"What time is it on the clock of the world?" Detroit 2013: Day One

Folks from around the nation - and even around the world - have come to Detroit this June for a weeklong gathering to learn about "visionary organizing." This post is from our first full day - Monday, June 24.


  1. Watch now: Writer-activist Grace Lee Boggs | Tavis Smiley | PBS Video
  2. We began the day hearing from 97-year-old Detroit activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs about "what time is it on the clock of the world?" Grace said that the crises Detroit is currently witnessing represent a shift as large as the ones from hunter-gathering to agricultural society and from agriculture to industrial society. It is up to us to - especially people in Detroit - to start building the new types of societies that we would like to see as industrial capitalism and the American empire fail and fall.
  3. Most of our conference is based in the Cass Corridor Commons, which is space in the center of Detroit that has been opened up to many community groups, including the East Michigan Environmental Action Council and 5E, a youth space for hip-hop and other forms of art. We heard from many participants in this commons work on the importance of these spaces.
  4. We then watched an interview that Tavis Smiley did with Grace last week in Los Angeles, following the world premiere of "American Revolutionary - The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs," a documentary chronicling Grace's life and work. You can watch the video above.
  5. Following that, we went to Incite Focus - a lab in Detroit that works on creating community sustainability through "new work." New work is a concept that many in Detroit - and around the world - have been advancing, where instead of performing jobs that we don't like for the money we need to survive, we move to doing work that benefits our communities and our selves. Frithjof Bergmann is one such person thinking about this concept. Though he was unable to join us, we did watch the video below of him explaining his work.
  6. After a small break, we found ourselves at the Hush House, a community house in Zone 8 focusing on black history, culture and human rights leadership training. This was our big cultural introduction to Detroit. We heard from Brave New Voice's, a youth spoken word team, Insite the Riot, a rapper and performer in Detroit, as well as Mama Sandra Simmons, one of the leaders of the Hush House and Monica Lewis-Patrick, a fiery candidate for city council. 
  7. Insite the riot #detroit #zone8 #detroit2013
    Insite the riot #detroit #zone8 #detroit2013
  8. While we were at the Hush House, three young men put up letters spelling HOPE at the end of the yard space. Mama Sandra consecrated the space with all of us at the end of the event, designating it a territory of refuge for the community to be safe.
  9. Detroit will live and not die.
#detroit2013 #hushhouse
    Detroit will live and not die. #detroit2013 #hushhouse
  10. Hope at the Hush House - Detroit 2013
  11. Check out more about Detroit 2013 on our website or follow our pictures on Flickr! More updates to come.