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A disturbing trend

I am concerned. In the last two weeks, I have personally heard of three separate incidents in which the city of Detroit has completely mowed over or even bulldozed community-maintained green spaces or gardens. I met a woman who was nearly in tears describing how the fruit trees she planted over four years ago, which were just entering their first year of active fruit production, were mowed down in the blink ...

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New Orleans brass band defied tradition to keep it alive

Traditions in New Orleans brass bands run deep. Fusing European marching standards with African polyrhythms in the 19th century, this musical practice gave birth to jazz, which continues to proliferate into new styles worldwide, including hip hop, funk and afrobeat. But with that august legacy comes a certain rigid orthodoxy. In 1990, Lumar LeBlanc was playing snare drum in the legendary Harold Dejan’s Youn ...

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Paying for our independence, support

In the “afterglow” of the Fourth of You Lie, I am flipping through an African American magazine, enjoying the content, but looking for the “bite.” For how can you not bite, when you look at the space in which African American people occupy? Our middle class is growing, but fragile. The level of poverty among African Americans has hardly changed in the past decade. Unemployment rates for African Americans re ...

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Open letter to DWSD mediators:

We write to you because the future of the (Detroit Water and Sewerage Department) is currently being determined behind closed doors. Mediation by United States District Court judges and local political leaders will determine the utility’s future in the aftermath of the city’s bankruptcy arrangements. We are writing to urge you to uphold the human right to water and the public trust doctrine in your delibera ...

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Stallworth: Detroit water shutoffs should end until customer service is better

Families are being told that after they have paid their water bill they will have to wait two to three days before water service is restored, and that they must be available over a 24-hour period to meet the water department crew. A working parent can’t afford to take a day off work to meet the water crew. The water department is playing hardball and refusing to work with people who are trying to pay their ...

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Gardening: From the Paleolithic to the Neolithic

Over the 4th of July weekend, I enjoyed a visit from Michelle Lin, landscape architect and former Detroiter who now lives in NYC and builds rooftop gardens. As we talked, I thought about how new societies evolve from gardening, and about how ingenious human beings have been over the millennia in finding new spaces for gardening when space on the ground becomes unavailable. Two-and-a-half million years ago, ...

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Thrift on the Ave: Redefining women’s fashion resale on Cass Avenue

Amidst a steadily rejuvenating Cass Avenue in Midtown Detroit, Thrift on the Avenue has become a local hot spot for shoppers on the lookout for a fashion fix with a quaint boutique experience. More comfortable than a typical thrift store, this independently-owned shop specializes in quality resale dresses at an affordable price. “We wanted a really good price point, but we wanted to provide a different expe ...

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Artists and activists gather in Southwest Detroit for water shutoff awareness

Detroit’s water shutoffs brought people together July 6 to Southwest Detroit’s Clark Park as the Raiz Up hip hop collective invited activists, poets, musicians and community members to share their knowledge and experiences of this urgent issue, in addition to the art it has inspired. Residents and visitors shared the latest news and information and possible preventative actions in response to the shutoffs, ...

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Water war heats up

For two hours July 10, approximately 50 protestors blocked Homrich employees from shutting off water to Detroit residences. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department recently contracted the Carelton, Mich.-based Homrich to execute the shutoffs at a price of $5.6 million. The protestors, individuals and those representing various activist groups — among them the Detroit People’s Water Board, the Detroit Wate ...

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Water main gushes while EM continues water shutoffs 

On July 10, nine protesters, most of them elderly, were arrested protesting the continuation of what they called "draconian" water shutoffs by the emergency manager-controlled Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Residents whose bills are more than 60 days or $150 behind, are subject to immediate shutoff. As reported in the Michigan Citizen, however, some residents have been shut off prior to their due da ...

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