Episode 26 Roberto mendoza on indigenous Organizing activist & organizer
Roberto Mendoza joins the Riverwise podcast to talk about his works of activism and organizing for a lifetime. Mendoza was a mentee and friend of Grace & Jimmy Boggs where they all met in Maine. Soon after the relationship of organizing for environmental justice and more were captured. Today Mendoza works in Oklahoma within the environmental and Indigenous community organizing. In this discussion, we talk about California, Maine, Oklahoma, and what all places meant to Roberto’s life and from the lens of the Indigenous culture.
Episode 25 Dr. Charles Bell on the Failure of School Safety author and professor
The school-to-prison pipeline is a common talking point throughout urban centers. Dr. Charles Bell led research and studies exploring the impact suspension and expulsion have on students. Dr. Bell is a Detroit Public School graduate that is now a professor at Illinois State University with a critical focus on Child Development. His new book “SUSPENDED: Punishment, Violence & The Failure of School Safety” is one of Source Booksellers’ most recent and insightful books. In this Riverwise interview, we talk about the studies from the book throughout Metro-Detroit and Michigan connecting students, parents, and teachers to this problem.
Episode 24 Danny glover not Voting in the Local Election? accomplished artist and life-long activist
Danny Glover sits down with the Riverwise podcast. Glover was in town to connect with the activist and revolutionary community in Detroit. The Detroit Visionary Community Fair in the heart of Detroit’s South East community welcomed Glover to speak to an enthused grass toots audience. For this podcast, Megan Douglas and Khary Frazier talk to Glover about today’s ideas, his friendship with Grace Lee Boggs, and reparations. It was an insightful discussion that also questioned the hosts and you as a listener.
Episode 23 Why are Detroiters not Voting in the Local Election? with guest denzel mccampbell
Denzel McCampbell joins host Khary Frazier on this episode of the Riverwise podcast to discuss ‘Why so many Detroiters are not Voting?’ This discussion explores ideas that led to McCapmbell’s interest in running for City Clerk. Voter education, voter responsibilities, and political expectations are all explored in this episode. Denzel shares what he sees is broken in the system and how it can be fixed. This was a very tough discussion which speaks to the lack of representation in political office from grassroots community leadership. Denzel speaks to what needs to be known, and the ways voters/ citizens are kept ignorant. On the cusp of the November 2, 2021 election this is a must listen to podcast.
Episode 22 The Revolutionary Potential of Paint: A Conversation with Street Artist Konstance Patton
As a Black, Indigenous woman raised in and around Detroit, artist Konstance Patton, who now resides in New York, knows only too well the ways in which our current systems are designed to keep certain bodies and ideologies out of certain spaces. However, with the lockdowns that occurred during the summer of 2020, Konstance and a contingent of artists in New York found new ways to reclaim space, reassert their belonging within gentrified cities, and bring their revolutionary understandings of healing and growth to the wider community. A piece from Konstance’s art project Goddezzes is featured in the cover of the Fall 2021 edition of Riverwise. Listen to our conversation now and meet an amazing woman, creator, and fellow traveler on the journey towards new and visionary pathways forward.
Episode 20 Yasmin Majid of the Corona (Queens NY) Black Panther Party
Yasmin Majid was inspired by her neighborhood. As a child, the legacy of Langston Hughes, witnessing her family support Malcolm X, and watching the start of the Black Panther Party reach New York inspired her. Yasmin’s work with the Party placed her in journalism assisting with the Panther Paper, information dissemination, and supporting artists. Working alongside the likes of Assata Shakur and Afeni Shakur, Yasmin is part of the strength of the legacy of Brilliant Sisters that led the Panther Party. Today her work is centered around freeing the many political prisoners that were nation-building and community organizing for the Black Panther Party. In this fruitful discussion, we speak on women in the Black Panther Party, Political Prisoners, and the role the Black Panther Party plays with the Langston Hughes Library. Yasmin Majid blesses Detroit is Different with information and grace.
Episode 19 Harold Taylor of the Los Angeles Black Panther Party
Harold Taylor is from Black Los Angeles. Taylor’s swagger and vibe ooze the essence of the LA street smarts well aware of Black consciousness. Taylor was a comrade and soldier in arms with the late LA Black Panther Party leader Bunchy Carter. Taylor’s work organizing churches for the breakfast program and recruiting attendants for the political education classes placed him in high regard throughout Los Angeles. In this interview, Taylor opens up about Bunchy Carter, community organizing, and Black Los Angeles of the 1960s. Harold Taylor shares perspective and vision in this interview of what was, is, and can be with Detroit is Different.
