Category Archives: Blog

White-Savior-Syndrome

Addressing White Savior Syndrome

We received a tweet requesting a follow and support for the  Save Detroit Project, which is aiming to launch on April 1, 2014. Looking through the string of promotional tweets we found this one…

— Save Detroit Project (@SaveDetroit1) March 13, 2014

Critique on WSS

White-Savior-SyndromeCan we have someone sit down with the organizers of this project and spell out a few things?

  1. You don’t represent the face which long-term Detroiters recognize.
  2. Most Detroiters would prefer seeing houses DECONSTRUCTED rather than DEMOLISHED. Reclaim Detroit has the right idea! [1]
    • The key is identifying where in the process of deterioration the property sits …
      • minor repairs (possibly owner doesn’t want/can’t afford),
      • major repairs,
      • structural problems (possible deconstruction),
      • beyond repair but holding resources to be deployed elsewhere (deconstruction), and lastly
      • demolition required
    • Informed owners can make responsible choices between deconstruction and demolition [1][2][3].
  3. Eradicating the culture of the city effectively white-washes the city leaving no texture or soul in that which replaces it.

  4. Repair of houses is needed to prevent their demise.
    • Sometimes putting a custodial resident into the property with the intent for community repair is best.
    • Potentially move the property through quit claim into a community land trust as an asset in the commons.
  5. A moratorium on foreclosures is needed, holding banks as responsible for derelict houses.

Occupy Detroit has been around a few years and some of those whom have been there longest have some advice to offer. For those wishing to “Save Detroit” is for you to first understand the various neighborhoods. Interview people and find out who they are and the stories that have happened in the neighborhood.

Also realize Detroit is “fixed” – those whom have influence and power are using it to change the city in their favor. Often they fail to dedicate moving forward as an opportunity to provide memory to the good times and  beauty which have happened across the city. These are the capitalist “occupiers” of Detroit set forth to make it what they desire. Its the same colonizing spirit that European settlers in the new world had when encountering first nations before there was an incorporation of the United States of America.

White-washing the memories of the city isn’t working and just creates more resentment and division when you occupy spaces and claim/colonize using outside wealth.

Attorney Vanessa Fluker

Save Detroit – Save Our Homes

The campaign to “Save Detroit—Save Our Homes” (flyer attached) will soon have a chance to put our case directly before Mel Watt, the new director of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac– the federally operated mortgage giants that own two-thirds of all mortgages in the United States.

Watt was nominated by President Obama and confirmed over Republican opposition last December. Under his predecessor, Fannie and Freddie foreclosed on thousands of Detroit families who should have gotten assistance to keep them in their homes. Fannie and Freddie have declared moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions in areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and we need the same emergency assistance here, where a “Hurricane Without Water” has devastated Detroit’s tax base and forced the city into bankruptcy.

Attorney Vanessa Fluker - foreclosure/eviction legal defense
Attorney Vanessa Fluker – foreclosure/eviction legal defense

Our call for a moratorium on foreclosures and principal reduction to keep people in their homes has been endorsed by 70 organizations from across the city, including community groups, unions, faith-based organizations, and 30 neighborhood associations (list of endorsers attached). The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is arranging for a meeting with Watt, and our coalition will be represented at the upcoming gathering in Washington.

In the meantime, we’ll be taking our case to Detroit’s Congressional representatives this coming Wednesday, March 12, 11am – noon, as part of a national effort coordinated by the Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes. If you want to join our delegation or add your organization’s name to our list of endorsers, contact us via UAW Local 600 at 313-429-5009, or email detroitevictiondefense@gmail.com. For background info, go to http://detroitevictiondefense.org/

Printable Flyer

Click here to download

Endorsing Organizations

smDREMicon2014-150x150

#PeoplesPlan a Better Proposal than Detroit Emergency Manager Plan

smDREMicon2014-150x150Friday Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr submitted a plan for Detroit’s bankruptcy with Judge Rhodes. In response a press conference was convened Monday pushing forth the #PeoplesPlan and opening a period for submissions from the public during an event March 2nd at 2pm. Location will be Central United Methodist Church, 23 E Adams, Detroit near Grand Circus Park. The plan as it exists can be found on the D-REM website, as linked here.

The plan provided by Emergency Manager Orr can be seen below.

GuardianAngel

Guardian Angels For Activists

GuardianAngelWe become so consumed by our passion fighting for causes bigger than ourselves. We see that “ME” fits within the “WE” conversation. Sometimes we sacrifice a part of ourselves in that fight. We forget to take care of ourselves or put ourselves on the line for a cause we believe in. We consider civil disobedience as a statement of the passion we hope others will understand. We ask for judges and juries at our trials to find verdict by their conscious, and see the greater picture that the disobedience was aimed at. The laws which protect the people don’t always work, it takes people getting involved and showing how the letter of the law is weak and does not give us justice by following it literally.

Skilled communication regarding our feelings can be a tough thing to offer. How do we discuss our moral compass and realize someone listening is likely looking to knock it. Critique can be constructive and offer new perspectives that deepen or alter our beliefs and how they are expressed. It requires having a safe space for those conversations – one where critiques are solution-based and not ripping down the character of those involved. While we strive for peace the currents of unrest are where we grow the most. We have to become comfortable with a certain amount of unrest and realize it as the growth we claim to desire. Communities build character of those who enter them and remain through the unrest and growth.

TheActivist-sqI’m thankful for diving into Occupy Detroit when I saw it come along. The currents of change have been flaming rampantly all around the world. In truth it has been happening for centuries and my eyes and mind simply did not see for half my life. I desire seeing the community of growth continue through the Occupy Detroit Movement leading to organizations. I’ll acknowledge there haven’t been meetings to continue movement building and I wish to resurrect that spirit. I want to talk about decolonization as a movement direction. Discussions about not only abolishing the systemic destruction of the middle class, but to work on a change in our value system. We need to embrace our commons – the air, land, water that we are all stewards to protect and use to the betterment of all. The conversations aren’t about price tags, they are about needs and resources – bringing them together to acknowledge the value of people equally is essential. Each of us needs a chance to succeed and the systems in our US American culture are poisoning anything and everything that is truly of value to people, in effect sacrificing people for profit.

Things have to change. I’m committed to being a catalyst through my life’s work in effecting change. I will work inside and outside the system, because confronting things from one direction is like speaking TO the problem but not WITH it. Life is a conversation that is not one-sided. Portions of the conversations in our lives have different dialects and sometimes even foreign language. Our minds have to comprehend the facets around our beliefs, acknowledging what we don’t know but that it exists. We have to discuss our weaknesses and address concerns with an interest in strengthening rather than continued weakness.

Outcast-sqWe’re going to bring Occupy Detroit movement building back together this year – 2014. We’re going to Occupy Detroit in a systemic approach, because its more about the systems of oppression affecting the people’s actions than the people or the place itself. I hope to meet my locals reading this message. We may sit on different sides of common conversations. We have to bring outlying concepts into conversation, and it takes inclusion with a lot of patience & listening. Lets talk about real world changes and how to influence change in our systems. Not everything fits – especially when we talk of empowering our people and changing existing value systems.

— Stephen Boyle – community member in Detroit
Occupy Detroit
Free Detroit No Consent
March Against Monsanto Detroit
Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands
Occupy Detroit Transit
Abolitionist Movement of Today
LRNA
North End Woodward Community Coalition
and many more…

ally to indigenous Detroiters of all colors & creeds
ally to Environmental Justice in Detroit
ally to Food Justice in Detroit
ally to Transportation Justice in Detroit