Month: October 2014

Growing New Shoots from our Deep Roots

12028 Yellowstone St. has been a cornerstone of this community for half a century. Over the years, many people have called this place home. The roots of the tree of life and community grow deep in this soil. In the recent months and weeks, through the patient nurturing of Auntie Na’s family, friends and volunteers, we’ve been reaching out and developing new programs – growing new shoots and flowers that bear new fruit.


From January of 2013 to October of 2014, we’ve transformed many rooms throughout the community center, bringing new vibrancy and color to this old house. We’ve worked hard to create a Reading Area, Music Room, Computer Lab, Kid’s Room, and a revitalized Front Porch, Kitchen, Dining Room, and a Food and Water Storage Pantry. (See Photo section to view the transformation of the house). We’ve also dedicated time to creating a community garden in the backyard. This summer, our community garden grew onions, eggplants, tomatoes, okra, collard greens, ground cherries, and and many herbs and spices. Thanks to many generous donations from crowdfunding campaigns, and our community partners of the Godmother’s association, Oberlin Community Services, the Detroit Water Brigade, Keep Growing Detroit, and several local food pantries we’ve been able to keep this community center running. Thanks to the hard work of Auntie Na’s family, community members in Detroit, volunteer work teams from Oberlin, and a handful of international volunteers – we’ve been able to fix up the house and support the outreach programs. I can’t express my gratitude enough for all of those who have shared their time, resources, and energy with us. Your generosity is the lifeblood of Auntie Na’s House – where the spirit of giving guides us on the path towards freedom.

Let’s be real for a moment – the city of Detroit is in crisis. The flight of the auto industry decimated the economy. The predatory banks have foreclosed on hundreds of thousands of families. The city is run by a dictator, the emergency manager Kevyn Orr. In many neighborhoods, the majority of the houses stand vacant, most storefronts are boarded up, schools are closed, and it’s near impossible to find a grocery store that sells affordable healthy food. On top of all of this, the city is implementing a plan to SHUT OFF THE WATER FOR 40% OF THE CITY RESIDENTS. This is a crisis of capitalism, that impacts the communities of color living in the inner city hardest of all. People are living in this city without access to basic resources like water, food, clothing, and shelter.

And yet, throughout all of this, people have been able to find refuge in our little house on the Westside of Detroit. And this is not the only place. Community institutions throughout the city have been providing for people, building alternatives to the systems of oppression that exist, and fighting for empowerment and human rights. Our network of community centers has been growing, and a broad-based social movement is forming. The struggle continues.

In the past 3 months we’ve seen the rapid development of new programs at Auntie Na’s House. In the throes of the Detroit Water Crisis, Auntie Na has opened up her heart and turned on her spigot, giving out free water to many people in the neighborhood. Because of generous donations, we were able to acquire 2 new computers and are now providing computer access to youth and adults that visit our community center. Also, we have several new athletics programs that happen after school and on the weekends, with regular basketball games, soccer practice twice a week, and karate lessons. In addition to all of this, we’ve been continuing our regular food and clothing distributions, providing temporary housing for young mothers, and have been opening up our doors to any and all that need assistance in the neighborhood.

Please consider donating to our crowdfunding campaign to help us continue our work.
This Winter we hope to continue our Christmas programs, where youth receive warm clothing, boots, coats, and Christmas gifts. In addition, we need money to help pay for heating, electric, water, and Wifi bills – operating expenses to keep the community center open. Lastly, we are trying to raise the funds to purchase the abandoned lot that sits next to Auntie Na’s House, so that our athletics programs and community gardens can expand. Thank you all so much!