Thursday, April 05, 2007

KuidaOsumi in Detroit!

Our friend Emily invited Tony to Detroit to lead some workshops and presentations around the book "Teaching About Asian Americans," a book that Tony contributed a chapter on the "Feast of Resistance," which is an activity for teaching about Asian American history and activism through food. We arrived on Friday, spending time in East Lansing, Detroit and Ann Arbor, and coming home Tuesday night. Since it was Tony's 4th trip and my 7th or 9th time to Detroit, we were excited to bring Maiya to Detroit to visit with our friends from previous trips that we've worked with over the last 7 years. We got to spend a lot of time with Emily, Scott and their 17 month old daughter Tula, and Maiya got to spend time with Grace Lee Boggs, a 91 year old movement activist, who Maiya "Grace" is named after.
Emily and Tula at the Michigan State University in East Lansing for a K-12 Teacher's conference.
Maiya and Tula at the Boggs Center in Detroit for the Feast of Resistance potluck and conversation on Freedom Schooling and Liberatory Teaching with Tony & Glenn Omatsu. Notice the matching outfits. The girls' parents were getting them to do "power fists."
Jenni, Maiya and Tony with Grace
At the Cass Cafe with Kibibi, our friend from Detroit Summer. It was so great to see Kibibi. When we met her she was just starting college, and now she is finishing up her M.A. in Urban Planning.
At U of M - Ann Arbor for the Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies presentation and book signing for "Teaching About Asian Americans" (Back from left: Emily, Joe, Christina, Tony. Front from left: Edith & Glenn (editors), and Maiya)

Kids at the U of M event. Maiya actually ran off for about 15 minutes with these big kids. At left, is 3 year old Maya, whose mom Christina was one of the book's contributors. We visited Maya's hotel room to watch Elmo DVDs, and then on Monday, we met Maya and her daddy for a playdate at the kids museum.
Maiya with our sweet friend Shea, who coordinated Detroit Summer for many years, playing outside of Avalon Bakery. Shea is a community organizer who is a walking encyclopedia of Detroit, and has been one of our closest friends in Detroit. She and Grace write a weekly column in the Michigan Citizen newspaper.
Tony and Maiya in Grace's living room where we spent Tuesday afternoon talking with Grace. Grace is really amazing. She is actively engaged in Detroit City of Hope and the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, and is going to be interviewed for Bill Moyers' new PBS show this month.
Here is Fire Fighter Maiya at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. While Tony was busy at U of M, Maiya and I spent 4 hours at the kids' museum, playing with the exhibits. She loves fire engines.

BIG THANKS to the amazing, amazing Emily for organizing multiple events for 6 people in 3 cities over 4 days, and for taking such good care of us. Thanks to Scott for giving us a political tour of Detroit.  Most of our work has been centered on the Cass Corridor, Eastside and Southwest Detroit so we got to see more of Detroit by car and by the rive.

Thanks to Marilyn from MSU for arranging the K-12 teacher's workshop. It was a lot of work traveling with a two year old, keeping her from being too overstimulated or bored, trying to find time for naps, providing snacks and meals (finding string cheese wherever possible), and dealing with meltdowns and adjusting to a 3 hour time difference, etc., etc., but she really had fun on the plane, meeting our friends (and several toddlers and children), and experiencing Detroit. I hope we can go back again soon... it's our second home.

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