2020 BECDD Summit Synopsis
Session 1: Facilitated Conversation / Young Leaders Panel
Hosts: Orlando Bailey, Alondra Alvarez, Yusef Bunchy Shakur
Izzi Figueiredo, Michigan Roundtable
Mohammed Muntakim, DPSCDoff4EID Campaign
Gabriela Santiago-Romero, We The People Michigan
Landis Spencer, Detroit Socialists of America
Nyasia Valdez, Inside Southwest Detroit + Equitable Internet Initiative
Nakia Wallace, Detroit Will Breathe
After calling the session to order, Orlando Bailey posed this question to the panelists:
QUESTION: A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, A NATIONAL RACIAL RECKONING, A CRUMBLINE ECONOMY, A USA ELECTION AND AN UPCOMING MAYORAL ELECTION. THE IMPOSSIBLE IS NOW POSSIBLE. A NEW “US” IS NOW NECESSARY.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THIS, WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN NEXT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS?
Landis – Our work in trying to defeat Proposal N failed. We Need to understand why. A lot of great work was done in neighborhoods, but people holding office don’t have our best interest at heart Combining our efforts is the best way to make change in the city.
Izzi – pre COVID – we were working on a youth program proposal for theh Michigan Roundtable. The need for mental health support is number one on my list. We need widespread adoption of a trauma-informed approach for working with each other.
It feels like Detroit is still in a difficult place – black pain, black deaths
Many are grieving with loss of grandparents and loss of financial stability. We need to:
- Build awareness so that WHEN trauma comes, we are ready
- Ask and listen, and understand and break the cycle of generational trauma
- Encourage everyone to ask for what they need when they need it
Mohammed – We had a campaign, led by youth, but with teachers, parents, and others. The Muslim community is large (mostly Yemeni) but public school systems have not honored our holidays in the school calendar. Our effort brought in a big group of people, even from those who didn’t share our faith. The only way forward is our willingness to work together, put differences aside but still celebrate them. We have to have equality and equity for all in our communities.
Gabriela – We make a connection between poverty, policy, and leadership. Through lobbying and kickbacks, bad decisions were made to benefit corporations. We have to invest real dollars into black and brown communities. Focus on race and class to understand how we got to where we are — learning, unlearning and healing for the work we have to do. As an example, we wanted street lights and roads, bike lanes for community but we only saw this happen when others (whites) moved to Detroit. Invest in leadership. Give them scaffolding tools and voice to work their craft. Start with the young people.
Nyasia - People who are most upset by the decisions need to be making the decisions. The Equitable Internet Initiative is focused on getting high speed low cost internet to the neighborhoods (SW, North End, Island view neighborhood); putting up hotspots in parks, other neighborhood locations that are safe. People in communities can develop answers together, they just need to be asked.
Nakia – First, we must fight against systematic oppression and police brutality: racism. This country saw the largest social movement after George Floyd murder then any other movement in this country. We have to fight for equality for standard of living in our neighborhoods. People have to fight for themselves – how do we support them? This is what empowerment looks like. Leverage momentum from this movement. Make more meetings public – don’t make a decision for the community.
Second, we must think critically about everything and everybody. Leaders need to prove they are leaders. It’s OK to break ties with people who are on the wrong side of history, e.g. like the democratic party. Read and study history, and understand the ways that change and progress have actually happened in this country. This requires sustained effort and struggle.
Orlando then transitioned the group to open discussion.
Yusef – We want to get our youth involved. Get them involved like with what we are doing here. Think about those who are also suffering from economic or social brutality. In Duggan’s administration people continue to get their water shut off and pushed out of neighborhoods – this is a form of violence.
Yusef than asked for a Moment of Silence for the black and brown men and women who have died from police violence.
Orlando – Izzi was talking about this new normal, an acknowledgement of mental health and trauma we have faced as Detroiters. With the lens as people of color, we don’t really get into this. We tend to sweep mental healths issues under the rug like the uncle in the movie Soul Food. How do we make this happen in our communities?
Izzi Putting this care into action can look like a lot of different things. Start with nonconventional practices such as yoga or meditation. Make a connection between the physical body and the mind. I have personal experience with “community care circles” with Detroiters with Disabilities, and it was powerful.
Yolanda Jackson — Gabriela talked about bike lanes. How did this happen? One thing we need across the city is civic education. How the budget works, and how to hold our elected officials accountable. People don’t know who their council members are. Next year is a political battleground with council members and mayor up for election. We have to inform people, and discern the truth from the lies.
