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Separate and Unequal, Thinking for ourselves By Shea Howell

Thinking for ourselves
By Shea Howell

Separate and Unequal

August 14, 2016
This week the New York Times published yet another story about the reality of two separate and unequal Detroits. With the title “In Detroit’s 2-Speed Recovery, Downtown Roars and Neighborhoods Sputter,” Peter Applebome points to critical questions the Mayor and his administration would like to avoid.
After a brief sketch of downtown, Midtown and Corktown development, Applebome raises the question of what development means to neighborhoods. He says, “But what that means for the rest of the city and who is benefiting have set in motion a layered conversation about development, equity, race and class. It is playing out with particular force here in what was once the nation’s fourth-largest city and is now a place at once grappling with poverty, crime and failing schools, but also still animated by the bones of its former glory.”
This is a conversation the Mayor avoids. Yet even a transient observer like Applebome concludes, “The lack of progress is just as noticeable in the sprawl of often dilapidated neighborhoods, baking in the summer heat.”
Many are baking in that heat without water. Nowhere is the lack of progress and the denial by the Mayor and his administration clearer than in the water shut off crisis. The day before the New York Times article appeared, a group of community based researchers issued an important report. Mapping the Water Crisis: The Dismantling of African American Neighborhoods in Detroit: Volume 1 is the result of an 18 month study documenting water shut offs in the city.  The report demonstrates in clear and specific detail that neighborhoods are suffering from a combination of foreclosures and shut offs, diminishing the quality of life for everyone in the community. Last year 23,000 homes were shut off from water. Over the last decade the city has endured 110,000 foreclosures.
Underscoring the growing divide in our city, Monica Lewis-Patrick, a guiding force in the research collaborative, said, “There is a renaissance downtown full of newcomers, while they are shutting off water for those who stayed and paid” their bills for years.
The impact of these shut offs in a city where 40% of the people live in poverty and many are paying more than 10% of their income for water is to actively drive people out of their homes. Dr. Gloria House, Professor Emerita of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University explained that the mapping documents that  “The incidents of shutoffs, foreclosures and school closures are not random, but intentional and specific… We believe it’s about the dismantling of neighborhoods.”
The Mayor continues to deny this reality. He refuses to consider the consequences of his policies in the lives of people in neighborhoods. Instead he chooses to pretend his water assistance plan (WRAP) is solving the problem.  No one but the Mayor and his administration believes this. No one who sees the shut off trucks moving through neighborhoods on a daily basis believes this.
The objective statistics do not support this. The WRAP is a failure.  It has a waiting list of 3,000 customers and the majority of people who have been signed up simply cannot keep up with the monthly payments.
The work of the We the People Detroit Community Research Collective documents in stark terms that our city is devolving into two separate, unequal, and unhealthy realities.
It does not have to be this way. Community activists and researchers have consistently advocated plans to make water available to all at affordable prices. They have developed programs to keep people in their homes and to stop foreclosures.  The real choice we face is about whose lives matter in our city.
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June Meeting Notes, Detroit Community Land Trust Coalition

Detroit Community Land Trust Coalition Meeting Notes
June 1, 2016

Agenda Overview

  1. Agreements (10 min)
  2. Introductions (5 min)
  3. Checkins w/ commitments from last meeting (10-15 mins)
  4. Google group, studies related to CLT policies (Jason), CLT folder w/ 101 Docs, CLT library (Aaron), clean-up good doc site (Naim), DLBA group, CLT funding (Melanie), person who got 6 adjacent lots (Miguel), Strategies for outreach to communities (Gaby)
  5. Main Discussion—selection of policies that help move projects forward and involvement/commitment to getting policies implemented (10-15 min)
  6. Work Group Updates/Check In (15 mins)
  7. Updates/Announcements (10 min)

Download the full DCLTC Meeting Notes June 1 2016

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Detroit People’s Food Co-op Community Engagement Meeting


Part of our Food Justice series!

