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I Left My Job Because of DREAM

Dear DREAM Supporter, as salamu alaykum.

My name is Dawud Clark and three months ago I left my job because of DREAM. I wanted to tell you why.

You see, when I got introduced to DREAM in 2019, I was living in a hotel, riding my bike back and forth to the Muslim Center masjid. I had a job, thank God, but not having a stable, long-term place to call home was a huge struggle.

Well, DREAM gave me that home. They invited me to be the first resident at Project Homecoming, our transitional home for formerly incarcerated men. Then, earlier this year, Brother Mark reached out and asked if I would become the House Manager. It was a part-time position and I knew it’d be the perfect way to help brothers who were in the same position as I had been in. Shortly after that, I was able to join the Facilities team at the Muslim Center too! I’m there every single day, and it’s a serious blessing.

So you see, I left my job because, thanks to DREAM and this community we’re building together, I’m getting to do everything I ever asked when Allah gave me another chance.

That’s why I hope you’ll support us to DREAM BIGGER with a donation to our campaign today.

Image of Dawud Clark

The support that you and others have provided so far has ben critical in helping our first residents get back on their feet after long-term incarceration. A lot of times, brothers end up in places that are highly transitory, loose environments, full of drugs and alcohol. It’s the exact opposite of what’s good for them. At Project Homecoming, we put brothers in a stable environment with loving rules, supportive programs, real community, and nothing in the refrigerator that’s not halal!

These days, I’m in touch with 30 or so brothers inside the Michigan Department of Corrections to spread the word about our house and to work with brothers as they approach parole. When we reached out to our first 10 people to explain what our program offered, every last brother said, “alhamdulillah, this is what we need. How can we help?” And then they started making connections.

I’m excited for this year. We get to start with our study circles again. We have several residents in the pipeline. We’re planning new job training. I hope we have a lot more to share with you in the coming months.

If you appreciate what we’re trying to do, please do start this year by making a small donation to support the work.

Dawud Clark
House Manager
Project Homecoming

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Humbled by our Largest Gift Ever

A Bigger Dream

Dear DREAM Supporter,

As salamu alaykum! Peace be upon you.

I wanted to share some big news!

DREAM has now received our single largest grant to date: $250,000 from The Henry Luce Foundation over the next three years to keep capturing our histories, telling our own story, and re-framing the narrative through DREAM’s Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project!

In the midst of a pandemic that’s had a toll in our community that hurts to think about sometimes, we’ve been blessed to capture the lasting stories of individuals and families who have helped to sustain and continually transform Detroit’s Black Muslim community over the last five decades. Eventually we’ll launch a dynamic, virtual home for these stories, but we’re also storing them for posterity in an archive at Western Michigan University, where they’ll always be accessible, God-willing.

This gift, one of several to projects examining and reframing race, justice, and religion in the U.S., will allow us to expand the oral history project as well as truly professionalize a more a forward-looking documentary piece that explores our work in the neighborhood.

Post from The Henry Luce Foundation

This project started as a nugget of an idea at a volunteer iftar in 2019. By early 2020, we had some initial funding from our friends at Pillars Fund and were ready to start recording oral histories and planning for a really short documentary. We all know what happened then.

But we persisted! We went virtual with our oral histories, and recorded 18 of our first 50 interviews on zoom. Guided by our professional support team, we trained local youth in community ethnography skills, as well as interviewing and filming. Support from the Whiting Foundation allowed us to continue this work all throughout the worst of the lockdown and start to plan for a larger project.

This latest grant will now be instrumental in doubling the output of our oral history project and turning a 15-minute video into a 60-minute documentary, God-willing.

[DREAM] enlisted filmmakers, activists, and young people from metro-Detroit’s Black Muslim communities to take leading roles in gathering oral histories and producing a documentary about Detroit-based African American Muslim leaders and the communities they serve. “This approach recognizes that insider community members have the most grounded and reliable knowledge about the issues that affect them,” said Dr. Alisa Perkins, Project Director & WMU Associate Professor

We’re so grateful to the Luce Foundation for recognizing our work and providing the resources for us to take it even further.

