Voices from Our Power Detroit Participants

July 16, 2014

Interviewing Our Power Detroit participants and documenting their testimonies was quite uplifting and rewarding. Many, both native and non-native Detroiters, shared a fluid commonality among their testimonies, a conscious passion to change our planet’s current trajectory through a just transition.  One testament, by Ms. Dorian Willams of the Better Future Project, left a lasting impression on me.  Ms. Williams articulated a testimony not only embellished with raw, beautiful empathy for Detroit, but an affinity with the meaning of “Our Power”. She captured the essence of grassroots empowerment, expressing her experience as such:

“I came out here because I felt called to be here… There’s such incredible work being done in Detroit…. I felt drawn here by the people who invited me….from EMEAC and I believe in the power of the work that they are doing.

…to be here today… seeing what almost one hundred hands can do to revitalize this building, that can provide something as simple as water; I mean, it’s insane to me and horrifying that a city would turn...or the emergency manager, would turn its back on hundreds of thousands of people and deny them the basic rights to life like water. And so it’s inspiring and beautiful for me to witness people taking that back and reclaiming the ability to meet our own needs from the communities and not from corporations and not from governments, but from ourselves; and I guess that’s what our power means to me as well. The ability to take power away from those that abused it and got us into this mess, and to remember that by replacing it in the hands of people, who have had to struggle under this system, are the ones that are going be able to get us out.

I think the atomization and the undermining of people and communities…is exactly what got us here; and it’s only going to be the reclaiming of community and reaching back and connecting with each other, that we are ever gonna get out of it. And so I feel really honored and grateful and inspired to be here.”

Submitted by Brittany Anstead, EMEAC Intern sho served as documentarian of the Our Power Detroit gathering