Heathens, Pagans, and Burners put ethos before egos in Detroit

On August 14th, Detroit was again the site of the powerful Street Store phenomenon. In the shadow of the Masonic Temple, volunteers from various areas of  Southeastern Michigan came together to put forth their hearts and hands in providing good clothing and material needs in service to the homeless residents of Detroit. This time, the event was at Cass Park, 600 Ledyard Street.

Matt Orlando and Kyle Coviak added their hands and hearts to the Street Store Image: Kenya Coviak, all rights reserved
Matt Orlando and Kyle Coviak added their hands and hearts to the Street Store Image: Kenya Coviak, all rights reserved

Matt Orlando, of Ancient Faiths Alliance and Northern Mist Kindred pitched in to lend an arm. A busy man, he found time to come in and put feet to the street to get to know the people who may not get to speak to candidates up “close and personal”. He is running for Representative to U.S. Congress under the Libertarian ticket this election. And though the folks who live in this district are not his constituents, he expressed his belief that people don’t stop having needs at the edge of a voting boundary.

The good Reverend Gerrybrete Leonard-Whitcomb, of Universal Society of Ancient Ministry dashed off before I could get an image of her dropping off a fresh batch of clothing. She put out a call on the Pagans In Need Facebook page for men’s clothing in larger sizes in the week leading up to the event. Though sick, she still made it a priority to drop and dash back for some needed recovery time.

 

Modest beginnings lead to big things. These racks below look like they are very thin. However, within minutes they were groaning under the weight of hundreds of donated, clean garments. Bins and boxes waited in readiness as they were continuously emptied by all who came.

Burners Without Borders set up the store across from the Wobbly Kitchen Image: Kenya Coviak, All Rights Reserved
Burners Without Borders set up the store across from the Wobbly Kitchen Image: Kenya Coviak, All Rights Reserved

 

Kyle Coviak, of the GLWC of Michigan, and Ancient Faiths Alliance, also hit the park site with strength and energy. He is known as one of the faces of volunteerism in the local spiritual communities. Working in tandem with a system of constant flow, he kept the clients happy and the lines stocked with clothing and home wares. Neat and tidy is his watchword and it showed.

 

Lifting and loading. Image: Kenya Coviak, All Rights Reserved
Lifting and loading. Image: Kenya Coviak, All Rights Reserved

*Full disclosure: He is my husband, and at this time we shall all ask for prayers, as I am definitely NOT neat and tidy. His struggle continues.*

 

In addition to these items, hygiene kits were available as well.  Food items were on hand and ready to go. This seemed to work hand in hand with the mission of the good folks across the green.

The Wobbly kitchen, as a gathering and an institution, is all about good feelings, good folks, and food. The smells coming from the buffet were mouth-watering, and the music was jamming. If you want to see more, catch them the 2nd and 4th Sundays.

The Burners Without Borders Detroit chapter plans to do this again. If you want to volunteer, you can go to their WordPress to keep yourself in the loop. The place may change, but the mission remains the same. Be a part of a growing momentum and give of yourself. It feels good. And you might just get to share ice cream at the end.

Burners Without Borders Detroit, Matt Orlando, Kyle Coviak Image: Kenya Coviak, all rights reserved
Burners Without Borders Detroit, Matt Orlando, Kyle Coviak Image: Kenya Coviak, All Rights Reserved

 

Voices from Michigan’s political parties on Standing Rock situation

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water protection blockade in the Dakotas is developing at lightening speed, as the Seven Council Fires nations converge on the site of what is the first unified gathering of this size since the Battle of the Greasy Grass. Readers may know this battle by the name of Little Big Horn. In the front line of the defense against the threat of water contamination and irreparable harm to the lands, they are raising national questions of sovereignty, environmentalism, and the rights of the people of all nations in U.S. borders.

 

Tribal territory of the Great Sioux Nation- Public Domain: Nikater
Tribal territory of the Great Sioux Nation- Public Domain: Nikater

In Michigan, this is a particularly relevant issue, as our water is also under direct threat by fracking, lobbying by special interests, and environmental pollutants. In light of the elections coming in November.  I asked the Michigan political parties for their statements on this situation. What they had to say is plain spoken and clear.

Green Party Michigan
Green Party Michigan

 

 

 

The Green Party of Michigan had this to say.

GPMI is against these pipelines from Keystone XL to this recent one. So we support those who protest. We agree with their slogan that water is life and oil is death. We also believe in the sovereignty of independent nations of native peoples and respect their wisdom of basing policy decisions on future impacts onto the 7th generation.

Matt Orlando, Libertarian gave his own personal viewpoint.

Matt Orlando (L)Candidate - Michigan's Congressional 9th District
Matt Orlando (L)Candidate – Michigan’s Congressional 9th District

With as many spills that have taken place over the years I understand the concerns of The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as well as Debra White Plume of the Oglala Lakota. Even with advancements in technology there are still possibilities of spills occurring. There are several cultural concerns as well that must be taken into consideration. For example The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has stated that that this area has sacred ancestral burial sites as well as other sacred sites. The thought of reducing our dependency on importing oil is great, however, not at the expense of Sioux sacred sites or our waterways.

I feel that The Standing Rock Sioux lands as well as the waterway should be off limits and construction should stop at the river. From there they can move the oil over land via tankers. I’ll gladly pay the few extra cents in gasoline to preserve The Standing Rock Sioux Tribes ancestral grounds and our waterways.

This issue is a hot one, as it concerns all faiths of this nation because “Water is Life”. Keep visiting this site for more updates.