Winter 2022 Newsletter

What’s Happening at DJC?

ShotSpotter Update

Back in October, the Detroit City Council voted 5-4 in favor of approving the expansion of ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection technology whose network of microphones are already implemented in the city’s 8th and 9th precincts. However, due to the consistent pressure that we and our fellow comrades applied, we were able to get the $7 million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds released as the Detroit Police Department (DPD) shifted the funding scheme of the contract to general funds. We are excited for this small victory although it wasn’t the outcome that we hoped for. It’s a step in the right direction. We would like to extend an abundance of gratitude to fellow community activists and our partner organizations Action Center On Race & The Economy, Detroit Will Breathe, Michigan Liberation, Detroit Action, We The People Michigan Action Fund, and Revolution James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership for all of their efforts in this fight.

Answer and Counterclaim

We recently filed an answer and counter-complaint against a local landlord who retaliated against a tenant who helped form a tenant association in his apartment building in Detroit. In the lawsuit, our client’s landlord and his company filed a lawsuit against our client for defamation, business defamation, and tortious interference with the contract, and to seek recovery of possession of our client’s apartment. In our answer, we denied that our client defamed their landlord or his company, denied that our client wrongfully interfered with the landlord’s contractual relationships, and denied that our client’s landlord had the right to evict this community member. In our counter-complaint, we sued the landlord and his company for breach of contract (failing to honor his lease agreement), abuse of process, and racial discrimination. Lawsuits filed to retaliate against and intimidate community members in response to their lawful organizing shouldn’t be tolerated.

Amanda Alexander Receives Fanon Outstanding Intellectual and Scholar Award

Thank you to the Caribbean Philosophical Association for honoring our executive director, Amanda Alexander, with the Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Activism, Scholarship, and Public Intellectual Work! The CPA recognized Amanda “for the political and theoretical richness of her scholarship and public writings and her crucial work as an activist and institution-builder in Detroit and cities across South Africa in her commitment to, in Fanon’s words, Les damnés de la terre, in the quest for dignity, liberation, and freedom.” Congratulations to Amanda and all of this year’s honorees!

Black August Scavenger Hunt & Community Gathering Recap

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to DJC’s first-ever Black August Scavenger Hunt & Community Gathering this summer!

You all made our first in-person fundraiser a huge success! We were completely blown away by the turnout, the competitive spirit of the teams, and how much joy filled the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm during our community gathering.

Shout out to the Allied Media Projects Team, who were our 2022 Scavenger Hunt winners: Nandi Comer, Addison Bowen-Debardelaben, Sarah Gonzales, Kenny Me, Anne Haddox, A’leetzia Burns, and Charlotte Mayeda. Congratulations to all of you! 

And lastly a big thanks to MJ Awards Inc. for making our beautiful trophy!

Cider Mill Trip

In October, DJC’s staff had the wonderful opportunity to commune with each other and break bread at Blake’s Cider Mill where we indulged in tasty donuts and apple cider. There was also the wonderful opportunity to pet animals, ride tractors, peruse the corn field, and go on a haunted hayride. Although the entire staff wasn’t present and those absent were missed, it was nice to get together in person and enjoy a bit of fall joy. 

Source Booksellers Event

In November, our Executive Director Amanda Alexander and our Associate Executive Director of Programs and Strategy nikkita oliver joined Andrea Ritchie in Detroit at Source Booksellers to discuss Andrea and Mariame Kaba’s new book No More Police, which was on our reading list last quarter.

Prop 3

On Tuesday, November 8, Michigan voters approved Proposal 3, which amends the Michigan Constitution to codify abortion rights in the state. The Detroit Justice Center (DJC) is excited and proud to learn that the efforts of many activists have paid off, allowing Michiganders to maintain personal bodily autonomy. Our deepest gratitude is extended to our community members and comrades who have taken to the streets to demand change and fight for reproductive justice and basic health care.


Check Out Our New Website

We’re excited to announce that we have a brand new website that we welcome you to check out! Whether you are looking to become one of our Freedom Dream Sustainers or you need to find information about our current campaigns, or our legal services, our new and updated website will keep you abreast of all things DJC! 

Become a Freedom Dreams Sustainer

If we truly want to tear down the prison industrial complex and transform our cities, we need to enter a new, more sustainable way of doing this work.

We launched a new program – DJC’s Freedom Dream Sustainers – to celebrate our most committed supporters who make recurring gifts to DJC on an annual, monthly, or weekly basis. Recurring, grassroots gifts provide longevity for our work and keep us well-resourced all year round, not just in times of crisis.

We have a goal of welcoming 50 new supporters who want to get more involved in the fight to end mass incarceration. We hope you’re one of them!

Learn about the many benefits of membership and sign up today!

If you’re already a Sustainer, please know how grateful we are to have you in this special community of people!

DJC In the News

► Our managing attorney Eric Williams was featured in the Michigan Chronicle talking about how neighborhoods are using community land trusts to slow gentrification. “Keep in mind that community land trusts emerged from the Southern Rural Civil Rights Movement,” Eric told the Michigan Chronicle. “Initially, it was a way for farmers to band together, but at its essence, it was a way for people to ameliorate some of the pernicious aspects of the traditional model of land ownership and the large ends of some of the greater financial, economic, and social systems that were in place in Detroit.”

► ABC57 covered our Road to Restoration driver’s license clinic that was held in Benton Harbor last month. 

► Our efforts were mentioned in an article written by the Detroit Metro Times about the possibility of Detroiters seeing relief from overinflated property tax assessments. “The Coalition for Property Tax Justice, a group of advocates for impacted homeowners, along with the ACLU of Michigan, National Lawyers Guild’s Detroit and Michigan Chapter, Michigan Poverty Law Program, Detroit Justice Center, and Street Democracy released an opinion on Friday that concluded the city can legally provide cash payments and property tax credits to reimburse homeowners.”


Looking to intern with organizations working to train and skill up Movement Lawyers? Join us for our 10-week Summer 2023 Internship Program! Interns will work on a varied caseload including advocacy, direct representation, litigation, community education, and research. They will engage with our multi-faceted approach to movement lawyering, community engagement, policy change, and participatory democracy. 2L Application deadline is Dec. 1st, 1L Application deadline is Dec 15th⁠.

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