"On May 16, 2010, Detroit Police officer Joseph Weekley shot and killed seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a botched drug raid. Six years later, Weekley is still working for the Detroit Police Department, and has even been appointed the chair of the department’s race relations committee. In July, as members of the Detroit chapters of Black Lives Matter & Black Youth Project 100, we organized a march and rally in front of Detroit Police Department’s Third Precinct. The action was to honor the day that would have been Aiyana’s 14th birthday, and was tandem with direct actions all over the country on the same day demanding #FreedomNow."
Detroit has always been an interesting place to be. It's full of music, art, fashion, and sights to see like any other city, but most of it has been created by the people when they had nothing else. Recently the city is in the process of being revitalized, and it has only added to the repertoire it already had laid out. Here is a list of some great places to visit during your Detroit Summer.
In 2009, over 11,000 untested rape kits were found in a police storage facility in Detroit, MI. This was alarming because thousands of victims had no closure and thousands of criminals were still roaming the streets. With the help of the state, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, organizations like End The Backlog, and the citizens of the city, almost all of the kits have been tested. As of September 2015 2,616 suspects had been identified, including 477 serial rapists, and 21 convictions have been secured
From April 7th - 10th, I had the honor of co-coordinating, along with Emily Kawano from RIPESS, NA, a convergence of hundreds in Detroit for the North American Social Solidarity Economy Forum. It was the first time the Social Solidarity Economy Forum had been held in North America. Presenters and participants came from Cuba, Quebec, Spain, Jackson, MS, St. Louis, MO, New York and all across the globe. We also had many participants and presenters from Detroit who shared the work that Detroiters are doing locally, as well as their Detroit collaborations across the globe.
by Dakarai Carter and Paige Watkins
Only 5 of us went in, understanding the room would be filled with thousands of people - still determined to have our voices heard. We knew that the mayor would get on that stage and talk about his plans for the city and boast his idea of progress and solutions. What we also knew is that he would not be honest about his involvement in the displacement of poor and Black Detroiters nor about his complicity in the continued disinvestment and disenfranchisement of communities through corporate takeover, emergency management and hyper-surveillance.
During Governor Rick Snyder's State Of The State address last night, Michigan residents expressed outraged over the governors lack of ownership and action regarding the cause of the Flint Water Crisis. Many, including local activist Dennis Black, took their sentiments to twitter - sharing the many reasons that Rick Snyder must resign. Check out Dennis' 11 Reasons Rick Snyder Must Resign below and share your thoughts in the comments!
Flint, Michigan, one of the biggest cities in the state, has poisonous drinking water contaminated by led. Corroding led pipes are the reason for most of the contamination.The contaminated water has caused an outbreak of Legionnaires Disease affecting 87 people, 10 of them who have died.
The city of Flint has known that the water is unsafe to drink since 2014 and has called on state leaders, especially Governor Snyder to help.
This school year has been anything but easy for Detroit Public Schools. Classrooms are overcrowded, staff is underpaid, materials are inadequate, students are not receiving the education they deserve, and teachers are being laid off due to budget cuts and the school system’s a $216 million deficit. The state of DPS is horrific, and teachers have taken it upon themselves to call for change.
As the demographics of the city are changing and more white people are moving back to the city we must reflect on the city's past in order to keep us from going back to our old ways of racial division and tension. The "8 Mile Wall" is a clear example of something we never want to go back to.
by Tawana Petty
In just a few months, Detroit will boast one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. For those living in already invested in areas of Detroit like Mid-town, 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.
20-year old Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones sat down with me to talk balance, life after the election and what's in store for Inkster.
by Eli Day
There's a revivalist lullaby being sung about Detroit--one that croons of a city lifting itself up and vanquishing the ghosts of its tortured history simply by looking past them. Yet even as it crescendos, longtime residents seem to have failed, or perhaps refused, to brim with the untrammeled hope the lullaby urges. We needn't labor in the dark as to why: there is no whistling past a history whose boot remains planted on your neck.
Last week I witnessed what happens when police officers are properly trained in de-escalation and when community members respond accordingly. A scene at the corner of my street, which at its height had at least 12 police cars and 20-30 community members, ended with no lives lost. I am cognizant of the fact that decades of organizing, was at least partially responsible for how the officers responded to the incident on my street.
by Eric Riley
Detroit’s history of racial segregation; the white supremacist policies that degraded and razed black and brown communities while allowing white people to flourish; and the continued victimization of black and oppressed communities through evictions, gentrification, and other state practices of mass violence, make it a microcosm of our country’s larger issues. As Detroit moves into this new epoch I believe a formal transitional justice process should be established to acknowledges the true experiences of marginalized communities in Detroit and its surrounding suburbs.
by Eric Riley
When a white person coming to the city is unilaterally and unquestioningly held as the best thing for Detroit then we have a problem. It’s a problem because it heralds the young millennial white professionals and hipsters as heroes on the urban frontier, and the only people that have ever mattered for Detroit’s success. This romanticization of Detroit’s past almost always focuses on the near two million population figure and the abundance of jobs and businesses in the city. What’s left out is the part of the past filled with the murder of black and brown bodies, razing of historic communities, and the intense racial segregation.
Historically, Black women have been one of the most marginalized groups in the United States. We are often left to lead, as one of my comrades would say, “a life of quiet desperation.” If we are vocal about our conditions, we are “angry Black women.” If we are silent about our conditions, we are “lazy Black women.” If we utilize the limited resources afforded to us as a result of our conditions, which are symptoms of white supremacist policies resulting in institutionalized racism, then we are “Black women looking for a handout.” The Black woman is a punching bag for the dominate culture - governed by capitalism, racism, materialism and militarism.
It is unfortunate that so many of our valuable community assets are left to the mercy of landlords who often fail to see the value in what we bring. Such is the case with Conscious Corner Cafe.
Detroit X, the people who want to blend the art and soul of our city for you to represent anywhere, curated and managed the Official AWF Merch and Info booth. “We gotta make this look like a boutique, not a regular festival tent,” my homie Taqee Vernon, creator of Detroit X, told me. We had to fit a dozen designers and musicians, including Cool Club Clothing, D.R.E.A.M Clothing, The Shed, Chad Roto, Max D’Villian, and Shaun Carlo, into this one booth. “Make it pretty!” And thus, the fun began.
by Eric Riley
Lately there has been a trend in the most popular (i.e., corporate) media outlets in Detroit (WXYZ, Fox2, and the Free Press) in their astounding lack of investigation or substantive criticism of white male figures in power. For many the first white male power figure with media backing that comes to mind is Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans and – according to any of the news outlets I’ve mentioned – the undisputed savior of the Motor City.
Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership
Our young people are breaking the silence and the rest of America needs to listen, look itself in the mirror and act. We stand in solidarity with Baltimore, Ferguson and all oppressed communities responding to police violence. Locally, we remember Aiyana Jones, Shelly “Treasure” Hilliard, Terrence Kellom and others who have lost their lives at the hands of police officers.
The time to break our silence and respond to the call from our young people is now. It is time to cry out for people, not property...