Archive for the ‘Upcoming Events’ Category
The Case for Wireless Community Ownership
In just a few months, Detroit will boast one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. For those living in already invested areas of Detroit like Midtown, Woodbridge, Eastern Market, Corktown, New Center and Lafayette Park, this may be cause for celebration. Rocket Fiber purports to provide internet speeds “up to 1000 times faster than the average residential connection,” but what does that mean for a predominately Black city, ranked number two in internet disparity? Currently, approximately 40% of Detroit’s population lacks access to the internet.
Research gathered this year by data firm Silk, provided an analysis on Google Fiber, and how discriminatory practices in laying fiber optics further perpetuates wireless access disparities. Silk’s reporting identified that “about 75% of the selected Fiber launch cities have above state average median household incomes and below state average poor populations. The data also showed that the lion’s share of neighborhoods Google Fiber targets tend to be better educated and younger. For example, out of all 50 Fiber communities, 41 had a significantly higher percentage of college graduates residents than the respective state averages.” This and additional information can be found at dslreporting.com and Huffington Post’s article “Is Google Fiber Discriminatory?”
The disparities identified with Google Fiber in its implementation, make it imperative that Rocket Fiber consider a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA), and expand laying fiber and providing wireless access to the neighborhoods that are historically underrepresented in Detroit.
There is a lot of work currently being done in the city to minimize technological disparities. The Detroit Community Technology Project is a great example of that. To date, “DCTP has facilitated 19 local and international community wireless mesh networks through its partnership with the Open Technology Institute. We coordinate the Digital Stewards Program, which trains community members to build and maintain their own wireless communications infrastructure. Additionally, DCTP offers technical support to various grassroots networks including the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, the Allied Media Conference, and more.”
Recently, members of one of the grassroots networks, the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (DDJC), traveled abroad to expand our wireless knowledge and networks. Diana Nucera, Katie Hearn and myself spent a week in Brazil learning wireless protocols from international community tech allies. We wanted to strengthen our understanding of what community ownership of fiber optics and wireless mesh networks could look like when significantly scaled up. Conversations and training sessions with representatives actively working with Guifi.net, the largest community network in the world, provided several viable options and perspectives on ownership, maintenance and expansion of mesh networks.
We also spent part of our time in Visconde de Maua, Brazil, about 3 hours into the mountains. This location really provided perspective regarding the possibilities and challenges of wireless mesh reach. The home we stayed in was an artist and technology collective residence dedicated to supporting technology incubation and training, as well as artist residency and workshops. It is in a rural area and shares a wireless connection with a neighbor. The network is fast and although it rained heavily every day we were there, it only went down for a few hours on one of the days.
This mesh network was intended to be part of a larger wireless network, but because the location is so rural, there are many trees, and it rains often, some of the other connections do go down frequently. Also, because the location is not easily accessible, and residents are only minimally trained on how to flash their routers, when other issues arise, residents have to wait until someone who is more thoroughly trained on their network can make the trek into the mountains to reset it.
This example is one of the reasons why Detroit’s Digital Stewards Program was designed as a train the trainer style program. This model of training “prepares teams of community organizers, people with construction skills, and techies to design and deploy communications infrastructure with a commitment to the Detroit Digital Justice Principles”
· Digital justice ensures that all members of our community have equal access to media and technology, as producers as well as consumers.
· Digital justice provides multiple layers of communications infrastructure in order to ensure that every member of the community has access to life-saving emergency information.
· Digital justice values all different languages, dialects and forms of communication.
· Digital justice prioritizes the participation of people who have been traditionally excluded from and attacked by media and technology.
· Digital justice advances our ability to tell our own stories, as individuals and as communities.
· Digital justice values non-digital forms of communication and fosters knowledge-sharing across generations.
· Digital justice demystifies technology to the point where we can not only use it, but create our own technologies and participate in the decisions that will shape communications infrastructure.
· Digital justice fuels the creation of knowledge, tools and technologies that are free and shared openly with the public.
· Digital justice promotes diverse business models for the control and distribution of information, including: cooperative business models and municipal ownership.
· Digital justice provides spaces through which people can investigate community problems, generate solutions, create media and organize together.
· Digital justice promotes alternative energy, recycling and salvaging technology, and using technology to promote environmental solutions.
· Digital justice advances community-based economic development by expanding technology access for small businesses, independent artists and other entrepreneurs.
· Digital justice integrates media and technology into education in order to transform teaching and learning, to value multiple learning styles and to expand the process of learning beyond the classroom and across the lifespan.
By utilizing these principles to govern the work that we do, we are able to ensure accountability to the communities we engage, while increasing community knowledge and capabilities to maintain their own networks.
One way of the major ways that we engage the community in technology discussions and training is through DiscoTechs. “DiscoTech is short for Discovering Technology. It is a term coined by the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, which defines a replicable model for a multimedia, mobile neighborhood workshop fair. DiscoTechs are designed so that participants learn more about the impact and possibilities of technology within our communities.
DiscoTechs feature interactive, multimedia workshops designed to demystify, engage, and inform the community about issues of Internet use and ownership, and our communications rights on and offline.
The DDJC’s DiscoTech model has spread far beyond Detroit, as the model has been shared through sessions at the Allied Media Conference and through the 2012 publication of the How To DiscoTech zine. In 2014, the Codesign Studio of the MIT Center for Civic Media coordinated “Counter-surveillance DiscoTechs” in San Francisco; Karachi, Pakistan; Bangalore, India; Ramallah, Palestine; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City; Boston, and New York City. That same year, the Bento Miso Collaborative Workshop hosted a DiscoTech in Toronto, and there was a DiscoTech at the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul.”
