Breaking: END TO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OF DETROIT’S WATER

Thanks to groups like the Detroit Water Brigade for the weeks of ongoing pressure to stop the shutoffs! Direct action gets the goods. Read their statement on this victory.

We commend the move by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, City Council and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Rhodes to return control of Detroit’s water to the democratically elected leadership of the city of Detroit. This is a positive step in the direction of popular control of Detroit’s water and other common resources by the people of Detroit.
 
This decision comes after months of sustained pressure from a broad cross-section of Detroiters and their international allies: protest marches, direct action blockades, hundreds of thousands of petition signers, and a recently-filed injunction in U.S. Bankruptcy Court calling for an immediate end to the shutoff program. We are proud to work hand-in-hand with Detroiters of all stripes to affirm the human right to access to clean drinking water and sanitation and get a long-term Water Affordability Plan. We also look forward to a day when all of Detroit’s public services are returned from privatization and mismanagement to full popular control by accountable and democratically elected officials.
 
Finally, we are committed to working in good faith with all interested parties to ensure that every single Detroiter has access to water. We call on everyone – not matter how much you owe or can pay – to join us this Saturday, August 2nd, from 8:30am to 5pm at 13303 E. McNichols Rd at the DWSD Customer Service Center in order to apply for financial assistance and get on an affordable payment plan. We will have Water Advocates on hand to counsel families and support them, as well as transportation, free food, water and childcare for any family that calls us in advance at 313-279-0608 Extension 1. This is just one step in our commitment to ensuring that the thousands of Detroiters without water today get access back, and every Detroiter can keep their water on.

LINC hosts debate Friday: Kent County 17th District Candidates

Friday, August 1 from 5pm-6pm in LINC’s Cowork Space

1167 Madison Ave SE, GR 49507

LINC has invited the Commissioner candidates for Kent County’s 17th District to come together this Friday August 1 at 5pm. They will share their plans for service as a County Commissioner and answer questions that have submitted by YOU the people of Kent County.

The debate will be facilitated by our very own, Darel Ross, and followed by a chance for you to meet and speak with the candidates during LINC’s First Friday Networking eventin the LINC Gallery. Join in and get informed prior to voting in the 2014 Primary Elections August 5th!

Kent County 17th District Commission Candidates:
Candace Chivis (D) Incumbent
Ivory Smith (R)
James Vaughn (D)
Robert S. Womack (D)

You can find out more information on each of the candidates by visiting:http://www.mlive.com/voterguide/ or clicking on their names above.

Sign up for DOUBLE UP FOOD BUCKS at Southeast Area Farmers’ Market

When you use a SNAP Bridge Card to shop at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market, the amount of DUFB SEAFM 7-25money that you spend is matched with Double Up Food Bucks. Double Up Food Bucks can then be used to buy fruits and vegetables that have been grown in Michigan—you can “double up” up to $20 per day.

You need a valid Bridge Card with food assistance benefits—and you only need to sign up only once, and it takes less than a minute. Our Kitchen Table is signing people up for Double Up Food Bucks at the Market.

You can earn up to $20 per market day in credits by using their Bridge Card to buy any approved foods with any participating vendor. Throughout Kent County, credits are stored automatically on a shopper’s Bridge Card.

You do not need to use your Double Up Food Bucks on the same day you get them. You can spend credits on fruits and vegetables grown in Michigan with participating vendors. In Grand Rapids, you can also take advantage of the Double Up Food Bucks program at the Fulton Street Farmers’ Market, YMCA Farmers’ Market and Veggie Van, Downtown Market farmers’ market and the Healthy Street Farmers’ Market.

The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market is open:

  • Fridays, 3 to 7 p.m. at Garfield Park, Burton Street and Madison Avenue SE.
  • Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gerald R Ford Academic Center, Madison Avenue just south of Franklin Street SE.

Both market sites feature local, chemical free produce and also warmly welcome SNAP/EBT, Kent County Health Department coupons,  WIC & Sr. ProjectFresh as well as cash and debit cards.

OKT facilitating cooking classes and healthy discussions at Weston Apartments

More greens please!

More greens please!

Molina Healthcare invited OKT to facilitate four 2-hour cooking classes at Weston Apartments in Grand Rapids. While sharing tidbits on good food, healthy cooking and food justice, the OKT team also learned a lot from the participants and their journeys.

 

 

 

 

 

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Southeast Area Farmers’ Market off to a good start

IMG_5075The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market

  • Fridays, 3 to 7 p.m. at Garfield Park, Burton Street and Madison Ave. SE
  • Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gerald R Ford Academic Center, Madison Ave. just south of Franklin St. SE
    Both market sites feature local, chemical free produce and warmly welcome SNAP/EBT, Double Up Food Bucks and WIC & Sr. ProjectFresh as well as cash and debit cards.

