The anti-Black racism that has long formed the foundation of our society is becoming clearer to those who have never had to face it. Police brutality, deadly transphobia, and the lack of justice to be found in the so-called justice system are now topics that have shaken many people’s sense of comfort - and we need to continue to shake it. As Detroit-based activist and writer adrienne maree brown reminds us, “things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered. We must hold each other tight & continue to pull back the veil”. In this spirit, the Semester in Detroit community chooses to lean on each other and anchor ourselves through long-standing relationships with Detroiters to deepen our understanding, co-learning and engagement with Detroit and the wider world. Below, we share some of what we have been reading and paying attention to in recent weeks, in the hopes that we can continue to challenge ourselves and others to continue growing, learning, and staying engaged. 

Detroit-Specific Resources

Articles & statements

  1. "The oppressive history of curfews in Detroit"- Jamon Jordan, Detour Detroit
  2. "Sustained Protest: The Beginnings of System-Change" - Eric T. Campbell, Riverwise Magazine
  3. "From 1967 to George Floyd: Detroit activists connect the dots to fight inequality" - Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press
  4. “Let’s Imagine a Post-Pandemic Era with Less Policing and No New Jails”  - Amanda Alexander, Truthout (note: published May 9, 2020 - prior to the police killing of George Floyd)
  5. “Safe or Just Surveilled? Tawana Petty on the Fight Against Facial Recognition Surveillance”  - Logic (note: published May 4, 2020 - prior to the police killing of George Floyd)
  6. "CBA for Racial and Economic Justice: Detroit People’s Platform and the Equitable Detroit Coalition’s Juneteenth 2020 Declaration" - Detroit People’s Platform
  7. "What We Mean When We Say BLACK LIVES MATTER, and why protesting brutality isn’t enough" - Curtis Renee & John Sloan, III; Co-Lead Organizers, BLMDetroit

Videos & Podcasts

  1. The Founding of the Detroit Police Department - Jamon Jordan at "The History of Race and Policing in America", a Winter 2019 Detroiters Speak session on February 14th, 2019
  2. Riverwise Podcast
    1. See in particular: “Defund the Police with PG Watkins”
  3. "Tawana Petty talks about the Community’s relationship to Police, Police" (Detroit is Different)
  4. Monica Lewis-Patrick - "Don’t You Kneel" - speech at the site of the Algiers Motel on the 11th day of protests against police brutality in Detroit on June 8th, 2020
  5. Maureen Taylor and Marian Kramer - "Dare to fight! Dare to Win! Fight, Fail, Fight Again, Fail Again, Fight on to final Victory" -  speech at the site of the Algiers Motel on the 11th day of protests against police brutality in Detroit on June 8th, 2020
  6. Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund - donation opportunity



  1. RC Summer Forum: “Uprising Nation - What it Means & Where it Takes Us” - ft. Stephen Ward, Heather Ann Thompson, Dr. Harvey Slaughter, and Camilla Lizundia, University of Michigan Residential College
  2. "LEO Statement on the Killing of George Floyd & Police Brutality" - University of Michigan Lecturer’s Employee Organization
  3. Why Community Policing Won't Work - Alex Vitale at "Imagining New Notions of Security", a Winter 2019 Detroiters Speak session on April 11th, 2019
  4. "Building a Police-Free Future: Frequently Asked Questions" - MPD 150
  5. "A Manifesto: 10 Rules to Fight for Black People’s Freedom" - Patrisse Cullors, WePresent
  6. “American Police,” - Throughline (NPR) 
  7. “Defund the Police: Protest Slogans and the Terms for Debate” - Austin McCoy, American Historical Association
  8. “The Struggle to Abolish the Police is Not New” - Garrett Felber, Boston Review
  9.  “Give the Police Departments to the Grandmothers: A Poem” - Junauda Petrus-Nasah, Kindred Media