Archive for the ‘Living for Change’ Category

Jimmy and Grace  

James Boggs, “The American Revolution: Putting Politics in Command” 1970

The first question that has to be answered, therefore, is whether there is any arena in which the United States urgently needs revolutionary—that is to say, rapid and fundamental—development and reorganization. The answer is unequivocally yes. But, unlike the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the arena in which this country needs revolutionary change is not in the economic but in the political, not the material but the social. The essential, the key, contradiction in the United States that must be resolved if this country is to survive is the contradiction between economic overdevelopment and political underdevelopment.

 

 

Living for Change News
October 16th, 2017

(A message from our friends at  Mujer Montuna, a Social-Agricultural-Healing Justice project)

After Hurricane María, in Mujer Montuna we are trying really hard not to “lose it” in these hard times and to be more than patient until we get more news and reports back from our families and neighbors, as well as the loss and major needs in our rural communities, in Sector Lorenzo del Valle, Cerro Gordo and Quebrada Arenas, both in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico.

Our agricultural communities in the mountains have been hardly impacted by the center of the hurricane and communication these days has been hard. These communities are also very well known for their community/neighbors solidarity and hard work on a daily basis, and we have no doubt that they are making an excellent work caring for each other (you could see its beauty in some of our pictures and at our page).

In the meantime, while we are still working on the logistics of a possible construction brigade, a fundraiser and a collection of other major items, we decided to start collecting seeds to send to our communities back home to support restore our agricultural system which is so important.

Our communities in the mountains still rely a lot in the agricultural system, more in these hard times where rural communities are historically mostly the last ones to be served with post hurricane help and resources.

Help us sending seeds that can make justice for our people and help us rise. Write us for more info and address. We appreciate your solidarity! #FoodJusticeIsSocialJustice

NOTE: No GMO vegetable, fruits and flowers (for bees) zone 8,9 and 10 (tropical) seeds.

Mujer Montuna is Social-Agricultural-Healing Justice project from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico and will distribute the seeds around community members in these two communities and will report back with pictures of the process in our page

UPDATE!

We are also slowly collecting info from our communities, little by little, and new items are highly needed like:

  1. Water filters (not for sink water but for water that is collected) and water quality testers
  2. Solar power operated chargers or lights
  3. Solar or manual energy operated radios
Donations can be send in two ways:
-Either straight to San Lorenzo leaders as soon as Post Office opens up. You can track  Post Office service to these areas here.
Send to:
Manuel Cruz/ Jellyka Cruz (Centro Comunitario Lorenzo del Valle) HC 20 Box 26431 San Lorenzo PR 00754
(My family are community organizers and will distribute seeds and donations to the community center that has been organizing community meals, brigades and collections)

-To us in Chicago to collect and resend:
Jacoba/ Mujer Montuna 1025 W Sunnyside Ave Suite 201 Chicago IL 60640
Don’t hesitate to ask/ call. Please! I will update on fundraisers, some building brigades I have been organizing, collections and more to come

In Eternal Appreciation and Love,
Mujer Montuna.

“The first question that has to be answered, therefore, is whether there is any arena in which the United States urgently needs revolutionary—that is to say, rapid and fundamental—development and reorganization. The answer is unequivocally yes. But, unlike the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the arena in which this country needs revolutionary change is not in the economic but in the political, not the material but the social. The essential, the key, contradiction in the United States that must be resolved if this country is to survive is the contradiction between economic overdevelopment and political underdevelopment.”

James Boggs, “The American Revolution: Putting Politics in Command” 1970

Thinking for Ourselves

Expanding the Circle
Shea Howell

Charity Hicks has been on my mind this week. She was killed in the early summer of 2014 while waiting for a bus in New York City. She was on her way to the Left Forum to make a presentation about the water crisis in Detroit. Charity left us many gifts as she worked to create deep local resilience and global connections. She moved easily between landless activists in Brazil and emerging youth leadership in Detroit, inspiring us all to see connections and expand our consciousness. In her last speech to us that sparked the UN investigation of human rights abuses in Detroit, she challenged us to “Wage Love.” It is that challenge that has been echoing with me this week.

Everywhere we look, people are suffering the most unimaginable pain. Drought and flood. Earthquakes and firestorms. Wind and water. Fragile human constructions are toppling in the face of the power of Nature. Life as we once knew it is coming to an end.

And everywhere we look, people are turning to one another to survive and to protect life. Men and women risk their own lives to go into piles of rubble in search of children. People in one city give water to their neighbors who have less. People share what they have so everyone can get through another day. Others are finding ways to offer aid and support. Prayers and pallets of water and food are sent, often by private efforts as government proves incapable or unwilling to help.

Love after all is not an abstract emotion. It manifests in our actions. It seems obvious, that if we are to make it to the next century, humans will have to change. Our cultures built on extracting life from the earth and each other can no longer survive. They are dying from their own excess. Not easily. Not willingly. Not without a lot of pain and protest. But it is clear the earth can no longer bear the abuses we have caused in the pursuit of personal wealth and power.

As Grace Lee Boggs and Immanuel Wallerstein reminded us, the current world system is collapsing. Something new is being born. The only question is, “Will it be better or worse than the one we have now?

If it is to be a better world, it is emerging in the places where people are facing basic questions of how to create ways of living that value each other and protect the earth that sustains us. Charity’s call to Wage Love is more than a slogan. It begins with our capacity to remain open hearted in the face of such continued pain, to find our way to embrace the moments that make life meaningful.

In just a few short weeks many people are drifting away from acknowledging the catastrophes our way of life is creating. Houston is a memory, rarely mentioned as other disasters catch our attention. Puerto Rico is in danger of being completely abandoned by those responsible for providing the most basic emergency support, reduced to a political tweet in an effort to bolster the worst in us.

In such moments our task it to find our way toward “expanding the circle of human concerns.” As John Powell has often reminded us, this responsibility, to develop ways of being that embrace all life, is the challenge of the 21st Century. It is the only way we will make it to the next one.

What We’re Reading

 

In her new essay for TheNextSystem.org, Laura Flanders, creator and host of the Laura Flanders Show, explores how new media models grounded in cooperation, community, and robust public support are needed to fight back against the corporate concentration that is strangling the public sphere. As she writes:

“To shift the culture and impact policy in a systematic way, however, this next system media needs a new system of media ownership. A people-owned, public media system is possible. Other countries have one. You can see glimpses of it in the US in the media cooperatives and municipally-owned internet systems that are popping up across the country, and in the reporting collaborations that emerge whenever critical stories break that the corporate media ignore, like the uprising at Standing Rock, the movement for Black Lives, and before that, Occupy Wall Street.”

KEEP READING


Detroiters Speak flyer


Our Communities are up to us
Rich Feldman

On Saturday, 60-70 folks gathering in Ferndale, Michigan, outside Detroit, for a discussion based upon the theme: Our Communities and Our Humanity are up to US, New Thinking on Race: What it is? Where it came from and What we Can do About it.

William Copeland, Detroit artist, thinker and activist shared the important work of “Breathe Free Detroit” and challenged the gathering of suburban folks to engage in the emerging campaign to stop dumping garbage in Detroit. He did not mean illegal dumping. He made it very clear that more than 60% of the garbage burned in Detroit’s polluting incinerator comes from Oakland County. This poisoning of our air and our children in Detroit is a major health crisis and a clear example of white supremacy, racism and silence by those in the suburbs.

Detroit water activist, Monica Lewis Patrick and Will Copeland were clear, that no-one is waiting for the politicians or the corporations to end these policies. Policies which keep the polluting incinerator operating and policies that shut-off people’s water.  Mayor Duggan, Dan Gilbert, Mike Illich and Governor Snyder have declared war on the majority of long term residents of Detroit. Monica and Will shared ways for folks to get involved NOW.

After a few moments of small group conversation, Frank Joyce, lifelong Detroiter, contributor to Riverwise magazine and co-editor of the book: The People Make the Peace- Lessons from Vietnam Anti-war Movement took the audience on a long historical journey of “white thinking”.   Frank clearly demonstrated that we live in a moment of great change with tremendous opportunities to change 500 years of thinking and actions we have created.  He reminded us that race-capitalism (the historical emergence of racism and capitalism together 500 years ago) is not inevitable because just as people created it, people can change and tear it down, resist it and change into something that is more human and respects all life.  Frank brought to the conversation the courage of the Abolitionists from the 19th century, the courage of people to challenge science or myth like Copernicus and Galileo (15-16 Century).  Eugenics created in the US was established by scientists and now we have science totally challenging the barbarism of Eugenics as well as scientists across the globe informing us of global climate crises and the need to end the world of resource extraction.  DNA testing and ancestry.com have made a national and global conversation to destroy biological thinking & white supremacy identity thinking as the basis political, economic, social policies and norms. The values and outlooks and thinking of “white supremacy” are in chaos and collapsing and this is a moment of great transition. The future is up to us.

One of our goals is to create Democracy Circles across the suburbs of Wayne, Macomb and Wayne Counties to Break our Silence and to create the Beloved Community. The hosting church, The First United Methodist Church of Ferndale, announced that they will create on-going discussions and a Democracy Circle and the Mayor of Ferndale announced that they will investigate the destination of their suburban garbage. Many individuals sign up and a few plan to create discussions in their neighborhood, church or union hall.


 

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

.

3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

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  Jimmy and Grace  
Grace Lee Boggs 6-27-1915 – 10-5-2015
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
October 2nd, 2017

3

Thinking for Ourselves

Democracy and States?
Shea HowellThis week, as much of the nation’s attention has been riveted to the devastation of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, the Michigan Legislature is quietly continuing its efforts to destroy local democracy.  This time the Republican controlled house passed two new gun bills, aimed not at guns, but local city councils. The first bill shifted the legislation around carrying concealed pistols. Instead of classifying carrying a gun after a permit has expired a felony, the bill makes the action a civil offense, subject to a fine. It seems republicans want to “make sure a normally law-abiding citizen doesn’t lose their right to carry a concealed firearm because of an expired permit.”  This action raises interesting questions about other felonies that we should consider reclassifying and for whose benefit.