Gabriela – I agree that the public civic education piece is very important. We have held a lot of research workshops, for example on who the large corporations are in the community. We want to ramp that up in 2021. We have a team and want to serve as a resource. We want to work on delivering the budgets and policies that people want to see.
CED – thanks to all on the panel. I am a medical student at Wayne State. As the country rallies for resurgence in this fight, health care is looking at their role in this. What is the role of physicians in this space? How can we contribute on a granular level to housing, development and economic education?
Orlando – There is a concern about vaccine distribution and safety from the pandemic.
Landis – My sister has struggled through most of her 20’s against significant medical bias against black women – its important that we tackle this. For example, doctors not believing the level of pain that someone is in.
Nakia – Part of what brought people to the streets is the disproportionate way COVID impacted the black community. There are still 27 million people without health insurance. Many thrown into this pandemic have not been given the resources that they need. Many who work in the medical community don’t have their own health care, and can’t be safe.
We need for universal health care in this country, and a call for health and safety as a basic right. We don’t see medical directors/physicians saying that our current system leaves too many people without options. It’s not surprising that COVID is taking such a toll.
Izzi – From a mental health perspective, believing their patients about their pain is a good start. Just recounting traumatic experiences can be tremendously stressful. For people of color, reaching a healed state is really not possible. Danger remains in their lives and can occur again.
Yusef – What about learning from elders but still being able to be yourself?
Landis — There is a big gap between the lived experiences of youth and what our elders experienced. My dad was 73, and a baby boomer. We need to be our authentic selves, but we have to explain to others where we where are. For example, having a “defunding the police” dialogue with grandparents when we want to use dollars for community centers and health care. We have to learn to meet them where they are at.
How to do this with community leaders – a really hard question.
Nyasia – It’s definitely an uphill battle. Older members in the community think internet is a luxury! But with the pandemic, the only way to connect is through the internet. Being able to let people come to their own conclusion is key. Just give a listen to the younger people.
Nakia – I really enjoy the question, as I was raised by grandparents and great grandparents. They look at a situation and understand if this was a life or death matter.
I don’t believe that everyone is a leader just because the mayor said so. Look at what people are saying. Publicly address it and call it out. We wrote a letter to City Council president – it was respectful but still called her out. Just because it’s a different generation, it’s okay to disagree. People much older have been on our side for a long time! Gravitate towards them. Samuel Hameer is one of the elders who is on the right side of history, and never left it. He wants a world where people can live freely with a good quality of life.
Pat Butler asked – can you define “community”?
Gabriela – Each has their own definition. “A group of people that align on values and needs”. My communities are: Immigrant, Southwest, LGBTQ
Yusef – “Community “ does not mean “neighborhood.” They are different. We have to know the lingo in how we engage.
Phyllis – I am encouraged as a senior citizen to hear the panelists. Thanks for your efforts in the continued struggle. There are significant health disparities for people of color, especially women of color. I see every day the medical dismissal of this group. Look at it from an intergeneration lens. I’m excited about the footprints that this generation is leaving. We had a panoramic view of the inequality in water in Flint and failed to capitalize on that.
Cristin S – what is the role for people outside the community proper? Chief Craig is talking about outsiders coming into our communities.
Nyasia It’s about leveraging resources. Sometimes the city government/other officials listen to others with resources and money first. You have to first be accountable to the area where you are living.
Nakia – When we look at history, like the Freedom riders, it took people from other communities to help. Same with slavery and the power of outside agitators. The powers that be try to sow division to ignore the problem. We need to stand next to each other and support each other’s fights. If Detroiters could successfully fight for housing, water and education on our own, we would have won that fight a long time ago. The Malik Green convictions happened because we were connected with people in other places. MLK went wherever it was necessary to go.
Bryan Cook – I am President of Association of Minority Architects. Community Development starts with architecture. There is a disconnect in the terms that we use. How do we get aligned? We have done a free architecture camp last 6 years for High Schoolers. We want to expand to not just young people but make others aware of the common language. I am encouraged by the young people. We want to serve as a resource. There are only 2,000 black architects out of 250,000 in entire country!
Orlando – language can serve as a barrier – but we want to translate it. How are you having conversations about the build environment in your areas?
