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Pilgrimage to Detroit


I think that my summer plans to hike from Boston to Detroit are bigger than WalkingHome and bigger than bringing awareness to Environmental/Climate Justice. One of my teachers pointed last week that Detroit is at the Center how destructive the industrial and neoliberal economy has been as well as the resurgence of people power, creativity, and ingenuity of people making "a way when there is no was way."

As Rabbi Alan Lew once titled his book about the Days of Awe, "This Is Real and I am Completely Unprepared"

I have a lot of learning to do to even begin to understand what this means. My first step is the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Leadership I have a copy of Grace Lee Boggs' latest book on my shelf from when I spent the summer in Detroit a few years ago and got to know their work a little bit. The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, is a treasure trove of wisdom and I'm only a few pages in. It has pointed me to "The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit" by Thomas Sugrue. A friend and current Green Party nominee for governor, Jennifer Kurland, who has also worked a lot with schools pointed me to the History of Detroit's Public Schools HERE.

I'll leave you with the following from the introduction to "The Next American Revolution" :

"These are perilous times, shaped by economic meltdown, wars, persistent social divisions, and the prospect of environmental calamities for whose full extent few are remotely prepared. A view of the modern world driven by American dominance, cheap oil, easy credit, and conspicuous consumption is rapidly unraveling before our eyes. In the face of such crises, the institutions of the status quo appear increasingly outmoded and ineffective.

Because the future is more uncertain than ever, these perilous times are also precious times. Collectively, we have a window of opportunity to rediscover the nonmaterial things that bring us joy and fulfillment. I have learned to savor every minute of time with my four-year-old daughter not only because I know how quickly children grow up but also because I have no idea what state the world will be in when she is my age. Will it be a world torn apart by famines, pandemics, and wars over vanishing supplies of oil and freshwater? Will crises for humanity prompt a resurgence of racism, patriarchy, jingoism, authoritarianism, or other forms of dehumanization we once thought anathema to a modern sensibility?

Time is most precious, however, because we can still act to avert the worst consequences of human-induced catastrophe in the twenty-first century. As terrible as the walls crumbling around us look and feel, we must avoid falling into total dismay. And we can rest assured that the challenges of the new millennium will prompt a great deal of soul searching and unforeseeable expressions of love and creativity. It is in contradictory times like these—the best and worst of times—that the voice of a movement elder like Grace Lee Boggs proves invaluable. Here is a voice that can help guide us to the next stage, one in which we move from reacting to crisis to creating alternative modes of work, politics, and human interaction that will collectively forge the next American Revolution."