But it is the second piece of legislation that is most troubling. It is intended to stop local governments from enacting any ordinances to control the use of guns. Representative Gary Howell’s proposed legislation would impose a $500 to $2,500 fine on any local government official who knowingly adopts “a gun ordinance out of line with state gun laws and does not repeal the ordinance within 90 days after a formal complaint is brought against the official over the matter.” One way to think about this effort is right wing republicans want to prosecute local officials for attempting to protect children from guns while protecting state officials or emergency managers from law suits for poisoning cities and destroying schools.

This effort is referred to as a “super pre-emption.”

What is pre-empted of course is the ability of local councils to respond to local constituents and local needs. The effort to destroy local decision making is part of a broader effort by right wing republicans to reduce the capacity of people in cities and towns to control our own lives.

Earlier this summer, a similar effort was launched against sanctuary cities to prohibit local communities from limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Local officials, including law enforcement officials testified against such bills. Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton said that the bill would discourage immigrants from cooperating with police when they investigate crime.

“Most of the police service leaders recognize that fighting crime occurs with strong and trusting relationships with community members, who work as witnesses and help develop solutions to neighborhood problems,” he said. “The trust and strong relationships that I speak of is often a very fragile thing.”

These latest efforts are part of a broad pattern of actions by right wing state legislatures to undermine democracy at the local level. From gun control to protections of basic human rights, and emergency managers, state level legislators are pre-empting or overturning the judgments of local cities about the values and policies we want to define our shared lives.

These efforts diminish all of us. They are raising fundamental questions about whether or not representative level state government is compatible with developing a vibrant democracy. Each time the state legislature moves to restrict, control or overturn local decision making it attacks the basic capacities that enables us to define our civic life. Creating sovereign cities and towns is an essential part of developing a human future. State level legislation is increasingly at odds with what we need to develop our region and our people.


AMC

What We’re Reading

Visionary organizing, not protest, brings change
Fran Salone-Pelletier

Grace Lee Boggs, a life-long activist who died in 2015 at the age of 100, believed and lived as a visionary woman. As stated in an article from The Daily Good, “She lived and breathed her truth and believed that tending gardens, caring for the self, and caring for others were ways to nourish activism. In a sometimes harsh world, these simple acts of kindness end up restoring the energy needed to carry on the hard work of social change.”

Those were, and are, life-saving actions for me to contemplate. My computer is inundated with emails requesting support for innumerable issues. Daily, I receive multiple surveys to complete and return — with personal comments, if possible. I’m asked my opinion, whether or not I am knowledgeable about the stated concerns. Obediently and loyally, as a person dedicated to the pursuit of truth, justice, mercy, and peace, I have complied. I am now depleted, drained by the effort to protest what I believe to be lacking in authenticity and discouraged with the apparent failure to be effective.

KEEP READING


 

october 14


 

How does the State take over our schools 3

2How does the State take over our schools


 

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

.

3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

At almost 100 years old.

By Grace Lee Boggs  –  June 27, 1915 – 10-5-2015 100 years and 100 Days

August 2014

At almost 100 years old, I experience falls, new levels of pain, and difficulties moving. I also feel the need to record the most important influences in my life over the years. When I started college I had no idea what I was going to study. Japan had just invaded Manchuria so I thought international relations and political science should be my field of study. But in the middle of my sophomore year, the great depression started and I dropped all of my classes and decided to take philosophy even though, at the time, I could not tell you what it meant to study philosophy. Somehow, in my late teens, I was beginning to ask what life was all about, and that has been the question that has shaped the more than 80 years that have transpired since then. That’s where philosophy begins.

What is life about? How do we know reality?

Philosophy begins with conversation. We ask ourselves what it means to be human, how do we know reality.   What a wonderful gift to be able to talk with one another.

Conversation is a wonderful gift and not to be replaced with speakerphones or emails that are so unilateral and not mutual.

Socrates believed in dialogue and he was afraid that the new technology of writing would replace dialogue, where human beings actually interact with one another and through this they discover what they truly think.

In my living room I have a hundred books that I have selected from the thousands of books in my library. I am going to record why each of these books is important to me. They are about education, they are about philosophy, they are about this city.

On the first shelf are the books of philosophy. There are books from Socrates, who created the topic of philosophy, all the way to Lenin and Mao and Hegel. And then on the second shelf are books on the history of cities, including the history of Detroit. These are the books that I share with the people who visit.

As I think about my nearly 100 years and these 100 hundred books, I want my life to challenge people to think philosophically. I want people to ask themselves and each other what time it is on the clock of the world.

Naming the Enemy

By Grace Lee Boggs

 A spectre is haunting the American people– the spectre of destruction by capitalism. In its limitless quest for profits capitalism has defiled our human relationships by turning them into money relationships. It has transformed Work from a precious human activity into Jobs which are done only for a paycheck and which have become increasingly meaningless and increasingly scarce as the profits from our labor are invested in increasingly complex machines. It has undermined the Family ties by which human beings down through the ages have absorbed naturally and normally the elementary standards of conduct and the sense of continuity with the human race which make us human. By encouraging us to value material things more than social ties, it has turned us into a society of selfish individualists and materialists, seeking to compensate for the spiritual emptiness of our lives by the endless pursuit of distractions.It has despoiled the Land, Waters and Air on which our lives depend.

Up to now, most Americans have been able to evade facing this destructiveness because it was primarily other peoples, other races, other cultures which were being destroyed. For the sake of westward expansion the Native Americans were massacred and their survivors driven into the world’s first concentration camps. To clear the land and build the agricultural infrastructure necessary for industrial development, millions of Africans were enslaved and the ideology of racism created. Convinced that it was our destiny to rule the entire continent, Americans seized the Southwest from Mexico. When we came to the end of the American frontier, we reached out to Latin America and the Pacific. When capitalist expansion and centralization created the Great Depression, we got our economy moving again by producing for World War II. After the war we used our economic power and monopoly of nuclear weapons to protect capitalism in Europe from socialist revolution and to crush revolutionary struggles in the Third World by supporting and installing military dictatorships.

Ever since World War II it has been able to keep going only by producing weapons of destruction and by turning us into mindless consumers, unable to distinguish between our Needs and our Want, utilizing the mass media with the same cunning with which Hitler turned the German people into collaborators in their own destruction. New shiny cars and appliances have been pushed as sure ways to win love for ourselves. Women (and men) have been turned into sex objects. Credit cards have been promoted as badges of status.

As this brainwashing process has gained momentum over the last few decades, the moral and social fabric of our society has been steadily undermined. Our small towns and communities, in which neighborliness and character were more important than money, have been replaced by suburbs. Our judgment has been so distorted that we now consider “square” those who still value self-reliance and hard work, while we admire the “big spender.” Banks and loan sharks, whom we once viewed with suspicion, we now consider our friends, while more and more we fear those closest to us, our families, co-workers, and neighbors. Crime, mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, teen-age pregnancy and venereal disease have reached near epidemic proportions because, instead of depending upon each other for company and comfort (as human beings have done down through the ages), we look to more colorful goods and new, more exciting experiences to make us feel good.

Pursuing private happiness in the form of material goods, we did not care that we were passing on these materialistic and individualistic values to our children. Instead of recognizing that we were breeding criminals by the supreme value we had put on material things, we tried to project the blame for crime onto others. We ignored the growing threat to our health from the Love Canals that were being created by the dumping of industrial waste in our waters and our earth. We closed our eyes to the degrading lives being lived by the millions whom capitalism had already cast onto the Welfare rolls, little dreaming that the same fate was being prepared for us

But now the chickens have come home to roost. While we were collaborating with capitalism by accepting its dehumanizing values, capitalism itself was moving to a new stage, the stage of multinational capitalism. Big capitalists have been swallowing up smaller ones, creating giant corporations who buy and sell other giant corporations all over the world. A few hundred multi-national corporations now move capital and goods everywhere and anywhere, according to where they can make the most profit.

These multinational corporations have no loyalty to the United States or to any American community. They have no commitment to the reforms that Americans have won through hard struggle. Instead of giving more each year, they demand that we accept less or else.

If American workers do not accept wages and benefits competitive with those of Japanese or Mexican or Filipino workers, they do not hesitate to shut down a plant that has been the heart of the economic life of a city or region.. City workers and school teachers find that they are no longer needed; small businesses go bankrupt. So millions of workers, skilled and unskilled, blue collar and white collar, have already been laid off . Whole cities have been turned into wastelands by corporate takeovers and by runaway corporations. Yet our city and state officials, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, white or black, continue to compete with one another to offer tax breaks and reduced worker benefits to these corporations, knowing full well they will pick up and leave when they can make more profit elsewhere.

Meanwhile, because American capitalism no longer dominates the world market, our government can no longer afford the reforms with which all administrations since the Great Depression have tried to make capitalism more palatable. So social and Welfare programs are being ruthlessly dismantled; unions are being busted or immobilized; the moral, environmental and civilized restraints on capitalist expansion which have been won only after decades of struggle are being abandoned.

That is why we must now make a second American revolution to rid ourselves of the capitalist values and institutions which have brought us to this state of powerlessness or suffer the same mutilation, the same destruction of our families and our communities, the same loss of national independence as over the years we have visited upon other peoples and other nations.

  

America Love It Enough to Change it.