Detroit People’s Food Co-op Community Engagement Meeting
Thursday January 28, 2016
People’s Platform
7700 Second Ave
Detroit, MI

Detroit People’s Platform Members and supporters please join us to learn more about the plans for the Detroit People’s Food Co-op and how you can become a member/owner.

In keeping with the principle of Ujamaa (cooperative economics) and the definition of a co-op provided by the International Co-operative Alliance, the Detroit People’s Food Co-op will be a community institution that has the following general goals:

To provide access to high-quality, healthy food options for Detroiters, particularly for African-Americans most impacted by
poor access.

To model community-ownership and generate and circulate wealth in Detroit’s African-American community.

To model community-based food sovereignty and food justice strategies.

To serve as an incubator for start-up community-based food businesses.

To provide jobs for members of our community.

To serve as a community education center for information on health, well-being, justice and resilience.

The member/owner fee is $200. It can be paid in one lump sum, or in six installments ($30 for the first and last month and four $35 payments). We have limited Empowered Assistant Scholarships made available for those who live in the North End neighborhood. You can begin your membership at the community engagement meeting or do so in person at the DBCFSN office. Become an owner today!

For more information and updates on other community engagement meetings, please contact us at:

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
3800 Puritan
Detroit, MI 48238
Phone: (313) 345-3663

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District 2 Organizing Session, October 28th

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Detroit People’s Platform
District 2 Organizing Session

For this MEMBERS & ALLIES ONLY organizing session, Detroit Peoples Platform will take an in depth look at our platform—and especially highlight the 2016 Community Advisory Council election, the  Community Benefits Ordinance and Transit Justice activism.
Linda Campbell, Renard Monczunski, Tormaine Rhodes, Lottie Spady and YOU! will be our speakers as we fully and strategically activate our District 2 Caucus.A light meal will be served at 5:30 pm.
Desserts  (including vegan) will be available for purchase.
At 6:00 pm we begin co-creating our strategies for the makings of a District 2 Caucus guided by peoples’ platforms to retain, reclaim and rebuild Detroit.JOIN US! This is a FREE event, but space is limited
Register Today!
call 313.338.9396
or email District2@detroitpeoplesplatform.orgWednesday, October 28th, 5:30 – 8 pm
Good Cakes and Bakes
19363 Livernois Detroit 48221
on the Avenue of Fashion!

Facebook event:

Come out, have your say.
You make action happen!

Valuing the Power of District 2 Community Voices

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Sustainability Summit September 10-13th at Marygrove

Emerging the Beloved Community of Detroit

Modeling the United Nations celebration of International Day of Peace, including a consciousness raising march and a three day summit. The UN celebration recognizes peace is integral for raising consciousness of human rights and social justice in communities and around the world. The issues of Detroit are globally recognized human rights issues. Detroit holds the potential to dialogue, envision and be a voice/platform for all of the world to hear – a fulcrum for a shift of paradigm. The Sustainability Summit aims to cocreate through vision, conscious dialogue and solutionary actions that alters our paradigm from surviving to prosperous collective interdependent sustainability.

When and Where

The summit location is Marygrove College, 8425 McNichols, Detroit MI 48221, on the SE corner at Wyoming. The event will be held September 10 – 13, the weekend prior to International Day of Peace celebrated globally on September 21st.

Registration and More Info:

Sustainability Summit


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DATA DiscoTech, Sept 19, 11a-3p, Samaritan Center

DataDiscoFinal DATA DiscoTech
Saturday, September 18, 11am-3pm
Samaritan Center
5555 Conner St.
Detroit 48213

The event is open to the public and free.

A “DiscoTech” is a term coined by the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition and is short for “Discovering Technology.” These public technology fairs, offer interactive, multimedia
workshops to demystify technology concepts.

The Data Discotech will include hands-on data literacy trainings, community surveying and discussions about the potential benefits and harms of the City of Detroit’s Open Data policy.

Some examples of workshops that will be presented at the DiscoTech include How to FOIA, Mapping with Data,and Policy for Data Justice Provisions. Other workshops are organized in partnership with grassroots organizers working around issues of housing, food, land, education, and community benefits ordinances, highlighting their intersections with digital justice.