And we also want you to know that these gifts are made to organizations like ours only after we’ve shown a substantial and consistent base of supporters. So thank you for making this type of opportunity possible.

Peace and Blessings,

The Dream of Detroit Team

P.S. Here’s a look at five of our interns reviewing some of their work during a videography and interview training this summer with radio, T.V., and film producer Malikah Shabazz.

Images from Training from Summer

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A Revived Vision for DREAM

Dear DREAM Supporter,
As salamu alaykum! Peace be upon you.

As we enter the second week of our fundraising campaign, really our first like it in almost eight years, I want to start by saying thank you, and re-introducing you to Dream of Detroit.

What started as a charitable home rehab on an ailing block in 2013 has turned into a staffed community development organization that engages thousands of people and has a bold vision for tomorrow: to build new homes in a left-behind neighborhood, open innovative businesses on our economic main street, and engage ten times as many residents and volunteers in our organizing and service work.

Our mission is clear: to combine community organizing with housing and land development to revitalize our neighborhood and build a healthy community. And we have a real track record of rehabbing houses, bringing new economic activity to our area, and building relationships that help the residents in our neighborhood have the best quality of life possible.

On a personal note, I’m grateful to finally have the chance to lead DREAM full-time as Executive Director after years of growing this project as one volunteer among many, all of whom had other full-time endeavors. Giving this organization my total attention has been a dream 😉 for a long time, and the conversations I’ve recently had with people — ranging from our earliest supporters to new senior foundation relationships, to folks both young and old — have left me humbled, hopeful, and inspired about our organization’s future.

And in the spirit of inspiration and the future, I want to formally introduce you to the new and inspired look of Dream of Detroit:

Dream of Detroit

Every part of our new logo means something:

Dream of Detroit

I’m so grateful that you’ve been along this ride with us so far. Please stay close as we enter into this next phase.

Check out our new website when you get a chance.

And don’t forget to chip in to our crowdfunding campaign. Remember, every small gift matters, and the sharing is just as important. My best to you and yours — and looking forward to sharing more with you over this next month.

Peace and blessings,

Mark Crain
Executive Director

 

Donate today

 

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We’ve Been Quiet this Year

Dear DREAM Supporter,
As salamu alaykum! Peace be upon you.

This second year of the pandemic has posed some interesting challenges for DREAM. Uncertainties around public health rules, vaccine and mask adoption, and public willingness to gather all made it difficult to plan. On top of that, some capacity crunches made it harder for us to stay in touch with you than we normally like.

Still we wanted you to know that we made the most of this year, and we wanted to make sure you saw some news and photos from some of this year’s biggest events.

Please check out these event recaps and photos below. And stay tuned, because we’ve got some special stuff to share starting on Tuesday.

Motor City Makeover

Motor City Makeover

When about 40 of us gathered for Motor City Makeover in the Spring, it was our first event in nearly 18 months. Thankfully, we had a wonderful turnout and spent the day planting a flower field, spring cleaning the Muslim Center, and picking up garbage around the neighborhood.

Longfellow Block Club

Longfellow Block Club

The Longfellow Block Club had an eventful year. After meeting over zoom for several months, we finally met outside for some valuable in-person time. We hosted a listening session for the City’s American Rescue Plan funding and almost helped bring a new school to the neighborhood. It didn’t pan out ultimately but it was an incredible learning opportunity for us.

Coalition for Property Tax Justice

Coalition for Property Tax Justice

The Coalition for Property Tax Justice has been active all year, pushing for our three goals: stopping the continued over-assessment of Detroit properties, halting the property tax foreclosure of owner-occupied homes, and getting compensation for Detroiters who lost their homes in the property tax foreclosure crisis. This year, owner-occupied homes were exempted from the Wayne County Tax Auction. This was ostensibly because of Covid-19, but it didn’t happen without a lot of agitation from our coalition and a direct meeting with the Treasurer’s office by DREAM and our partners. We’re aiming for the same in 2022, God-willing.

New Commercial Property

New Commercial Property

This summer, we launched an emergency 48-hour campaign to raise funds to purchase the ideal commercial lot in our neighborhood. Our supporters are so incredible, so we were able to raise the funds we needed and win the auction to secure this important piece of vacant land, six parcels in total. We’re now planning the next steps and have already had some promising conversations with potential partners.