Izzi – In any of your work, you need to be able to share your idea and then share again in simpler terms. You should have a few main points that you can state for someone. Restate if need be to reinforce the message. Be prepared for questions to be asked of you, and to communicate the answer in another way if necessary.
Orlando – I saw the same when I was with the East Side Community Network. Professions have technical expertise… We created a planning and neighborhood approach with three main points: Education, translation, and facilitation. We have to also take into account that the professional doesn’t have the only answer/experience, others may have this as well. Be mindful about who we think the educators are – make sure things are well facilitated. Make room for trauma to speak, and don’t be mad or uncomfortable when trauma comes out.
Jihan – Outsiders are coming into Detroit to do work. I was born and raised in Hamtramck – streets are half in and half out of Detroit! We have a different trash cycles on the same street. How do you work with us? Are we really a part of this city?
Mohammed –We do consider Hamtramck to be part of Detroit. Similar issues, similar challenges. I live on one of those half-in, half-out streets
Orlando — Do residents in Hamtramck feel like they are outsiders to Detroit?
Jihan – Not so much. People think of historic Polish people– not the people of color who live there. School systems are different. We do share state level and congress-level reps. Ballot proposal for police/fire was a challenge for the community on the same street. We tend to be perceived differently if we are from Hamtramck.
Gabriela – I understand the historical context for Hamtramck and Highland Park. Your lived experience is really valuable to this work; holds the answers to our questions and needs…..We need the bridges and the civic education. Keep asking the right questions!
Yusef – we just need people to care! You don’t have to be from Harvard, we just need you to engage. Don’t use the language of oppressors. Don’t negate our roles. Show each other respect. Build authentic relationships.
Taylor Barrow – I am a med student at Wayne State with CED. We have the “Healing Between the Lines” program – taught how health should be handled. It was bringing in community activists to teach alongside doctors. Ego in organizing is a challenge. What are some tactics to raise up certain voices and have others take a step back?
Yusef – Like minded people choose those who we like. We have to be authentic with ourselves. Put the people before ourselves. What is a leader? I might speak out. That might make me a spokesperson, but not a leader. If someone is arguing about their values, then they are in it for themselves. If someone is saying “We ain’t our ancestors”, just get away from them.
Orlando – Ego unchecked with rugged individualism, is a tenet from white supremacy. There is no room for ego in our work.
Nakia – as a young black woman born out of poverty, grown men tend to assert themselves over black women in organizing spaces to gain more authority because they are physically imposing. You can’t concede to the erasure of your own existence or your own voice. It’s okay to call out the ego’s – we have to let people know. It’s not an easy thing to do – but required. This is what radical love looks like. We want to win but it matters how we win and how we relate to each other. Don’t ever participate in your own erasure. Period!
Orlando Two remaining questions for panel:
1) Next year there is a series of elections – what are we doing and how are you approaching it?
2) Cooperative ownership and community land trusts
Nakia – our organization is known for direct action. There is not a politician in this city that doesn’t know we will do a car caravan around your house and be on your front lawn. It is important to call out city council on the $650 million in taxes stolen from Detroiters from over-assessed property values. It’s not about the candidate most likely to cut deals. It’s a “lesser of two evils: approach. How can we sustain the movement we already have? Power isn’t changing minds and hearts, it’s getting people to do what you need them to do. For the candidates, ask the questions, for example, where do you stand on Detroiters being displaced?
Orlando – Mayor Duggan is running again. Is there any competition?
Izzi – We are trying to launch an online virtual youth space (16 to 21 years old) to Learn about social justice together and educate each other. We want to encourage through teaching and awareness building.
Landis – DSA and other orgs are looking at this and considering other people for positions. Looking to challenge those in power. In France – politicians are afraid of the French people. In US, the people are afraid of the government. We have to reverse this.
Orlando – What about cooperative ownership/community land trusts?
Phyllis – We are looking at it ever since Katrina – to establish quality affordable homes for people that had been displaced. Grounded Solutions is a firm engaged by the City of Detroit. 21 CDOs are also looking at it. Reverend Ross in North End has already started. How can we help people build wealth in their communities? We need to change our AMI, and we know that ours is skewed because of income data from other cities around Detroit.
Alondra then began to wind down the discussion as time elapsed.
Alondra – Thanks to everyone! Have to end the conversation, which is my least favorite part. I am moved and inspired by you all! Think about what you did in 2020 as well as what you are planning for 2021. Acknowledge all the great things you’ve done in 2020.
