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riverwise magazine. w18. e8.

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Riverwise Magazine is a community project, produced by a collective of thinkers, dreamers, writers, artists, & culture workers. Riverwise Magazine belongs to all of us and thrives on our vision and energy. Together as a collective, we operate in part with the financial generosity of community members like yourself to print. Help keep the current flowing. Help sustain independent, community storytelling.

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The summary of George Gaines’s recent report on waterborne disease is direct in its message: Rampant water shutoffs have advanced the spread of water-related diseases in Detroit. Gaines, a former public health official, has compiled data showing a drastic increase in reported waterborne illnesses during 2016-2017. 

We The Youth Detroit, an outgrowth of We The People Detroit (WTP), and DAYUM (Detroit Area Youth United Michigan) met early at the Cass Commons before heading out to collect water samples on a chilly November morning. This youth-led effort to mobilize around school water issues began in October on Count Day. Instead of attending school, student protesters gathered for classes on water testing and youth activism.

On September 6, Neilbock, in partnership with the Eastern Market Coporation, unveiled one version of his windmill-driven ‘micro-energy grid’. Although we’ve peeked at Neilbock’s inventions through the gates of his whimsical CANArts Handworks compound for years, the Eastern Market project marks the first time that the public will have the opportunity to engage with them directly.

But what are the future implications for the communities of color with whom Neilbock seeks to collaborate? Bryce Detroit, who performed and spoke at the Sept 6 ribbon-cutting ceremony, stressed the opportunity that ‘upcycling’ offers for emerging Detroit communities increasing efforts toward self-determination. Though Neibock’s windmills have been acknowledged by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) through its Creative Cities Network and by the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute, Neilbock’s project offers the most potential to areas like the North End, where residents are incorporating visionary and community-driven development.

Siwatu-Salama Ra, a mother and community leader in Detroit, was just trying to defend her family when she was violently confronted by a person who rammed her vehicle into Siwatu’s car while Siwatu’s two-year old was playing inside, and then tried to use the vehicle to run Siwatu’s mother over. Fearing for their lives, Siwatu, who is a licensed concealed gun owner, held her weapon in plain sight, hoping it would stop the person from running them over. The gun was unloaded and no one was hurt. Still, she was sentenced to two years in prison and is now behind bars and pregnant.

 

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