project leader
Shimekia N
181 E Buena Vista St
(Parker Village EcoCommunity Site)
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the project

Our exclusive screening of, "How to Power a City", a documentary directed by Melanie LaRosa is dedicated to raise awareness and foster positive change in our community toward a clean energy future. The screening will be co-hosted by Soulardarity and Parker Village, both featured in the film at a one-of-a-kind green space owned and operated by Parker Village, this urban oasis is located not far from the iconic and currently abandoned Ford Plant, making it a prime location for local residents and visitors alike. The film includes our story along with Highland Park partners and residents fighting to replace 1000+ residential street lights removed by the electric monopoly DTE Energy in 2011 with community-owned solar street lights. 

By attending the "How to Power a City" documentary screening, you will help us raise awareness, inspire action, and create a positive impact within our community. Together, let's shine a light on the issues that matter and work towards a brighter future for all.


ABOUT THE VENUE: Screening will be held on the grounds of Parker Village, a one-of-a-kind green space. This urban oasis is located not far from the iconic and currently abandoned Ford Plant, making it a prime location for local residents and visitors alike. Parker Village is a vibrant and diverse community hub located in Highland Park, MI, that is undergoing a transformative revitalization.

Parker Village has faced several challenges along the way. The neighborhood has a high number of vacant lots and abandoned buildings, which not only contribute to blight but also compromise the safety and aesthetics of the neighborhood. The streets have no other streetlights other than the solar-powered streetlights enabled with mesh wifi, installed through the partnership of Parker Village and  Soulardarity. Additionally, Parker VIllage provides access to green spaces that was once non-existent, depriving residents, particularly children and families, of opportunities for recreation and a connection with nature.

The Concept for Parker Village took flight in October of 2015, when the first property was purchased. The 43,000 sq ft. former Thompson Elementary School in Highland Park. 5 other properties quickly joined the portfolio, adding 10 potential new residences to the Smart Neighborhood development.  soon after we began working with world-renowned Architect, Paul Bierman-Lytle on the initial renderings for the campus and the Smart-neighborhood.  In 2018, we installed the first solar smart streetlight in the mid-west, signaling the change and rejuvenation to come.

In 2019, our second solar installation, a water and power shed was built.  A commissioned mural by artist, Waleed Johnson with support from Art-ops, A non-profit organization supporting the arts in the city of Highland Park, was added to the structure and unveiled to the media, the community, and city officials.

The Shed was built as a joint project with Soulardarity, Ryter Cooperative Industries, Appropriate ​Technology Corp, and students from the Black Caucus Foundation.   2020 saw the installation of our Solar Pergola that will power our off-grid healthy-choice cafe. This will be the first stand-alone solar cafe in the United States. Other improvements to the campus including landscaping, signage, and modification to conduct weekend marketplace events.


"How to Power a City" is a powerful documentary that delves into the pressing issues affecting our community. Through heartfelt storytelling and thought-provoking narratives, this film sheds light on the challenges faced by marginalized individuals and the transformative efforts being undertaken to create a brighter future for all.

"How To Power A City" provides a front-row seat to communities battling fossil fuel dependence by bringing solar and wind projects to their hometowns. Set in six different locations-New York City, Las Vegas, Highland Park/Detroit, Atlantic City, Vermont, and Puerto Rico this film showcases how people are already impacting energy in their towns and cities. The film reveals how each community faces a variety of obstacles from corrupt and indifferent politicians, technological impasses, public ignorance, cost, to natural disasters.

How To Power A City Trailer [2:30 mins]

INTERACTIVE Q&A: Engage directly with the filmmaker and key contributors behind "How to Power a City" during an interactive Q&A session. Gain deeper insights into the film's creation, its impact, and ways to get involved in related initiatives.


If you want to make a larger donation than this page allows, email for instructions. $500+ donations include: Benefactor and Sponsor Impact Gifts, Two (2) Front Row Tickets and Recognition at Soulardarity's Annual Year-End Dinner.


Soulardarity is a 501c3 charitable organization. Donations made to Soulardarity are tax-deductible under Soulardarity's

EIN: 47-2733535

the steps

  • Setup
  • Doors Open
  • Music & Food 
  • Welcome by Parker Village
  • About the Film by Director
  • Film Screening [Run Time: 00:00]
  • Livestreamed Q&A with Director & Featured Highland Parker Partners
  • Award Presentation
  • Post Event Reception
  • Cleanup
  • Co-host Debrief
  • 7-day free streaming sneak preview to follow on the July 1 event

We are extending this fundraiser until 7/31/23 to cover ALL expenses incurred by screening event organizers.