Yusef – We covered a lot in the landscape of Detroit – It reflects how big the city is. In certain parts you can be in poverty, and turn the corner and you are in the middle class. Action requires that we build the relationships. It’s bigger than Mayor Duggan and Chief Craig. It can only grow through this BECCD process. Young people represent the energy that is necessary. In Detroit we failed in passing the torch. We Need to maintain the balance. This was a fruitful conversation.
Orlando – intergenerational discourse and collaboration is important. It facilitates the discussion from both sides – old and young. That theme that is reoccurring.
How can some of these movements be integrated with community development?
Are there linkages that can happen as result of this conversation?
Confronting and deconstructing the mental health issues that have come from past trauma was also an important theme. How do we build the processes to make sure we make room for that? Who isn’t at the table? We have to have an informed response for people when their trauma comes out.
Yusef — Every voice in our neighborhood is valuable.
Session 2: Ending Plenary
After six breakout group discussions, participants reconvened to report out and talk through what they heard, learned and want to focus on.
Breakout Session 1: Mental Health in a Time of Virtual Learning
We started off talking about what 482Forward is — a citywide education, organizing network that is based in Detroit. We talked about what 482Forward does, which is Invest in my Health and Safety, which is referring to investing in our youth’s health and safety in school, the community and in our neighborhoods. We want to put the mental health of our students over funding police in our schools so that we can make sure that our students are getting the best learning environment that they can. We based our discussion mostly on how we would reimagine our schools, mental health in our schools and what we can do to make sure that our students are getting the best education that they can get. We talked about what investing in schools and investing in the students with the students’ best interest looks like to the students, teachers and to the parents. We created a jamboard asking ourselves what a fully funded school — focused on the best interest of students and teachers looks like. Now, students don’t have enough supplies and teachers need to take money out of their own pay to buy school supplies for students. We talked about a lot of common issues like that in schools, and it was really collaborative and really productive conversation.
Breakout 2: Policy and Politics in the Neighborhoods
We had Councilwoman Lopez and Barry from Pro Tem Sheffield’s Office and Branden Snyder from Detroit Action. We started out talking about how policies influence communities. One such policy as I mentioned was social security. People don’t think about that a lot anymore until you reach the social security age. When social security was invented, it was built on injustice and they didn’t allow it for agricultural and domestic workers to receive those benefits. That was a policy built with inequalities in it. And it wasn’t until 1948 and 1950s respectively that domestic workers and agricultural workers were able to start receiving those benefits. So as we look at the policies that have come out now, as a result of COVID-19, especially those that prior to COVID-19 according to our mayor, was not a public health issue. Now that it is a national health crisis, and they’ve made allowances for people to have water, how does this impact us moving forward? And so with that, Councilwoman Lopez and Barry shared with us the Detroiters Bill of Rights that’s been recommended to be inserted into the City Charter. The bill states the people’s rights to be free from discrimination, right to water, right to safety, right to health, right to their environmental health, right to recreation, right to access and mobility, and right to the basic needs and quality of life. We discussed what it was like getting involved in that effort and all the advocacy groups that came together, because we were more powerful together than we are separate. And so this is a real, true demonstration of that and it’s all those advocate groups that came together to help structure and build this Detroiters’ Bill of Rights that will hopefully be the key to some of the issues that people will be coming out on as the COVID restrictions become lifted. We certainly have people, families and children and vulnerable seniors who are involved and really concerned about their quality of life, but hopefully this bill will be implemented. Of course, bills take a while and we’re working on this for August of 2021. We shared information on how you can get involved. It was a very fruitful, touching and productive conversation.
