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.
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.