why we're doing it

Soulardarity is a 501(c)(3) in Highland Park, MI
A  locally and nationally recognized leader in energy democracy with 200 members and 10 powerful staff and 5 board members. Soulardarity is a member-led, community organization formed in response to the repossession of over 1000 residential streetlights. Since 2012, Soulardarity has achieved tremendous impact with minimal resources building community power, promoting community-owned clean energy, and creating self-determination in Highland Park through the collective planning and cooperative ownership models. The organization has  created a citywide solar street lighting plan, partnering with Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office, established solar bulk purchase programs for HP and Detroit residents through partnerships with Ryter Cooperative Industries L3C, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) and Solutions for Energy Efficient Logistics (SEEL) LLC. The accomplishments highlighted in the film, How to Power a City and past and recent successes best demonstrate the collective leadership of the members and collaboration with movement partners. Soulardarity's programs and campaigns advance those community-led needs and goals through organizing, media, and movement building.

Parker Village is a smart neighborhood development, anchored by a community resource center in Highland Park, Michigan

The Main focus of the community center is Media, Technology, Aquaculture and renewable energy. Parker Village is also home to a resiliency hub as part of the Highland Park Community Crisis Coalition currently building capacity to service the community in the event of various emergencies due to climate change, power outages, food shortages and more. The HPC3 coalition consists of Soulardarity, Parker Village and Avalon Village through the Communities LEAP, a partnership between National Renewable Energy Lab, the Department of Energy and The City of Highland Park. This partnership and program works to advance energy justice within Highland Park by providing technical assistance for climate and energy related actions. Our purpose is to use technical assistance from the Department of Energy to turn the plans, visions, and research of Highland Parkers into real, resourced projects creating resilience, affordability, reliability, and economic opportunity for our community. The aim is to become a long term source of community resilience for Highland Parkers that moves from #Crisis2Justice. 

Highland Park Today

A small 2.9 sq. mile city inside of Detroit. Highland Park is nestled in the middle of Detroit, a major metropolis, yet it does not always benefit from the transportation and mobility opportunities that exist within Detroit. It is the site of the world's first automobile assembly line and urban freeway. Highland Park has a prominent history of facing environmental injustices, along with job & population loss after deindustrialization, when the automotive and fossil fuel industry that built the city, relocated since then the city has experienced a meteoric drop in population, employment, and tax base that has left much of its infrastructure in disrepair.

Highland Park is a city that now faces disproportionate impacts from climate change, including heat wave intensity and frequency, cold freezes, energy insecurity, degraded air quality, reduced water quality, and increased public health risks. Currently over two thirds of Highland Park residents live without streetlights, a reality after 1,000 street lights were removed by DTE. because of municipal city debt The significantly smaller population from the peak has decreased tax revenue, consequently leading to failed municipal services.

The energy burden, insecurity, and poverty within Highland Park significantly impacts the economic and public health of residents. Residents have experienced consistent increases in residential electricity rates from the local, private utility. According to resident reports, poor energy reliance has left some households with multiple days of outages this past year during heat waves, winter storms, and pandemic conditions. Highland Park residents are prone to low wage earning employment that impacts their overall quality of life, even as it relates to energy security. The median annual household income is $18,474. This significantly impacts a family’s ability to be an active participant in the local economy. Therefore, there is much work to be done to stand up a robust workforce development strategy that is in alignment with the city’s overall economic development plans.

Even while being impacted by historical challenges, Highland Park is abundant with bold people-power, frontline action, and innovation. Dedicated community leaders, organizers, and entrepreneurs have been working tirelessly to lay the foundation for sustainable, equitable, and resilient solutions for Highland Park. As the nation once again faces the need for massive, unprecedented transformation of our power systems and infrastructure in response to climate change, your donations will advance resilient root solutions and advance energy justice, so that all Highland Park residents benefit. Highland Park is overflowing with clean energy work and leadership that will pilot the transformative solutions that we need scaled across our state and country.


  • $500- Film Director's Gift & Panelist Honorariums
  • $900- Screen & Projector
  • $1,200- Seating & Tent
  • $750- Popcorn cart, Food & Non-Alcohol Beverages
  • $250- DJ for Post event reception
  • $250- Special Beverage Table (Vendor)
  • $500- Promotional Materials (Social Media Ads, Flyers, Posters & Program)
  • $250 - Security
  • $100- Citronilla/Tiki Torches
  • $300- Rental of PA/Wireless mics System
  • $1,500-Q & A Panelist Honorariums
  • $600-Solar Outdoor Lights
  • $1,500-Special Beverage Vendor
  • $200-Zerowaste Station Materials & Service
  • $1,200-Generators & Setup

Our total amount to be raised: $10,000


ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  


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