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After Her Young Son Was Killed, This Detroit Woman Set Out To Reinvent Her Neighborhood

After Her Young Son Was Killed, This Detroit Woman Set Out To Reinvent Her Neighborhood

Shamayim Harris lost her young son in a hit-and-run nearly 10 years ago. Instead of letting that sadness and despair get the best of her, she decided to make a big change.

Avalon Village is located in Highland Park, Michigan. It's a city within a city amid Detroit's 147 square miles. Highland Park has become notorious as a symbol of blight in the Metro Detroit area. The city's street lights have been shut off due to non-payment and has had severe cutbacks to its police staff, just to name a few.

As Curbed Detroit recently pointed out, the transformation will take place in two stages.

"The first is renovating an abandoned home that they're calling the Homework House, which will be a place of nurturing for kids to come, eat a healthy meal, get help with their school work, and to learn about food and urban survival," wrote Curbed's Robin Runyan. "The house will also have activity courts built next door. The second is the Goddess Marketplace, a shipping container-based economic initiative for women where they can sell their goods and food. Landscaping will also be part of this first phase, which should be completed by September 23."

"This is built by the people, for the people," Harris told Detroit's Metro Times. "This is basically putting the power back in the communities hands. We’re undeserved for whatever reasons...Whatever services have fallen short is what we want to provide. We’re creating the life we deserve and the services we want to have here."

A Kickstarter for the project has raised nearly $190,000 so far. The project has a goal of $242,000 with just two days to go. To help transform this blighted Detroit neighborhood into a 21st-century sustainable eco-village, click here.


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