Bogga Center Living for Change News – May 22nd – May 29th
Our mission is to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities. Through local, national and international networks of activists, artists and intellectuals we foster new ways of living, being and thinking to face the challenges of the 21st century.
Living for Change News
May 22nd – May 29th
Bringing Climate Justice Home to Detroit
A Free Showing of the Naomi Klein Film
This Changes Everything
Thursday May 26, 2016
Doors open/networking at 6pm
Film at 7pm
Detroit Film Theatre at the DIA
5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit 48202
Detroit Film Theatre, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Ecology Center, Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit, IHM Peace, Justice & Sustainability Office, Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Michigan United, People’s Water Board, Sierra Club, Soulardarity, Voices for Earth Justice, Zero Waste Detroit
Thinking for Ourselves
No More Half-Truths
Last week Nolan Finley, the conservative columnist for the Detroit News wrote a surprisingly sensitive column about “Detroit’s dying kids.” Contrasting with Flint children who have “names,” “faces,” and “advocates,” Finley explained, “The children of Detroit are nameless, faceless and voiceless.” Describing the deaths of our children and the violence they face, Finley said, “It’s a slaughter, and no one outside the neighborhoods seem to care.” He observes that, “Dying kids don’t fit into the happy narrative of a Detroit comeback.”
This is the second time Finley has had the courage to raise questions about the dominant narrative of resurgence and revitalization.
One of his most widely discussed columns was about two Detroits, one white and one black. Giving voice to a reality that few in the media are willing to talk about he said :
Later he explained, “Nobody wants to inject race into the marvelous story of downtown’s rebound” but, “with racial tension simmering across the country, Detroit must heed obvious warning signs.”
It is a sign of progress that a conservative, older, white man at the Detroit News is willing to question the dominant “comeback” narrative. It is important that we find ways to talk about what is happening in our city and Finley is raising questions that most of his contemporaries avoid.
We must talk about race, about genocide and the war being waged on black, brown and poor people across our city.
Still, Finley’s description of the violence is troubling. His article is remarkable for what it doesn’t name.
He doesn’t mention the names we do know. This column was published just a few days before the sixth anniversary of the death of Ayanna Jones. Police killed her while she was sleeping on her couch. She was 7 years old. Her name is known around the country. And so is the fact that no one has ever been held accountable for the taking of her life.
Nor does Finley mention #SayHerName National Day of Action to stop police violence against Black girls, women and gender nonconforming people, held a few days after his column appeared. In an article supporting the action, Ebony noted, “Stories involving Black women and police violence rarely garner massive outcry. In fact, Black women and girls who are victimized in similar cases are virtually missing from the mainstream media.”
Finley begins his article talking about Flint and the poisoning of children through their water supply. Yet he is silent about the effects of water shut offs in Detroit that deny children the most basic of human rights.
He is silent about the mass evictions, as children and their parents are forced out of homes. He is silent about the violence in schools of relentless testing and unsafe buildings, without bathrooms, heat or compassion.
This silence is as important to understand as the violence Finley does name. They are related, not separate realities. We need to understand that it is more comfortable for Finley to talk about interpersonal violence. In doing so, he does not trouble the powerful who require the violence of police, shut offs and evictions to protect their privilege and consolidate their power.
To look at the full truth of violence demands we look not only at victims, but at perpetrators. It demands that all of us look in the mirror and see how much we have contributed to the dehumanization and destruction of daily lives. To take seriously Black Lives Matter means no more half- truths.
Tawana Honeycomb Petty
they try and erase us
Technology our Children and the 21st Century: A Father’s Reflection
This is our time! My son, Micah Fialka-Feldman is now 31 years old and throughout his life has been given the opportunity to use technology to learn, listen, share, organize, and advocate for himself and for others. He presents at local and national conferences of 500 people with the assistance of technologies like PowerPoint and videos to share his story.
It is common for him to get hundreds of “likes” and comments on his Facebook page. He updates his posts and keeps in touch via texting and emails. In our family, we do not call it adaptive technology or supportive technology – it is simply technology.
Not only is Micah one of the Post-ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) generation of young adults, he also came of age with the emergence of life changing technologies such as personal computers, voice recognition software like Dragon Dictation (Dragon®NaturallySpeaking), screen readers, smartphones, and videos. He has the audacious expectation that he has a right to anything and everything that allows him to reach his potential as a human being.
In 2016 we do not have to spend 20 hours adjusting the voice recognition software to understand Micah’s voice and words. Instead, Micah uses his iPhone with built-in dictation, voice technology and the digital assistant, Siri. With other emerging technologies like 3-D Printers and Fabricators, we are entering a new stage in human history where our children, our young adults and people of all abilities can use technology to create meaningful work in the community.
As a father, I have been outraged at the failure of schools to provide leadership in this area. Administrators often spend time talking about money and ditto sheets for reading rather than creating a serious commitment to the individual ways in which a young person can and is ready to learn and grow. As Micah would say, “folks need to serious think out of the box, and have great expectations!”
You see, Micah was raised in a family that believes individual opportunity comes from emerging social movements, and we as a family live by the following guiding principles:
– Great expectations
Our family believes that every human being needs to be given the opportunity to reach his or her potential, and no one can do it alone. When I speak of the “commitment to create community,” I want to emphasize the idea of interdependence – knowing that every human being has gifts to advance our world.
Our family had the honor and privilege to create a three day family workshop and training at the Kirkridge Retreat Center with a group of families and young adults with disabilities from the TIP Program. Together it is Possible!
After Micah shared his story of inclusion using PowerPoint, each young adult presented his or her own PowerPoint, telling their own stories. The pride and dignity gained from sharing stories in a variety of media such as text, videos, pictures, and music were made possible by technology and thus created the foundation for these young adults to then deepen self-advocacy via public discussion. This experience fundamentally creates a space to recruit and invite individuals to a circle of friends and support, thus replacing shame with the honor to ask for help and the honor to move from independence to interdependence, which is the basis of community.
Mobile technology has allowed Micah to be both independent and to call upon others for assistance that encourages interdependence. Breaking the silence and asking for help demonstrates a commitment to belonging and opportunities for each individual to express their human potential. Our children do not have to adapt, nor fit in, nor beg. They can lead the way to create a better world for themselves and others. We live in a time when a circle of support can create the kind of community where all–I mean all–can create our own futures.
Gentrification’s toll: ‘It’s you or the bottom line and sorry, it’s not you’