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
September 25th, 2017
october 14


Thinking for Ourselves

Choosing a Better Future
Shea Howell

This weekend, the Detroit Independent Freedom Schools joined 25 communities around the country in a national conversation about the crisis in public education. The national effort was organized as part of the #WeChoose Campaign of #Journey4Justice. The conversation was designed as an opportunity to focus resistance to privatization and an opportunity to talk about transforming education so that all our children can learn in “loving educational experiences” that “cultivate community strength, self-determination, and build movement-based futures.”

Much of the conversation focused on the bond between public education and democracy. As we have learned in Michigan, the attack on public education is essential to the destruction of democratic citizens and the erosion of democracy is essential to the destruction of public education. Across our state and nation, public education is being reduced to little more than holding cells for children whose critical and creative imaginations are being stunted through relentless testing, mindless repetition, and increasingly isolated and controlled instruction methods.

Local control of schools hasbeen seized by state appointed managers who have systematically dismantled public education. Timothy Williams, the Mayor Pro-Temp of Inkster attested to the complete destruction of his city’s school system. He explained that under Emergency Management all school buildings have been closed and most knocked down. Highland Park is in a similar situation and the City of Detroit has lost over half its schools and seen standards drop over the two decades of State control.

State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood talked about the role of the State legislature in defunding education explaining, “Every year Lansing diverts about $500 million away from schools.” He emphasized that especially in Detroit, the State bears responsibility for “two huge failures, the EAA (Educational Achievement Authority) and Emergency Management.” He also said that because of these failures and the return of control to local boards “there is an opportunity for the community to provide real guidance and leadership” on the kind of education we want for our children.

The Reverend Dr. JoAnn Watson gave a clear statement of the kind of education we need. She said she welcomed this critical conversation “because it requires critical thinking and this is what we and our children need” so that “we can assume our rightful role in governance.” Emphasizing that we have the power and the responsibility to educate our children she said, “We do not have to wait for everybody, we do not need everybody.” “We are the leaders we have been waiting for. Our Ancestors are giving us a push from behind” as we move forward with urgency for the future.
People shared the importance of a long-term vision for our schools and providing political education for our children. Rev. Dr. Watson reminded us that the “same people who poisoned Flint have poisoned academics” but, “We are not victims and we are not powerless.” Strategies from boycotts to state wide organizing were shared. The Detroit Independent Freedom Schools invited people to get involved in curriculum, tutoring and organizing by coming to Monday evening meetings at the Cass Commons or Saturday sessions at the Charles H. Wright.

Everyone agreed that the efforts of Betsy Devos and the corporate interests she represents have given us a new level of urgency to stand up, speak out and organize. We choose to create a better future.


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Peace Respected Organizer Comrades, 
Peace Family, as you know I’m very honored to be one of the Detroit Organizers for #HipHop4ThePeople : National Hurricane Relief for people impacted by these hurricanes.

S/O to our National Media Sponsor Allhiphop.com Today we had our National conference call and here is what we learned:

A Representative in the United States from the National Red Cross Mission said they are only there to collect blood and that takes priority over saving Black Lives. We must be our own mission hub from now on. We must lead & help organize for the people & educate ourselves about Climate Change and Environmental Racism.

We also received an update from one of the Organizers on the ground in the Caribbean:

They are begging us to help them and asking those of us living in the United States to Please remember they have Black Lives there.
The media is ignoring them.

It’s their 2nd category 5 hurricane in less than 2 weeks. Never before has she experienced this in her lifetime nor has her father in her father’s lifetime.

So many people lost so much & even their lives. They are in the rebuild stage & still in caution stage because it’s the peek of hurricane season so the only thing they can do is wait.

They are under 24 hour curfew because they are under a military take over: no water • no lights • no food • no communication, that’s why it took so long to get back in touch with our group. After doing their clean up now they are back at square one where they were in after hurricane Irma hit because of hurricane Maria.

They have no operating schools. People were evacuated to Puerto Rico & St Croix which are what she described as “the New York” or larger islands that feed them and where they get resources from.

She said the people who got relocated to Puerto Rico had to be evacuated because of hurricane Maria.

She also said children are not in school. Schools are currently being used to house their homeless. Their homeless population has quadrupaled over night. They’ve also lost everything including their post offices and so many islands have suffered catastrophic damage & are under water. Lots of Black Lives have been lost due to these hurricanes.

PS: Some people are selling ice at $12 per bag, it jumped from $1.50 per bag.

Facebook event link:
https://www.facebook.com/event s/357351911362488??ti=ia

What Is #HipHop4ThePeople?
Join us September 30, 2017 for #HipHop4ThePeople – A national day of unity and hurricane relief for Houston, Florida and the Caribbean.

Contact Us to Get Involved!
We need people to help us Set Up, Clean Up, Volunteer, & Donate.

Signed on Cities
• Miami
• New York
• Phoenix
• Atlanta
• Newark
• Blanding, Utah
• Baltimore, MD
• Los Angeles
• Detroit

The strength that hip hop encompasses will bring together the community like no other, because hip hop is UNIVERSAL!

Facebook event link:
https://www.facebook.com/event s/357351911362488

Email: HipHop4ThePeopleDet@gmail.com
Facebook: HipHop4ThePeopleDet
YouTube: HipHop4ThePeopleDet
Instagram: HipHop4ThePeopleDet
Twitter: HipHop4Det
Snapchat: HipHop4Det
Hashtag: #HipHop4ThePeopleDet

If you can donate now to Houston our donations are going to
Houston Harvey Relief Fund National Black United Front (NBUF) Houston Chapter. Here’s their Amazon link:
https://www.razoo.com/story/Ii l38f?embed=widget

Know that no matter how small the contribution, even if all you have to give is the gesture of sending us Positive Energy, together we are making a huge impact. People complain that Detroiters don’t work together, that we back stab one another, and only look out for ourselves.

Let us use this energy to continue building up one another.

We are all geniuses and Amazing people with projects that need support. We do an ok job of lifting one another up. This is another opportunity to connect with one another and those outside of our “circles”. WE ARE THE CHANGE. We ARE working together. Let’s KEEP IT GOING. May we All be Blessed and Bless those we are Serving.

Thank You,

Piper Carter


WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

In this episode of Detroit Performs: Poet Tawana Petty pours her soul into her performance. MEND Jewelry helps women survivors of abuse on their journeys of recovery. And Detention Nation’s lens on the immigration system.

—–

Adam Savage stops by Incite Focus, a socially focused production and training lab, where he lends a hand building an open-source, net-zero-energy micro-cabin that could revolutionize housing.


What We’re Reading

Housing Trust Fund established, Housing Ordinance passed with amendments
Detroit People’s Platform

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Detroit – Tuesday September 19, 2017 –  Today, Detroit City Council unanimously passed Council Member Sheffield’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance with amendments. We are pleased the ordinance will establish a Housing Trust Fund, but are disappointed to share that council voted to include amendments from the administration.

The amendments that passed give developers the chance to more or less continue doing business as usual, including getting discounted public land without any requirement to build truly affordable housing.

Though the ordinance vote was unanimous, Council Members Sheffield, Ayers and Benson voted “No” while Spivey, Tate, Castañeda-López and Cushingberry Jr. voted in support of the amendments. Council President Jones left the chamber before the vote was called.

The establishment and funding of a housing trust fund is a significant victory. We are very happy for and proud of all of the Housing Trust Fund Coalition members, Detroit People’s Platform Staff and supporters, and community members who helped make this a reality.

It is NOT the end of this issue—we must continue to press, as it is clear that the interests of for-profit developers continue to be given greater weight than the needs of Detroiters today.
 


 

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

.

3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

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
September 18th, 2017
Radical Hope Is Our Best Weapon

“From the bottom will the genius come that makes our ability to live with each other possible. I believe that with all my heart.” These are the words of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz. His hope is fiercely reality-based, a product of centuries lodged in his body of African-Caribbean suffering, survival, and genius.
LISTEN to Junot Díaz on On Being


Thinking for Ourselves

Duggan’s Denials
Shea Howell

Denying scientific data. Attacking the press. Claiming stories questioning you are a hoax. Exaggerating election results. Denying a history of racism. Embracing business interests against all else. These appear to be the hallmarks of those in political authority today. And these are not limited to Donald Trump, corporations, or right wing conspiracy nuts. Consider Democratic Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. He is more of a denier and defender of corporate power every day.

Consider the latest flap over Kid Rock. Duggan, straight from a primary election win, stepped into the controversy over the high profile venue given to Kid Rock as part of the opening festivities of the publicly funded Little Caesars Arena. Kid Rock has made a point of displaying the confederate flag, defending it as “heritage not hate.” Lately he has taken to attacking Colin Kaepernick and his effort to call attention to police brutality and the slaughter of African Americans.

Duggan’s response to community activists challenging the high profile given to Kid Rock in a city that is more than 80% African American and who put down the largest share of the dollars to fund the stadium was illuminating. Duggan said to Kimberly Craig from WXYZ, “He’s an entertainer.” He went on, “My feeling is, if you don’t like Kid Rock’s politics or music -– don’t go to the concert.”

The thinking behind this kind of comment is no different than the thinking behind a statement equating Nazis and White Supremists with those who oppose them. It is not only a refusal to look at history and our responsibilities for determining what is appropriate in public spaces, but a lack of moral vision.

Duggan also has taken aim at what he considers a media hoax, the idea that our city is now “Two Detroits,” one whiter and wealthier, the other poorer and darker. Calling this description a “fiction” Duggan said “Just come down here Saturday at 3 p.m. and take a picture of a random place, and I think you’ll see we have an area that is welcoming to everybody.”  He charged the notion of two Detroits is “a fiction coming from you. It really is.”

Realizing that such a comment would not fit with the reality of most people in the city, even those who just stroll through on a Saturday afternoon, Duggan’s spokesperson Alexis Wiley tried to restate the lie. She offered an explanation saying, “The Mayor was responding to what he understood was the reporter’s suggestion that the City of Detroit was divided politically. The Mayor is the first to say that while the city has made progress, there are far too many Detroiters who struggle with poverty and joblessness.

