Issues

May 9, 2018

In listening to members of the Ypsilanti community—residents, leaders, business owners—we have prioritized the following issues and policy remedies:

Development & Gentrification

  • Seek sustainable, community-driven, and controlled development without displacement (adapted from Kali Akuno, Jackson Rising)
  • Create a transparent and inclusive community engagement process with built-in accountability measures
  • Center the needs of those most in danger of displacement (renters, low-wage earners, seniors, people with disabilities, long-term residents)
  • Identify the Ypsilanti-specific markers of the gentrification process
  • Practice long-term and intersectional planning to address the root causes of community displacement and inequity

Public Safety & Mental Health

  • Create clear metrics for effectiveness and accountability of Ypsilanti Police Department in providing safety for all residents
  • Support community interventions which promote healthy relationships
  • Invest in mental health professionals’ wages, benefits, and development as we identify where the needs are
  • Locate support services in proximity to areas where people congregate, such as libraries, churches, and the bus depot

Education & Investment in Our Youth

  • Collaborate with the Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education, higher education institutions (Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Concordia University, University of Michigan), and other non-profit and community partners
  • Support current and future student- and parent-led reform efforts
  • Mobilize community members of all ages to attend youth-led events and projects
  • Identify opportunities for partnerships with local businesses to offer youth jobs and spaces
  • Create a “Retention Plan” to align opportunities for our young people to remain in the Ypsilanti area to learn, work, and live  

Housing Affordability & Accessibility

  • Identify an affordability definition and metric that is specific to Ypsilanti
  • Advocate for tenants’ rights and safety
  • Explore innovative policies and solutions, such as housing cooperatives, community land trusts, and a housing trust fund
  • Use community input to create a plan for increasing affordable housing and providing accessibility measures
  • Improve the current building inspection process and fee-structure to center the needs for health and safety for renters

City Governance & Budget/Finance

  • Involve community members and residents in goal-setting exercises
  • Promote Participatory Budgeting to better align our services with our values
  • Fill gaps in services by building partnerships between residents and City government
  • Facilitate strong worker morale by improving capacity and technology

Infrastructure, Transportation, Parks and Recreation

  • Prioritize transportation safety on and around our streets
  • Expand safe access for pedestrians, wheelchair users, and bicyclists  and support efforts to promote non-motorized transportation
  • Identify and secure funds for road and bridge repairs
  • Promote the use of public transportation in and around Ypsilanti and work with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority to improve and expand service
  • Re-open and maintain bathrooms in our public parks

Economic Democracy

  • Center policies that use an economic and racial equity lens
  • Support and work with local unions
  • Align policies to build self-sustaining worker- and community-owned cooperatives
  • Mobilize residents to participate in decision-making on economic policies that impact their everyday lives
  • Promote non-monetized economic systems (like Ypsi hOur Exchange) and mutual aid/solidarity networks

In order to develop the above list and to make other decisions about issues that affect our community, Desiraè and her team are using the following collaborative decision-making process:

  • Collaboration: This is not just a way to get things done, but is a way of being. Collaboration is central to how we approach relationship building and problem-solving for collective impact. We need to build a network that is fed by the assets within the community.
  • Communication: True communication is not about one-directional message delivery. It is an ongoing process of listening to the meaning under what is said, reflecting back what is heard, and sharing information in a way that is accessible.
  • Re-Imagination: By asking the right questions and not taking anything for granted, we can imagine the future we want to see. With a strong and progressive vision, we can create a plan for how to reach our shared values through policy. Instead of focusing on the low-hanging fruit, let’s aim for root-cause-level change!
  • Mobilization: This campaign is not only about Desiraé, it is about all of us. The power of the people grows as we connect with one another across areas of difference. And we must engage people where they are in the ways that make sense for them. Through education and outreach we hope to increase democratic decision-making.
  • Integration: We must seek alignment across multiple spheres of influence. What we learn from one arena should be considered for others. We must seek and provide feedback on a continual basis.