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riverwise magazine, spring/summer 2018 | Issue Six

Self-Reliance: An Enduring Principle

By Editorial Board
One of the primary missions of Riverwise magazine is to survey the sites where visionary organizing work is occuring in the city of Detroit. There are many examples of people who are transforming themselves and the stagnant institutions around them through fresh political and economic programs born in marginalized neighborhoods. This is where the social …
A Letter from Siwatu Salama Ra

By Siwatu Salama Ra
Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be sitting in a prison cell facing the unimaginable. (Giving birth to my son.) The strength to get through such a thing I often don’t believe I possess it. Then I read all the letters people have written me, I hear about all the endless …
Allied Media Conference: 20 Years of Organizing Independent Media Makers

By Eric Thomas Campbell
Riverwise Interview with AMC Organizers Jenny Lee and Morgan Willis; Interview conducted by Eric Thomas Campbell   Allied Media Conference (AMC) has been a point of convergence for visionary media makers for 20 years. Thousands of participants from around the country will convene June 14-17 on the campus of Wayne State University to explore how social …
Dream Café: Cultivating Cooperation

By Serena Maria Daniels
By Serena Maria Daniels; photos by Ara Howrani   When asked to describe everything that goes on at the Allied Media Conference (AMC), organizers liken it to an ecosystem. It’s a multi-layered laboratory of organizers, media-makers and youth gathering around the power of storytelling, strategizing and mobilizing for a more just and resilient world.     …
Reimagining Our Relationship with the Material World

By Blair Evans
by Blair Evans photos courtesy of Incite-Focus What Would You Like to Make? Incite Focus is tucked inside a nondescript complex in the Warren-Conner area of Detroit’s east side. However, it is operating within a much grander vision than its modest accommodations suggest. Its combination of people, technology and vision for the future set into …
Riverwise Writing Workshop: Poetry as Visionary Resistance

By Tawana "Honeycomb" Petty
by Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty photos by Jamii Tata and Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty   Poetry saved my life. I wrote my first poem when I was seven. It was a poem about sorrow. I had experienced so much of it by the time I was in second grade that I needed an outlet. My second-grade teacher …
Detroit Independent Freedom Schools: Continuing to Offer Educational Alternatives to Youth, Adults, Broader Community

By DIFS
photos by Dareese Cobb This summer the Detroit Independent Freedom Schools Movement (DIFS) will again partner with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to develop a vibrant vegetable garden space on the Museum grounds. The summer program follows a second full year of weekly Freedom School classes, offering art, African American history, …
On Seeing Sun Ra at Alvin’s

By John G. Rodwan, Jr.
by John G. Rodwan, Jr.   Space might be the place but there was no space in the place – not on the stage, filled with members of the Arkestra as well as shirtless fire dancers, and not at the tables, surrounded by rapt responders.   I got in with a bit of luck: I’d …
Former Panthers Visit Detroit Artists and Activists

By Riverwise Collective
Interview conducted by Riverwise Collective; photos by Alex DaVeiga   Former Black Panther Party (BPP) leader Kathleen Cleaver and internationally recognized BPP artist Emory Douglas visited Detroit recently for a series of lectures and art workshops in support of the community center, Feedom Freedom, which has established an art program named after Douglas.  One of the …
Detroit Kite Festival 2018: Oh, What a Feeling!

By Margo Dalal and Lex Draper
I remember my first kite-flying experience as a child. It was terrible. My mother took my sisters and me to the National Kite Festival in Washington, D.C. We were late, and a Spiderman kite was the only one left. I was seven and preferred anything but Spiderman. My kite barely flew, and somehow I missed …
A Torturous Tap: Water Shutoffs and Home Foreclosures

By Michele Oberholtzer
by Michele Oberholtzer The dual issues of water shut-offs and tax foreclosure are well known causes of individual and collective harm. In both cases, bills are inflated beyond reasonable or affordable levels. In both cases, those high bills can lead to people living without the basic human rights of water and shelter. In both cases, …
Amplifying Our Voices in Response to the Housing Crisis  

By Donna Givens
by Donna Givens In November 2016, the City of Detroit published a housing study which concluded that even the most luxurious new apartments rented to the wealthiest tenants  in the most exclusive areas of the city are not economically viable without public investment of cheap land or tax breaks. This study is used to justify …
Restoration and Blessings

By Imani Ma'at
by Imani Ma’at I took a trip to Detroit and my whole life changed. After a much needed break from a long and stressful quarter at school I decided that I needed a change in scenery and that I wanted to spend my spring break in Detroit. I decided this for many reasons. One, I …