Yet this Mayor has done little to acknowledge the real life conditions of most of those who live in the city and are struggling. More than 40% of us live in poverty.

Our daily experience says that under Duggan water shut offs continue in defiance of sense and international condemnation. Foreclosures and tax sales of homes continue unabated. Assistance programs are woefully inadequate. Health data warning of a public crisis due to lack of basic sanitation is ignored. People feel the political process is rigged.  

Duggan’s great victory in the primary was nearly 70% of the primary votes cast. But less than 14% of the people eligible bothered to vote. The “undeniable results” mean about 10% of voters bothered to endorse Duggan and his direction.

Most people are realizing that the electoral arena has drifted far from the practice of democracy. While we need to press for what are sometimes called “non reformist reforms” of programs and policies coming for downtown administration, it is obvious that creating communities of care and productivity is the only way to create a city that embraces all of us.

Detroitperforms_FB 2

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What We’re Reading

Myth-busting the Detroit tax foreclosure crisis:Detroit is not for sale
Michele Oberholtzer
Metro Times

At the time of this writing, Detroit is in the midst of yet another round of the staged cage-fight that is the tax foreclosure auction. In many ways this feels like an individual fight — one home at a time fighting to mitigate the harshest consequences such as eviction, homelessness, and permanent property damage. Yet this issue affects the city as a whole, and it’s important that we do not become desensitized to the routine social violence that it represents. The truth is that Detroit is for sale by our own local government, and it is time to challenge the convenient notions that help us fall asleep at night.

12039486_1697948547106981_8340843698291198508_n_1_(photo by Garret MacLean)

KEEP READING

 


 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
by Timothy Alexander, a young man from Brightmoor

 

Am I strange or insane because I want a systematic change?

I don’t want to give in to the system that want to wash our brains

It’s bad enough they took our culture and locked us in chains but we still sit here like there is nothing wrong so who’s really to blame?

For me creating change is a must

Most of us go through the same struggle so why not trust

We’re continuously doubted but in my eyes that’s a plus

If we stand side by side and fight for what’s ours the system can be crushed!!!!

 


 

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

.

3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

Look for issue 3 of Riverwise at area bookstores, grocers, cafes and community spaces today!
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Look for issue 3 of Riverwise at area bookstores, grocers, cafes and community spaces today!
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(A bonus column from Riverwise editorial member, Shea Howell)

Changing Schools

Shea Howell

Labor Day has passed, and people are returning to schools systems in crisis. Nationally, the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has vowed to destroy public schools.  Her commitment is to private, religiously based schools. Recently, Julian Schmoke, Jr. joined her as the Director of the Student Aid Enforcement.  He comes to us from DeVry University which was just forced to pay a massive $100 million to settle a lawsuit for lying to students. Michigan, home state of Betsy DeVos, and long suffering from her meddling, ranks at the bottom on national tests. State spending for education at all levels is among the lowest in the country and has dropped 14% since 2007-2008 for colleges and universities. Detroit with a new Superintendent and some measure of local control for the first time in two decades faces teacher shortages, turmoil and lack of basic supplies. The annual ritual of beginning school is fraught with anxiety, uncertainty and lack of care for the emotional and intellectual well being of far too many of our young people.

When a system is facing this much dysfunction, it is time for us to ask deeper questions. Certainly DeVos and her cronies, emergency managers, state interference and irresponsible legislatures have their share of the blame in creating this chaos. But this crisis comes from a more fundamental problem.  Our system of education no longer has a clear vision or purpose.

School years begin after Labor Day as a reflection of our agricultural heritage. Hands were needed to harvest and preserve foods. Schooling happened after the work was done. As industry replaced agriculture, schooling became necessary to do the work of an expanding economy. Schooling happened so people could do jobs.

Tying schools and education to the demands of work has always had its critics, spurring some of the most progressive and thoughtful efforts to enable young people to develop as full, responsible, creative human beings.  More than 100 years ago, John Dewey published Democracy and Education. In the shadow of WWI and facing a rapidly changing society, Dewey offered ways to think about education as a creative process to help people develop themselves and their society humanly in the face of ongoing change. But these efforts have never been at the core of US schools. For most people, schooling has been about jobs, skills and survival.

Today, it is obvious to everyone most schools are little more than containment camps for children. Daily practices are tied to mastering information for meaningless tests designed to advance a few at the expense of the many. Clearly we need to shift to a new paradigm for education.

In arguing for this paradigm shift in our thinking, Grace Lee Boggs, a student of Dewey’s and educational philosopher, wrote in The Next American Revolution, “Our schools must be transformed to provide children with ongoing opportunities to exercise their resourcefulness to solve the real problems of their communities. With younger children emulating older ones and older children teaching younger ones, they can learn to work together rather than competitively and experience the intrinsic consequences of their own actions. Children will be motivated to learn because their hearts, hands, and heads are engaged in improving their daily lives.”

Across the country, people are evolving ways to educate one another to transform schools and communities. They understand that young people are not problems to be contained, but have the energy, imagination and desire to create communities that reflect the best in us. All of us concerned about the future need to find ways to support and enhance these efforts.

for a copy send name address and $5.00 to Riverwise 3061 field st Detroit, Mi  48214

 

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We Have the Power to Make the World Anew. Grace Lee Boggs

America Love It Enough to Change it.

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
August 28th, 2017
Thinking for Ourselves
Beyond Trump
Shea HowellDonald Trump will not last. In two, four or eight years, he will be gone. In the meantime he will destroy people and places we hold dear. He has already done so. But his extraordinary vileness can trap us into thinking he is the problem. Rather, he is a crude, visible expression of ways of thinking and being that are normal in the United States. Yes, he is a racist, self-aggrandizing, arrogant man willing to do anything to advance his own self-interest. But so is the system that produced him.

Consider for example the recent peer review study offered by the New York Times on Exxon Mobil. After a careful review of 40 years of climate change communications, scholars found, “Exxon Mobil misled the public about the state of climate science and its implications. Available documents show a systematic, quantifiable discrepancy between what Exxon Mobil’s scientists and executives discussed about climate change in private and in academic circles, and what it presented to the general public.”

Researchers found evidence that Exxon knew very well it was lying. They document that, “Scientific reports and articles written or cowritten by Exxon Mobil employees acknowledged that global warming was a real and serious threat. They also noted it could be addressed by reducing fossil fuel use.”

In spite of this clear understanding of the dangers of climate change and the role of the fossil fuel industry in accelerating global warming, Exxon engaged in a public relations campaign to create doubt. In advertorials, “They overwhelmingly emphasized scientific uncertainties about climate change and promoted a narrative that was largely inconsistent with the views of most climate scientists, including Exxon Mobil’s own.”

The study concludes, “While we can debate the details, the overall picture is clear: Even while Exxon Mobil scientists were contributing to climate science and writing reports that explained it to their bosses, the company was paying for advertisements that told a very different tale.”

Lying, denial, violence and force are all part of doing normal business. The actions of Exxon are no different than those of any corporation pursuing profits over people, money over values.

Embedded in this logic is the fabric of racism and white supremacy. Writing in 1970 in Uprooting Racism and Racists, James Boggs explained what he called the “organic link between capitalism and racism. “Racism,” he wrote, “served the functions of primitive accumulation” and “provided both the individual capital and the labor force freed from the means of production” that allowed for the rapid accumulation of capital. He concluded, “The results of capitalist accumulation are all around us. Constant revolutionizing of production, ceaselessly advancing technology, mammoth factories and, controlling this gigantic accumulation of industrial plants and fluid (finance) capital, an ever diminishing number of interlocking corporations and individuals.”

Racism enables capital to negate contradictions “only by using the colonized people in Latin America, Africa, Asia and inside the United States Itself.”

Donald Trump is not some aberration. He is the logical product of a system that depends on dehumanization, violence, and destruction.

We must say No to Trump at every turn. No is essential to affirm our own humanity, but it is not enough. The task for us is to find the imagination and courage to create different ways of living that sustain and restores our communities as racial capitalism becomes increasingly unsustainable.

Ridding ourselves of Donald Trump will not end white supremacy nor will it end the violent destruction of people and places. This requires a much deeper transformation of who we are and how we live. But it is the belief that we can create communities of love, joy and sustainable, regenerative ways of living that should shape our resistance as we create the world anew.

Idlewild_PettyPropolis


Orange is the new Black
Russ Bellant

(originally published fall of 2016)

Fred Trump Sr. was arrested in 1927 in a fight between 100 New York City police officers and 1,000 Ku Klux Klan members during a Memorial Day parade (New York Times June 1, 1927, p. 16). It was an era of Klan growth when they fought to keep Irish, Poles, Italians, Slavs and Catholics from immigrating to the U.S. As was a common practice years ago, the newspaper published his home address as 175-24 Devonshire, Jamaica, Queens, New York City. Fred Trump had built that two story home there two years earlier and ran his real estate business from there. He married in 1936 and began a family.

In 1946 Fred’s 4th child, Donald, was born in Jamaica, Queens. He was raised in Queens in his father’s real estate/landlord business. Their practice was to rent to whites only. So determined were the Trump’s in upholding their racist practices that one of their tenants, folksinger Woodie Guthrie, wrote a poem in 1950 with lines denouncing “Old Man Trump”  and the “racial hate that he stirred up.”

A former Trump property manager told a 1963 story years after the fact of an ideal tenant applicant who was Black being refused a residence by the Trumps while the elder Trump used vulgar racist language in the discussion. Donald did not react in any way because that was the way he was raised. Years later Donald would talk about his “superior” genes, a notion handed down to him by his father. “I’m proud to have that German blood. No doubt about it. Great stuff.” His first ex-wife, Ivana, told Vanity Fair in 1990 that Donald kept a book of Hitler’s speeches at his bedside. The book was called by Hitler his second Mein Kampf.

