Final Presentation, Ours!

Hey Friends!

Soooooo, the final group that presented just so happen to be my group ūüôā

We decided to present on the DPS Curriculum and look into the devastatingannetta facilitation 2g reports that were released about the failing program. As a Detroit Native and a proud Detroit Public School grad it made me very disappointed but of course empowered to figure out what can be done to improve these conditions. Something I think we did very well during the presentation is starting off with something engaging, the game Are you Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? That already caught everyone’s attention and it was a relaxed way to ease into the topic, especially on the last day of class where we wanted a low stress activity. We were quickly able to navigate the game together and fail miserably as a collective. This helped to connect directly to the topic, what are we teaching our children that is applicable and relevant for all walks of life?

Something I think we could have done better is started our planning efforts a little earlier. We had so many great ideas and so much content that we wanted to incorporate, but with a 30 minute time constraint and the idea of the game

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we knew that everything wouldn’t fit. I think if we could have hammered out a better way to integrate the other material through a tangible handout to walk away with or through more discussion questions then the conversation could have been even more productive.

I am content with the presentation that we were able to demonstrate and I am excited about the ideas that we have come up with together through a radical imagination lens. They are positive incremental ways to make change that will be able to disrupt the oppressive educational system that’s in place now.

Week 11 Reflections

Life is nuts,¬† where has the time gone? We’re almost to the end finallyyyyyy. It did come quicker than expected but we’re in the home stretch now. This week’s presentation was another great topic, thinking about how environmental justice works. I was very interested in this concept as it’s easy to overlook if it’s not directly effecting you in your face but it kinda always is in a way, ya know? We all have to eat so when thinking about environmental food justice from that lens, food access and security should be important to everyone and this group definitely made me thinking about how we utilize community gardens as a way to tackle the food access problem. I thought it was extra special that they had a tool to hold us accountable for the way that we approach environmental justice advocacy. Here’s my response to the Environmental Justice Pact:

Name: Annetta J.

Date of Interview: 4/7/18

Time of Interview: 8:00pm (yes, I’m a lame 24 year old so what)

Family Back Ground: Detroit native, born and raised to a two parent working-class household as the only child. I’m a first generation college and now graduate student in my immediate family.

Employment: Currently I work part-time as a recruiter for a Psychology Lab regarding adolescent interpersonal relationships. I also work as an intern at the State Appellate Defender Office where I work with the Reentry Project helping to create reintegration plans for returning citizens.

Education:¬†I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree from Umich in 2016 with double concentrations in Psychology and Political Science. I’m currently a graduate student in Umich’s School of Social Work with a concentration in Social Policy and Evaluation, paying special attention to Community and Social Systems.

¬†Hobbies:¬†I enjoy reading, watching competitive cooking shows, listening to a mixture of HipHop and R&B, blogging, people watching, netflixing, and doing community service. Lately I’ve also found a love for listening to podcasts centered around the Black Woman.

How often do you reflect on food access and environmental justice? Sometimes.

What act of advocacy, education and or social justice, can you employ to increase food and environmental justice; while reducing health disparities?

An environmental issue that has been bothering me is the recent news that Gov. Snyder approved Nestle to extract more amounts of water from the state. They are asking to pump 576,000 gallons of water each day from the White Pine Springs Well in the Great Lakes. Although there was huge public outcry and opposition, the company’s plan “met all legal standards” and was allowed to proceed. Meanwhile, after more than four years the city of Flint have been battling high levels of lead and other hazardous material in their water. They were told that their water supply “had been restored” and the disbursement of free bottle water to families would be discontinued very soon.

I have so many questions…have all of those pipes been restored too? What are the levels now? What are the retroactive plans for all he children and families effected? What financial reparations or resources are being given to the citizens? Is water really a commodity or a human right? Why isn’t anyone holding Snyder accountable for genocide? What are the legal standards around Nestle foreshadowing a hostile takeover of our state’s water source? My commitment to this environmental justice issue is two-fold, my first being to boycott Nestle and all it’s corresponding products and services. After looking at the list of things they own and are involved with it made me even more outraged and disgusted. I will also commit myself to researching about the questions from above, what allows this to happen? How do we stop this gentrification and displacement that happens as a result of big companies bullying minority spaces?

Are you willing to take this action?  I am more than willing to take this action as well as include others in this work toward justice. I will began boycotting today until further noticed.

Impact you aspire to have: I just hope to gain clarity and make sure that the citizens’ voice is centered more when interacting with large corporations working in the community.

Week 10 Reflections

Hey Friends,

I apologize for my tardiness of this week’s reflections. Life has been hitting me HARD to say the least. Nevertheless, that does not reflect my enthusiasm for this week’s topic on gentrification and asset allocation. The group put together an amazing activity in which we were split into four different towns that had varying demographics (income level, education status, population, median age, etc.), similar to real life.¬†There is a major company,¬†Damazon, that is considering building a facility in each neighborhood (in different cities). The company would bring in 3,000 jobs to the area as well as an influx of income and infrastructure. We served the role as a community organization that serves the community and had to decide if we would welcome the company in.

Very interesting activity because of course any new financial opportunity is exciting for a community but you have to think about the costs that comes with it whether that be displacement, environmental concerns, increase in property taxes, and other effects that might harm the space in the long run. It causes for critical thinking around how does the benefits offset the values of the social and environmental location of my community. For my town specifically, Fallingwater¬† Springs, we decided¬† yes but with solutions for displacement and employment security as a contingency. Without the negotiating pieces,¬† facility would displace our minority population and raise rent and property taxes for later generations. This would be harmful to our rent-dominated community and the financial and employment benefits didn’t really encourage us as the town was highly educated with a high full-time employment rate.

