EMEAC Programs

March 24, 2014

EMEAC's Programs and New Direction

EMEAC's Just Transition Plan

We build community power through environmental justice education, youth development, and collaborative relationship building.

EMEAC carries out its work in a city that is home to some of the nation’s worst extreme energy offenders, including the country’s largest incinerator and one of the largest tar sands refinery expansions.
  • Highest urban rate for asthma in children * contributing factor Trash to Energy Incenerator
  • Largest Waste water treatment plant at peak flow, that violates the clean water act everytime it rains. * need more green infrastructure deployment
  • hundred of brownfields and superfund sites from legacy corporate polluters with significant mercury, lead and cadium in top soils.

There is opportunity to build on the momentum of work taking place in Detroit to move away from investing in these dirty energy sources and toward a clean energy future.  

There are three main strategies that we will employed to build community resilience in Detroit’s climate JUST TRANSTION: youth, family and community led organizing; political education; and trans-local network building to build new and grassroots economies.  Each is described further below.

Youth, Family and Community Organizing

There is a tradition in Detroit of challenging injustices that stretches back decades.  We want to carry this legacy into the present and future by cultivating a core of youth organizers who can play a critical role in bringing about positive change in Detroit. 

Organizing Youth: Youth organizers will be trained as organizers in practice (by actually learning-while-doing) and through organizing exchanges with youth from ally organizations.   Concretely, youth will organize communities around the incinerator and along the I-94 corridor (site of the proposed highway expansion) about the impacts of pollution on their health, the environment and the climate, which directly impacts health and food and clean water access.  

Organizing Families: Through our Greener Schools and CHIRP work we will continue to develop an in-school, food education kitchen where parents and students can participate in workshops designed to teach about food justice and food security, making healthy choices and cooking nutritious meals.  

Policy Briefs:  Staff and members prepared policy briefs to share with national legislators in which she called for the full funding for local food system infrastructure via investments in food hubs and smaller farming and urban agriculture operations to improve the local/regional sourcing of food for institutions and retail markets.  

Political Education

Power Mapping: As part of the Detroit just transition efforts, mapping power relationships in the areas of environment, climate and food are necessary to develop an effective policy, organizing and action agenda that leads to change.  

Cass Corridor Commons University:  The Commons University (CCCU) is a collaborative between community, partners, Wayne State, University of Michigan and MSU comprised of community-based learning enriched course work that encouraging students to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to the pressing issues that affect our local communities. Working with faculty members and community leaders, students develop research projects, collect and analyze data, and share their results and conclusions, not just with their professors, but also with organizations and agencies that can make use of the information. 
Universidad Sin Fronteras (University without Boarders):  In order to provide political and popular education and skills development training, Southwest Workers Union established an in-house organizing leadership justice institute early in 2003.  This educational work and leadership development has evolved and grown into the University Sin Fronteras founded in 2010.  EMEAC is the Detroit site and anchor for UNSIF.  UNSIF course will include food justice, discussion and round tables educating community members and University students on food related policy and practices.

Youth Educators Alliance:  A group of community members were brought together to participate in dialogues and planning sessions in their communities that focused on raising awareness about issues of environmental justice, food justice, education justice, community empowerment and how to frame them by developing their own media narratives.  Interactive sessions have assumed various forms since the first one was held in April 2011. 

Green Screen Youth Environmental Film Festival: Each year Remedia also sponsors the Annual EMEAC Greenscreen Film Festival where students across southeast Michigan showcase films with environmental themes. The work of these young filmmakers express what they think is most crucial to their health and to the natural environment. Some films also focus on making the world (or their school or neighborhood) more environmentally healthier. The festival is a celebration of youth voice and emerging environmentalism.  The short films, created entirely by young artists and aspiring young activists, span environmental and social consciousness. The films are judged for cinematic merit, relevance to Southeastern Michigan, and creative messaging.  The panel of judges included independent directors, environmental activists, a youth activist, and a journalist.  Now in its fifth year, EMEAC gets statewide inquiries about this exciting event, as well as requests for film making workshops and demonstrations year round.


Give Us a Gift!

March 20, 2014

Give a Gift to Grassroots Global Justice and EMEAC!

EMEAC is proud to host the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance's 6th Membership Assembly on April 10-13. Check out a list of confirmed international movement allies below!

EMEAC joined GGJ in 2010 just after the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, which drew 20,000 activists under the banner: Another World is Possible, Another U.S. is Necessary!  Through that process, EMEAC formed a strong relationship with many GGJ member organizations as we served as one of four local anchor organizations in Detroit.  Since 2011, EMEAC has served on GGJ's Coordinating Committee.

Four years later, we are hosting GGJ’s 6th Membership Assembly in Detroit (April 10-13, 2014) and organizers from across the U.S. and around the world are converging in Detroit again, this time to imagine and plan out a Just Transition away from the fossil fuel economy toward an economy for people and the planet.

As an alliance, GGJ looks to Detroit for inspiring examples of how communities have responded to exploitation and abandonment by creating alternatives that build community power through environmental justice education, youth development and collaborative relationship building. 

Will you donate to support this crucial work? All contributions in response to this appeal will be split 50/50 between GGJ and EMEAC. We will greatly appreciate any amount that you are able to contribute. 

You can either give through this secure online page, or you can send GGJ a check.

If you'd like to send us a check, please enter the amount you will donate, fill out your contact information, select "I will send payment by check" at the bottom of the page and click "Confirm Contribution".

You can make out a check to "Grassroots Global Justice" and mail to:

Grassroots Global Justice
4919 Pentridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143

International Allies

Three international allies have confirmed and are registered to come to the GGJ Membership Assembly.  They are looking forward to getting to know GGJ members and allies, and working with us to develop out our vision for grassroots internationalism in the US.  We are honored to be hosting the following movement allies:

Mary Louise Malig
Mary Louise Malig is an activist researcher, policy analyst, campaigner and has written on the issues of trade particularly the World Trade Organization, the G-20 and also on issues of climate change, food and agriculture and the green economy. She also helps with the coordination of the Social Movements for an Alternative Asia. Malig currently works as staff for La Via Campesina in Asia.
Sandra Moran
Sandra Moran is a member of the International Secretariat of the World March of Women.  In Guatemala, she runs the Sector de Mujeres that organizes against domestic and state violence.  Since 1994, her work has been framed in the defense of women, territory and peoples.  She is also a poet and drummer.
Pablo Solon
Pablo Solón served as the UN Ambassador to Bolivia from  February 2009 to July 2011.   As Ambassador to the UN, Solón spearheaded successful resolutions on the Human Right to Water, International Mother Earth Day, Harmony with Nature, and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  He is currently the Executive Director of Focus on the Global South, an activist think tank based in Bangkok.


One Struggle Many Fronts Tour

March 19, 2014


Tuesday March 25, 2014
Cass Corridor Commons
4605 Cass Avenue @ Forest

EMEAC is honored to host the One Struggle Many Fronts tour.  This national tour brings two African climate justice activists to join Detroit environmental justice veterans to speak on the local and global connections between climate change, racism and land grabs and economic inequality. 

Together, we will share about our organizing efforts and discuss how we can better join in solidarity. 

Activists participating in this discussion include Emem Okon, Kebetkache ofthe Women’s Resource & Dev. Center in Nigeria and Mithika Mwenda, from The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in Kenya. 

Join us for this important conversation. 

Many thanks to our allies who co-organized this important conversation, including Akua Budu, Malik Yakini, Sam Stark and others.


Newsletter March 10

March 12, 2014

Save the Date! 

Mark your calendars for June 27 - 30 for a 4-day Our Power gathering!  Our Power Detroit is focused on scaling up the leadership and presence of youth and young adults the environmental and climate justice movements.  During this gathering, we will work on generating solutions for a Just Transition* from reliance on unsustainable, polluting, resource intensive practices and policies to those that are sustainable, renewable and nurture healthy communities. We will discuss the health, environmental and climate impacts of polluting energy producing industries; collaboratively generate creative ways to address the negative impacts, while posing sustainable, renewable and non-exploitive alternatives; and define pathways to move this agreed upon work forward. 