Episode 18 Arthur League of the Los Angeles Black Panther Party
Arthur League was born in Tennessee. Growing as a child in the American South through the 50’s and 60’s being Black instilled discipline and willingness in Arthur. From TN his journey landed him in Los Angeles where he was drawn to the Black Panther Party. Protecting the neighborhood against destructive elements of dope pushers and Police brutality was the work of the Black Panther Party Arthur took up. A month after joining the Party he faced the charges and conviction of firing and fighting officers. Upon his release from incarceration, Arthur has stayed true to revolutionary works. His Detroit connection and bond with Yusef Shakur was sparked more than 10 years ago at the United States Social Forum. Arthur League joins Detroit is Different to talk about Community and more in this candid interview.
Episode 17 Indigenous Rights Advocate and Musician Hadassah GreenSky
Indigenous Rights Advocate and Musician Hadassah GreenSky of We Are Culture Creators joins the Riverwise podcast to discuss culture and social justice in Michigan’s Indigenous community. Hadassah shares her background and some of the footprint of Michigan’s Indigenous tribes. GreenSky talks about the activism of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and how it impacts Michigan. Finally, she speaks about the upcoming Vibes with the Tribes Festival coming up on August 28th at 4132 Bagley St. Detroit, MI. Call (313)854-3801 for more information about the festival featuring a Pow-Wow, Drum Circle, Live Musicians, Art Installations, and Food at the first annual Vibes with the Tribes.
Episode 16 Detroiters Bill of Rights
Tawana Petty joins the Riverwise Podcast to talk about the importance of the Detroiters Bill of Rights. She shares the makings of the document and how the collaborative effort connected many movements of social justice in Detroit. Tawana also touches on the rights for water, public safety, immigration, and housing affordability. This is a needed discussion before the Detroit election. Tawana also discusses voting Yes on Proposal P and how the executive administration and other local officials are against the voice of the people.
Episode 15 Yemeni Liberation Movement
The Yemeni Liberation Movement (YLM) is a grassroots organization educating and mobilizing our communities to end the war in Yemen and restore liberation and sovereignty to all of Yemen.
Iman Saleh and Muna Saleh are community organizers from Dearborn and Detroit, Michigan. Recently they traveled to Washington, D.C. to demand an end to U.S. participation in the war on Yemen. YLM has begin a hunger strike and call on President Biden to meet the following demands:
- Publicly speak out against the blockade
- End U.S. support for the Saudi-led blockade
March 26, 2021 marked the sixth year of the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led genocide against Yemen. Over 233,000 people have been killed mostly from indirect causes such as famine and life-threatening diseases, 24 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 16 million are at risk of famine. The Yemeni people are in constant emotional, physical, and psychological chaos with many waiting to die, and others watching their children die.
When organizers pleaded with the Obama administration to not hand his war to Trump, we were ignored. When organizers fought for the War Powers Resolution with Trump, it was vetoed and billions of dollars in new weapons were sold to the Saudi-led coalition. Despite Biden making a promise to end the war during the election, his statements have been ambiguous and he has continued to support the Saudi coalition once his term began.
The Biden administration is currently playing “war crimes gymnastics”, supporting (yet denying) a new 3-month-long fuel blockade that has resulted in mass starvation and death. Hospitals are forced to shut down as they are unable to keep their generators running. According to a 2021 WHO report, nearly 51% of hospitals that were operating before the war are currently either closed or operate at reduced capacity. Yemenis can’t afford to transport themselves to the hospital, with one Yemeni mother expressing in a March 2021 CNN investigation that she had to cut out food and water in order to afford sending her child to receive critical care. The same investigation from CNN international correspondent, Nima Elgabir, confirmed that the United States is supporting the blockade. Under UN resolution 2417, this support is classified as mass starvation.
The YLM is taking a stand to say enough is enough. We no longer ask when the people of Yemen will see peace – we demand it.
As nonviolent protests go, hunger strikes wreak the most havoc to the body and mind. Yet, we are willing to undergo these risks in solidarity with the people of Yemen, 22 million of whom are actively being starved. We have shouted, marched, asked for peace, and written letters. Now, as citizens of the United States and members of the YLM, we will put our bodies and future health on the line while urging President Biden to end all support for the blockade on Yemen.
What was once a paradise on Earth to millions, has now been turned into a never-ending hell. We will continue our strike until President Biden acknowledges and ends the United States’ support for the blockade, so that we may begin the work of restoring safety, security, and sovereignty to the heaven that is Yemen.
