Last evening, Mike and I attended a community conversation on issues relative to race. This was one of a series of discussions sponsored by The Michigan Roundtable on first Fridays of the month. Last night’s topic was: Race & Media: The Detroit Emergency and took place at the Michigan State University’s Detroit Center. The goal of these discussions is to generate ideas on how local citizens can have an impact on turning the city around. The forums are free and open to the community. For more information see: www.race2equity.org. These are well attended events with thoughtful and lively discussions. Mike took copies of his book.
On history: “Detroit is a city with an important progressive history, still has a large working class, a large black population and many people with a radical political consciousness. Detroit is a sleeping giant.” What we need is leadership from among the people to educate our young, clarify our goals and lead us forward.
On leadership: “What I have learned is this: You have to love and be for the people in an obvious way. You must learn what work is required and with whom. This involves learning about others outside your immediate community. You have to have the capacity to attract all types of people and impress them with the immediacy of the cause, making your cause, theirs. You accept what people are willing to give and provide a context for that to be helpful. You must be willing to engage in the ‘culture of argument’ fearlessly. In the black community, you’ve got to ‘barbershop.’ You also must have a palpable force to draw on to give your opinions weight. One voice alone, no matter how righteous, is not enough. The intensity of this commitment will transform you.” – A Black Revolutionary’s Life in Labor: Black Workers Power in Detroit by Michael Hamlin
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