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What is the Truth Commission?
Truth commissions are nonjudicial, independent panels of inquiry typically set up to establish the facts and context of serious violations of human rights. The commissions' members are usually empowered to conduct research, support victims and propose policy recommendations to prevent recurrence of violations. Most commissions focus on victims' needs as a path toward reconciliation and reducing conflict over the past. Truth commissions have been established on every populated continent in efforts to address a variety of violations against humanity.
The Housing Project Partnership of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion including the signers of its Declaration, invites major institutions, organizations and residents of Metropolitan Detroit to participate in a truth and reconciliation process to examine the context, causes and consequences of structural and institutional racism in the region. By understanding and coming to terms with the forces generating the patterns of racial privilege and oppression that hold us all back, we can create a more just, equal and prosperous future for all.
The Three Phases of this project
Race, Residence & Regionalism, formerly known as The Housing Project: Truth & Justice is a three-phase project designed to address racial inequities created and perpetuated by the policies of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in the metro Detroit community. The first phase was a mock trial; the second phase is a truth commission; the third phase will be a regional action project.
FHA & the role of the government (Phase 1 – 2008-2009)
Phase one examined the history of housing beginning with the great migration of African Americans from the South to the North leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1968. We looked at the FHA's role in housing discrimination through its implicit policy beginning from its inception in 1934. We examined the broader context of this history through an exhibit which included understanding neighborhood construction, the 1943 race riot and the 1967 rebellion. The exhibit reflects the lack of access to opportunity which created the ground swell of anger that led to the circumstances of that period, and its direct effect upon our current condition.
Truth & Reconciliation (Phase 2 - 2009 – Currently)
We are creating a truth commission mandated to deeply examine the impact of race and space and create a report with recommendations on regional equity. The truth and reconciliation process is designed to examine the history of segregation in metro Detroit's past in order to build the foundation for a more unified future. This model of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is based upon similar efforts around the world, most notably in South Africa, and Greensboro, North Carolina.
Regional Action (Phase 3)
Phase three will be regional action. It will engage stakeholders throughout the region to address the common denominator of regional development and equity. This phase will be directly influenced by the report of the truth commission and the broad based coalition created through our Housing Project partners and stakeholders.
Housing Project Partnership
The Housing Project Partnership is comprised of representatives from a range of stakeholder groups all needed to advance regional equity. The Housing Project Partnership leaders represent government, business, non-profit, faith community, regional groups, grassroots organizations and media collaborating with the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion to work on regional equity and housing in Metro Detroit.
Public Education & Community Engagement
Racial equity work operates in a vacuum without public education and community engagement. Effective discourse and transformative change occurs by direct involvement of institutions, communities, and individuals. Michigan Roundtable's education and engagement campaign includes community forums, youth programs and projects, collaborations with academic institutions, grassroots organizations, business, and the faith community to be a part of our collective historical awareness, civic engagement, and regional development. For more information please visit our website.
Criteria for Truth Commissioner Candidates per the Truth Commission Mandate June 2011
- A person of recognized integrity and principle
- Demonstrated commitment to the values of truth, reconciliation, equality, justice
- Majority of commissioners from Detroit and Southeast Michigan, 2 from outside of the Metro Detroit area
- Commissioners will serve on an honorary basis and in their personal capacity (these are not paid positions, though commissioners may be reimbursed for such expenses as travel that are incurred while carrying out their duties)
- Commitment will be at a minimum 1 year but not to exceed 2.
For more information contact, Freda Sampson 313-870-1500 ext. 104 or Stacey Stevens 313-875-1500 ext. 111
Most importantly we need to you make a commitment to join our efforts to bring viable and sustaining change to our region. Click here to fill out a quick form to be on our mailing list for direct action to the Truth Commission. We will engage you thru-out our two year process and we need your help to make this happen.
Our fates are linked and the story of Metro Detroit needs to be retold to include everyone, past and present.
The Housing Project: Truth and Justice is a three phase project designed to educate the public regarding racial inequities created and perpetuated by the policies of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and other entities in metro Detroit.
Phase I: a Mock Trial of the FHA held on Oct. 16, 2009 at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit
Phase II: Creation of a Truth Commission by the Housing Project Partnership
Phase III: Policy change based on findings from the Truth Commission
Goals of the Housing Project :
- Help people understand the structural racism which caused segregated housing in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
- Setup a Truth Commission to expose how housing practices have segregated the region and the negative consequences.
- Identify and implement recommendations that emerge from the Truth Commission to create a more equitable region.
- Create a curriculum for middle and high school students around this project and develop a DVD to assist with public education efforts.