The Fight for Justice Black Men on Empowerment in the Black Community Series continues on Detroit is Different from Kofi Kenyatta and Chad King of the Black Bottom Gun Club. The Black Bottom Gun Club is the Metro Detroit chapter of the National African American Gun Association. Its goals are to promote and train for safe and responsible gun ownership, self-defense, and sportsmanship. The Black Bottom Gun Club recognizes the history and legacy of gun ownership among Black Americans and the sacrifices made to ensure that we have the inalienable right to self-defense so that those lessons can be applied today if applicable.
The goal of the National African American Gun Association is to establish a 2nd Amendment Organization that educates and trains our community on the rich legacy of gun ownership of African Americans, offering education, training, support, safety standards, and cultural inspiration.
Corey Williams is a business owner that develops property, sells homes, and leads a Black Father’s organization. Corey’s work runs deep throughout Westside Detroit neighborhoods. Families, friends, and colleagues all rely on the work of Corey to offer perspective and advice. In this Detroit is Different interview we explore more on the relationship between Police and the Black Community in America. Corey’s original Detroit is Different interview (June 18, 2018) Corey shares the stories of him facing Police Brutality as young as 13 years old and more over time.
This is an in-depth heart to heart discussion as I (Khary Frazier) share perspective as well.
Community Development in Detroit Discussion II featuring Raul Echevarria, Khary Frazier, and Yusef Bunch Shakur Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at the University of Detroit School of Architecture in the Peter Peirce Room.
Presented by Community Movement Builders, Detroit is Different, Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, and the University of Detroit
In this discussion, I (Khary Frazier) framed information and questions to focus on the business (money) of community development.
My premise was many corporations are using the distressed status (perpetually marketed by media of Detroit) to leverage subsidies, tax relief, unchecked lending, and neglectful investment. In this talk defining these practices with Yusef & Raul was important.
CDFI’s (Community Development Financial Institutions) of Detroit have received over 182 Million dollars connected to the CDFI program that was established to assist housing, businesses, and non-profit organizations in community development. The CDFI program was started from the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 (here is a link to the act that establishes CDFI’s surprisingly very thorough https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/8000-5400.html). In 1996 the first Detroit CDFI monies from the US Treasury were sent to Shorebank receiving 3.75 million dollars. Here is an article by NYTimes as a brief overview of why Shore Bank failed (according to many financial analysts) https://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/business/23cncshorebank.html, many felt that the risks with homeowners were too much for Shorebank.
Currently, CDFI’s have no needed oversight but there is a third party ranking system developed by Aeris that many use to audit their effectiveness. Here is a link to the Aeris website: https://www.aerisinsight.com/ . CDFI’s can also receive funding from banks (like Bank of America) and foundations (like Kresge) in the form of investment and/or grants. Many banks pay for and submit the Aeris audit request to verify the livelihood and financial legitimacy of the CDFI (which I think is problematic because traditional lending has been so racist, here is a great book about the practice released last year: https://www.amazon.com/Color-Money-Black-Racial-Wealth-ebook/dp/B076526LW5).
Gabrielle Knox is young in years but wise in organization. Developing Detroit Poetry Society with a collective of friends propelled Gabrielle into visionary and leadership roles. The drive and interest of many poets like Gabrielle and Sheezy Bo Beezy connected artists eager to express spoken word seeking stages, venues, and opportunities. In this Detroit is Different feature learn about Gabrielle’s relationship with family and community. Today leading Operation Care Kit Detroit Gabrielle works providing resources to people in Detroit experiencing homelessness. This all rooted in ideas and lessons learned from Dabl, Malik Yakini, Honeycomb, and more.
Jay Rayford is creating opportunity through his network. Business is about profit for some, but few find value in the connection of creating businesses that bring people together. Jay is one of the entrepreneurs that is driven to find products and services that bond people to experiences. In this Detroit is Different discussion we talk about Social Sushi and how the business began. Jay opens up about his childhood and love for the Cody HS robotics team. Also, learn how to work as a salesman has built Jay’s confidence in building a strong network and family.
Greg Hines and Kevin Manuel are entrepreneurs that came into the business of caring for elders through know-how and need. Greg and Kevin both relocated to Detroit during a time of the burgeoning renaissance of Black business and corporate excellence. Their work in pharmaceutical sales and management were assets in a region looking to acquire talent. Friends for years decided to go into business together with owning an Amada Senior Care franchise. The two began with one client who taught them much about aging care and attention and now their knack for customer service has grown into an expansive practice. During this time of the COVD-19 crisis keeping proper care for their clients has made their work more appreciated for many families in the region. Kevin and Greg open up about their journey and friendship. How being in business has strengthened their bond and now is a stronghold for their families. Special Thanks to Charlene Mitchell-Rogers for this great interview.
Njia Kai loves artistry. The life work of Njia has placed her in spaces to best present performance, projects, and programming related to culture. The way she helped make flyers and programs for high school events has now transitioned to the African World Festival, Campus Martius event planning, and so much more. Our first interview (2018) discussed her background and journey and this interview connects her ideas for the future. This is a deep conversation and fruitful perspective looking at how we can all reconnect with culture moving beyond this crisis.
The talent was recognized in Sharea Ayers at a young age through artistry. Sketches, paintings, Black history, and Women’s history were a mix of interests Sharea had as a child. Today these interests carry on in her career. Sharea is the student that loved school and became a teacher. Over ten years of teaching from rural Ohio and Detroit city have provided her a better understanding of support resources needed for students. Now, Sharea supports Parents with projects and programming. We discuss her story and relationship with her Parents having a working mother and father who spent much of her childhood incarcerated. She opens up about the testament of her mother and the struggle of her father. Through that journey how her connection to learning has grown with students, parents, and teachers in the process of learning.