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Participate in the People’s Movement Assembly!

This Thursday, Angela and I are excited to assist with the People’s Movement Assembly. Angela will be co-facilitating the Food Sovereignty group and I’ll be co-facilitating the Neighborhood Stability group. One of the beautiful aspects of a PMA is that it is flexible and open to facilitate respectful communication with others. While I experience and describe the PMA as a deeply soulful process, others see as a rational tool for building relationships. At the end of the day, the PMA holds space for what you put into it. And these are MY observations and points of entry and expression. I recommend taking in this Just Education? post for another vision.

First, wow! Hosting a People’s Movement Assembly is a massive undertaking and we’re in AWE of the amazing folk who’ve come together to make this a reality. While recognizing the PMA’s immensity, I also have to bear witness to it’s organic nature. I’m a big proponent of emergent systems and while there have been intense amounts of planning, elbow grease and mindful mediation to hold the PMA, I feel that in some ways, much like permaculture, the process is very intuitive.

Many people have pulled Angela and I aside to ask about our take on Detroit Works and the People’s Movement Assembly. I wasn’t familiar with the PMA process until last year’s US Social Forum and really, I didn’t begin to understand the process until we started sharing with the Detroit Food Justice Task Force through the Cook Eat Talk community gatherings. These successful and respectful gatherings, in my experience, replicate many PMA strategies.

For me, the PMA co-creates a community space where everyone present can be heard and participate in a realistic assessment of power, resources and needs while building community vision and achievable actions. It’s the type of model that Detroit Works would have put into practice if they actually wanted to hear everyone’s voices. The PMA has emerged as a people powered response to issues of infrastructure, land use and resource allocation that Detroit Works was unable to hear.

Of course, now the terrain is changing. In a recent meeting, one of our partners brought up an important point that I agree with. While I don’t want to downplay the oppression manifest in Detroit Works itself, as Thursday’s PMA comes to fruition, the Emergency Manager Law ups the ante a thousandfold.

This law protects and even encourages race and class influenced displacement of people for land and profit. At the same time it defends the privatization of the commons, our public schools, water and sewerage system, parks and other city services. I’m deeply frustrated that we have to face these corporate funded and orchestrated threats to community resilience in the face of the global issues of peak oil, climate change and economic crisis.

However, my frustration is tempered in the knowledge that Detroit isn’t a blank canvas, Detroit is a deep crossroads thick with souls in all states of being. Respectfully and as I am able, I perceive this as an indigenous energy. Something specific to this geographic location on the planet. I posit that it is this energy that encourages Detroiters lean towards innovation and creativity. It is also leads me to think that the lack of awareness of this energy, these souls and the people around us, which is fostered by Detroit Works and the marketing of the city, distorts this creative energy and actually puts it in the service of continued oppression.

Through participation, I’ve found that the PMA process and the models and strategies that inform it come forward as tools to raise our awareness and respectfully participate with others and these energies while lifting up everyone’s voice, creativity and vision. Detroit Evolution has always expressed the importance of creativity and vision in the requisite transition to sustainable and respectful lifestyles. Angela and I believe that the PMA process has emerged as a step towards realizing community rendered visions of localized infrastructures and grassroots economies.

In the full light of the ongoing threats and our inherent grassroots creative genius, the PMA will hold space for Detroiters to share their voice and vision with one another. We encourage you to join with us this Thursday, April 28 from 4-8 at Sacred Heart Church 1000 Eliot St, 48207.

Please take a moment to read the PMA Principals below.
As always, thanks for your continued interest and support.

In Health, Joy & Liberation!
Gregg for Angela, Aya and the DE crew.

PMA Principles
The People’s Movement Assembly (PMA) is a movement by the people, for the people, and of the people of Detroit

  • We stand on the principles of the Declaration of Human Rights, the Earth Charter, and the Environmental Justice Principles. From this frame we bring the voice of Detroiters in communities with no voice
  • We believe that Detroit has rich history and we want to build on existing strengths
  • We believe in improvement of the quality of life of Detroiters by providing all with a quality education, and eliminating poverty, joblessness, homelessness, and pollution
  • We believe in a grassroots approach and that self-determination should be the voice of the PMA and that the city’s foundations and corporations cannot dictate the role of Detroiters without involving them in the planning and real democratic decision-making related to their city.
  • Neighborhoods are communities that value their history, memory, and identity. These are assets that people need not only to survive but to thrive.
  • Rightsizing, in the guise of urban renewal, without the full (bottom/up) involvement and approval of the residents will impoverish our city
  • We reject the notion that refusal of services as an “incentive” and reject this form of eminent domain through economic, social, and environmental coercion
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