Gentrification to be the topic at Young Educators Alliance Feed1 Teach1 2013
By Patrick Geans-Ali
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — A special Feed1 Teach1 community forum on gentrification will be presented by the Young Educators Alliance (YEA) on Feb. 16 beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Cass Corridor Commons, located at 4605 Cass Ave. Feed1 Teach1 is open to the public and provides an opportunity for community members to share in a healthy dialogue and healthy food.
“We want to look at what can happen politically to support the citizens who have been keeping the city afloat with their taxes and their income while owning their land and raising their families,” said YEA coordinator Siwatu Salama Ra. “We want to do this event because we want people to know that we have the power if we simply come together. If we continue to come together, we can have success.”
The program will be modeled after the 2011 Detroit Peoples Movement Assembly with three YEA-facilitated stations set up for discussion about an aspect of gentrification. The Land Station will be facilitated by YEA’s Anthony Grimmett and co-facilitated by Charity Hicks of the Detroit Food Justice Taskforce. The Education Station will be facilitated by YEA’s Elayne Elliott and co-facilitated by Elena Herrada of the Detroit Public School Board. The third station will focus on youth and will be facilitated by YEA.
“We have young, creative people who are already doing work who are so dedicated and loyal,” Ra said. “They are tremendously passionate about their city and we want to help transform it into something more beautiful. That is a goal of YEA. We want to create a space where calls for action can continue.”
After focusing on the topic of public assistance cut backs a year ago, the current trend of gentrification was chosen as this year’s topic by YEA, a youth public advocacy program of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council. This year’s Feed1 Teach1 will also serve as the monthly gathering of the Detroit Future Youth (DFY), a collaborative of Detroit youth-based social justice organizations with a special focus on media creation and broadband technology adoption. The meal is provided by Peoples Kitchen Detroit.
As a member of DFY, YEA felt it is critical to bring attention to the wealth of youth artists, entrepreneurs and activists who are rooted in the history’s past, present and future. After having the experience of being denied access at the Cass Community Garden and Renaissance Center, then being displaced at a local bowling alley shortly after their formation, YEA has sought to give greater voice to Detroit youth.
“We want to do this event because we see that the people who are in the neighborhoods are left out of conversation when it comes to reshaping the city of Detroit,” Ra said. “If we don’t live in midtown or down town you have no say into what changes are going to happen and how it’s going to affect us.
“We are young people who are born and raised in Detroit and we have stories of our houses being foreclosed and losing our homes. These are the stories of young people within YEA, so we’ve decided to take this topic on because we see it happening within our neighborhoods and we see it happening in the downtown area. We have to question are we allowed in these places and do we have access?”