The 8th Extreme Energy Extraction Summit, held in May 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Summit brought together about 95 organizers again from a broad cross-section of the movement, with 50 participants and 20 organizations attending their first-ever Summit. Hosted by a wonderful mix of local EJ leaders, the 8th Summit marked a milestone with POC and indigenous participants making up a slight majority and more multi-issue EJ groups at the table. We held the Summit right in the heart of Detroit at the Commons, a community building owned by host organization East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC), instead of a retreat center. While the different setting posed many challenges, it gave participants a greater opportunity to experience Detroit and interact with community members. The venue allowed us to put money back into the community, including hiring a community member to cater. Having our largest Host Committee to date allowed the Summit to go forward despite the devastating loss of lead local Summit organizer and longtime E3C participant Siwatu-Salama Ra to unjust imprisonment.
Participants engaged in multiple community events beyond our usual Environmental Justice Tour, which for the first time highlighted positive work in the community in addition to polluting facilities including stops at an urban farm and community solar project. Breathe Free Detroit, a campaign to end incineration in the city, coordinated a press conference and petition drop on the first day of the Summit, which included a speaker from E3C expressing our collective support. In addition to educating E3C participants about Siwatu's case, we co-organized through E3C participant Working Films a community event raising money and awareness for the Free Siwatu Campaign and commemorating Malcolm X's birthday during the Summit. Participants also attended a protest against municipal water shutoffs.
A panel by elders in the Detroit community on the history and present of organizing in the city was widely cited as the highlight of the Summit by participants. The Summit also included a panel of young, local, POC healers who offered their services to participants, fulfilling another of our shared goals to incorporate healing justice. These panels showcased the rich, intergenerational movement landscape in Detroit and provided powerful inspiration and political insight. Detroit organizers reported back in the debrief that all their major goals for the Summit had been fulfilled. Providing real value to the host community, proportionate to the work they put in, has been a long-held goal.
Be the first to comment
Sign in withFacebook Twitter