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MAY 9, 2016 - HIGHLAND PARK (DETROIT), MI – On Saturday, May 21st, 2016 from 4pm-11pm, local Highland Park resident Shamayim ‘SHU’ Harris and a team of engineers, activists, futurists, artists, urban farmers and their nationwide allies will break ground on a new sustainable eco-village development to beautify and revitalize a blighted city neighborhood. Joined by local dignitaries, community leaders, and other supporters, the Avalon Village Announcement Celebration will mark the beginning of a 30-day online crowdfunding campaign to raise the initial $250,000 to begin Phase 1 of the development. Organizers will also unveil never-before-seen architectural designs for the project.
The celebration will take place from 4pm-11pm on Saturday, May 21st. From 4pm-7pm, there will be an unveiling announcement. From 7pm-11pm there will be a bonfire and free community concert with Flint native Mama Sol & Tha N.U.T.S. and Highland Park’s own Supa Emcee. Alex Ebert, front man for the popular group Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, is dedicating a song to the campaign, and the group's Big Sun Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting creative civic design initiatives, has provided early support for the village. Plenty of parking will be available.
The first Phase of the Avalon Village project involves renovation of an abandoned home into The Homework House with multi-purpose activity courts and The Goddess Marketplace: a shipping-container based economic development initiative for women. Project organizers expect Phase 1 construction to be completed in September 2016. Phase 2 will include further developments on the block to serve the educational, economic and spiritual needs of the embattled neighborhood. In addition to The Homework House and The Goddess Marketplace, there will be expanded health and wellness offerings through a healing house, a fresh food cafe, more shipping container architecture, a greenhouse and more.
SHU has been a faithful steward of the empty lots surrounding her non-profit organization, The Moon Ministry, at 24 Avalon Street. She helped lead a community initiative with non-profit Soulardarity in 2014 to replace repossessed city-owned streetlights with solar lighting. SHU has maintained and beautified much of the abandoned city block for almost nine years, winning three consecutive annual Highland Park Beautification Awards from the Mayor’s Office and the Illegal Dumping Task Force. She also created a memorial park in honor of her late 2-year old son Jakobi RA Harris, killed by a hit-and-run driver in September, 2007. SHU’s non-profit The Moon Ministry also served as a Detroit Water Brigade community water station during Detroit’s aggressive water shutoff program.
In case of rain, the event will be held on Saturday, June 4th from 4pm-11pm.
To learn more about the Avalon Village, make a donation or become an organization sponsor, please visit TheAvalonVillage.org