In the same interview Ivana said that when one of Donald’s cousins would enter a room to visit Donald, he would click his heels and say “heil Hitler.” The writer wondered in print whether Ivana was trying to hint  that Donald was a “crypto-Nazi.”

Years later Donald would duck questions about support from the Klan and neo-Nazis, claiming that he did not know who they were and therefore couldn’t comment. Vice Presidential running mate Mike Pence also used that ‘problem-doesn’t-exist’ approach in his recent debate. But the Klan rallies and websites are too out in the open to not know. Every Klan and neo Nazi leader interviewed across the U.S. has said that their groups are energetically supporting Trump.

Another important but unreported circle of extremist power that undergirds Trump’s campaign is the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP). Their meetings and membership lists are kept secret and members are pledged to keep it that way.

It was set up in 1981 by leaders of the John Birch Society (JBS), itself a secretive, fascistic organization, and extreme hard-line members of the Reagan Administration. It was to be an underground network of the leaders and funders of the New Right, intent on building their movement and institutionalizing its power in a major realignment of national power across the United States.  It is not a conservative voice. It seeks to end or marginalize major social institutions that support democratic society (such as public education) or that fight for and serve the underserved. It wants to create a new elite. Some of the 400 members over the years included Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Oliver North, Clark Durant (JBS family) and an assortment of Dominionist theocrats, racists and allies of the old apartheid regime. The members that were funders included the Coors brewery family, as well as the DeVos and Van Andel (Amway twins) families.  

From the current CNP roster are the top three leaders of the Trump campaign:

— Kellyanne Conway, an executive committee member of the CNP, is also the campaign                                                                                                                      
   manager for Donald Trump.

— David Bossie, president of Citizens United, is the deputy campaign manager.

–Steve Bannon, head of Breitbart News, is the campaign CEO.

Other CNP members serve as campaign advisers, such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family, and US Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Sessions once said that he thought there was nothing wrong with the Klan until he found out they were “smoking pot.”

Bossie’s Citizen United was the plaintiff in a Supreme Court decision that helped finish off restraints on campaign finance reform. For more on him see the Bossie attachment on this email.

Campaign CEO Steve Bannon is the guy that excites the nazis like David Duke. When Bannon became CEO, Duke proclaimed with overstatement that “we have taken over the Republican Party.”

According to a former staffer at Breitbart News, when Bannon took over after the passing of Andrew Breitbart, the news organization began “pushing white ethno-nationalism.” They promote so-called “alt-right” voices of racialist writers such as Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow. Taylor for several years headed the Council of Conservative Citizens, which sought to reintroduce segregation in the South and uphold the old Confederacy and later Jim Crow policies. Taylor serves as a unifier of white supremacy in the South.

Bringing money into the mix is Kellyanne Conway, whose ties to Wall Street financier Robert Mercer gives her standing. Mercer also funds Bannon’s Breitbart News and the Donald Trump campaign.

Any analysis of the consequences of the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency would not only look at the policies and personalities of his eight year incumbency. It’s long term significance was the network of power built up through overt action and covert networks. The enduring power of the extreme evangelical rightwing aided by covert dollars mattered. So did the covert funding of racialist organizations (see my book, Old Nazis, the New Right and the Republican Party, that I emailed to all last year).

If Trump is elected, his politics will overtly build up the hate movement region by region. But his election would also lay foundations for building up the groups that support him, so that they endure and exercise more power. The CNP knows how to do it.

In addition to the above critique, Trump’s deeply flawed character, imbecilic statements, and very flawed vice presidential running mate are compelling reasons to not vote for Trump, and to persuade others to not vote for the “Orange is the new Black” candidate.


IMG_0418Hello all. I am pleased to share some justice narrative work that I am currently doing around police brutality, the school to prison pipeline, and justice system accountability with a new organization that is under the leadership of Alia Harvey-Quinn.

FORCE is dedicated to connecting impacted people to opportunities to create justice oriented policies and solutions.
So…friend FORCE Detroit on Face Book, follow @ForceDetroit on Twitter and Force_Detroit on Instagram too!

Peace,
Lottie

sweet
With the last month of summer upon us, the Perry Ave Community Farm is flourishing and the Commons is bustling with visitors. This summer, we have welcomed nearly 1,000 visitors from down the block, across the city and around the world. Our dedicated staff and interns have worked tirelessly to continue transforming the Commons and the fruits of their labor include new built projectsa revamped website, and a more bountiful harvest than ever before. Check out more news from our friends at Sweet Water.
grace lee boggs PAYS 1
What We’re Reading

How About Erecting Monuments to the Heroes of Reconstruction?Richard Valelly

Given the sheer number of Confederate memorials, there is bound to be another shocking flashpoint of the kind that rocked Charlottesville and the nation. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee have vanished from Baltimore and New Orleans. Chief Justice Roger Taney, who authored the truly infamous part of the Dred Scott decision, is gone from Annapolis. So many have come down—or are up for possible removal—that The New York Times posted an interactive map to chart them all.

first_colored_senator_and_representatives

But there is an alternative politics of memory that Americans can also practice, and it might help to keep fascists out of public squares and do something concrete, literally at the same time: honor Reconstruction. Remembering Reconstruction ought not to shunt aside the politics of Confederate memorials. Yet remembering this pivotal era certainly deserves to be built into the new national politics of memory.

KEEP READING


Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

.

3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

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
August 7th, 2017
Thinking for Ourselves
What We Owe
Shea Howell

Mayor Duggan is acting like a mini-Donald Trump. This week he went after scientists. Duggan simply refuses to accept the fact that his policy on water shutoffs is a failure. He is risking the health and safety of the city by refusing to declare a moratorium on shutoffs. He ignores the advice of economic experts that shutoffs make no economic sense. He denies clear evidence that his assistance programs are not adequate to protect people. This week he demonstrated a new level of bullying and paranoia, spying on activists and confusing a meeting of health professionals with potentially violent protests.

Community groups have been trying for months to get the Mayor to recognize that the scale of water shutoffs is not only a violation of human rights, but it posses basic health hazards to all of us.  Realizing that common sense would not sway the Mayor, local activist groups partnered with Henry Ford’s Global Health Initiative to look at emergency room data that might be related to water shut offs.

The study used block level data and analyzed 37,441 cases of waterborne illnesses to see if there was any connection between incidents of the illnesses and shutoffs between January 2015 and February 2016.  They found two statistically significant correlations:

  • Those who were diagnosed with a water-associated illness were 1.42 times more likely to have lived on a block that had experienced a water shutoff.
  • Those patients who came from blocks that experienced a shut off were 1.55 times more likely to have been diagnosed with a water-associated illness.

This information was released in a press conference in April. It received little attention. Moreover the researchers at Henry Ford began to back away from any public use of the information. They talked about this being an “extremely limited study” and are concerned about the “political purposes” for which the study is being used.

The Mayor and his GLWA cronies have chosen to focus on what they consider the “politics” of the study, ignoring the science. Even while distancing themselves from the study, Henry Ford officials were forced to acknowledge that it is at the least the findings call for further study. Brenda Craig, of the Henry Ford Global Health Initiative said, “Additional studies with multiple factors and controls would be necessary. At this point, we remain open to talking with city and other officials about appropriate next steps.”

Unlike the Mayor, activists are concerned that the possibility of serious health issues become part of the public discussion around water shutoffs. Thus they invited standard health scientists from around the country to review the study and offer suggestions for what we should do to protect our people.

The panel of experts who gathered at Wayne State University this week concluded the city should declare a public health emergency and stop water shutoffs. One of the panelists, Dr. Wendy Johnson, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington said that Detroit water shutoffs are a public health crisis. “Water-related diseases are now occurring in Detroit as the result of water shutoffs,” Johnson said. “Access to clean and safe water is a basic human right that is essential from a public health standpoint to prevent infectious diseases. We have run out of time and solutions must be immediate.”

Johnson said the connection between a lack of water and illness is not rocket science: People without access to water are not washing their hands as often and are at higher risk of contagious diseases and waterborne illness, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

The actions the Mayor should take are obvious. He can walk into any Coney Island in the city and be reminded that he should wash his hands after leaving the bathroom. Yet he persists in policies that deny this basic gesture to thousands of people every day. He is endangering everyone by his refusal to acknowledge science and by his efforts to silence those who care only to protect everyone in the city.


WHAT WE’RE READING
Detroit is Not a Movie

Frank Joyce
alternet

Are you thinking of seeing Kathryn Bigelow’s movie Detroit? Don’t.
Read John Hersey’s book The Algiers Motel Incident instead. It is one of the most remarkable books about race ever written by a white man. And it’s as accurate an account of the massacre at the Algiers Motel as currently exists.

Oh, never mind. By all means, see the movie if the marketing campaign has persuaded you it’s the kind of entertainment you like. But please don’t think you are going to gain any deep insight into what happened in Detroit in 1967. Or what’s happening now. Or most importantly what you could do to reduce the destructive grip of white power on our society going forward.


