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Detroiters Speak Archive


This page contains details for each session of the Winter 2016 Detroiters Speak Series. At the bottom, you will find links to view select panels from previous years. 

Winter 2016 Detroiters Speak was curated and promoted by a wonderful collaborative team: Lolita Hernandez (Writer, UM-RC/SID Creative Writing Lecturer), Eliza Qualls Perez and Peter Hammer (WSU Detroit Equity Action Lab at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights), Dr. Melba Boyd (Chair, WSU Department of African American Studies), Craig Regester (SID Associate Director, Adjunct Lecturer), Alana Hoey Moore (SID Program Coordinator), and Martina Guzman (Independent Journalist, Media Consultant)

Previous Sessions:

February 4th, "Why Detroiters Speak? An introduction to our Community Classroom Approach"

For more information about the event, click here.

Speakers: Lolita Hernandez (UM/RC Lecturer in Creative Writing), Melba Boyd (WSU Professor/Chair, Department of African-American Studies), Peter Hammer (WSU Law School Professor, and Director, Damon Keith Center for Civil Rights), and Eliza Qualls Perez-Ollin (Project Coordinator, Detroit Equity Action Lab)



February 11th, "Detroiters Speak - (Re) Discovering Detroit: From Oppenago to Wawiatanong to Detroit"

For more information about the event, click here.

Moderators: Lolita Hernandez and Melba Boyd

Speakers: Ogichidaakwe Mona Stonefish, Todd Duncan, Orlin Jones, Dave Goldberg


This event has passed, but you can watch the video below:


February 18th, "Detroiters Speak - From Failed Urbanism to Failed Regionalism"

For more information about the event, click here.

Moderator: Peter Hammer (WSU Law School Professor, and Director, Damon Keith Center for Civil Rights)

Speakers: Deborah Bunkley, Heather Thompson, and Ruth Johnson


This event has passed, but you can watch the video below:


February 25th, "Detroiters Speak - Reflecting on our History (Midterm Reflection)"

For more information about the event, click here.

Facilitators: Lolita Hernandez, Melba Boyd


March 10th, "Detroiters Speak - Fighting for Water and Homes: Critical Community Struggles"

In the first of three sessions to focus on current issues Detroit is facing, Monica Lewis-Patrick (water warrior and President and CEO, We the People of Detroit), Mark Fancher (Director of the Racial Justice Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan) and Marilyn Mullane (Executive Director, Michigan Legal Services) will address two related crises affecting Detroit residents: mass water-shut offs and mass tax foreclosures. The session will be facilitated by eliza pérez-ollin and Peter Hammer, of WSU's Detroit Equity Action Laboratory.

The impacts of these newly heightened practices will be explored, with a special focus on the mass displacement of long-time African-American residents, the rapid deterioration of neighborhoods, and the threat to a stable regional water system that supplies water to a significant percentage of the state’s residents. Proposed solutions will include those that already exist but have not been implemented, such as the water affordability plan and tax relief policies, as well as other frameworks that could promote equitable access to water and home ownership for Detroit’s residents.

Speakers: Monica Lewis-Patrick (We The People of Detroit), Mark Fancher (ACLU-MI), and Marilyn Mullane (Michigan Legal Services)



"UN officials ‘shocked’ by Detroit’s mass water shutoffs" by Laura Gottesdiener

"Detroit Is Ground Zero in the New Fight for Water Rights" by Laura Gottesdiener


This event has passed, but you can watch the video below:


March 24th, "Detroiters Speak - Land Grabs: Whose Detroit is Developing?"

The second of three sessions will focus on current issues Detroit is facing. The speakers will provide a range of perspectives on current development practices in Detroit. The session will be facilitated by Peter Hammer and Eliza Pérez-Ollin.We will explore the use of governmental actions and public funds for the benefit of private development, taking a look at the impacts of mechanisms such tax abatements, blight removal and other authorities on residents, who should expect to benefit from any publicly-supported development. Programs designed to increase benefits to long-term community members, such as a community benefits ordinance and planning processes that place community at the forefront of development will be discussed.

Speakers: Sarida Scott (Executive Director, Community Development Advocates of Detroit-CDAD), Rashida Tlaib (Sugar Law Center), and Rev. Joan Ross (Chair of EDC/CBA Coalition).



Mass Urban Land Sale in Detroit Must be Dropped by Malik Yakini

Fair and Just By Shea Howell

Videographer Tweaks Controversial Promo For The Albert Apartments – Deadline Detroit (watch video)

Here’s what Detroit’s proposed ‘Urban Development Agreements’ ordinance is about | Local News | Detroit Metro Times


Detroit City Council Approves Land Grab 

White supremacy and class privilege in Detroit

With Two Strikes Against It, Detroit Future City Must Connect With Concerns of Citizens

Peter Hammer debates Detroit Future City | Local News | Detroit Metro Times

Equitable Detroit website- check out the tabs at the top to:

-get more info about what CBA's are,

-as well as skim the ordinance itself

-read press release about bill to ban CBAs (

-skim the toolkit--so they know this exists (113pgs)

Tracking Change--showing largest landowners in city of Detroit

Loveland Technologies offers crash course on imminent problem with 62,000 Detroit tax foreclosures (18 min video)


This event has passed, but you can watch the video below:


March 31st, "Detroiters Speak - Alternative Visions: Building Equitable Communities"

In our final panel of the series, long-time Detroiters working to build a Detroit centered in the practices of racial justice and culturally appropriate values will discuss their current efforts to build community and engage in equitable development. The role of art, spirit, culture, healing and economics in creating healthy, vibrant and equitable communities will be explored.

Speakers: Bryce Detroit, Sacramento Knoxx, and Lisa Leverette (Program Director Community Connections Grant Program & Lower Eastside Community Grant Program)



To see some of our past panels, click the thumbnails below: