Thirty-one social justice organizations based in Detroit, Michigan, participated in the US Human Rights Network’s Detroit Human Rights Training and Tribunal on August 24 - 25, 2012. Planning for the human rights forum was overseen by a steering committee of Detroit advocates representing the organizations Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Green Door Initiative, Human Synergy Works, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, and the Detroit Chapter of the Sierra Club, all of which co-sponsored the human rights forum. Additional co-sponsor organizations were Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Corktown Restorative Justice Center, the Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Sugar Law Center.
The title of this report comes from the testimony of a Detroit advocate who participated in the Detroit Human Rights Tribunal. It represents a recurring theme in all of the testimonies presented by Detroit advocates at the Tribunal as well as in their responses to the information presented at the Human Rights Training. Being denied participation in city and school policies and programs, forced out of neighborhoods by major private developments that create environmental and public health hazards, and cut off from police and fire protection as well as other basic municipal services are just some of the ways that Detroiters are being displaced from their communities. However, Detroit’s social justice advocacy organizations are fighting back with strategies for healing the people and restoring the communities harmed by unjust laws and policies. Their strategies center on winning rights through community organizing.
The purpose of this report is to support Detroit advocates in defending their communities by holding local, state, and federal governments accountable to human rights standards. The report comprises three sections and several appendices of materials provided at the Detroit Human Rights Training and Tribunal. Section one summarizes the topics presented at the Detroit Human Rights Training. Section two documents the testimonies presented at the Detroit Human Rights Tribunal. Section three introduces the vision and work of the US Human Rights Network.