While the Building Movement Project is a nationally-focused organization, we’ve always had a very special relationship with Detroit. Linda Campbell – long time Detroit resident and member of the Building Movement Project Team since its founding 10 years ago – has deep connections throughout this city and has always encouraged us to look to Detroit as a place where some of the best ideas for community-led social change are developed and implemented. This has consistently been our experience with the city and our first group trip back since the USSF last year proved to be another reminder of all the lessons Detroit has to offer in terms of movements for social justice. Here are some highlights:
Detroit and the Commons. Building Movement Project Team Members Kim Klein and Linda Campbell hosted a workshop on the first day of our trip to Detroit, where participants learned more about the Commons-based approach some organizations are using to address issues vital to their communities including: how to mobilize funding or resources, what race or class issues might be involved, and framing a vision for positive change. Now more than ever Detroiters are facing huge challenges in their communities. Everywhere people with means are seeking to profit from things normally held in common—our air, water, food, transportation, public space, schools, the internet and information technology, wilderness, and even our culture and history. Now, more than ever, Detroiters are seeing that they must begin a dialogue to confront these challenges.
Detroit Partners Reception. On Friday evening, staff and team members from the Building Movement Project had the opportunity to reconnect with representatives from some of the local community based organizations that have been integrating service and social justice work for the past several years. Our dear friends at EMEAC (The East Michigan Environmental Action Council) hosted the reception in their beautiful loft space where we were joined by about 40 neighborhood residents and representatives of other partner organizations such as the Sugar Law Center and the Earthworks Urban Farm of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.
Cook.Eat.Talk. with the Detroit Food Justice Task Force. We had a chance to break bread and plan for action a few days later with many of these same folks along with residents from the North End community of Detroit again at one of the Cook.Eat.Talk. events organized by the very active Detroit Food Justice Task Force at the Storehouse of Hope at St. Matthews and St. Joseph’s Church. Storehouse of Hope is one of Building Movement Detroit partners.
As always, it was an incredible opportunity to reflect and reconnect with our friends in Detroit – groups that are building movement day-to-day on the ground.