Capturing the culture that makes Detroit what it is.

How Organizing in Social Justice has been a Lifetime Awakening in Humility for Rich Feldman

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Attending the University of Michigan changed Rich Feldman’s life. The movements on the campus and activism outside the classroom inspired his lifetime of commitment to social justice. Anti-War, Anti-Racism, Anti-Capitalism, and Human Rights in action all have moved beyond theory, to practice, and action for Rich. For decades his understandings of strengthening people and community have been led by the works of Grace Lee Boggs and Jimmy Boggs. Rich Feldman currently carries on the vision and mission of both in today’s landscape of automation, information technology, corporate corruption, and environmental genocide that the Boggs foreshadowed. In this interview, we explore some of his stories and how his commitment to the struggle for progress has evolved over time.

How meeting your Father in prison strengthened a relationship with a Mother and neighborhood, Yusef Bunchy Shakur

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Yusef Bunchy Shakur is a revolutionary. His Autobiography ‘Window to my Soul,’ is an emotional read about his transformation from founding the gang Zone 8 to becoming a Black revolutionary organizer in his community. Today he is encouraged by his Father’s impact to become smarter, stronger, and committed to Black people. Building a relationship with his Father while in prison strengthened him to develop an understating for knowledge of self. Yusef is balanced by the work of his Mother who feeds, houses, and gives money to her community filled neighbors who are friends bonding as a family. We discuss Yusef’s love for Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party, and the recent Netflix documentary series ‘Who Killed Malcolm X.’ This is an informative interview where Yusef opens up about his work and reasoning behind his dedication to it. Learn more about the Urban Network, Community Movement Builder’s, and Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion all from the perspective of Yusef Shakur.

Detroit’s History in Break Dancing Hip-hop: Ismail Walton

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Ismail Walton has used Hip-hop as his canvas for creativity. An original breakdancer from Southwest Detroit his talents have taken him across the nation. Today Walton uses that approach towards creativity to design fashion and invent. His Coat which is a book-bag has garnered the attention of schools, foundations, and corporations. As he prepares for the release of his fashion invention, Walton visits Detroit is Different to talk Detroit hip-hop dance. If you’re interested in jitting (jitterbug), popping and locking, breaking, and ticking from an originator Walton gives insight. He also talks about the history of Black Southwest Detroit. His dance crew defeating Anita Baker in a talent show, his childhood friendship with Demetrius ‘Big Meech’ Flenory, and friendship with fashion icon Maurice Malone are all explored in this interview.

Own Your Story the Detroit Initiative: Black Millennials win national Fellowship

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The Black experience in America is often misunderstood. The context in which Black culture is developed, society engages it, and values are built upon it in America is historically problematic. ‘Own Your Story’ is a program led by TandemEd and partnering with Campaign for Black Male Achievement here in Detroit. The mission is to unite our neighborhoods in Detroit, and the Metro-Detroit area, around healthy perspectives and positive stories that we can be proud of, stories that will cast the vision for our future.

In this Detroit is Different interview I host a mix of the Own Your Story team, a Detroit Own Your Story steering committee member, and Detroit Own Your Story fellow to explore the programming here and vision for it. Jason Rivers (Own Your Story Managing Director – Pittsburgh PA), Alexander (Own Your Story Detroit Fellow – Martin Luther King Jr Senior HS Detroit MI), James Scrill (Own Your Story Detroit Steering Committee member – New Era Detroit) join me for this fruitful intergenerational discussion. You will find the perspectives of Black men in teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s to be interesting. I suggest listening to this Detroit is Different to gain a better insight of Own Your Story and Young Black Men today.

Stephanie Johnson-Cobb of the Hope Village Revitalization

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Stephanie Johnson-Cobb is and has been working within her neighborhood for years. Born and raised in the Linwood/Davison community she’s seen her community for decades with family, extended family, and now work. Stephanie works with Hope Village Revitalization bringing to life the interests, love, and passion of residents. In this interview, Stephanie shares how her mission to re-open and clear a park in the neighborhood strengthened her. Today Stephanie’s work is family, neighbor, love based engaging politicians, businesspeople, foundation representatives and more.

Jahleel Muhammad talks Saviours’ Day and Nation of Islam

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The Muhammad Family has made a mark on Detroit for generations. Jahleel carries the legacy of a Mother and Father who have played roles in and out of the house with many. The Father of three today stretches the reach more. Speaking, martial arts, and seeking knowledge is the evident value set Jahleel has shown in this interview.

We talk about the North End, Kettering HS, Minister Louis Farrakhan, and Black Faith in this interview. Deloris Bennett, Dawud Muhammad (former Minister for the Detroit Mosque for the Nation of Islam), and Bishop Edgar Vann working in the North End community are discussed as well. Also the gems of information about the foundation of the Nation of Islam taking place in Detroit.

Ways Detroiters Fight Against Tax Foreclosure

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Michelle Oberholtzer of the United Community Housing Coalition comes back to Detroit is Different to talk Detroit Homeowner’s rights. Michelle shares how you can contest the tax assessment of your property and many of the injustices that exist within these systems. This was an information-based discussion that should prepare homeowners and inform those interested.

The current tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit stems from changes to state tax laws in 1999, which shortened the foreclosure timeline and created new fees:

Taxpayers now face property tax foreclosure after being delinquent on payments for three years. Taxes that are delinquent for more than one year are charged interest at 1.5% per month, or 18% per year, plus fees. Since 2017, owners of foreclosed homes are banned from purchasing their properties back at auction

Michelle Oberholtzer
(313) 963-3310 |
United Community Housing Coalition
2727 Second Ave #313 | Detroit MI 48201

Discussion on Community Development with Racial Equity and Healing. Hosted by Yusef Shakur and Khary Frazier

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Racial Healing and Equity in Community Development was a discussion held by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion led by myself (Khary Frazier) and Yusef Shakur. Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at the Urban Network (2433 Ferry Park Detroit MI 48208) we welcomed a small and impactful group of community-minded activists, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and organizers.

Documenting this discussion naturally led to the realization that more will be needed. Facets of Community Development Block Grants, Community Development Financial Institutions, and Detroit’s polarizing Detroit’s Community Benefits Ordinance were all discussed. This introductory forum served as a way for Yusef Shakur to speak to the racism that has systemically incepted bias towards neighborhood residents. The value of property over people was explored in depth. Philosophy of coping with racism and planning beyond oppression is shared as well.

Questions asked:
In what ways should philanthropists and foundations partner in community development to build neighborhoods? How can residents hold these organizations accountable for racial equity?

In what ways should government and HUD be included in community development that is residentially and racially equitable? How can residents hold government organizations accountable for racial equity?

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