Dear DREAM Supporter,

As salamu alaykum. Peace be upon you.

Today, I stood beside a family on the Westside of Detroit whose home was taken from them through an illegal foreclosure. Sonja Bonnett and her family bought their first home for $20,000 in 2012, after saving for years. But in 2015, after the City of Detroit overvalued the house and demanded an inflated property tax payment, the Bonnett’s lost their home to property tax foreclosure. Wayne County then sold it to an investor for just $500. Today, it still sits vacant.

This story can be told at least 10,000 times—that’s the number of families that had their homes foreclosed on because of illegal property assessments between 2011 and 2016.

Today’s event marked a positive outcome. Working with the Coalition to End Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures, Mrs. Bonnett and her family were gifted a new home through the Dignity Housing Restoration Program. It’s an initiative that seeks to model what the city, county, and state governments should be collaborating to do—namely, paying back the thousands of families whose lives were interrupted because of bureaucracy, mismanagement, and a lack of basic concern and respect for our neighbors.

I was proud to stand next to Mrs. Bonnett today as she delivered powerful remarks calling for an end to this crisis. But I was on the verge of tears thinking about the literally countless individuals who won’t find this same opportunity. Mrs. Bonnett herself talked of feeling guilty that she was one of the few to receive this gift.

Mrs. Bonnett and a crowd of people behind her

This was a stark way to end my Ramadan—a month of restraint, of increased giving, and of heightened sensitivity to the world around us. The world we’re charged with stewarding with justice and mercy by our Creator.

When injustice has become the norm, we almost forget the debilitating impacts it can have on its victims. It’s good to be reminded on days like today that restoring dignity is at the core of our work.

It’s central to our work to preserve a neighborhood decimated by these same foreclosures. It’s central to our work to provide housing and a second chance for brothers coming out of prison. It’s even central to our work to train a new wave of small business owners, empowered to earn their own living and become helpers of others. Dignity restoration is central—period.

I’m also ending this month grateful for the immense generosity of our Dream of Detroit community. In less than three weeks, you’ve brought us within a few thousand dollars of being able to start the rehab on the Project Homecoming Transitional House, and made it possible for us to host our street fair for the second year in a row. I’ve met countless people this month who have asked when they can come volunteer or bring their youth to get involved. And our core group of volunteers—our leaders—are stepping up in all new and inspiring ways.

So as I close this email, I’m feeling both challenge and resolve. And I’m as thankful as ever for the opportunity to serve this community.

Wishing you and your families a blessed Eid al-Fitr,

Dream of Detroit Project Director

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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