Thursday was our day at D-Town farms run by the Detroit Black Security Network. When we got there the RIC planning crew set up breakfast and ate then we all played a big game of the Biggest Fan which is basically like a big game of rock, paper scissors where the person who wins becomes your cheering squad until the last person wins. After a rousing game of Biggest Fan, we then went on a tour of D-Town with Brother Kaddafi who gave a really great tour of the whole farm set up and Jaleel gave some information about the bees they have on site. Did you know that rubbing mud on a bee sting it takes the stink out?
Once they finished our tour of D-Town we grabbed lunch and boarded our busses to our respective tours. There were three tour options that where offered Oakland Avenue Artists Coalition & Incite Focus L3 Fab Lab, Feedom Freedom Urban Farm, and the Boggs Center. Ayisah Yusuf went on the Boggs Center tour which was basically a cool site seeing/historical tour. Our tour was led by Richard Feldman who is an amazing tour guide and really knows his stuff about the city. We visited four different sites starting off with an abandon lot called the Packard Automotive Plant where we learned about how slavery, the great migration and the auto industry effected Detroit in various ways which were not always good. The Detroit auto industry and big industrial companies taking over agriculture and small businesses took a lot of people’s jobs but also gave a lot of people jobs. But as time progressed and technology got more advanced then more robots began taking over people’s jobs more people were left without jobs, which hurt the Detroit economy a lot. The next area we visited was the outside of an old factory building called the Poletown GM Hamtramck Assembly where Rick told us about the Polish people who came to Detroit. Once we left there we made our way over to the Heidelberg Project. The Heidelberg Project is basically an art work project by a guy named Tyrese who makes amazing art, sculptures all on this block in the city. He is also a dope motivational speaker with words of wisdom for the ages. The next stop on our tour we met another artist Carlos Neilbock at his arts yard called Can Arts who makes windmills to make art as well as for a good source of energy. Last stop on our trip was at the Boggs Center which is the home of Grace Lee Boggs an educational/community meeting center. Grace Lee Boggs is an Asian-American women who in the ‘60s & ‘70s fought for civil rights for African Americans and later would go on to help her own people’s struggles. One of her big teachings is that there can’t be any revolution without evolution meaning what we will do after everyone is free, we must continue forward. Grace Lee Boggs just celebrated her 100th birthday in June. While at the Boggs Center we took that time to debrief from our tour and think about all the things we learned. My favorite part of the tours where the Heidelberg Project and Tyrese who was very inspirational.
Once our bus tours where over we all made our way back to D-Town for our group debrief. Everyone got into their tour groups first and discussed what they liked about the tours, what inspired them and what they would take back to their communities. They then got into home groups and debriefed about the various tours and then one person or a few people from each tour group would go up and tell us what they learned from their tour. Later after a catered dinner, we made a mini panel with some of the youth from Detroit Future Youth. They talked about the all the different things they do in Detroit Future Youth. One of the guys is an MC and using what he learns during his time with DFY to inspire youth. There was also another youth named Tigger who works at Earthworks Urban Farm and has been into farming since he was 6. Currently he works with little kids from 5-12 and is working on a farming card came for kids through the DFY. After the panel with Detroit Future Youth a few local folks came and rocked the farm stage for us with beautiful singing, guitar playing and spitting bars. Then we had a mini open mic with some of the RIC youth and then went back to campus after a long day.