Challenge #4 Project with Feedom Freedom: COVID-19 Nonprofit Support

As we all continue to sit in quarantine with our attention absorbed by Zoom calls, Netflix, and whatever puzzles we can get our hands on, something is happening right outside our windows. Spring has arrived. Spring in Detroit brings robins, daffodils, and much desired warmer weather, but on the 800 block of Manistique Street in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood it also brings hope for a successful growing season and space where the community can come together with the land. 

The Pavilion at the Fox Creek Art Scape, one of the community spaces run by Feedom Freedom.

Feedom Freedom is a non-profit that has been interwoven within the Jefferson Chalmers community since 2009. Founders Myrtle and Wayne Thompson aim to create a space where the community can connect with the land, its history, and its people. The Feedom Freedom spaces include community gardens, a pavilion, an art scape, and a community cultural hub. Our group worked with the Feedom Freedom organization around the design question, “How might we build awareness around the Feedom Freedom area as a space by and for the community?”

As a team, we set out to learn as much as possible about Feedom Freedom, because in the words of stakeholder Mikal Bresse; “in community work you need to be a teacher sometimes, but a learner as well.” We asked our stakeholders about the history of the properties, about what they offer the community, and ultimately what their hopes and dreams are for the space as we look ahead to the end of quarantine and the dawn of warmer weather. 

Our Challenge team, comprised of Fellows Haley,  Jacob, Abbey, and Lauren, scoped our project out to best address Myrtle’s most pressing needs for the coming months. Through the process we adapted to changes that best fit the needs of the organization and ultimately crafted inter-community and eternal-community marketing strategies that included flyers, signage, social media campaigns, and an oral history project. Our work with Feedom Freedom enabled us to connect with a remarkable organization of community and justice-minded leaders and showed us what true caring looks like – even in a time of crisis.