If you are interested in learning more about wireless mesh networks and Data Discotechs, or you want to consider facilitating a station at an upcoming Data Discotech, visit: Detroit Digital Justice Coalition.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2016 Allied Media Conference!
Thinking for ourselves
By Shea Howell
Path to Water Stewardship
April 19, 2015
The water crisis is accelerating. Access to safe, clean water is becoming difficult around the country. All signs are that situation will get worse before it gets better.
Detroit faces as many as 30,000 residential shut offs this summer. Flint water is undrinkable and makes residents sick. Hamtramck and Highland Park face shut offs and exorbitant fees. Plymouth, Shelby and Washington Townships faced Do Not Drink the Water days. Baltimore is shutting off water to 25,000 residents. Last year 400,000 people in Toledo could not drink their tap water. The winter before 300,000 people along the Elk River in West Virginia lived for months with poisoned water. The entire state of California is in a water emergency. Continue Reading »
Creating Caring Communities
5th Annual International Women’s Day Celebration
We Found Our Voices: Let’s Get Them Heard!
March 14, 2015
10 am – 3 pm
UAW-GM Center for Human Resources
200 Walker Street
Detroit, MI 48207
Rick firstname.lastname@example.org (c) 248-225-8037
Registration and Continental Breakfast
9 am – 10 am
UAW Women’s Dept
5th Annual International Women’s Day Celebration
Women Creating Caring Communities
Registration Opens for New Work New Culture Conference 2014
Registration via the New Work New Culture website http://www.reimaginingwork.org is now available for the October event in Detroit that will convene thinker/doers from all over the world who are building an earth friendly economy for all.
From October 18-20 in Detroit, Michigan several hundred activists, organizers, theorists, farmers, culture creators, builders, inventors and entrepreneurs will meet to exchange ideas and experiences. A vendors and exhibitors area will feature new machines and new ways to use them.
It will also include displays on global communication and community based production of food, energy, housing, transportation, education, recreation, art and durable goods.
Featured presenters, facilitators and dialogue leaders include, but are not limited to, Frithjof Bergmann, Blair Evans, Emmanuel Pratt, Rebecca Solnit, Gar Alperovitz, Grace Lee Boggs, Kathi Weeks, Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty, Mischa Schaub, Frank Joyce, Kim Sherrobi, Michael Hardt, Judith Snow, Adrienne Marie Brown and Halima Cassells. Food will be provided by local New Work farmers, caterers and restaurants. Practitioners and theorists will come together in “worthshops” to discuss education, energy production, food production and distribution, recreation, sports and entertainment, additive manufacturing using fabricators, community land trusts and other topics. Several cultural events will be part of the program.
The gathering will open at Wayne State University on Saturday afternoon October following the conclusion of the 2014 North American Labor History Conference. The Saturday program will include a healing space exercise, discussion on Why New Culture, and a cultural event featuring local and national talent. On Sunday and Monday, the conference will move to the Samaritan Center located at 5555 Conner on the eastside of Detroit.
Please visit http://www.reimaginingwork.org for additional program information. The registration fee of $200 includes several meals. For those needing financial assistance, scholarships are available. Accommodation options are listed under the Lodging Info tab on the website.
A TIME FOR RESISTANCE: Detroit 2013 June 23-30.
Detroit 2013 will be a gathering of movement activists from all over the country to broaden and strengthen the resistance that the American people are mounting to the abuses and assaults we are suffering from corporate and political elites.
Across the country, extreme right wing forces are systematically attacking our most basic values and most cherished rights and responsibilities. They are turning every thing we love into a way to make money, attempting to control our land, water, and the very sources of life and creativity. They are dismantling education, public services, and political life. They are waging perpetual war to control the resources of the globe. They are attempting to destroy our spirits, our history, our memories and our dignity. Continue Reading »
Thinking for ourselves
New Public Trust
By Shea Howell
Week five of the occupation
April 23, 2013
It is past time for the Detroit City Council to rethink its role under occupation. Their most recent vote to approve the no-bid contract for the Jones Day law firm is one more indication that the Council has no moral compass. Even Detroit’s most consistent voice of the business community, Crain’s, acknowledged the conflict of interest inherent in the city hiring the former law firm of the current Emergency Manager.
In a forceful editorial Crain’s said: Continue Reading »
click to enlarge flyer
Reimagining Organizing Movement Leadership
Grace Lee Boggs Meg Wheatley Invincible Jenny Lee
Reflect on the ways we apprach the work of transforming ourselves. Detroit, and the world. Enlarge in conversation about networks, webs, new forms of organization and leadership. Redefine change from criticla mass to critical connections, from growing our economy, to growing our souls, from represenative democracy to participatory self-governing communities. Connect comunities working for change within Dtroit, to one another and to communities around the world. 4605 Cass Avenue Detroit, Michigan
June 11, 2011 10 am to 3 pm
Gathering at Mack East Grand Boulevard
Come and Join the Voices of Hope:
Celebration, Work and Commitment
GenesisHOPE – Detroit City of Hope Peace Zones for Life -Feedom Freedom Growers – Earthworks Sunday Dinner Company – We Want Green Too – Riverfront East Congregational Initiative and Choir – Sierra Club – On the Rise Bakery – Urban Network Book Store – Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion – Gleaners – Georgia Street Community Gardens – Allied Media Projects – The Boggs Center and many more!
Free Food, Games, Giveaways, Information, Fun!
Bring your friends, invite your community, let’s share our ideas!
Contact: Church of the Messiah — 313-567-1158
Riverfront Initiative — Carmen 313- 974-4826