Boggs Center – Visits – Events – Cuba Film
On the Road in Rocky River
Rich Feldman, Barbara Stachowski, Michael Doc Holbrook and Roberto Mendoza represented the Boggs Center for a discussion hosted by the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, in Rocky River, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland on March 27, 2015.The Center was invited to talk about the book The Next American Revolution and the film American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. April Stoltz organized a group for a series of study/conversations. The group also plans to visit Detroit for a tour and further dialogue in early May.We arrived at 5pm and were totally excited to see that the church had put up a large banner out front with the words: “Black Lives Matter”The courage for a predominately white-suburban church to put forward the message of this moment in our nation’s history was truly inspiring and challenging. Can you imagine if 20 churches and union halls in the predominately white suburbs surrounding Detroit put this banner up and then went door to door discussing the question: Can anyone’s life matter if we as a nation do not recognize that Black Lives Matter?
These are the times to grow our souls and take seriously Martin Luther King Jr’s challenge to struggle against racism, materialism and militarism. Now is the time for us to involve young people in the rebuilding, redefining and re-inspiring of our cities and ourselves. We need a radical revolution in values. During our discussion, we shared that this kind of courage was similar to creating stations to support the underground railroad.
The group from the church consisted of about 14 older white women and two young African American men. The conversation was very spirited and thought provoking. The experience reminded us of just how critical it is to have open discussions around topics that many in America are reluctant to have. If we are ever going to have a revolution of values in this country, it will happen because people want so passionately to live differently that nothing can stop us.
Both of the young African American men who attended are engaged in community creation and non violence organizing through their work with The New Abolitionist Movement Association and Freedom Schooling in Cleveland.
On the trip in the car, we discussed a proposal by Barbara and Roberto to begin a similar discussion group in a Catholic church in Warren, MI, with the goal of spreading the Boggs Center ideas and practice to the Detroit suburbs. Roberto co-led such a group in Oklahoma City, at the Mayflower Congregational Church, which also focused on The Next American Revolution. We discussed the words allies, solidarity and the need to create language reflecting our fundamental belief that “the sole purpose of revolution is the evolution of human kind.”
As the Boggs Center continues to deepen our work of visionary organizing and resistance in Detroit, these travels and discussions push us all to recognize that the Next American Revolution must involve all of America. As James Baldwin has said:
“American will not know its name until it knows my Name”
Along with our commitment to engage others from the Midwest and across our country in visionary organizing workshops, we continue to host visitors from across the globe and country at the center.
Check out the website: www.boggscenter.org for information about the tours: From Growing Our Economy to Growing Souls. Schedule a visit or organize a study of The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism in the 20th Century (Boggs & Kurushige) and a showing of American Revolutionary or We R Not Ghosts.
As the struggle to stop the water shutoffs deepens and as the commitment across Detroit to stop foreclosures through many coalitions and organizations expands, we know that creating power, transforming ourselves and visionary organizing are essential for our movement moment.
What We’re Watching
Tavis Smiley brought his national television program to Detroit at the end of March for a weeklong series. During his visit, he afforded Detroit residents and activists an opportunity to participate in a town hall and discuss their views on what has been deemed the “revitalization” of their city, as well as discuss some of their vision moving forward. Panelists interviewed included Attorneys Alice Jennings (Edwards & Jennings) and Nabih Ayah ((Arab American Civil Rights League), Malik Yakini (Detroit Black Community Food Security Network), Pastor Bill Wylie-Kellerman (St. Peters Episcopal Church), and Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty (Boggs Center). The conversation was followed up by a brief Q&A after.
Considine Center, 8904 Woodward Ave
The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network sponsors the Detroit showing of Tierralismo: Stories from a Cooperative Farm about a farming cooperative in Cuba. Tierralismo is about the history and practices of one of Cuba’s most successful urban farms, the Organoponico Vivero Alamar (Alamar Organic Cooperative). Tierralismo, introduces viewers to everyone from agronomists and senior management to workers who plant, plow, and propagate. What began as a necessity – farming without pesticides and chemical fertilizers – has become a source of pride to coop members. The film shows how they fertilize with compost and cow manure, raise their own insects for biological pest control, and have even created a fully biodegradable alternative to the plastic bag for use with seedlings.The filmmaker, Alejandro Ramirez, and one of the co-founders of the Organoponico, Isis Salcines, will accompany the tour, creating a dynamic forum to share knowledge and create learning opportunities on film and food security, and the people who are driving both movements in Cuba and the U.S. Alexandra Halkin, Director of AMI will accompany the Cuban visitors on the tour.