Langston Hughes Perfoming Arts Center
Seattle, WA

Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin (USA, 2012) 52 minutes and 30 seconds. English. Genre: documentary feature.

Fifty years ago Detroit was booming, with two million hard working people living the American Dream. Then the auto industry fell on hard times and so did Detroit. Many people moved out of the city and whole neighborhoods turned into wastelands. But some have a vision for a new Detroit, as a human scaled city for a post industrial world. And they are starting to make it real. As spoken word artist Jessica Care Moore puts it in We Are Not Ghosts, “Somebody’s gotta tell them, that we are not ghosts, that we are in this city and we are alive!”

The film takes its title from spoken word poet, Jessica Care Moore

Longtime Detroit activist and philosopher, Grace Lee Boggs, is one inspiration for many of these efforts. As she states in the film, “Someone looks at a vacant lot and says, ‘I’m going to grow food on that.’ Somebody says, ‘we have to talk to our neighbors more, we have to bring the neighbor back into the hood.’ That is a profoundly philosophical approach.”

In the mid 20th century the Great Migration brought tens of thousands of African Americans and poor whites to Detroit to work in the auto industry. After decades of white flight, now Detroit is 80% African American. Neighborhood block clubs are trying to come together to figure out how to deal with the foreclosure crisis that has hit hard in Detroit.

Myrtle Thompson Curtis in her garden, whose motto is "Feed’em Freedom"

In the 140 square miles of Detroit there is not one full service supermarket. “We have vast amounts of land that other cities simply don’t have,” says Malik Yakini of D-Town Farm, “and so we have this opportunity to grow massive amounts of food.” Local gardens enlist the energy of young people and draw communities together, according to the organizer of one community garden, Myrtle Thompson Curtis.

Post screening discussion with filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin

Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. $8 general, $5 Youth and Senior Citizens.



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