Breakout 3: Development in the Neighborhoods
We had a great panel with Lauren Hood, Chase Cantrell from Detroit Will Breathe and Sam Butler from Doing Development Differently in Detroit. We started out talking about what equitable development is and we said it’s a combination of an inclusive process, as well as outcomes. Lauren went a bit further and said that she thinks development is only equitable when reparations are given and the people who’ve been harmed in the past are the ones who benefit in the future, currently or in the development’s happening over time. We talked about the inequities in having market forces determine the value of development — because sometimes it costs more in construction and in labor, then the building or the development is worth in the open market. Unless there is some government subsidy or government is building houses as is true in other countries or in other places, It’s really hard to actually get some of the things that communities might want because the capital has to come from somewhere. We also talked about this idea of an “equity scorecard” — somewhat based on what is happening in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis, St. Paul). There are five categories: equitable community engagement, equitable land use, equitable economic development, equitable housing and equitable transportation. We had a lot of debate back and forth about first, whether having a scorecard and having a score is really what’s important; or having people have the power and have their voices to be heard so the things they actually want are built into some new developments. We thought it might be useful to have a different “AMI” than the regional AMI making sure it’s 50% or less so Detroiters, with the revenues and the income they have, can actually afford it. We need to have a way to retain current residents so they aren’t displaced, and this idea of maybe also having money go to some sort of a fund that will be for local residents for things like home repair so that people aren’t forced out of their communities. This conversation is not ending. We welcome anyone who’s interested in this conversation to continue engaging because it’s going to be an issue that has got to continue to for years to come.
Breakout 4: Justice and Police Behavior in the Neighborhoods
Our segment was a discussion with the Detroit Justice Center, Coalition for Police Transparency and Accountability, ALPAC and Detroit WIll Breathe. We had a sobering and difficult yet open, discussion that was grounded in us watching a video that was presented by the Coalition for Police Transparency and Accountability around the police shooting and death of Hakim Littleton in the neighborhood. From there, we asked the question what does it mean to create policing and safety for communities and what are our thoughts about that? It brought up questions that range from the ways in which black and brown bodies are criminalized, including young black and brown bodies like children and how children aren’t seen as children. We talked about the ways in which the question of policing is tied to not only systemic racism, but in particular, the policing of black bodies and where they can and can’t go — in a way, maintaining racism and segregation that exists in society. We talked about what it means to put resources into communities that actually keep folks safe and what it means to listen to those communities when they say what resources they need in order to do that. It was a conversation that needs to continue and really more about people . It was expressing their concerns, knowing that the issue of safety is a real thing. But also, we were thinking of how to reimagine that without the punitive practices and policies of the police department.
Breakout 5: Equity and Property in the Neighborhood
Nicole Brown, Pier Davis, Kimberly Faison of Detroit Future City and Ashley Clark of DFC’s Center for Equity, Engagement and Research, facilitated a discussion about land use and acquisition and transparency in that process. The conversation centered around three different programs and really looking at how to Detroit Future City, as an innovative Think and Do Tank and stewards of the Detroit Strategic Framework, are able to utilize the to DFC programs work with community partners to be able to help them with their work within these areas. We talked about how do you navigate the land ownership and purchase process to be able to equitably utilize open space. They lifted up the importance of working with and building capacity of neighborhood organizations to be able to navigate lots of city systems to be able to actually access that land and be able to make it into an active space within the community that is led and shepherded by community members. We focused on what does it really mean to have a housing market that is strong and looking at how can we work with community development organizations to be able to creatively implement an acquisition and rehab program that, when it is complete, is working with a robust set of community partners from local CDOs to CDFIs and the city of Detroit to be able to ensure that at the end of the pilot program there are 70 new home owners of single family affordable housing in Detroit neighborhoods. We rounded out our conversation, led by Ashley Williams Clark, around what does it really mean to have an economically equitable City of Detroit and really looked at the definition that was created and led by community members: “a city where all the Detroiters are meeting their unique needs prospering and fully and fairly participating in all aspects of community within a thriving city and region.” We were able to have a really robust conversation with our community stakeholders on the call and really pulled apart what are some of the barriers, but also what are some of the opportunities that they’re seeing to move this kind of work forward. One of the big things that came out was the importance of being able to navigate relationships within the community and all the stakeholders that you need to be able to move this forward, but also really looking at how are we building up the capacity of our community organizations, and our block clubs who are really on the front lines of fighting this fight, and being able to make sure that they have the resources to be able to take control of land and homes in their community and really be able to transform those spaces into places for all the Detroiters to be able to live and thrive equitably
Breakout 6: Revolutionary Love between the Generations
It was a robust and great conversation. Orlando Bailey, Alondra Alvarez, Donna Givens and Maria Salinas led a conversation in regards to intergenerational work and how do we get better in this era, right now, to create something that will be practical and effective for the now. We understand that there’s been a lot of things that were done in the 60s and 70s, but how do we really let young people and elders come together naturally and effectively now. Communication is huge as well as the narrative we construct. How do we make sure that our young people (14 to 25), the millennials and all the inter-betweens (40, 50, 60, 70 year old) utilize each other to build power? Young people that are in the movement with Black Lives Matter and everything that’s happening on our streets are out there every day. How do we create visibility so that there is an understanding that people have their backs that are working on ordinances and policies and laws that complement what they’re doing? A lot of times they feel alone out there, and we want to make sure that they know that they’re not alone. We have to respect the young people and create space. We learned about using verbiage like “enlighten” versus “educate” and “awareness” versus “education.” When we talk about educating our people, it makes it seem like they’re not educated. Detroiters are the smartest people in the world. We talked about really just trying to figure out how do we do something different so that young people create the space for their voice and their value to be at the front lines of what we’re creating, but also respecting and understanding that there’s older people that have resources and relationships. So some things also came out like how do we help fund this movement if we have those relationships and how do we do that without taking it over? We want to be a part of it — even if we’re not there, we want to be there in some sense and create an aura or presence without imposing. Currently, CDAD will be taken on BECDD as our backbone and they are creating a youth council. That’s going to start, hopefully, structuring and creating this mechanism. But, we also said that what’s going on now is like never before, so let’s not do something that’s already been done. Let’s do something that needs to happen now, so that everybody that are in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s have the backs of our young people in this movement so that we can be more effective and more powerful that way.
Biggest Takeaways from the Summit — Quick Comments from Participants:
Kimberly Faison: Yes! We have power.
Asandi Conner: We (mature leaders 50+) have a responsibility to be a resource for our young people in a way that respects their leadership journey. Create spaces that truly welcome and foster community engagement
Barbara Beesley: Equity provides safety, not police
Rumi Weaver: Priority for me is to figure out ways to support building community and connections that addresses people’s needs
Izzi Figueiredo: Support DPS students right now!
Chase L. Cantrell: Reparations > “development” (we need to locate our battles at the policy level.)
Pat Butler: Yesterday’s conversation centered on a new way of doing community. Yusef just mentioned going back to what works. I believe there is a happy medium. Change our language, change our thoughts, change our actions creates change.
Ben Ratner (he/him): We have to reimagine what expertise is and who the experts are in community development
Tristan Taylor, DWB: Public Housing! Stop relying on the “market” to provide affordable housing!
Black and Brown bodies and communities need to be invested in, not punitive institutions like prisons and police
Maggie DeSantis: Reimagine what we mean by “safety” and “police”
Stephen Boyle: Be vocal advocates and pathways for each other to be fully heard. Squash the Digital Divide across Detroit. We don’t have effective communications with the existing divide present for 30–50% of our people. Acknowledge barriers to access exist for others that we may have no comprehension of.
Nicole Brown: The creation of inclusive polices designed to ensure equity is at the center for all aspects of community building — education, housing , land use etc. Investing in the next generation of community development leaders.
Susan Hooks-Brown: The Detroit Bill of Rights focus is on basic needs
Josh Budiongan: Equity in policy, education and training
Kenyetta Campbell: Continue to build authentic relationships across the city. Share best practices within the city.
Surabhi Prasad (she/her): Emphasizing student and youth voices, advocating for their voice to be heard and showing that youth voice matters.
Trina Shanks: organize across Black cities with common agendas around equity
Arlene Garner: My takeaway from my group is listen to our young people a make sure we understand them.
Loretta Powell: How we still have so many people who cares about building up our neighborhoods and helping the young people what they would like to see happen
Maria Salinas: Alignment between generations.
Donna Givens Davidson: We need to work harder to engage and listen to EVERYONE in our communities, to hear them and understand their perspectives
Phyllis Edwards: We need to honor the wisdom of seniors that exist in our communities
The group then took a snap poll that prioritized the key issues that had been discussed in these “Reports Out.” The poll results:
- 60% creating and sustaining equity and inclusion in community development
- 58% supporting and empowering youth
- 48% partnership, movement and coalition building
- 37% policy advocacy
- 27% communicating and listening
- 29% community-driven safety
- 23% community focused place-making
- 11% enlightenment and awareness building
Discussion on the Snap Poll Results:
- Is there a way to incorporate some of those items together. For example, could we incorporate “community driven safety” into some of those others like the coalition building work?
- Safety is one of the big issues in our community. And I really loved the concept around rethinking what public safety looks like. And we keep on not really having those conversations.
