This post is by 8th grader Avery Long - reflecting on DJJ's Bus Tour with Rich Feldman on Sunday May 15th!
I was invited on DJJ's Boggs Bus Tour by a friend and classmate of mine – we both attend The Roeper School. When I arrived, I was welcomed with open arms by Rabbi Alana. We had an opportunity for written reflection about the “story of Detroit” we were bringing with us to the tour, and we met our tour guide Rich Feldman – a long time leader in Detroit's movements for social change and a close friend of Grace Lee Boggs.
The six places we stopped were each places I'd never known existed, and they became the backdrop for Rich Feldman's vivid description of a whole host of philosophical and practical implications for Detroit's current moment. We stopped at The Packard Plant, The Poletown Plant, The Hope District, The Heidelburg, Earthworks, and C.A.N Art Landworks. At each sight, Rich facilitated a discussion with us (we mostly stayed on the bus because IT WAS COLD).
We talked about “The American Dream,” the distinction between a revolution and a rebellion, living off the grid, using renewable energies, the role of art in building and sustaining community, the origins of capitalism, the rebirth of the Hope district, the choice between providing jobs or preserving a community, and more.
My favorite of these discussions was the one about the Poletown plant. I had my eyes opened to a new way of thinking about communities being moved for the sake of job creation. It gave me a clearer sense of how things are built (in terms of government action and eminent domain) which really helped me to see Detroit through new eyes.
After the tour, we reflected about things we learned and shared those reflections with each other. One of the things I shared was how impacted I was by seeing how art can really change a community. I know that I'll take this insight and the many other things I learned with me – and I hope to come back to learn with DJJ again soon!
Avery Long is in 8th grade and goes to the Roeper Middle school. Avery loves Juggling, memorizing things and other weird and wacky hobbies. He got involved in DJJ because his classmate thought he’d have fun learning about Detroit through a Jewish Social Justice lens.