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Winter 2019: Whose Safety? Policing Minds, Bodies, and Borders in Detroit

Join us for our Winter 2019 Detroiters Speak series: Whose Safety? Policing Minds, Bodies, and Borders in Detroit. 

Each week will feature different Detroit-based speakers and guests who will explore the given topic and engage the students through a combination of formal remarks, presentations, and public discussion. 

Light dinner provided; free transportation from Ann Arbor to Detroit; public welcome and encouraged to attend. 

Free Parking provided in WSU lot 62.

Dates: Feb 7, 14, 21,28; March 21, 28; April 4, 11
Time: 7-9pm
Location: Cass Corridor Commons, 4605 Cass Ave.
Sponsors: Semester in Detroit, Detroit Equity Action Lab/Damon Keith Center for Civil Rights, University of Michigan Detroit Center, & Wayne State University Department of African American Studies

Need transportation from Ann Arbor? Please fill out this form indicating which sessions you need transportation for.  The bus will depart from the Central Campus Transit Center at 5:45pm and return to the CCTC by around 10pm. All students who are registered for the class are guaranteed a spot on the bus and do not need to fill out this form. 
*Please note: you are not guaranteed a seat on the bus until we have confirmed with you over email. Many seats are reserved for students who have registered for the course.*

**NEWLY ADDED AS OF 3/6/2019***
Join Detroiters Speak on one of our off-weeks for a Know Your Rights training with the National Lawyers Guild on Thursday, March 14th from 7pm-9pm at the Cass Corridor Commons. More information and registration here.

February 7: "Public Safety" in Waawiyaataanong/Oppenago

"Public Safety" in Waawiyataanong/Oppenago will center this series in our region's indigenous history, culture and contemporary movements around safety and security.  Community partners and series planners will also be introduced and we will end with small-group discussions sharing introductions and expectations for the semester.  

Speakers: Grandmother Sharon George, Darryl Jordan (East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Cass Corridor Commons), Diana Copeland

Recommended Readings: 

February 14: The History of Race & Policing in America

"The History of Race and Policing in America" examines the intersection of race, criminalization, and policing. Historian Jamon Jordan will discuss how policing developed in Detroit as means to curtail Black freedom, and has remained a key enforcement mechanism of racial subjugation as well as a hotly contested site of resistance ever since. He will be joined by Kenneth Reed of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, who will discuss the history of the organization and will talk about the often traumatic impact that criminalization and hyper-policing  have on Black communities, families, and residents in Detroit today.

Speakers: Jamon Jordan (Black Scroll History Network & Tours) , Kenneth Reed (Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality)

Recommended Readings: 

February 21: Policing Black Power

February 28: Policing Identities

Speakers (more to be announced soon): Siwatu-Salama Ra, Asha Noor, Baba Baxter Jones, Arthur Bowman, & Bridget Dawson 

Moderated by: Yemisi Odetoyinbo (BYP 100)

"Policing Identities" will examine the harm that happens at the intersections of holding various identities and policing. This session will feature a panel discussion, followed by breakout groups individually focused on how policing affects Black women, Muslims, the queer and trans community, and more.

*Please note that the recommended readings list is subject to be added to and/or edited*

Recommended Readings:

Recommended Viewings:

March 21: Containment & Surveillance - Shifting Borders & Boundaries

March 28: The Costs of Mass Incarceration in Detroit

This session will analyze the rise of mass incarceration in Detroit and its many costs, from the personal and communal to the economic and political. The session will also highlight the ways that communities in Detroit and beyond are organizing to resist oppressive policing and the carceral state, and envision new notions of safety and security.


  • Alia Harvey-Quinn (FORCE Detroit)
  • Troy Rienstra (Safe and Just Michigan)
  • Michael Stauch (University of Toledo)

Recommended Readings:

April 4: The New Abolition Movement

This Detroiters Speak session will be focused on the New Abolition Movement. Presenters Amanda Alexander, Rashad Buni, and Paige Watkins will be discussing the ins and outs of abolition, BYP100's national campaign, and the No New Jails Detroit Campaign. Join us for a night of education, discussion, and action.

April 11: Imagining New Notions of Security