Episode 14 “Election education, government education is really important”!
The words of Krystal Crittendon during her interview with Khary Fraser in this podcast a Detroit is Different series. If a properly functioning democracy depends on an informed electorate, then need to grow a rich conversation of about the state of the city and what we need from city leadership. Riverwise is dedicated to using this platform and a special magazine issue to educate the citizens of Detroit about the upcoming local election and Mayoral race. We are grateful for her care for the citizens of Detroit and her willingness to run for Mayor of Detroit in 2013. You will see in this informative podcast the Krystal Crittendon wants us (Detroit) to know our rights!
Listen if you are interested to know: How the Detroit City government works? Why we need to elect the right people in Detroit? What is the private/public partnership in Detroit?
Krystal Crittendon born and raised in the city of Detroit. She was educated in the Detroit Public Schools and graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1981. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Wayne State University and her juris doctor from the Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University) in 1994. Crittendon is 2013 mayoral candidate, 2013. She received just over 6% of the vote, finishing in third. She is a lawyer for the city of Detroit.
Riverwise Podcast, episode 13 “Detroit Community High School Makerspace” with Bart Eddy
A class-action lawsuit initiated in July 2020 is demanding the City of Detroit establish a meaningful water affordability program for low-income residents and a permanent end to water shutoffs. Arguing for the plaintiffs, the ACLU and NAACP were in federal court on February 3 to oppose a motion by the City of Detroit to dismiss the lawsuit. We thought this would be a good time to share, in two consecutive podcast episodes, a conversation that was started last year with participants and facilitators of the Detroit Community High School Makerspace in Brightmoor, who are approaching the water crisis by attempting to democratize access to clean water.
“The true purpose of education is to awaken the gifts of our young people.”
The words of Bart Eddy have guided him and the students at Detroit Community High School (DCHS) for over twenty years. Much of that stated ideal is manifested through the DCHS makerspace, which has become a vital part of the DCHS curriculum and the Brightmoor community.
Bart Eddy, co-founder of DCHS and its makerspace, joined Riverwise in February 2020 and again during the summer to discuss the importance of shaping an educational environment around community needs and the various interests of a diverse student body.
Along with the bike repair shop, they’ve been working on a water filtration and catchment system which will allow water-insecure households in Brightmoor and, eventually, across the city, to collect drinkable water from accessible neighborhood water stations.
In this 13th installment of the Riverwise Podcast, we present Eddy’s insight into the potential of the Makerspace to nurture community while expanding our definition of ‘place-based education’.
In the next Riverwise podcast episode, we talk to several current and former DCHS students who share more on the water filtration system and what it means to conceive and execute a project that has an immediate impact on families struggling in their community.
Riverwise Podcast, episode 12, “Moratorium on Home Evictions” with Reverend Roslyn Bouier, Rochella Stewart and Nzinga Masani-Manuel of Detroit People’s Platform
Despite President Biden’s extension of the federal moratorium on home evictions through March, renters and homeowners throughout Detroit and the nation are still being evicted at alarming rates. The current safeguards against home eviction lack enforcement mechanisms and furthermore, the moratorium doesn’t address the fact that renters and homeowners are falling behind due to surging pandemic-related unemployment. Cash assistance and rental and mortgage forgiveness need to be a part of any compassionate, equitable response to the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic.
As renters are falling further behind on rent and housing activists across the nation are strongly advocating for the Center for Disease Control’s moratorium to be extended and strengthened. Ending the moratorium, whether now or in March, will leave thousands of Detroiters homeless during the worst health crisis the nation has seen in generations. Most experts agree that the quickest path to community health is secure housing and access to clean water.
Wednesday, January 18 saw a nationally coordinated action against home evictions. Riverwise spoke with Nzinga Masani-Manuel and Rochella Stewart of Detroit People’s Platform (DPP), and Reverend Roslyn Bouier of DPP and Brighmoor Connections about the current movement to keep Detroit residents in their homes. Their efforts include lobbying City Council members to sign on to a letter supporting an indefinite extension of federal and state moratoriums, as well as steering government cash assistance directly to Detroit households in need of assistance with rent, utility payments, and clean water.
Episode 11, “Detroiters Bill of Rights with Renard Monczunski”
As we end the year 2020, Detroit People’s Platform Transit Justice team member Renard Monczunski gives Riverwise Podcast listeners reason to be optimistic about 2021. Renard is part of a broad, community-based coalition brought together by Detroit councilmembers Mary Sheffield and Raquel Castaneda-Lopez in order to radically reform the city government. Together the group has introduced a ‘Detroiters’ Bill of Rights’, which reflects decades of work by grassroots organizations to provide affordable water, guarantee a healthy environment, and provide increased mobility and disability justice. The ‘Detroiters’ Bill of Rights’ increases community control of policing, putting into practice efforts to dismantle racist systems. We will have the opportunity to approve the Detroiters’ Bill of Rights— among other City Charter revisions submitted by community members— in the November 2021 election. Renard explains why We should celebrate this opportunity to enshrine what could be the most progressive city charter in the nation.
Episode 10, “The Amazon Deal: a Critical Look”
Sugar Law Center Attorney Tonya Myers-Phillips,
State Fairgrounds Development Coalition members, Frank and Karen Hammer
In this tenth episode of the Riverwise Podcast, we hear from three Detroiters fighting for public involvement as the Mayor looks to fast-track the sale of Detroit’s State Fairgrounds property to one of the world’s richest corporations.
What does the Amazon deal offer besides unskilled jobs— jobs that aren’t even promised to Detroiters? What broader economic and social opportunities do we miss out on when we continue to talk only in terms of the ‘job system’? What about the environmental impact for thousands of eastsiders? Should the Detroit City Council have insisted on more from Amazon in terms of community benefits?
Frank and Karen Hammer from the State Fairgrounds Development Coalition, which conceived the community-driven METAExpo plan, and Sugar Law Center attorney Tonya Myers-Phillips divulge how Mayor Duggan is avoiding the truth about Amazon job creation and bypassing Detroit’s recently established Community Benefits Ordinance (CBO).
Episode 9 Author and Poet Roohee Marshall
In this ninth episode of the Riverwise Podcast, we’re joined by poet and author Roohee Marshall. Marshall has collected the insights and wisdom of 40 African-American elders through a series of comprehensive interviews. The volume, entitled A Generation Found: Precious Pearls of Wisdom, is a labor of love, inspired partly by a roadside conversation with 93-year old Ionia Woods, and partly by Roohee’s own upbringing in Natchez, Mississippi. Marshall shares with us her own childhood memories and the process that led to curating this profound collection.
In the midst of a year of collective emotional and physical health well beyond our expectations, Generation Found is needed therapy, healing through powerful, yet plainspoken, ancestral narratives.
For more information, or to purchase online, visit: https://www.rooheemarshall.com
Episode 8 Nakia Wallace of Detroit Will Breathe
Detroit Will Breathe continues to play a critical role in nationwide protests against police brutality– actions that have endured for over 100 days. In our ninth episode of the Riverwise Podcast, leading Detroit Will Breathe activist Nakia Wallace takes us inside the struggle to maintain a resistance that is being waged on both a local and national front.
During the August 22 Detroit Will Breathe protest in downtown Detroit, we witnessed perhaps the Detroit Police Department’s most brutal response to peaceful protests yet, during which medics, journalists and legal observers, in addition to protestors, continued being physically assaulted and injured, tear-gassed, and having masks pulled off their faces before being with pepper-sprayed and maced. Detroit Will Breathe has since filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Detroit for “unnecessary, unreasonable and excessive violence” during that protest and the dozens of others that have been held since the May 25 murder of George Floyd.
As federal agents sent by the Trump regime enter the streets of Detroit, Wallace incorporates a historical perspective on resistance to government oppression against Black voices and asks why Detroit political leaders accept federal aid to increase law enforcement but refuse to demand the critical aid we need in the form of basic health services?
Riverwise Podcast, episode 7, Detroit Will Breathe and Protesting with Tristan Taylor
The coalition Detroit Will Breathe has been leading protests through the boulevards and side streets of Detroit for almost two months. The direct action campaign for the end of racist police violence and systemic violation of black lives is keeping the broader movement for social justice energized and on the offensive. Organizers associated with Detroit Will Breathe have drafted a comprehensive list of demands that includes the release of detained protesters, the defunding and demilitarization of the police department, the end of Project Greenlight and facial recognition technology, and several others.
In this latest episode of the Riverwise Podcast, Tristan Taylor, one of Detroit Will Breathe’s organizers speaks on the formation of the coalition, and how developing key relationships will further empower this fight to fund basic services and community resources, alleviating our dependence on punitive justice and over-policing.
