Meet the Leaders
Tepfirah Rushdan, known affectionately as Tee, is a Co-Director at Keep Growing Detroit. Tee is a native Detroiter that is passionate about serving community. She has combined her love for people and nature through various environmental projects here in the city including developing conservation skills in youth, vacant land remediation, youth and adult farmer training programs, wild edible walks, community gardening and climate change and resiliency research. She has also worked hard to provide resources and technical assistance to hundreds of gardens in the city over the years through her work with the Garden Resource Program. A few of her accomplishments include graduating from the Urban Roots class of 2010, holding a seat on The Detroit Food Policy Council, and helping to guide the work of the Uprooting Racism Planting Justice Initiative. Other notable projects have included helping to complete the Detroit Residential Parcel Survey in 2009, which helped to map vacant land in Detroit and make this information available to community members. She currently serves as the board member for the following: Detroit Peoples Co-op , R.A.H.A.M Detroit (Responsible hands and minds), and Black to the Land Coalition.
B. Anthony Holley is a community organizer, artist, and entrepreneur born and raised in Detroit. B. Anthony is a co-founder of Conscious Community Cooperative ThinkTank (C3), a grassroots self-sufficiency organization which provides awareness programs to the community connecting cooperative economics, emergency preparedness, and sustainability. Through C3 ThinkTank, members align their various skills and resources to develop a platform for resiliency for people of African descent. C3 Thinktank developed Get Ready Stay Ready Detroit initiative to provide emergency preparedness training and build a network of leaders. As co-founder of The Cooperation Group and Detroit Community Wealth Fund, B. Anthony also supports and finances the development of local cooperatives as a way to achieve economic justice for those systemically excluded from the economy.
Antonio Rafael is an indigenous (Coahuiltecan and Boricua) agroecologist, educator, outdoorsman, radical economist, artist, beekeeper, and gardener from Southwest, Detroit. As an educator, facilitator and consultant he weaves together disparate phenomena from economic and environmental history to the current neoliberal assault on public goods in a way that’s easily digestible for all grade levels from youth to professionals. His political street art has gone viral, been featured in movies, articles, and movements. Learn more: #decolonizeDetroit Antonio organizes with his neighborhood through his agroecology and arts center called Southwest Grows. #SWGrows He and neighbor-gardeners started a beekeeping cooperative called Southwest Beetroit. #SWBeetroit Sharing his love for nature, he co-founded the Black to the Land Coalition to encourage BIPOC Detroit residents to explore the outdoors. #blacktotheland He works closely with Anishinaabe communities across the Great Lakes, hunting, harvesting wild rice, and building birch bark canoes. Antonio works with the National Wildlife Federation pouring his knowledge and networks into developing the Detroit Leadership and Environmental Education Program, to cultivate the next generation of critically conscious environmental leaders from Detroit High School Students.
Djenaba Ali is a BttLC founding member and serves as the current Co-Chair. She is an outdoor recreation and camping leader, Black Bottom Garden Center co-op business owner, Tax preparation specialist, Podcast personality, Youth project leader, event planner, former purchaser and compliance auditor, community organizer, freelance copy editor, healthy cooking and nutrition enthusiast, and gardener. These combined experiences have developed Djenaba as a servant leader and advocate for youth and Community development. She resides with her family, including her 5 children, in Detroit, MI.
Bryce Detroit is the Afrofuturist artist, griot, activist, and pioneer of Entertainment Justice.
As a cultural designer, he is a national award-winning music producer, performer, and curator. Through his practice, Bryce Detroit demonstrates the power of using music entertainment arts and native legacies to design cultural infrastructure for preserving, producing, and promoting new Diasporic Afrikan narratives, cultural literacies, and cooperative neighborhood-based economies.
Bryce Detroit is a 2019 New Museum Ideas Cities Fellow and a 2017 Knight Arts Challenge award winner. Bryce Detroit was also selected as music curator for the 10th St Etienne International Design Biennale, representing Detroit as a UNESCO City of Design. curating and producing all of the live music programming for the event’s opening two-weeks, and becoming the first person to curate live music programming in the Biennale’s twenty-year history.
A prominent community activist and advocate, Bryce Detroit grows intersectional self-determined communities as a founding member of Oakland Avenue Artists Coalition, co-founder of Detroit Community Wealth Fund, director of Culture at Center for Community Based Enterprises (C2BE), and international delegate for East Michigan Environmental Action Council.
Adrienne is the founder and one part of SoulVival Life, an organization dedicated to promoting African/Black self sufficiency through knowledge and applied skills related to the outdoors, emergency preparedness, primitive survival, and homesteading. SoulVival Life relies on skill sharing and trading knowledge in various areas of self reliance. The ultimate goal is the secure land and provide a retreat and educational training center. Adrienne is a proud member of Black Bottom Gun Club, Detroit People's Food Coop, TSCMU, and Elite Angels of Elite Archery .
Moudou is a lifelong resident of the Detroit Southeast Michigan community. He spent his formative years heavily immersed in outdoor stewardship activities passed down from his Great Grandfather. The frequent experiences of his family homestead farm gave him perspective unique to Black urban existence. Born to a labor Union steward and a Civil rights investigator, Moudou was heavily exposed to issues of the struggle for Black empowerment and general human suffrage issues. He spent his early teens doing political organizing and campaign work, petition signing, sit in, boycotts, civil disobedience on issues related to Black power and economic justice. He eventually became head of his University Black student alliance, here by fate he met luminaries in the African centered freedom school movement who encouraged him to use his talents as an educator for CIBI which was formerly called the Council of Independent Black Institutions. Here Baba Moudou began to recall and expand his early lessons on the farm and began brainstorming ways to create a food security curriculum. Along with his fellow comrade Chris Jackson he launched a food security curriculum for K-8 students. From there the positive impact resulted in the brainstorm acquisition and development of Dtown farm and the formal creation of the Black food Security Network. He spent several years developing home and school based aquaponic curriculums and systems, eventually working for the City of Detroit as an Environmental Educator. He has been an active member of the Black to the Land Coalition since its inception and feels he has finally found an organization that can addressed the environmental health of Black people wholistically.
Chris Jackson, one of the founding members of Black to the Land Coalition, and Camping and Conservation Coordinator at Detroit Outdoors, helps organize camping trips and other outdoor activities for urban dwellers. He believes nature can provide opportunities for physical and mental wellness and help to heal historic trauma. He is an archery instructor, enjoys cycling, kayaking, urban gardening, and finds sitting around the campfire magical. His goal is to identify barriers that impede people of color from interacting with nature and work to decrease these barriers so that people of color connect with and enjoy the wonders and joys of the greenspaces and waterways in SE Michigan as well as around the magnificent state.
Advisors & Supporters
Special thank you to all the people who support the leaders!