Story and Photos by Cathleen Francois, Executive Director, and sometimes writer for GreeningDetroit.com. She can be reached at: Cathleen@GreeningDetroit.com
Nearly half of the attendees raised their hands this morning as Director of Residential Education, Alicia Miller asked who had never been to the breakfast before today. Miller’s welcoming smile and uplifting energy is a staple at Eco Works, along with the several team members that work diligently at the non-profits mission and schools through Wayne County. An aura of joy, encouragement, and downright playfulness is the essence of Eco Works, as they continue to grow and shine in their latest community engaging programs.
This year, the 2018 Sustainable Community Champion Awards were given out by the youthful team members to Dina Harris of National Faith Homebuyers, Mose Primus Jr. of Yorkshire Woods Community Organization, and Jessica Ramirez of Detroiters Helping Each Other.
Each year Eco-Works carefully chooses a special keynote speaker, and this year did not disappoint. Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Executive Director of Project HIPHOP, (Highways Into The Past – History, Organizing and Power), whose oration had the audience rapt in a water-colored imagery of what Detroit’s new story could be – one of opportunity and power – candidly proclaiming that “the status quo will not work anymore. We have the choice to build in a new direction.”
She encouraged her listeners, organizations, and leaders of the community to find ways not only to create energy efficiency, but to add a way to get people out of disparity. She believes that Detroit can “plant new things in places that were abandoned”, and that due to our past and current racial concerns, and the countries current political platform, Michigan is “sitting in a prime place to figure out how to move the country forward.” White-Hammond was holistically motivational, bringing to close in her Q & A, the understanding of the personal and spiritual crisis of all human beings being the reason why our conflicts with the planet and our species continue. Her platform – Mother Earth will continue to have things figured out in the future – it’s our own demise and how to live in harmony with her that should be our daily concern.
At this point of the morning, a rousing celebration had poppers going off at the tables as the news of the $50,000 fundraiser goal attainment!
Final words from Executive Director, Justin Schott, continued the high-minded energy of the morning as he reflected on Yom Kippur and the Shema prayer, V’ahavta, a common prayer during Shabbat instructing on how to love… Schott granted the blessing and instructions to contain not the Source alone, but to include the its creation. And as the composer adds the crescendo to the composition, he invites us to carry the mindset of winning and the implications of this daily goal, reciting Aurora Levin Morales’ poem of the same name: V’ahavta
Too humble to drop the mic, he nods and steps away from the final standing ovation of the morning.
Look for upcoming events from Eco-Works @ https://www.ecoworksdetroit.org