Thursday, June 24, 2010

LIVE from the US Social Forum 2010, Day 2.

- by Mara Collins

Hello from Detroit! Today there was an earthquake in Canada, right over the river from the city, can you believe it? The earth shook from all these positive vibes. It's late now, and I want to talk about everything that happened. But for each person ten stories could be told. It's late now. So what I'll do first is tell you what I did today and then maybe tomorrow sink it into the context of the work here at TJP.

I woke up so tired so I knew I needed some more sleep. As invigorating as these things are, they also really take it outta you. So I gave myself more time, got up and stretched, and went to the Healing Justice space in the United Auto Workers Ford Building. The boardrooms of the Union Building were converted into meditation spaces, candles set out, massage tables set up for bodywork. It was so cool! All of us volunteers sign up to practice our therapeutic modality and when this is all over, we will have each other's contact info and do collective healing justice work.

In the afternoon, I tried to facilitate a People's Movement Assembly space for the Northwest. Not very many people came, though. I felt disappointed, but my co-facilitator reminded me that it is a slow process to do regional organizing. The question came forward, though-what would people think of having a bigger NW meet up, where we can strengthen our issue-based work by building relationships regionally. In our case it would be a real regional healing network, which I think would be awesome. What do you think?

After that, I was supposed to do my shift at the healing space but the UAW had been closed. The earthquake occurred and because the building security crew was nervous we might get some aftershocks. I want to start the work. Hopefully it ill reopen tomorrow. I ended selling event posters at the vendor tables.

The day's programming ended with an amazing plenary with old time Detroit activists including Jerome Scott, the founder of Project South, Grace Lee Boggs, long time Detroit activist and revolutionary-who turns 95 this week! Ron Scott, who has been fighting police brutality since he was 13 years old and General Baker from the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. It was like standing among giants as they talked about this city that they love and fight to keep alive.

Grace Lee Boggs said to take a piece of Detroit's mentality home-That when they give us a crisis, turn it into an opportunity.

So that was my amazing day 2. Gonna hit the hay and send you more tomorrow,...

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