Day of Dignity

Day of Dignity

We were able to bring Day of Dignity back to the Westside of Detroit this year working with our partners at Islamic Relief USA. Some 500 folks received clothes, coats, hygiene items, school kits, warm food, and more. Partners like the HUDA Clinic, Detroit Training Center, and others provided information and referral services.

DREAM 2021 Leadership Retreat

DREAM 2021 Leadership Retreat

After a two-year hiatus, nearly 20 of us were able to gather for the second-ever DREAM Leadership Retreat just a few weeks ago. It was an incredible opportunity for re-grounding ourselves in our values, for relationship building, and for visioning together, as we enter an important phase of our work.

Thanks for taking a read! If you want to share it with others, you can share a webpage version.

We really can’t wait to share more with you in the coming weeks, God-willing.

Peace & Blessings,
The Dream of Detroit Team

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Saturday: Day of Dignity 2021

Dear DREAM Supporter,
As salamu alaykum! Peace be upon you.

Day of Dignity is back at the Muslim Center in 2021… Come on out this Saturday!

Each year, Islamic Relief USA partners with local organizations across the country to host Day of Dignity, an opportunity to provide neighbors with essential household and personal items as we get into the colder months.

Here in Detroit, we also work with our local partners like the HUDA Clinic, various job placement services, and social service providers to make crucial resources and referrals available to community members.

This year, Day of Dignity will take place from 9:30am to 1pm this coming Saturday, and there’s still time to spread the word or sign up to volunteer.

Day of Dignity

Photo of Day of Dignity

Peace & Blessings,
The Dream of Detroit Team

Uncategorized

Thank you!

Dear DREAM Supporter,
As salamu alaykum! Peace be upon you.

Absolutely incredible. In just two days, we came together and raised $55,000 to purchase a critical piece of land in our neighborhood! While our campaign came up just a bit short, we were able to work with a couple key supporters to make sure we had the difference and could pay the seller on time.

We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who donated, shared, prayed, or hoped for the success of this drive. Finally, after years of waiting, we own the most ideal future site for DREAM’s first commercial development.

We’re in the beginning of an important strategic planning period right now, thoroughly assessing all that we’ve done so far and where DREAM is headed in the next 5, 10, and 20 years. Now, we can factor this potential cornerstone property into our plans.

We’ll be in touch again about this location when we have some significant updates. Thanks again for all your continued support.

Peace and Blessings,

The Dream of Detroit Team

Capturing Community: Digital Storytelling and Community-Driven Archives Speaker Series

Don’t Miss this Special Event Coming Up Thursday

Thursday, September 23
7:00pm et
Webex Meeting

Join DREAM’s executive director Mark Crain and Western Michigan associate professor Dr. Alisa Perkins to learn how the Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project is capturing and documenting oral histories in order to build and disseminate knowledge about the history and scope of African-American Muslim community leadership in Detroit. Register today for the virtual event.

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Huge Win Today!

Dear DREAM Supporter,

As salaamu alaykum! Peace be upon you.

We’re joining our friends at the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs tonight for a short fundraiser for DREAM. Can you make it?

Join us on zoom from 9:15pm to 9:45pm to learn more about where we’ve been, where we’re going, and how we can use your support.

A Virtual Ramadan Fundraiser

If you can’t make the event, you can help by giving to our LaunchGood today.

Big Win for Detroit Residents Friday!

Yesterday, Detroiters received a huge relief when Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree announced that no occupied homes will go into this year’s foreclosure auction, removing the risk of losing their homes for nearly 6,500 residents.

We’re grateful to organizers with the Coalition for Property Tax Justice and other groups who have kept up the pressure on our elected officials to solve this tax crisis at the city and county level.

Treasurer Sabree came to the right conclusion for Detroit families and brought Wayne County in line with every other county in Southeast Michigan.

But remember: multiple academic studies and a recent Bloomberg News analysis all show that the lowest-income Detroiters are still being overtaxed by the city to this day. DREAM is a proud member of the Coalition for Property Tax Justice and we’ll keep up this fight.

