Report-back video, media showcase, and opening remarks from the Detroit Future Celebration

Last Saturday, we hosted an event celebrating two years of building a digital justice movement in Detroit through our two-year federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Fund grant. The Detroit Future Celebration was attended by more than 150 and featured a community report-back back followed by a DiscoTech (Discovering Technology) fair.

Check out below our report-back slideshow video, "Prezi" media showcase, and AMP Co-Director Jenny Lee's opening remarks from the event.


SEE ALSO: the Detroit Future "Prezi" media showcase


Welcome and thank you for coming. We're excited to tell you the story of how grassroots organizers used a $1.8 million federal grant to seed a digital justice movement in Detroit. This is a story with many protagonists and many authors, so many of whom are here in this room today. We hope that after today, everyone here will continue to be active participants in the story of digital justice in Detroit.

This story is particularly important because grassroots organizations did this at a time when:

  • the city was launching the Detroit Works Project with the idea that grassroots organizing in Detroit didn't exist, or if it did, it lacked visions for what the city could become and the skills to actualize those visions.
  • the state and private foundations were saying that Detroit didn't deserve democracy, installing emergency financial managers and proposing legislation that would disempower elected elected officials.
  • national and international media outlets were portraying Detroit as a wasteland of decay, a blank slate ripe for gentrification or a symbol of political disfunction on a near-daily basis.

The story of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition and Detroit Future programs undercuts the logic of the prevailing narratives. At it's core, it is a story about participatory democracy. It includes challenges, successes and a constant struggle to keep moving towards a shared vision.

It opens up the possibility that through collaboration, our communities can design solutions to the deep-rooted problems we face and implement those solutions on a city-wide scale. And in the process we can prioritize healthy communication, and community accountability alongside our grand visions.

Today's report back is a first step in a larger process of telling the story of the DDJC and Detroit Future programs. We plan to publish a comprehensive report in early 2013 so please sign up for our mailing list and you'll be notified of its release.

We hope this story inspires more grassroots organizations and coalitions to make the bold assertion that no one can solve the crises of this city better than they can, and then go about the hard work to make that assertion true.


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