Archive for March, 2007

Seredipitously, I was offered a job within three weeks of moving to New York! I’m working at a landscape design-build company, which specializes in rooftop gardens and is expanding its green roof projects. The photo here is an example of a garden we designed and installed.

In many ways I am feeling very “new”. I’m (re)learning a lot and remembering that there are people who are not community organizers and don’t necessarily think like community organizers. The days pass by very quickly, and there is barely time to even think about blogging.

I’m (re)learning how to travel all over again. Walking is wonderful, though I need better shoes. Most notably, I’m enjoying every moment of public transportation, which is so very much needed in Detroit, even when my train breaks down and I have take three extra trains to get to work.

A recent statement released by the Committee to Support the Xiong Family to increase support for their organizing efforts surrounding the Chonburi Xiong incident:

Hmong Teen Killed by Police: Community Responses to Police Violence and Harassment in Warren and the Greater Detroit Area.

Since the fatal shooting of Hmong teenager, Chonburi Xiong, by Warren, Michigan police officers in September 2006, the “Committee to Support the Xiong Family,” an ad-hoc coalition of students, teachers, community members, and organizations, have joined efforts in not only seeking justice for the Xiong family and address issues of police violence against communities of color.

On the morning of September 17th, Chonburi Xiong, 18, was shot twenty seven times by Warren police officers in his own home. The Warren police officers responded to a domestic call by the Xiong family the day before, sparked by an argument between Chonburi and his parents leading to Chonburi firing his gun several times in his home and taking off with the family car. Chonburi came home that night and went to sleep. Without having called the police, the Xiong family awoke the next morning to the Warren policy who stormed their home without a warrant, detained the family upstairs and went down to the basement where Chonburi was sleeping. He was shot 27 times and the family was taken into custody where they were not notified of their Chonburi’s death until later that afternoon.

The Warren police state that the killing is “justified”; the city’s lawyer claims, “The twenty seven means nothing. The only thing the officers needed was justification to shoot one time. The twenty seven bullets don’t matter.”

This incident, however, is no anomaly; it is related to other forms of racially targeted police harassment and violence experienced by Asian American youth and other youth of color in the greater Detroit area. On November 26th, an off-duty office outside a retail store in Detroit fatally shot an unarmed sixteen-year-old African American youth, Brandon Martell Moore. Both families have not received an explanation or procedures from which to address their son’s death. Continue Reading »

I was very saddened to hear the news that Rob Cedar passed on Monday, March 4, 2007. I briefly worked with Rob during the last stages of the campaign to shut down the Hamtramck medical waste incinerator in 2005. Rob was a very kind, gentle person, and a dedicated environmental justice advocate. He helped organize the Hamtramck Environmental Action Team (HEAT) and served on city council. Like many unnamed local community activists, Rob’s work is what maintains and strengthens the integrity of our communities. May he rest in peace.

Rob at a demonstration to shut the Hamtramck medical waste incinerator. Photo by ACCESS.

UPDATE: Information about Rob’s memorial service. Continue Reading »