Upcoming Longfellow Block Club Meeting

Live in the neighborhood? Join us Monday at 6:30pm for our monthly meeting and hear more about a new business on the way to Woodrow Wilson St. and the next steps for the KIPP:Detroit Imani Academy coming to our neighborhood.

Monthly Block Call Club Video Call Meeting

Save The Date: Saturday, May 29th for Motor City Makeover

More details coming soon but we’ll need you out in the neighborhood with us that day. Please save the date!

Woodward Eid Cruise is Back!

Peace and blessings,

The Dream of Detroit team

 

Donate Today

 

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From a Hotel to Project Homecoming

Dear DREAM Supporter,
As salamu alaykum! Peace be upon you.

Project Homecoming is making waves—and we wanted to be sure you saw the news! Click here to read a great profile of DREAM, Brother Dawud Clark, and our neighborhood that Crain’s Detroit Business published this weekend.

Can’t view it on Crain’s? Click here to check it out on our site.

Dream of Detroit Privately Takes on Neighborhood Redevelopment


Dream of Detroit Privately Takes on Neighborhood Redevelopment

“Dawud Clark, a formerly incarcerated Detroit resident, is pictured at the work station where he crafts leather goods. Clark is house manager for a transitional home for formerly incarcerated men called Project Homecoming that is opening on Detroit’s west side.”

– Courtesy of Annalise Frank/Crain’s Detroit Business

Reply to let us know what you think of the story, and be sure to share it with your friends.

We’re so proud of the efforts Dawud and his team have put into building a transitional home for formerly incarcerated brothers — and so are our neighbors. Check out the quote below.

Picture of Home for Incarcerated Brothers

“They’ve pretty much taken the block there and changed the trajectory of the block pretty substantially….They’ve…created some ripple effects in the neighborhood.”

– Debbie Fisher, executive director of Hope Village Revitalization”

We’re thankful for the opportunity to spread DREAM’s message.

The work continues, and we’re keeping our eyes on the prize. In the midst of a global pandemic, your support is more important than ever as we create our welcoming, beloved community.

Support Project Homecoming and DREAM today.

As always, we’re grateful for you. Have a blessed day!

Peace,
The Dream of Detroit Team

 

Donate to DREAM

 

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This is Quite the Headline

How a Cross-Cultural Coalition is Making a 'Dream of Detroit' Real in One Motor City Neighborhood

 

Dear DREAM Supporter,

As salamu alaykum! Peace be upon you.

We wanted to make sure you saw this great article in Model D Media about DREAM’s community development work.

Take a read and then reply to let us know what you think about it or take a minute to share it online.

We’re less than two weeks away from the DREAM Street Fair!

If you’re coming, let us know on Facebook and then invite a few friends.

As always, grateful for your support…

Peace & Blessings,
The Dream of Detroit Team

Dream Street Fair

 

Donate Today

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The Mayor was in our House

Dear DREAM Supporter,

As salamu alaykum! Peace be upon you.

This past week was busy!

The highlight had to be Wednesday’s meeting with Mayor Duggan at our office. We helped start the Longfellow Block Club to strengthen our ties to long-time residents in the neighborhood, but it’s quickly become a leading block club in the city. That’s why when the mayor’s team was looking for residents for him to speak with this week, they reached out to our block club president, and she in turn reached out to DREAM.

The mayor heard our concerns about access to skilled contractors, about jobs in the city, about vacant homes being unboarded by city contractors, inconsistent service delivery on things like garbage and recycling, and more.

For some issues, he had answers, and for others, he simply heard our ideas. It was a productive meeting, and it was good to know the mayor remembered our work. Mayor Duggan remarked, “I remember being at the Muslim Center a few years ago when this vision was being shared. Now, to see what you’ve done…”

Photos of DREAM with Mayor Duggan

The week actually started off with an exciting graduation ceremony at the Muslim Center for our 6th cohort of the ProsperUS Detroit Entrepreneur Training Program. This class included our 50th graduate!

And we ended the week completing more of our fence design right outside the Muslim Center. Check it all out and lend a hand next Friday!

Street Fair Flyer

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"The true life that God wants for all people—not one people—their true life is a life of cooperation… community life!"
- Imam W.D. Mohammed