first concern. The investigation is nowhere near over. We are continuing to survive and monitor the process that takes more time in a rural geography with limited public resources. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will continue their investigation. The Tennessee Bomb and Arson people will continue to do theirs. We are not confused about how rarely people are ever charged with arson; however, we are surviving and monitoring these investigations.

This is a time for building our power. Now is the time to be vigilant. To love each other and support each other and to keep each other safe in turbulent times. Now is not the time to dismiss how scary things are, which makes it even more important to have concrete assessments of concrete conditions, and sophisticated strategies to build a new world.

What’s next for Highlander is that we will continue to be that sacred place, that movement home, that place where strategy is developed, that place where principled struggle happens, that place that accompanies movement, that place that incubates radical work, and that place that demands transformative justice.

We love you all, we appreciate your patience and questions, and please continue to be vigilant.


Thinking for Ourselves
Critical Voices
Shea Howell


The arch of universe bent a little closer to justice this week. The massive, toxic trash incinerator that has been poisoning Detroit for more than 3 decades announced it is closing down. This marks a victory for one of the most sustained, imaginative, and persistent campaigns for environmental justice anywhere.

Across Detroit people who pulled babies in carts to protest pollution can now share the good news with their grandchildren. All of us will be able to breathe more freely and can look forward to summer days, no longer assaulted with air that suffocates us and infuses our bodies with noxious poisons.

I vividly remember going to one of the first hearings held by the Environmental Protection Agency with James and Grace Lee Boggs more than 30 years ago. James had agreed to give testimony against the incinerator on behalf of the Detroit Greens. He argued that the incinerator was taking us in the wrong direction. Its need for trash to burn to produce electricity depended on increasing consumption and waste. Instead, he argued, we should be developing policies to decrease our consumption and encourage recycling and reuse. He also talked about the finances of the project, predicting that Wall Street banks would become an increasing burden on city finances. He concluded his remarks reminding people that our major hospitals, meat packing, and fresh food centers all were in the path of daily cancer producing pollutants. People were being placed at risk every time they ate something or went to the hospital to be cured of the asthma or cancer caused by that very air.

Jimmy was followed by Harold Stokes, a life-long environmental activist and champion of justice. Harold had on a tee shirt from the Evergreen Alliance saying “Stop the Incinerator.” I remember him pointing to his chest and reading the slogan, explaining that was why he was offering testimony. Then, with a dramatic gesture, he ripped the shirt off, revealing another. Then another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another. Each one had a strong message, all from different groups, all saying “stop.” The last one was a beautiful stencil of a single blue bird. Harold walked up to the panel and asked them to look closely at the bird. He wanted his grand-children to be able to see such beauty, to hear its song. He warned that if the incinerator continued, it would be a death sentence to such fragile life.

The final testimony I remember from that day was from the Gross Pointe Junior League. Dressed for tea, a young mother read her remarks. I was not prepared for the depth of her testimony. She explained her group started talking about the smell of the incinerator at social gatherings. They had seen some of the protests and had started to wonder if the air carrying the smell was carrying other things into their community. They developed a process to test air quality systematically and had found alarming levels of pollutants, well above the levels allowed by the EPA. They had also found that in the first three months of the year, the air contained especially high levels of lead, cambium, and mercury as well as toxins related to the burning of plastics. The three months after Christmas, she said, were the worst, because toys and batteries were tossed away.

All of the concerns voiced that day proved to be true. For years these arguments have been repeated, deepened, and become more insightful. But their basic truth continues. Now at long last, after causing countless debilitating conditions and deaths, after extracting more than $1.2 billion from the city, this week it will end.

There are many lessons to learn from this long struggle. Those charged with the responsibilities of protecting people and our planet would do well to consider the critical role community members play in  assessing public policies. Learning to listen to voices motivated by care and compassion, rather than corporate greed, protects life.


Amp has a new Mission and Vision

mission-blog


High school students gathered Sunday in Midtown in Detroit to remember  protests a year ago to support safer schools, including making clean water available and stopping gun violence.


Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion (MRDI) is presenting its inaugural conference on achieving meaningful workplace diversity through Workplace Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Consulting. REGISTER TODAY!


Want to visualize inequality? View cities from above.