Live and work as a community
grassroots activist in Detroit, Michigan

Open Call August 1st thru September 29th, 2017

Do you need a place to begin living the life of activism in service to the community of humanity? We have the opportunity of a life time for strengthening your current work, for discovering your new work and a place where you may, in a positive and affirming environment,  discover and or define your Purpose. You will have an opportunity to work with us, to walk with us and we offer two residential opportunities that will allow you to discover and re-discover your passion. Ours is a place of compassionate refuge where we employ and deploy the lessons of our ancestors in growing communities that nurture humanity in each other.
  • Are you ready to be the change you are seeking?
  • Are you ready to change your life and become part of community where you matter?
  • Do you need a place where you may continue an “established “activism of service, to learn and grow?
  • Do you need a place to live and a place to network, in a community that needs work?
  • Do you desire to uplift humanity while learning, growing and sharing together to build compassionate community?
  • Are you ready to make the commitment to learn by doing, about leadership and advocacy, literally building compassionate communities from the ground up from a truly grass-roots methodology?
If your answer is “yes” then you are who we are looking for. We want to invest in those who are ready, hungry, for a society of intentional compassionate community building in a unique and highly inter-relational local –global organization.

We are The Hush House Collective and we are presently comprised of five fingers to our  Collective Arm initiated through our museum’s purpose and service: 1)The Hush House Black History Community Museum, 1986; 2) The HH International Leadership and Training Institute For Human Rights, 2007; 3)The Simmons Center for Peace, Justice, Education and Environmental Studies, 2014; 4) The McIntosh Residential Leadership House, 2014;  5) HYMM: Hush Your Mouth Multi-Media,2008; 6)TruDSoul Bed and Breakfast, 2015.

We believe that this is the time for those who “see”: and need a place to take root and build.  We of The Hush House purpose to make available the following in our Leadership/ Intern House:

  1. 2 flats of nearly the same dimensions: 2 bedrooms, living and dining room and kitchen: the space can be used for multiple functions, including residence for Interns and Fellows to serve as their home base in the community. The live in Residence is situated in (Midtown), which also includes The Hush House main campus (also in Midtown).
  2. Lower level of the house includes a basement that has its own entrance and will be developed by Interns/Fellows as office and meeting and teaching space(s); and a recording studio.
The Residents are encouraged to agree on some places in their work to evolve a Compassionate means to encourage humanity through their individual and their corded visions that take on “flesh.”
  1. Utilities will be paid as a collective: water, gas, electricity (our desire is to be off the grid, so if we are able to accomplish those goals of “going off the grid”: solar/wind energy/water collection/storage/toilets/ref use collections and disposals.
  2. There is an open, multi- use space to run the programs inside the community and with the benefit of emergent and ever evolving support and infrastructure of the New Work of The Hush House Collective.
Through our Collective, we have an opportunity for four to six persons as HH Resident Leadership Fellows and Resident Intern opportunities through our International Leadership and Training Institute for Human Rights and The Hush House Black Community Museum as Leadership Fellows and Interns. We encourage applicants who are currently in school to apply. Send inquiries, & applications to our email: thehushhouse@gmal.com

INTERNSHIPS AND FELLOWSHIPS: Internships 12 to 15 months/ Fellowships 15 month commitments.

Each Intern selected will be awarded a deeply discounted living space and a work/ meeting space to develop and implement their programs that supplement and support Hush House programs: each person selected is expected to use their skill set that they have now and those that will evolve through our leadership training programs to maintain and establish replicable and sustainable community-grass roots based- solutions that strengthen our communities.  Each intern is also expected to share in the tasks of maintaining the infrastructure, public and private spaces of the community. All spaces are shared and the collective is responsible for utilities: water, electricity, gas and water/sewage.  Interns are obligated to contribute 20 scheduled hours work per week, minimum.

Leadership Fellows are vetted based on recommendations and of the quality of their proven work in community engagement. Fellows, receive a stipend of free rent and must only pay an equally shared portion of utilities (lights/gas/water). Fellows are expected to incorporate their interests with those of our collective, and to take responsibility as mentors, administrators, fundraisers and rising leaders in the local to global community.  Fellows are obligated to contribute 25-30 scheduled hours of work per week.

*Programming may require weekends and travel (overnight/weekend and Belize -worked out in advance)

SUBMISSIONSWe are accepting letters of interest and applications August 1, 2017-September 29, 2017. If selected, Residency begins officially October-November, 2017. ThehushhouseSubmissions@gmail. com

Please submit a letter of interest that includes a “community resume” that expresses the work you have been involved in and the type of commitment that you can make. You must also provide verifiable references, be willing to have a background check, Veterans, Families, Young Adults (25 up), Active Elders (any age), and persons who have been incarcerated (with some limitations): If you don’t know your purpose but you have the passion to serve and want to learn and you are not afraid of divers work, then send us your letter too!

We also offer non-residential fellowships and internships; please call or email us for more information at our office: 313 896.2521 or email us: thehushhouse@gmail.com

*Our plan to caravan to Belize is based on our successful funding of this project.

5050


police
For Immediate Release:

Resolution condemning President Trump’s call for mistreatment of suspects in police custody

Whereas,  the President of the United States of America takes office by swearing to uphold the U.S. Constitution and all the nation’s laws for the benefit of all its peoples and the advancement of a more perfect Democracy, and

Whereas, the U.S. Justice Department in modern history has been an instrument for the country to ensure that local communities adhere to practices that are Constitutional and result in a more level playing field in education, housing, employment, criminal justice and other arenas. This is especially true of police forces in towns, counties and cities where the Justice Department has ensured protections of all those accused of crime until they are proven guilty in a court of law, and has helped eliminate improper and systemic police practices through consent decrees and other measures, and

Whereas, the current President, Donald Trump, continues to voice beliefs and take action through polices that undermine the very tenets of our Constitution and that dishonor our highest elected office. On Friday, July 28, 2017, President Trump spoke before an audience of New York law enforcement and urged them to “rough” handle suspects in custody. His remarks, taken along with his actions through the Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, continue to rollback police practices to a rudimentary era of physical abuse, unlawful confinement, and wholesale discrimination that endangers all of our human rights, and

Whereas, President Trump used an ethnic slur in his speech, a stark reminder of how ingrained discrimination has been in law enforcement and how some officials have used police powers systemically to intimidate people based on their skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or heritage, as Irish immigrants once experienced. It was especially disturbing that President Trump’s audience included Suffolk County police officers, whose former chief right now faces prison for beating a man and whose Police Department remains under federal oversight for years of abusive police practices that violated the Constitution and discriminated against Latinos and immigrants; and

Whereas, our Board and other oversight bodies have worked diligently to modernize law enforcement policies and procedures for greater effectiveness in identifying, arresting and securing the conviction of criminals.  We cannot let one person, even the President of the United States, undo the progress stemming from the work and often sacrifice of countless police officers, community leaders, activists, and others who together ensure the profession of law enforcement is elevated to the highest excellence; therefore

Be It Resolved that the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners strongly condemns President Trump’s support of unlawful and abusive police tactics, and his ongoing efforts through the Justice Department and other parts of his Administration to dismantle modern professional police standards and proven criminal justice advancements. His approach to policing is antiquated and embodies a mindset that has no place among officers sworn to uphold the law, or frankly among any civilized society in the 21st Century. Our Board wants President Trump to know that he will not deter our mission to work with stakeholders at all levels towards the proven best practices that ensure safe neighborhoods and a thriving city.


Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

.

3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

Jimmy and Grace  

We may Be Able to Change the World if our Imagination is rich enough.

Grace Lee Boggs

Living for Change News
July 31st, 2017
 Riverwise   special edition 67 Rebellion  riverwisedetroit.org
2017-1196 Riverwise Rebellion w-notes

Thinking for Ourselves

Science and the Mayor
Shea HowellMayor Duggan is acting like a mini-Donald Trump. This week he went after scientists. Duggan simply refuses to accept the fact that his policy on water shutoffs is a failure. He is risking the health and safety of the city by refusing to declare a moratorium on shutoffs. He ignores the advice of economic experts that shutoffs make no economic sense. He denies clear evidence that his assistance programs are not adequate to protect people. This week he demonstrated a new level of bullying and paranoia, spying on activists and confusing a meeting of health professionals with potentially violent protests.

Community groups have been trying for months to get the Mayor to recognize that the scale of water shutoffs is not only a violation of human rights, but it posses basic health hazards to all of us.  Realizing that common sense would not sway the Mayor, local activist groups partnered with Henry Ford’s Global Health Initiative to look at emergency room data that might be related to water shut offs.

The study used block level data and analyzed 37,441 cases of waterborne illnesses to see if there was any connection between incidents of the illnesses and shutoffs between January 2015 and February 2016.  They found two statistically significant correlations:

  • Those who were diagnosed with a water-associated illness were 1.42 times more likely to have lived on a block that had experienced a water shutoff.
  • Those patients who came from blocks that experienced a shut off were 1.55 times more likely to have been diagnosed with a water-associated illness.

This information was released in a press conference in April. It received little attention. Moreover the researchers at Henry Ford began to back away from any public use of the information. They talked about this being an “extremely limited study” and are concerned about the “political purposes” for which the study is being used.

The Mayor and his GLWA cronies have chosen to focus on what they consider the “politics” of the study, ignoring the science. Even while distancing themselves from the study, Henry Ford officials were forced to acknowledge that it is at the least the findings call for further study. Brenda Craig, of the Henry Ford Global Health Initiative said, “Additional studies with multiple factors and controls would be necessary. At this point, we remain open to talking with city and other officials about appropriate next steps.”

Unlike the Mayor, activists are concerned that the possibility of serious health issues become part of the public discussion around water shutoffs. Thus they invited standard health scientists from around the country to review the study and offer suggestions for what we should do to protect our people.

The panel of experts who gathered at Wayne State University this week concluded the city should declare a public health emergency and stop water shutoffs. One of the panelists, Dr. Wendy Johnson, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington said that Detroit water shutoffs are a public health crisis. “Water-related diseases are now occurring in Detroit as the result of water shutoffs,” Johnson said. “Access to clean and safe water is a basic human right that is essential from a public health standpoint to prevent infectious diseases. We have run out of time and solutions must be immediate.”