Interview recorded on July 8, 2020
Riverwise Podcast, episode 6, Chris White director of Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality
Ongoing police brutality leading to the death of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmed Arbery, and countless others has sparked street-level action nationwide. In our sixth episode of the Riverwise podcast, Amas and Eric speak with Chris White, director of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality (DCAPB) as he addresses the challenges of reimagining policing in Detroit.
Working in Detroit neighborhoods since the mid-1990s, the DCAPB has focused on conflict mediation and restorative justice to address police misconduct and police brutality. The DCAPB has been instrumental in advocating for victims’ rights in and out of court, and provides material and spiritual support for victims of gun violence and police brutality throughout the city.
Recent national organizing around the Movement for Black Lives reflects new thinking about policing and racial justice. Detroit protests have included demands for the City to go beyond mere reform and straight to transforming policing entirely. White has been clear about his personal support for ongoing mass street protests for racial justice in Detroit and across the nation. But he remains cautious regarding the possible disconnects between more radical positions taken by many protesters, and residents in the city who are the most impacted by police policy. Will that ideological divide provide the Mayor and Police Chief ample public support for maintaining the status quo?
Join us in what we hope will be part one of a vital dialogue with Chris White, recorded on June 23, 2020.
For more on the DPACB, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/dcapb/
Here in Detroit and across the country, people are self-organizing around the American legacy of police brutality. The call to defund police is being made and people around the world are responding.
Rallies and community meetings are occurring outside of the Detroit Police Headquarters prior to sustained protest actions. The democratic process emerging in these spaces has led to a list of vital demands from the City and Police Chief. Behind the scenes, organizers are holding the Mayor and City Council accountable for allocating city funds according to basic needs— according to a ‘people’s budget.’
The questions that have surfaced in the streets of America are bringing together young emerging activists and longtime radical thinkers to collectively reassess the oppressive role of police in Black communities.
In this latest episode of the Riverwise podcast, recorded on day thirteen of worldwide protests, PG Watkins of Green Light Black Futures helps us understand that abolition, for entrenched oppressive systems, is both “a long-term stretegy and a daily practice.” We are seeing a radical shift in that greater numbers of people seem prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.
Thanks for joining us.
To follow up on PG Watkins’s commentary, visit: https://greenlightblackfutures.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/DetPeopleBudget/
In this fourth installment of the Riverwise podcast, Yolanda Jackson of the Coalition for Property Tax Justice reminds us that, leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, Detroiters were already in crisis. Due to inflated property assessments made by the City of Detroit during the years 2013-2019, property owners were overtaxed by an estimated $600 million. As a result, thousands of homes were unconstitutionally and illegally foreclosed due to nonpayment of property taxes.
Prior to the onset of COVID-19, academic studies had uncovered the depths of a foreclosure epidemic that also preys on the most vulnerable. Jackson joins hosts Amas Muhammed and Riverwise Editor Eric Campbell to discuss how community organizing is working to repair the overwhelming damage.
In this third installment of the Riverwise Podcast, Eric and Amas talk with Reverend Joan Ross from the North End Woodward Community Coalition, WNUC community radio, and the radio show, ‘My Block, My Hood, My City’.
Ross shares with us the vital work being done in the North End— providing aid services during the COVID-19 health crisis; battling the disproportionate effects of the pandemic in a majority-black neighborhood; and showing how community media is a resource for mutual well-being.
Self-determination is at the root of all the initiatives Ross has pursued, and through her accomplishments, we begin to see how divergent initiatives form a holistic approach to uplifting the community.
(Recorded on April 28, 2020 on Ringr)
In Riverwise podcast number two, Amas and Eric converse with longtime activist Maureen Taylor around her family-support role at Detroit Community High and the potential of their makerspace to build a community around the ongoing water crisis affecting Brightmoor residents. Taylor’s up-close perspective helps us understand the transformation taking place in DCH students as they realize their skills in a setting that promotes real problem-solving. Recorded on February 5, 2020 at the Detroit Is Different podcast studio.
Thank you to Maureen and all the Detroiters fighting for universal access to clean water.
While city leaders are trying to sell us on surveillance technology that is costly and ineffective, are we missing the greater opportunity to openly discuss the economic factors that lead to so-called criminal activity in the first place? Join hosts Amas Muhammed, Deangelus Garcia and Riverwise Managing Editor Eric T. Campbell as they talk to guests, Whitley Granberry (Detroit Justice Center), PG Watkins (BYP100 Detroit) and Rodd Monts (ACLU Michigan) about where more cameras put us as already over-policed, yet emerging communities.