Boggs Center – Living for Change News July 24th – July 31st

Jimmy and Grace  
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
July 24th – July 31st
19th Annual
Detroit Tour of Urbans Gardens and Farms 

19th annual


On Wednesday, August 3rd guests will travel by bus and bike to get a taste of the routes that Detroit grown food is traveling from farm to table and learn a little bit more about the deep roots of the urban agriculture community. All tours will leave from Eastern Market Shed 3, located east of Russell St. between Adelaide and Division. Check-in begins at 5:00pm and tours will leave at 6:00pm sharp.

Stick around after the tour for a reception featuring delicious food prepared with Grown in Detroit produce by some of Detroit’s best local chefs. Back by popular demand, we’ll also be hosting the “Good Food Bazaar” an interactive space at the reception designed to help introduce tour guests to opportunities to become active volunteers, consumers and supporters of the organizations and entrepreneurs behind the good food momentum in the city.

Registration is now open and early registration is strongly recommended. The fee for the tour, paid when you register, is a sliding scale $15-$100 to offset cost of producing the event, which is valued at $50/person.

Thinking for Ourselves
Community Wisdom
Shea Howell

shea25Last week a majority of the Detroit City Council voted to place an anti-community proposal on the November ballot.  The intent of this proposal is to confuse voters and protect the interests of big business. Council members Benson, Leland, Tate, Spivey, Cushingberry, and Ayers voted to support the proposal. It was developed hastily by Scott Benson in an effort to destroy a people’s initiative to legally mandate a community voice in major, publically supported developments.

With this decision, Detroit voters are likely to have two competing proposals with the same name on the ballot. One, supported by the people, would use the force of law to ensure that communities have a voice and receive agreed upon benefits from developments that use public money or get tax breaks.  The other, sponsored by Benson, only mandates a public meeting, where developers get to tell citizens what they plan to do.

Mayor Duggan and the business elite oppose a meaningful Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). They argue that a real CBA would limit development and jeopardize job growth. These claims are nonsense. And they are not the core of the objections. The sad truth is that the Mayor, Councilman Benson, the majority of the Council and the business elite fear democracy. They distrust the wisdom of people. They see a CBA only as something that takes away from profits and control. They cannot imagine that a real CBA, with a true collaborative process, would result in better decisions and better development.

This anti-democratic thrust and fear of the people is actually written into the ordinance proposed by Benson. The one public meeting in the ordinance is orchestrated and designed to tell residents what will happen to them. These “impacts” are universally described in negative terms throughout the ordinance. Citizens are allowed to suggest ways to soften the blows. Nothing is binding.  The philosophy reflected in the Benson Ordinance cast people as complainers. Once we get a chance to grip a little, developers go ahead as planned. This is the track record of development, especially under emergency management and Mayor Duggan. Developers don’t live up to even minimal agreements.

In measured support for the Benson Ordinance, Crains says that a real CBA “opens the door to project management by people who may or may not have the subject matter expertise to give guidance and set the rules of play for developers.” The power of the community to “micro-manage specific investments may bring growth to a screeching halt,” they warn.

It does not occur to these folks that there is wisdom and creativity in the community. Community knowledge means better development. Community engagement need not be antagonistic.

The reality is that communities are complex and multi layered. Developers see only one small slice of that reality.  For example, last March, a Detroit icon, Faygo, faced a community picket over a closed road. The leadership of Faygo was stunned at being picketed, but wisely decided to engage with the community. They learned that in an effort to make their truck deliveries more efficient they had blocked off essential community pathways for children to get to buses and for emergency vehicles to enter the neighborhood quickly.  Before long a compromise was reached so kids could pass safely and emergency vehicles could reach distant streets.

Community Development is about more than jobs or limiting “negative impacts.” A true CBA rests on the belief that community wisdom makes for better decisions for everyone.

We owe thanks to Council President Jones and members Castaneda-Lopez and Sheffield for upholding the democratic wisdom of a CBA. Now we need to organize to win the November vote. Detroiters are not so easily fooled.


For Immediate Release
Alicia Farris, ROC-MI
(313) 962-5020

July 26, 2016
Detroit Organizations Join National Night Out for Safety and Liberation

Community organizations come together to discuss what it means to be “safe”

DETROIT – On Tuesday, August 2nd, organizations are hosting events in more than 20 cities across the country, including Detroit, where they will redefine what public safety means to them during an event called a Night Out for Safety and Liberation.

People who live in communities that are plagued with crime and violence understandably want to feel safe and they have that right. However, the question that organizers are asking is: “Does an increased police presence in a community necessarily translate to more safety’?

“I know that Detroiters have a lot to say about what it means to be safe and free,” said Alicia Farris of Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan.  “Therefore, I reached out to several community organizations, because I thought it was important for Detroiters to join in on this national conversation that takes a different look at what safety means to those who are most marginalized.”

Increased policing in black and brown communities has contributed to increased surveillance, mass criminalization, and calls for the implementation of policing tactics like stop and frisk and broken windows. For black and brown communities, this is the opposite of safety. Safety should look like a direct reinvestment in black and brown communities and a strong social safety net. Safety looks like a move away from mass criminalization and a move towards fewer police and less surveillance. It looks like communities where people have homes without fear of displacement. Safety is embodied in quality healthcare that people can access and afford. Safety also looks like neighborhoods where a quality education is accessible for all and communities where people have access to clean water and healthy food.

These reimagined and redefined qualities of safety and more will be discussed at theNight Out for Safety and Liberation Detroit event on August 2, 2016 at the Detroit Public Library – Main Branch from 5pm – 8pm Light refreshments and childcare services will be available.

This event is being organized by: Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan


Allied Media Projects
Good Cakes and Bakes
Community Development Advocates of Detroit
James and Grace Lee Boggs Center
Detroit Equity Action Lab
Michigan Faith In Action – Detroit
Detroit Food Policy Council
Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation
Mothering Justice
Detroit People’s Platform
Pontiac Policy Council
Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan
Rosa Parks Institute
Equitable Detroit Coalition
The Foundation of Women in Hip Hop
FoodLab Detroit
We the People of Detroit

The Boggs Book Shop is open and waiting for you!
Among many other titles, don’t miss…
Ron Scott’sHow to End Police Brutality

evolution in the 21st Century Anthology

…or the classic, Conversations in Maine

The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership


3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214


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