Johnson said the connection between a lack of water and illness is not rocket science: People without access to water are not washing their hands as often and are at higher risk of contagious diseases and waterborne illness, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

The actions the Mayor should take are obvious. He can walk into any Coney Island in the city and be reminded that he should wash his hands after leaving the bathroom. Yet he persists in policies that deny this basic gesture to thousands of people every day. He is endangering everyone by his refusal to acknowledge science and by his efforts to silence those who care only to protect everyone in the city.


WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO

WDET

1967 Was Decades Before They Were Born

Find out what some young Detroit students think of the uproar that happened in their city 50 years ago.

LISTEN

AND

Democracy Now!

Fifty years ago this month, rebellions broke out in the cities of Newark and Detroit. It all began in Newark on July 12, 1967, when two white police officers detained and beat an African-American cabdriver. Shortly after, on July 23, police officers raided an after-hours club in an African-American neighborhood of Detroit, sparking another mass rebellion. Forty-three people died in Detroit, and 26 were killed in Newark, while 7,000 people were arrested. The rebellions reshaped both Newark and Detroit and marked the beginning of an era of African-American political empowerment.

Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, and Scott Kurashige, author of the new book, “The Fifty-Year Rebellion: How the U.S. Political Crisis Began in Detroit.”

LISTEN

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

.

3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

Jimmy and Grace 

 

 

We are the Children of Martin and Malcolm…

We are the children of Martin and Malcolm,        Black, brown, red and white, Our birthright is to be creators of history, Our Right, Our Duty   

To shake the world with           A new dream!

 

July 25th, 2017
Thinking for Ourselves
From Contempt to Love
Shea Howell

Throughout the city people are talking about the Detroit Rebellion, now 50 years in the past. The debate between riot and rebellion still surges, igniting energy and argument. The meaning of it all is still analyzed, the images still inspiring. In all of these conversations, fear lingers. Will it happen again?

Many people comfort themselves by narrowing the cause of the 1967 rebellion to police brutality.  The story goes something like this. Detroit was becoming a majority black city, but the police department was 95% white. Many white officers had been recruited from the south, specifically because they were good at intimidating African Americans. It was excessive force and harassment, used against people celebrating the return of two Viet Nam veterans in an after hours joint that sparked what was then the bloodiest urban uprising in US history. Now, after Coleman Young and his efforts to integrate the police department, we no longer face the problems of police hostility.  All may not be perfect, but it is much better.

Others acknowledge the complexity of racism, white supremacy, deindustrialization, and a host of local, regional and national policies that combined to oppress and dehumanize people of color. Many recognize that these forces are still distorting and destroying the lives of people throughout our city. School closing, pension seizures, unemployment, shut offs of heat and water, foreclosures and police harassment are part of daily life.

What rarely gets openly discussed, however, is the underlying logic driving much of the corporate elite and the choices they are making in the name of developing our city. That logic is the same as it was fifty years ago. It rests on a profound contempt for the lives of poor people, especially African Americans and other people of color. Their very presence has to be controlled. Their lives made invisible, their hopes and dreams diminished.

Public officials today reflect this same contempt. It is the foundation to all of their responses to the problems we face. For example, in a recent article in the New York Times discussing the blatant disregard for the law in the foreclosure crisis, Mayor Mike Duggan is quoted as saying he would not consider reimbursements to people who lost their home because of unconstitutional city actions. Duggan’s position is people had a chance to appeal their tax assessments. If people didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, it is just too bad for them. It is their own fault that they lost their homes, not the illegal actions of the city.

This contempt for people around the foreclosure crisis is the same attitude Duggan takes on water shut offs. He said people should just pay their bills. His attitude was echoed by the former radical, former city council person Sheila Cockrel. She was more direct, telling people who wanted “free water” to grab a bucket and head for the river. Comments from suburban leaders are no different. Most famously this contempt was expressed by L. Brook Patterson in Oakland County, suggesting putting a fence around Detroit and throwing in “blankets and corn.”

Contempt is essential to the protection of privilege. It justifies the inhuman and destructive practices necessary to maintain relationships based on injustice.

In sharp contrast to these corporate elites, people throughout the city are fostering relationships based on love and respect. They are growing food together, caring for children, creating new forms of education and developing local means of production for local needs. They are telling new stories of our past and opening new possibilities for our future. Whatever fires come next time, our best hope is in these community connections forged in love.


facebook_1500552758669


Eyewitness to History: July 23rd, 1967
Carl R. Edwards (founding member of the Boggs Center and People’s lawyer).

Violence is the voice of the unheard.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, July 23, 1967, I had just turned 20 years old.  I was born on Bastille Day, July 14, 1947, the date in 1789 that the French people rebelled and overthrew their economic and political rulers, the King and Queen of France and the French monarchy.  I had spent the day with my girlfriend at her parent’s home across the street from the old Olympia Stadium, home of Detroit’s professional hockey team, the Red Wings and its professional basketball team, the Detroit Pistons.

In the early afternoon, there was breaking news as we watched television: a disturbance had broken out in a lower west side neighborhood when the Detroit Police conducted a raid on an “after hours joint”.  As time passed there were additional television news flashes: violence and looting of stores and business spontaneously erupted all over the City of Detroit.  When I got ready to leave to return home, my girlfriend’s parents told me it was not safe to venture out and suggested that I spend the night and wait until the morning to return home.

I demurred.  I thanked them for their kindness and set off for home, a mere 2-3 miles north on Grand River Avenue.

However, nothing in my 20- year-old young life prepared me for what I was destined to encounter.  I was a witness to the apocalypse; a people’s primal scream for crimes committed by the white American and European race against African and African American humanity that shook the very foundations of the City of Detroit and the surrounding region, state and the nation.

It was both a riot and a rebellion. At that time, like so many other main streets in Detroit, Grand River was a beautiful avenue of retail stores, banks, grocery stores, gas stations, automobile sales lots, and all manner of large and small businesses.  I witnessed scores of African Americans, young and old, breaking windows and stealing the store contents: groceries and meat, furniture, refrigerators, washers and dryers, irons and ironing boards, mops brooms and buckets, clothing, and every imaginable consumer good, vividly comes to my mind. 

Although it was nearly midnight and the summer sun had gone to bed hours earlier, I recall the sky being “lit up” as if it were night and day at the same time. Bright red, yellow, orange, purple and black it was. Eerie. Flames danced up and up, higher and higher, to the heavens it seemed blotting out the dark night. To my young barely outside of mental adolescent mind, I said to myself: “This is what hell must look like”.

Why were people breaking into the stores and businesses stealing, and looting, I thought out loud. What my young, evolving mind could not yet piece together was the days and years of mistreatment, daily humiliations and myriad insults and degradations, heaped upon us all because of the color of our skin. I recall my father telling me that his stepfather was a dental school graduate but he could not practice in the dental profession because of the color of his skin.   He found work instead at the United States Post Office where he worked until retirement. These and other narratives that were worse occupied the daily lives of African American Detroiters. More, the white Detroit police force was tasked with the responsibility of instilling fear and control, especially for those African Americans who dared challenge the normal operation of the way “things just were”. On that fateful Sunday, a typical day of rest, quiet and peace, “All HELL BROKE OUT” and African American Detroiters, as had African Americans in other American cities, exploded, releasing pent up energy, for a trillion grievances, outrages and despairs.

Police cruisers, fire trucks and ambulances sped up and down Grand River Avenue.
For the hour or so that I walked up Grand River, I saw absolutely not a scintilla of activity that could be described as resistance to the suffocating reality of virulent white racism, white skin privilege, white supremacy and white control over every fiber of my existence as a young African American Detroiter born and raised locally, not yet legally an adult.  And it was white racism that caused this contagion.  The report of president Lyndon B. Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (The Kerner Commission) was unequivocal when it concluded, I am paraphrasing, that white racism caused the “Uprisings” in America’s cities, including Detroit.  The Kerner Commission further stated unless drastic actions were undertaken immediately America was moving toward two societies, one black and one white, separate and unequal.

Yes, there was spontaneous unorganized resistance to the white police department when a largely white, Detroit Police Department attempted to quell the uprising by African American Detroiters against the symbols of white privilege and control in our largely racially segregated communities in Detroit.  But the uprising also spread to Downtown Detroit’s political and economic power center and headquarters to most corporate businesses.  It was only years later that I discovered there was also organized resistance by politically developed activist and revolutionaries in a few sectors of the uprising. However, and let me be absolutely clear on this point, there was no large-scale involvement of the masses of Detroiters with the goal or objective of organizing to seize control of private corporate property or power or state (governmental) property or power nor any aspect of same and negotiate with the moneyed or economic and political class for relief from the structures of white racist political and economic power in this city and region.

This statement should not be read, however, to support in any manner those apologist for the status quo as it existed for my entire young 20-year-old life in 1967. There has been a wealth of research, studies and books written on the history of race and racism as well as segregation and economic class domination in the City of Detroit. It is often loss to history that there was also a terrible racial uprising in 1943 that has been aptly documented by the national NAACP. Moreover, professor Thomas Segrue has documented this history of racial segregation and Jim Crow in the City of Detroit with his masterfully researched and written: “The Origin of the Urban Crisis”.  Additionally, “Detroit: I Do Mind Dying, A Study in Urban Revolution” by Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surken, is also a riveting account of the organized resistance and struggle against “Apartheid Detroit”, post-July 23, 1967.

In July 1967, a trillion pent up grievances, outrages and despairs exploded into spontaneous violence on a massive scale.  Businesses and property, private and public, were targets for the most part.  This is the definition of a riot.  Indeed, $40-45 million dollars was the estimated cost in 1967 dollars ($325 million in 2013 dollars).  This was the most destructive uprising and insurrection in United States history until the 1992 uprising following the not guilty verdict of the white Los Angeles police officers after their savage beating of Rodney King.