Stop by for greens, lettuces, blueberries, cherries, summer squash, green beans, fresh herbs and more local, chemical-free produce! Did you make it to last Saturday’s Summer Celebration at the market? Here are some photos from the event.

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Detroit rallies for Palestine & Detroit Water Shut-offs

Reposted from The Electric Intifada  Submitted by Jimmy Johnson on Tue, 07/15/2014 – 01:10

Members of the Z Collective, one of the sponsoring organizations. (Noura Balout)

 

Over 1,000 people turned out for a demonstration and public outreach campaign in Detroit on Sunday outside the annual Concert of Colors on Woodword Avenue near the Wayne State University campus.

The day focused on both Israel’s ongoing military attacks against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the recent water shut-offs by the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. Tens of thousands of primarily black, working class residents are going thirsty because of this move by the bankrupted city of Detroit. It has been condemned as a public health disasterin the making by the largest professional association of nurses in the US.

An informal working group, which is part of a black-Palestinian and black-Arab solidarity effort, mobilized the largest local turnout for a Palestine event in recent years.

The crowd paused along Woodward Avenue. (Invincible)

Rather than choose symbolic or concrete places of oppression for the protest, organizers (of which I was one) decided to bring the message directly to the people. Demonstrators initially gathered outside of the Max Fisher Theater on Woodward Avenue, where the annual high-profile Concert of Colors was to begin.

The marchers engaged people they encountered in conversation, with leaflets calling for solidarity and joint struggle between Palestine and Detroit. At both the gathering spot and along the march demonstrators chanted, “Free Palestine! Free Detroit!” while numerous cars drove by with large Palestinian flags.

Claiming an elevated spot in the gathering space, Zena Ozeir, one of the organizers and a member of sponsoring organization the Z Collective (a Muslim feminist group), kicked off a series of rousing speeches, poetry and rhyme by local activists and artists from Detroit and the surrounding area.

Speakers included Dawud Walid from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Detroiter and Palestinian-American member of the Michigan state legislature Rashida Tlaib, poet Omar Aburashed and hip-hop artists and organizers Invincible and William Copeland.

The poetry and speeches addressed both the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the bureaucratic attacks on both the Palestinian and Detroit water systems. The action was endorsed by numerous organizations representing large parts of black social justice groups in Detroit and Arab, Muslim and Palestinian groups in Dearborn and metro Detroit.

At the gathering place there was a “photo booth” where demonstrators could pose for photos with protest signs as one way for the protest to produce not only speeches and chants of dissent and solidarity, but critical art as well.

In the words of Copeland, a local delegate to the 2012 World Social Forum – Free Palestine: “People were claiming and being fully present in the space.” He pointed to the rousing crowd responses and sense of camaraderie, and also to the crowd’s maintenance of the space with hundreds of people remaining for long after the action ended.

The event was a success, yet organizers saw significant room for growth in solidarity and building joint struggle between Palestine and Detroit. Copeland remarked that “It’s a long term work to connect black populations to the struggle in Palestine, and it’s a long term struggle to connect those groups supporting Palestine to the struggle in black Detroit.”

On the event’s Facebook page, some (apparently Palestinian) metro Detroit community members accused organizers of trying to “push alternate agendas” by including human rights violations in Detroit as a central part of the rally. Several people commented that the mass water shut-offs were not human rights violations at all but simply the inevitable result of an unpaid water bill.

Organizers William Copeland and Dawud Walid. (Invincible)

 

One demonstrator named this as part of the work to be done in building solidarity and joint struggle in Detroit, saying, “There’s a gap in communication between the African experience, the black experience, and the Arab experience.”

Indeed, it is the tens of thousands of overwhelmingly working class and black residents of Detroit who are affected by the shut-offs. Several large venues frequented more commonly by wealthier, non-black metro Detroit residents saw no shut-offs, despite unpaid water bills amounting to tens of thousands of dollars each.

The shut-offs are no more a simple bureaucratic response to unpaid water bills than Israeli administrative home demolitions are a bureaucratic response to Palestinian construction without permits. This message needs to be better communicated.

The demonstrators responded in a uniformly positive way on the day and in the time since, continuing to post glowing messages and photos on the event’s Facebook page and contacting the action’s organizers. Copeland noted that the day was “a step, a big step” in the direction of building joint struggle between Detroit and Palestine.

A full video of the day can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVVli8xeU6U