Detroit Summit Kicks Off New Racial Equity Campaign

Posted by: Gordon on 6/10/2015

RAP Summit at UAW GM Center
Gamaliel leaders gathered in Detroit for the Race and Power Summit are laying plans for the organization's new, long-term agenda this week.

Detroit youth group Crossing Boundaries Building Bridges, part of affiliate MOSES, will provide entertainment and vision via  hiphop, a spoken-word performance and a skit Wednesday night. It's a culminating event of the Gamaliel Race and Power Summit that started Monday.

The performance will feature young people of color filled with dreams, then catch up with them to find how those dreams fared five years later. (Spoiler alert: there’s a happy ending, thanks to a few super-heroes like Investing in Education). It will be hosted by New Mt. Zion M.B. Church, 2201 Elmhurst St. in Detroit, Pastor Rev. Dr. Jimmy Wafer.

The piece was written by a local youth, DaJuan Bland, and features young people who have been gathering for more than a year as part of MOSES’ Poetry and Politics nights, which draw “middle-schoolers through elders” in the words of Poetry and Politics instructor Walter Lacy, a Detroit-based spoken word hiphop artist and youth worker.

For a relatively short performance (the skit will be preceded by poetry and song), the piece brings up important themes, Lacy says: “We’re still dealing with issues that stem from institutionalized racism that has tangible effects on people’s day-to-day lives--like access to education, jobs and transportation, issues dealing with debt for college students and grads and the cycles of violence and poverty that we face how those things are institutionally set up.MOSES CB3 flyer

These are the right issues and fit right in with the work Gamaliel is doing to address structural racism, faith leaders say.

“The church is not doing its part in today’s struggles for race equity,” says Rev. Stancy Adams, a board member of MOSES and Christian Education Minister at Russell Street M.B. Church. “Clergy is missing.”

The public action comes after three days of discussion, strategizing and reflection on continued racism in America -- especially in structures and systems.

“We’ve spent nearly the past year in a strategic discernment process, and from this work is emerging a vision that looks radically different from the unequal and racially divided society we live in today,” says Gamaliel Director Ana Garcia-Ashley.

"At our Race and Power Summit we are sharing a new vision that names building racial equity as the common theme uniting our work for jobs and sustainable transportation infrastructure, better education opportunities for our youth, and immigration reform” Garcia-Ashley says.

The event is hosted by Gamaliel affiliate MOSES. National experts including Professor john powell of Haas Center for A Fair & Inclusive Society and Angela Glover Blackwell of PolicyLink, as well as Marguerite Casey Foundation President Luz Vega-Marquis, labor leaders, and representatives from the C.S. Mott, Ford, W.K. Kellogg, Kresge and other foundations are participating.  A full agenda, complete sponsors list and additional details are available here.

Tags: RAP Summit | Detroit | CB3 | youth |
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