However, this eruption in mass violence by African American Detroiters was at the same time a rebellion, because although there was mass anger and revolt, the white owned businesses and property were the symbols of everything that was regarded as normal: the Detroit Public School system was racially segregated, with certain schools closed to African Americans; certain Detroit neighborhoods and homes were closed to African American Detroiters; the colleges and universities were also largely closed to African Americans, including those located in the City of Detroit and throughout the State of Michigan.

Jobs and employment, especially the skilled trades and white collar, salary, supervision and management, and all professional categories, also found it normal to exclude persons of color from their ranks.  Banking, home ownership, business ownership, the legal and political process and even the downtown Detroit restaurants were off limits to African American Detroiters.  In a word, whites reserved the “good stuff” and the “good life” to and for themselves.

African American Detroiters revolted and rebelled against this normal relationship of whites over blacks.  From July 23-28, 1967 “…the world was turned upside down”.

Tragically, the decisions of the economic and political dominant class and their handpicked African American Detroit junior partners and comprador leaders created the storm that has created the legitimate grievances of African American Detroiters.

All too often these African American Detroit economic and political educated leaders and junior partners to white economic and political power elite served their individual interest first and the interest of their family members, friends and peers, rather than the interest of ordinary African American Detroiters, the people.

In a similar context in Africa, the iconic Dr. Kwame Nkrumah has referred to these individuals as “neocolonialist”: Africans whom serve the interest of white European and American economic rulers in power and not the interest of ordinary Africans.  See “Kwame Nkrumah, The Conakry Years”, his life in exile in Guinea, Africa, after he was removed from office as President, Ghana, Africa, by his then Ghana Africa educated and military elite in collaboration with the United States and European powers; see also “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born” by Ayi Kweiarmah, for a description of the lives of ordinary Ghanians under the rule of black Ghana, Africa, Junior partners to the United States and England economic powers, after independence when Britain was thrown out of Ghana.  The replacement Ghana Junior partners treated ordinary Africans no better than their white former colonial masters, the English; and the values of these black African Ghanians remained fundamentally as they had been under British rule: worshipping at the altar of extreme materialism.

Martial law was declared in Detroit. The Constitutional protections and the Bill of Rights were locked away and placed in cold storage and the counter-revolution was unleashed with full fury and effect on African American Detroiters, men women, teenagers and, yes, even children. 

In 1967, I was working as a janitor at Fred Sanders Bakery in the City of Highland Park, just outside Detroit on the afternoon shift. I was a sophomore at Michigan Lutheran College in Detroit attending day classes. I recall having to walk miles in order to make it home after my work shift ended at 10:00pm. An 8:00 pm curfew was in effect so we asked our supervisor if we could leave work in time to avoid being in violation of the curfew. We were told by our boss that as long as we possessed a permission slip from our job we could be out after the curfew went into effect. I decided to move back into my parents’ home located near Livernois and Warren Avenues because there was less public and private property destruction than there was in the Grand River Avenue area where my apartment was located. On day one after martial law was declared a coworker dropped me off on Livernois. As I walked passed the Detroit Police Department 10th precinct at Elmhurst and Livernois I saw a stunning spectacle that literally rattled me from my head to my soul. Scores of public buses were parked stuffed with African American Detroiters. No restroom there to relieve one’s self. No privacy whatsoever. No food, water, ability to buy a bag of potato chips or a soda pop. And this was the circumstance all over the City of Detroit. Every Detroit Police Department precinct mirrored what I witnessed at the 10th precinct. More, Detroit Public Schools football and baseball fields were converted into “ slave holding pens” and “concentration camps”. Later when the 82nd and 101st Airborne United States Army divisions and tanks moved into Detroit some of these playgrounds were also converted into military commands and stations. Even Detroit’s beautiful Belle Isle Park, at the time called the 8th wonder of the world, had its historic Bath House commandeered and converted into a modern day “slave holding pen”. 

Army tanks randomly machine-gunned apartment buildings all over the city including in the areas where the uprising occurred. The “Dogs of War” were unleashed on a largely compliant African American Detroit citizenry. Legal murder and death were savagely committed against African American Detroit citizens by the United States military and local Detroit Police Department. Both were populated by white Americans raised on the toxic brew that we were their “inferiors”. Like their ancestors before them society gave these white citizens the privilege and powers and the right to control their darker brethren in any manner that they chose, including murder and death, including my death.   A bestselling book was written by noted author, John Hersey, entitled: “The Algiers Motel Incident”, concerning the savage, cold-blooded death of three African American teenagers at the hands of white Detroit police officers.  It was an open secret that Detroit’s economic and political power brokers went to the southern states and recruited white males to become police officers.  So too, the United States military has been historically disproportionately comprised of white males from the south.  These “good old boys” were born and raised with the powerful ideas that their darker citizens were “inferior” and it was their solemn, sacred duty “…to put and keep the “niggras” in their place”.  Unlike their white northern brethren who dressed up, disguised and prettified this same system and personal white supremacy feeling and mental thinking, including the northern educated “liberal racist” socioeconomic class.  For many years I have wondered why the towering Frederick Douglas sought personal independence from the white northern liberal abolitionist of his day, including establishing his own anti-slavery newspaper, “The North Star”.

For two nights, I trekked along Livernois Avenue the several miles to my destination, my parents’ home. During those harrowing nights, each step I made and each breath I took was anxiety filled as countless police cruisers and military vehicles sped by me. I carried the obligatory pass in my right pants pocket. But the fear of the “slave catchers” occupied my every young, innocent thoughts. 

On night three my luck ran out. A police cruiser occupied by four Detroit Police Department officers, (nicknamed “The Big 4”), pulled alongside me as I walked home.  I was ordered to stop. I froze in fear for what seemed like eternity. The first officer to exit his vehicle was particularly aggressive: “Nigger what are you doing out here. There is a curfew? Niggers are not to be on the streets”. In a nanosecond before I could provide an answer I see his right-hand move and he pulled out what appeared to my unschooled mind in weapons the biggest hand gun I had ever seen. Before I could say a word the barrel of this big, black pistol was pressed hard to my temple. I told the white officers I was heading home from work and I had a pass from my employer to be outside after the curfew. I reflectively went to reach into my right side of my pants pocket to show the white police officer my pass. I took a quick look out of the side of my eyes and saw and heard him pull the hammer back and hold it to the side of my head. My mind thought also reflexively this is my last seconds on this earth. I felt my heart racing, I was sweating profusely, a cold sweat on an extraordinary hot, Detroit, July summer day.

The white police officer holding the gun to my head grabbed my right hand and removed my paper pass from my pocket. He read it out loud and said words, I am now paraphrasing because of time and distance: “Nigger, this is just a piece of paper.  It don’t mean shit. If we catch your black ass out again after the curfew we will kill you”. I watched as the crumpled paper pass was picked up by the wind and blown a half block distance.  My hand still shakes as I recount this unspeakable experience 50 years later.  I still suffer from the “guilt of the survivor” syndrome.

I was one of the fortunate young black men that July day and of that time. Many African American young men faced the wrath of the modern-day police state and it cost them permanently, with their life or their freedom, as it had cost millions of our ancestors. Our creator had her arms wrapped around me. She had a different purpose for my earthly life. I am certain that the seeds of what I was later to become were clearly planted with that harrowing life and death encounter with the modern day “slave catchers”: A trial lawyer, activist, humanitarian and freedom fighter.

July 23, 1967 was both a riot and a rebellion. Tens of thousands of young men and women of my generation heard and headed Malcolm’s call and challenge, a challenge that is just as urgent today:

“Wake up, from your oppressed status at the bottom of the economic, social pyramid; Clean up, mentally, spiritually and physically from your woeful miseducation concerning your history;  you are not an inferior person or people; we are all exceedingly flawed and imperfect human beings but we have this incredible power that lies within, the power of choice and redemption; to choose to become a responsible citizen and purpose driven human being; and Standup; be a ‘man’ not a permanent ‘boy’, a woman, not an adult girl and stop being complacent to injustice in the face of what seems like an impossible challenge and odds.”

July 23-28, 1967 also confirms the enduring principle of the towering titan Frederick Douglass when he intoned: “Power concedes nothing without a demand; and that demand will be by words or sometimes by blows or both; the limits of tyrants are governed by the degree endurance tolerated by the person or persons they oppress and deprive of basic natural rights”. 

July 23-28, 1967 was an insurrection. African American Detroit and African Americans in other sister cities both rioted and rebelled against the status quo and system of African American and black inferiority in every aspect of American and European life, imposed by white supremacy, white skin privilege and white control, circumstances which were considered normal by white Detroiters, white Americans and indeed white Europeans.  Sadly, this normalcy fundamentally still persists today, 50 years later.

On April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King spoke to the violence that was occurring all over America in her cities shortly before Detroit exploded July 23, 1967.  In a riveting passionate speech against the Vietnam War, delivered at Riverside Church in New York, Dr. King reminded America that violence is the language of the unheard and the poor.  More, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated America urgently needed a revolution in values.  He challenged America to shift from a “thing” oriented society to a “person” oriented society.  Dr. King stated that “machines and profits cannot be more important than the people”.  He warned America that it was headed for spiritual death unless it reversed course from worshiping at the altar of “…racism, extreme materialism and militarism”.

Finally, James and Grace Lee Boggs followed the words and example of Dr. King.  They repeatedly called on us to struggle and fight to save the soul of America, not because we hate America, but because we love her so.


WHAT WE’RE READING

No water for poor people:
the nine Americans who risked jail to seek justice

Drew Phillip

4500 2

(Marian Kramer and Rev Bill Wylie-Kellermann stand beneath Transcending, the monument built to honor Detroit’s Labor Movement. Photograph: Garrett MacLean for the Guardian)

KEEP READING

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

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3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US