I think the activity helped me to draw parallels with the Amazon coming to Detroit scenario. Not all financial opportunities is good for a community. You have to truly think about the mutual benefits that these type of large corporations can present to a community especially taking minority residents into consideration. What does equitable revitalization looks like in a responsible community?

Week 9 Reflections :)

Hey loves ‚̧

This week’s presentation was awesomeeeee. Even reading the phrase “radical imagination” already sound kick ass going into the presentation, but being able to free form and genuinely think about what a world without (fill in the blank) would be like, AND affirmed for that image was astounding. I spoke about it in class but just to reiterate, often times I believe good ideas are discredited because they aren’t complete. It isn’t enough anymore for you to recognize the problem and take time to strategize and implement something meaningful. In my opinion, the inequities that we are encountering in our country today is a result of the lack of effort, patience, and willingness to change. We don’t give ourselves, let alone anyone else, time to think through ideas as a fundamental process of creating change. When problems are brought to the table, immediate solutions are also expected and that sucks because that is where the magic can happen. Stop rushing folks process….

radical imagination

I choose to use radical imagination when thinking about youth empowerment and education efforts. Here are some ideas we had:

–Dismantle out-of-school suspension practices
–More meditation, mediation, and reflection opportunities to teach clear communication.
–incorporating different learning styles and researching the efficiency of the system we have now (traditionally, sitting in class for a few hours listening to lectures)
–more hybrid/hands-on/experiential learning courses
–integrating community members as teachers and facilitators
–more focus on trade skills and realistic employment skills
–also more focus on teaching realistic concepts while in school (taxes and corresponding processes, cooking and home maintenance, budgeting and finances, cleaning/hygiene/healthcare system and management/nutrition, time management, professionalism and alldat.)

 

What are some radical notions you imagine?

Week 8 Reflections

*wipes forehead*

wheww…

This week was rough. Midterms are over and the final push is coming near. With that, I’m very excited to start the group facilitation presentations and to hear about some of the social justice issues that I’m not as familiar with. Group one had an excellent presentation and brought my attention to the dichotomy being drawn between graffiti and murals. More specifically thinking about is this what virtual resistance can look like?

The group pdownloadresented a video with a newscaster demonizing citizens who partake in graffiti art. She attacked the art as an “expensive mess” created by “people who are breaking the law” and that she wishes that “those people” would care about the community more and invest in more beautification projects for the

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communities effected. There was also mention that “we are taxpayers’ and that the community shouldn’t be financially footing the bill to clean up such atrocious acts. She also underscored how important incoming tourists’ view of graffiti is and that should encourage the ban of graffiti. There was a heavy undertone that graffiti is not art, instead t is vandalism and illegal. We also looked at the invention of the “vandal guard” which is a permanent anti-graffiti coating that organizations could use to prevent the act.

Okay…so a lot of feelings….but the bottom line for me was that if “THEY” can not profit off of it then of course the deed is deemed as bad, illegal, and/or allll the worse possible things. Often times we see that when things don’t fit the colonized mentality then it’s inherently bad and most often policed. The comments, tone, and demeanor of the newscaster instantly made me question are they not taxpayers too? Are they not also¬† community members that can contribute to their neighborhoods? Who gets to decide whats beautiful for the community? It brings into question what is deemed leadership and/or rebellion? It’s sickening how the state at large is silencing those who may be using graffiti and murals as a tool for community building or just as an active citizen.

Final Thoughts?

Well hello there ūüôā

The end is approaching which means I should probably start thinking about what I want to talk about for my big final project. I’m told that the project should summarize my¬† learning journey about social work practice with communities and social systems over the course of this semester.¬†¬†I currently work with the State Appellate Defender Office in Downtown Detroit where we help our clients, potential returning citizens, create comprehensive reentry plans to show the judges, parole boards, etc. to encourage their release.

images (1)Another element that we’ve just added as a resource are life skill workshops for those that have been successful with release and I wanted to speak on my experience with that. These workshops are not a mandatory piece of the field placement, but I enjoy connecting with the clients so I volunteer to help and attend the workshops. So far there have been workshops on technology, a few support group round tables, career readiness, budgeting and financing, goal setting and life mapping, building positive relationships, and how to build good credit.

imagesThrough these workshops I’m able to have a hands on experience with navigating diversity, social justice, and progress for the criminal justice system. I’m fortunate to attend these workshops and hear how these life skills and tips that we are giving them are beneficial or not. As I am very passionate about criminal justice reform especially for juveniles of color, I’m excited to share my experiences about this as my final project. What do you think?

Week 7 Reflections

Boggs started the video stating that a movement is beginning to emerge, as a result of the various hardships we are facing as a country. She mentioned at the time the threat of war, lack of economic opportunity, failed educational conditions, the heinous prison system, and the environmental emergency were all factors of the change to come. I thought to myself that even a decade later, those same threats are present if not exacerbated more than before, so what is this change she is speaking of? She even stated that “HOPE is beginning to TRUMP despair”, coincidental right? But I was still a little stumped and feeling pessimistic, so tell Mrs. Boggs eleven years later where is this movement of change.

Then she shocked me and answered my question in that very same excerpt. She spoke about how she looks at evolution being less anatomical and more like a development of changes in humankind and interactions. She followed up with saying, because of this hope for change in the humankind form not to expect the oppressive systems in themselves to change and this was a monumental moment in the video for me. For me, I’ve always hated how polarizing politics are because at the core I want to believe everyone has best intentions. I want to believe that although greed and money plays a huge role in politics, in the end politicians aren’t purposely malicious and discriminatory. Systems though, can’t tell the difference nor do they have feelings or discretion. We must work toward that evolutionary stage where humankind and the way that we interact with one another comes from a mutual understanding of respect and dignity; these attitudes and beliefs will translate into shaping and reconstructing the oppressive systems that are already in place.