EMEAC is a member and serves on the Steering Committee of the Climate Justice Alliance, a collaborative of community-based and movement support organizations uniting frontline communities to forge a scalable, socially and economically just transition away from unsustainable energy and false solutions to climate change.  In 2013, CJA launched a national Our Power campaign to win real solutions to the climate crisis.  One component of the campaign calls for spaces to be created for deeper work. Our Power Gatherings bring together frontline communities and allies to coordinate community-led action strategies that advance an ecologically resilient and economically just transition out of deadly, destructive, dirty development into new economic solutions based on healthy work that serves our communities, heals the planet and preserves our cultures. 

*Used here as a verb, Just Transition is a broad frame that outlines our commitment to co-create the transition from such heavy reliance on dirty, polluting forms of energy to more sustainable, renewable forms.  It also encompasses our commitment and efforts to lift up and contribute to building local, living economies that foster community resilience and bring about lasting change.

EDGE Funders and National Allies Visit

Charity Hicks speaks to funders
During the week of February Detroit hosted the Environmental Grantmaker's Association State of the State's briefing.  EMEAC's Everybody at the Table for Health (EAT4Health) Fellow Charity Hicks spoke briefly at a pre-dinner social event at Colors  about bringing about real transformation in the city of Detroit through a regional food system. The next day, we hosted a couple of fishbowl conversations as part of a broader discussion among EDGE Funders Alliance members about Breaking the Silos: Deepening our engagement on grassroots organizing and building movements for power locally and beyond.  With such allies as Rhonda Anderson (Sierra Club EJ office), Ahmina Maxey (Zero Waste Detroit Coalition), Michelle Martinez (Consortium of Hispanic Agencies), we explored several of the issues, challenges and opportunities many of us face in efforts to create meaningful change in our communities.  We touched on such topics as the critical role that grassroots organizing plays in creating change in society, building and maintaining coalitions, fiscal impacts when funders disagree with political positions taken by organizations, and relationships with grasstop/big green organizations. Though only a beginning, our hope is that these conversations continue and ultimately lead to more support going to the grassroots sector. 

Youth Ready2Grow in Good Health

It was fun under the sun this winter as Ready2Grow youth and their families enjoyed ice skating and snow shoeing.  According to EMEAC's Sanaa Green, both events were a success as children played, laughed and enjoyed the outdoors.  Snow shoeing at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo provided an opportunity for Ready2Grow participants to collaborate with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network's Food Warriors program.  The outing opened with a blind trust activity to demonstrate senses other than sight that are used in tracking.  One of the guides explained that Native Americans used snow shoes coupled with all of their senses to travel in in the snow and track animals. 

These family events, designed to encourage healthy eating and exercise habits to prevent childhood obesity, are only some of the exciting things we do as part of this program.  During and after school we offer programs that engage children in a variety of hands-on learning games and other activities aimed at reducing and preventing obesity, while making important connections to nature and the environment. 

What We Have Our Eyes On

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under President Obama's Climate Action Plan, has begun the process of developing standards for new, existing and modified power plants.  This is the first time in U.S. history that such regulations are being developed.  However given that power plants are the largest stationary source of carbon pollution in the United States, we are concerned that EPA's standards don't go far enough. For one, the standards promote such false solutions to climate destabilization as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies, natural gas production and biomass incineration.  CCS is problematic because not only are the technologies untested, but storing carbon underground can have severe consequences. The extraction and transportation of natural gas devastates the environment and people who depend on it. And biomass incineration is one of the most expensive, inefficient and polluting ways to make energy, according to Energy Justice Network. 

Despite our concern about the methods embraced by the administration, we are glad that there is an attempt to reduce emissions.  This sentiment is not shared, however, by those who benefit by the pollution as challenges have already been made at the federal and state levels.  For example, although the Supreme Court decided in 2007 that greenhouse gas emissions are subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act, industry profiteers have challenged EPA's authority to regulate emissions for stationary sources. Additionally, pro-fossil fuel industry legislators have introduced a dozen anti-EPA bills and resolutions across the country. 

While we will continue to monitor and report on the issue, we encourage you to submit your thoughts and concerns to the EPA on new power plants and existing power plants

EMEAC Annual Report 2013 Now Available

March 11, 2014