Chicago and the "Road to Detroit"

On June 22-26, 2010 social movements from across the United States and globally will converge in Detroit for the US Social Forum. Organizers are reaching out to young people, people of color, unionists, women, laid off and unorganized workers, welfare recipients, veterans, persons with disabilities, indigenous folks, freedom fighters, collectives, and many others to participate in this historic gathering.

Being right in our backyard, Chicago organizers across the city, across issues, and across generations plan to show out in full and get the ball rolling on the wonderful possibilities.

This site is meant to be a place of information and sharing for any and all interested and working towards the US Social Forum. Be sure to check out the new 'Radicalendar' to the right.

Why a social forum?

"This is a large scale and unique opportunity to learn from each other's experiences, shed light on social injustices, and build on community efforts to create real change," says William Copeland, a USSF staff organizer and member of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC).
Key aims are to create an open space and a process for creating movement convergence and coordination, raise awareness of social justice issues, provide opportunities to share experiences, and discuss strategies that create social change and solutions to the problems facing people across our many struggles, sectors, regions, and diversity.

Why Detroit?

"Detroit is ground zero for the economic crisis facing millions of people, not only here in Michigan, but across the nation," says Maureen Taylor, a USSF staff organizer and Chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO). "We are really pleased to host this historic event and we're sure that what happens in Detroit will have a huge impact not only here but elsewhere."


Why a Chicago Road to Detroit Coalition?

The Chicago Road to Detroit Coalition is a volunteer grouping of individuals and organizations committed to facilitating broad participation of communities in struggle in the 2010 U.S. Social Forum. The Coalition approaches the forum not as an end in itself, but as a process through which to build stronger movements for justice in Chicago and the Midwest.

Chicago is a city with a rich history of organizing for social justice. Despite that legacy, we can often be segregated by community, by issue, by turf, and don't have a deep history of working together beyond our immediate networks. That said, groups are already pretty thoroughly networked within their spheres; examples include the transformative justice alliance, Illinois coalition of worker centers, jobs with justice, arc09, and many more.

In that context, the purpose for the Chicago Road to Detroit Coalition is

1. Ensure the participation of low-income and people of color in the US Social Forum (specifically the members of base-building organizations)

Recognizing that academics, activists with resources, and organization staff are likely to attend, how do make sure that neighborhood people and organizations’ members represent?

2. Use the effort of mobilizing for the Social Forum to strengthen cross-sector, cross-city movement-building in Chicago and the region.

How do we use this big umbrella moment to encourage more interaction, exchange, and support between already existing community formations?

On top of the Forum specific effort, we can also use this moment to create greater cohesion among our groups by

1. Facilitating the political exposure of organizations' members interacting with other communities

2. Co-hosting events together where organizations share and exchange visions and practices

3. Providing tools to promote each others' work and actions (such as a centralized event calendar)  

Through those practices, greater cohesion may occur where groups may want to plan joint actions, hold a people's movement assembly in Chicago, start a new coalition,

The Road to Detroit Coalition is not about starting another organization. There’s a practical reason for us to work together for the next eight months to travel together to the forum, learn more about each other through that process, and come back with a greater sense of unity and shared work to allow us to collaborate in deeper ways in the future.