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riverwise magazine, spring/summer 2018 | Issue Six

Challenging Systems Designed To Disable

By Riverwise Editorial Board
Riverwise Editorial Board It’s no accident that there are ‘two Detroits’. It requires violence to maintain this inequity. Neighborhoods are neglected by city government. Police are rarely seen as protectors. The daily experience of many of our young people, from schools to the streets, is to be controlled and contained. The laws of the state …
The New Jail: Profit and Social Control

By Matthew Irwin
Matthew Irwin Dan Gilbert’s deal to build a new detention center for Wayne County in exchange for prime real estate is not merely his latest attempt to conceal his downtown annexation project under the pall of benevolent progress. Rather, the project, which falls under Gilbert’s Rock Ventures banner, signals a material and rhetorical expansion of …
What Can We Build Instead of Jails?

By Amanda Alexander
Amanda Alexander In July, bulldozers began tearing down the partially-built “fail jail” that has stood in downtown Detroit for years. There’s video footage of the demolition online, and it’s captivating. It shows just how easy it is to tear down a jail. For anyone with a family member behind bars who has projected their love …
Free Siwatu Update

By Riverwise Editorial Staff
Riverwise Editorial Staff Detroit community activist Siwatu-Salama Ra was unjustly convicted of felonious assault and felony firearm possession,  and imprisoned earlier this year. This was the result of Siwatu’s attempting to defend her family from an attack by a neighbor who rammed her car into Siwatu’s car,  where her two year-old daughter was in the …
Farm Collectives Show The Future In Progress

By Eric Thomas Campbell
Eric Thomas Campbell |  Photo Alexandre DaVeiga In recent years, we’ve seen many cases where community gardens have transformed Detroit neighborhoods  into full-scale models for self-determination. These achievements have taken us beyond growing food for sustenance, as vital as that aspect is. We are now looking for ways to distribute the harvest or, in the …
Questions on Democracy, Organizing and Power

By Tom Stephens
Tom Stephens | Photo Leah Duncan I have a lot of questions about the demise of democracy in the Trump administration and the crises we are facing in many arenas of our national life: climate and environmental catastrophe; the “Flint water scandal” and other instances of social austerity policies gone awry; exploding poverty and inequality; leadership deficits …
Noble School Students: Seeing Through Their Own Lenses

By Audra Carsons
Audra Carson | Photo Takara Williams What happens when middle schoolers are given cameras with the goal of going much deeper than taking pictures? Community Lens, which is an initiative that fosters leadership, community engagement, and place-based education endeavored to find out. Kim Sherobbi, a community practitioner and former DPS teacher, is the director of the …
Sacred Sites Detroit: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

By Riverwise Editorial Staff
Riverwise Editorial Staff | Photo Alexandre DaVeiga  With its massive, circular architecture and other representative emblems of African design and philosophy throughout, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History serves as a sacred place for remembering the contributions of ancestral heroes and community builders.  The tiles that pave the floor of the grand atrium …
Emergent Bravery: Who Wants to Talk about Disability?

By pau
pau | Photo Kate Levy  State Terror Disables the People Baba Baxter Jones was roughly removed from the site of a civil disobedience in front of the Homrich Wrecking facility on Detroit’s west side. He was jammed into a police van and taken for what is known commonly as a “rough ride,” in his wheelchair on …
Uprooting Ableism Among Ourselves

By gwi seok
Dear Activist Comrades: Over the past year or so, I have been Baba Baxter Jones’s live-in caregiver, and have also had the privilege of being present as his friend, engaging in many in-depth conversations about activism, ableism, and much more. I’m writing this letter to share some of what I have learned, and hope it …
Colonial Rule, Global Debt, Bankruptcy: A Call for Coordinating Our Resistance

By William F. Santiago-Valles
William F. Santiago-Valles “Debt is a transaction that [enslaves] through economic policies that justify military repression and the suspension of human rights.” Lazzarato and J. D. Jordan, Governing by Debt, 2015   This article examines the causes and consequences of current bankruptcies in Detroit, Puerto Rico and other colonies; identifies who profits from the debt and the …
Local Tactics For Immigrant Rights

By Samantha Magdaleno and José Franco
Samantha Magdaleno and José Franco | Photos Leah Duncan    The mainstream narrative being shoved down our throats is that immigration is a federal issue and the state has no power to help remedy the situation. That is not true.  The states can pass policies to directly undermine the federal policies that are separating our families. …
New Wayne County Jail: A Tool for Black Oppression

By Yusef Shakur
Yusef Shakur The United States of Amerikkka has held the distinction of having the largest prison population in the world— over two million folks— for too many years to count. What’s missing from these numbers are the millions of  prisoners held in county jails or the young people held in juvenile prisons. Then if you …
A Focus on Peace and Restorative Justice: Peace Zones 4 Life Hosts Summer Program

By Kenneth Reed and Diane Proctor Reeder
Kenneth Reed and Diane Proctor Reeder Ed.: Detroit has a long and troubling legacy of institutional violence directed at the community. In 1992 the killing of Malice Green by police officers during a routine traffic stop sparked renewed activism. As a series of deadly confrontations occured in the city, concerned citizens organized the Detroit Coalition …
Tending To What Really Matters, A Book Review

By Rich Feldman
Sustaining Spirit: Self-Care for Social Justice, by Naomi Ortiz; Reclamation Press, 2018. 222 pages. What Matters: Reflections On Disability, Community and Love, by Janice Fialka; Inclusion Press, 2016. 238 pages. Intelligent Lives, Film by Dan Habib, 2018   Rich Feldman Sometimes books connect deeply with our own lives and experiences. Naomi Ortiz’s recent book, Sustaining Spirit: Self Care for …