- In order to have an equitable and inclusive community development sector, we need to listen, we need advocacy and we need to build power. It’s hard to see these as separate.
- The emphasis is separate though, because we have tended to have policy and advocacy and supporting our youth without really having real focused and intentional efforts at communicating and listening. We don’t have town halls where we’re really going into the places where people who don’t show up at meetings are. Brandon Snyder does a good job through Detroit Action of really communicating with homeless people, for example, or returning citizens, or people who are on the verge of homelessness. We hear from a subset of our community and then we consider that to be the listening that we need to do……we go far enough.
- Truth be told, all this is a “both-and” and not an “either-or”. All of these should be added. We’re doing a disservice to ourselves because all of them matter. The real work is connecting them and we can have sub topics.
- So if we collapse some of these and put them into one, is there a strategy to tackle all of these at once? Looking at all of these now it seems pretty big. What’s the plan to chip away at this as a community development sector?
- There’s a lot of possible overlap with these too! for instance in the youth breakout session I just attended we discussed DPS students’ push to reallocate funds going towards the DPS police department to go towards school counselors and other student resources instead in interest of DPS student safety
- We need to identify areas we’re going to be involved in. So, for example if it’s housing, then with housing we need to “create and sustain equity and inclusion” as part of it. We need to “support and empower youth” in discussing housing. We need a policy advocacy framework on housing; we need to “communicate and listen” on housing and we need a “partnership movement and coalition building.” We need to do all of these things in some way to ensure that we’re doing the right thing. If we’re talking about police reform or changing the nature of policing whatever language we want to use as an inclusive language, I think we need to do the same things for that.
- You’re saying, all of these are tenets that could be applied to different areas of work and advocacy or activism. So if we’re about housing, all of these things need to go into our housing strategy; if we’re talking about police reform, climate equity, youth development or workforce and jobs in the economy, they all need to be there. Yes.
- Pick a project and apply all of the strategies.
- Communicating and listening is where Internet access fits in these.
- We care a lot about housing. We haven’t talked about sustainability or climate equity and that needs to be on the table.
- We need to listen to empower youth. We need to create and sustain equity. We need to figure out what we’re going to focus on.
- Youth are the primary users of public spaces. How often are their voices included in all of the constant new development and plans!?
- Youth are often consulted on “youth” issues, but why isn’t land use or housing youth issues?
- I think one thing is that we really want to be true to youth voice. Everything we do with BECDD and CDAD needs to be done with youth voice so we have youth voice at every spectrum of work that is done under BECDD/CDAD.
- All issues are youth issues. Likewise they’re senior issues, workers issues …they are all of our issues.
Concluding Thoughts from the Hosts:
How do we center equity? We’re thinking about our mothers and our grandparents. Maria just mentioned that we don’t consider them as educators, but they mean something. Their equity in the neighborhoods means something. When you don’t have investment in neighborhoods, that’s when we have police — when we don’t have the things that we need. Every voice in our neighborhoods is valuable but the central thing is the neighborhoods. Our black communities have to move away from how we see our neighborhoods. We can’t keep seeing it as a “hood” and start having pride in it. Neighborhoods means “we invest here.” Moving out from the neighborhood doesn’t make you a bad person. Being a bad person is when you don’t want to connect and help someone, and forgetting where you came from. We have to get back to that. It’s connecting the dots.
It’s important that no one leaves this meeting thinking this is the one chance to add something to this list of things. This is really a forever and ongoing conversation. We’re trying to prioritize some things here, but I want to make sure that we’re in agreement that the results of this poll or whatever decisions we’re making right now aren’t long lasting. This isn’t the time we have to decide everything; these are ongoing conversations.
What types of partnerships can we build out of this? How do we intersect through the civic, the community development, the social and racial justice, the youth, etc.? Sometimes, it’s only in these separate spaces that we see each other, and we say, “hey, we need to connect” and we don’t talk about it until we see each other again in these spaces. There’s ground level folks that are really out there struggling and fighting and making some difference. I think this is what equity has to look like; this is what our work has to look like. Again, you don’t have to be from the neighborhoods, but you have to care about people. And I think this was the heart of what BECDD is and should be. If it’s not what we want it to be, then join, sign up and get involved.
Justice and Police Behavior in the Neighborhoods Breakout Session
Policy and Politics Breakout Session
Development in Neighborhoods Breakout Session
Equity and Property in the Neighborhoods Breakout Session