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Field reports from Detroit 2012: No. 1

By Re-Imagining Revolution Activists

Tai Amri and I arrived in Detroit last evening and drove straight to the opening of Detroit 2012 after nearly 12 hours of travel. It was 93 degrees and humid as we packed into the Ecumenical Theological Seminary to hear the opening remarks.

Near the front, dressed in a T-shirt that said {R}Evolution, was Grace Lee Boggs, in her wheelchair, sweating alongside the rest of us.

Grace’s speech was short and sweet, focusing on the then upcoming Fourth of July holiday, asking us to face honestly the fantastic responsibility that the Declaration of Independence imposes upon us: that when any government become destructive of our happiness, the people — who have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — have not only the right, but the duty to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security.

Following her remarks, a series of community leaders spoke about the responsibilities they have assumed, my favorite being the work being done to create “peace zones for life” by making this Neighborhood Peace Pledge:

– I pledge allegiance to do my part in restoring the neighbor back to the ‘hood

– I pledge to develop myself, my family and my household to the greatest extent possible by being a shining example of a husband, father, son, brother, wife, mother, daughter and sister in my neighborhood

– I will learn all that I can in order to give my best to improve the quality of my neighborhood

– I will work diligently to honor my family in my neighborhood with good deeds and treat my neighbors as my extended family

– I will keep myself mentally sound, spiritually grounded and physically fit; building a strong body, mind and spirit that will exemplify positivity and productivity in my neighborhood

– I will unselfishly share my time, knowledge, resources and wisdom with my neighbors (young and old) in order to build and maintain a healthy neighborhood

– I will do my part to keep my neighborhood clean and safe

– I will discipline myself to direct my energies thoughtfully and constructively to maintain peace, harmony and love in my neighborhood

– I will train myself to never hurt or allow anyone to harm someone in my neighborhood for an injustice or through negative behaviors of stealing, gun violence, verbal abuse, police brutality, selling drugs, rape or any other social ill that works to destroy my neighborhood

This is my pledge to do my part by being a caring neighbor in my neighborhood by working to keep my neighborhood a peace zone instead of a war zone.

Contact Grace Lee Boggs at

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