Examples of questions we hope to explore at the Data DiscoTech include:

  • What open data can we use and how can we use it to prevent water shutoffs?
  • What information on blight is available and how can communities use it to reclaim their communities?
  • What personal data is public?
  • How does one go about ensuring their identity is secure?
  • What makes up my online identity?
  • How can we further help people understand what data is available to help solve problems in their communities?
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Update: Gov. Snyder signs HB4052, Water Detroit to Flint, Duggan D4 Meeting Next Week


July 2, 2015
HB4052 Update

On Tuesday, June Governor Snyder did in fact sign HB 4052.

Detroit Peoples Platform will continue to raise the issue of the value of the CBA ordinance in advancing both racial and economic justice here in Detroit, particularly as it relates to investment of public dollars in private development. We believe that we must centralize the issue of race and advance more coherent policy recommendations that address racial equity across all aspects of our lives as residents in this community.  We believe that the CBA ordinance is one such policy.

Please NOTE that Mayor Duggan’s District 4 Community Meeting has been RESCHEDULED – The meeting will take place on July 9th at 7PM. The meeting will take place at the Salem Memorial Lutheran Church, 21230 Moross Road, Detroit, MI 48236

Detroit to Flint, Water Justice Journey July 3- 10, 2015

Join us as we walk from Detroit to Flint demanding clean, affordable water for all.

Friday July 3
8:00am: WATER CEREMONY @ Memorial to the Underground Railroad, Hart Plaza, Detroit
9:30am: MEET-UP @ Central United Methodist Church, 23 E. Adams Ave, Detroit
10:00am: SEND-OFF RALLY @ Spirit of Detroit, Corner of Woodward & Jefferson, Detroit
2:30pm: CULTURAL CELEBRATION @ Nandi’s Knowledge Café, 12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park
4:00pm: TOWN HALL & RALLY TO KEEP OUR WATER PUBLIC @ St. Luke’s AME, 363 Labelle St, Highland Park
9:00pm: DETROIT LIGHT BRIGADE @ Corner of 9 Mile & Woodward, Ferndale

Sunday July 5
7:00pm: CROSS-COUNTY SPEAK-OUT! @ Baldwin Center,
212 Baldwin Ave, Pontiac

Friday July 10  
10:00am: RALLY FOR CLEAN & AFFORDABLE WATER @ City Hall, 1101 South Saginaw St, Flint
11:00am: DELEGATION TO LANSING post-rally, details TBA

Sponsored by:
People’s Water Board Coalition*
Highland Park Human Rights Coalition**
Flint Coalition for Clean Water***
*Michigan Coalition for Human Rights

For daily walk times and updates, go to or call (313) 579-9071

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TONIGHT! International Dialog on Housing and Water and Riverside Park Public Hearing

Just Announced! International Dialog on Housing and Water. We the People of Detroit and Detroit People’s Platform are honored to receive Ambassador Carlos Ron from the Venezuelan Embassy on behalf of the People of Detroit. Please come and be a part of a discussion of the best practices regarding Detroit’s housing and water issues and those of our friends and neighbors in Venezuela.

Reception at 5PM, discussion 6pm.
Tonight! Monday June 29, 2015 at
St. Peters Episcopal Church
1950 Trumbull at Michigan Ave.

venezuela housing and water

Also TONIGHT, the Detroit City Council Planning and Economic Development Committee will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed Riverside Park Land Exchange Agreement. This deal will have a significant impact on our community, District 6 and our city.

TONIGHT! Monday, June 29, 6 p.m.
Western International High School
1500 Scotten Ave.

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Public Transit Meeting – May 12th, 5:30 in the North End

TransitMeetingtransitmeetingUpcoming public transit meeting!

Learn more about DDOT’s issues and how you can help improve bus service for Detroiters.

May 12, 2015
5:30 – 7:30pm
7700 Second Ave. 48202

A light meal will be served.

Hosted by Detroit People’s Platform and the North End Woodward Community Coalition.