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Detroit Libation

Detroit Libation is a collective acknowledgement and affirmation of the many Detroiters who have become ancestors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of shelter in place and other safety measures, families and loved ones have not had opportunities to gather, grieve and comfort as accustomed.

In support community members of different backgrounds and faith traditions came together to pour libations. Combining  the innovation of web-based community building with the tradition of African libations, these local leaders created and captured their individual ceremonies with their phones, tablets or laptop cameras, bringing their own cultural expression and unique creativity to an age old tradition. 

The African American community is disproportionately impacted by loss due to both COVID-19 and police violence. Detroit Libations begins countering this impact by tapping into cultural practices and traditions that for centuries have promoted community restoration, continuity, and wholeness. 

Due to HIPAA, a complete list of decedents will not be made public for 50 years so our list is symbolic, honoring approximately 200 Detroiters. In addition we included people that lost their lives due to police brutality; a horrible injustice that's brought our community--especially our youth--to its feet (Ashe), moved us out into the streets (Ashe) to demand, "Not one more." (Ashe Oh!)  

“Walk in the valley of our ancestors, learn of the history, and marvel at the beauty.” – African Proverb

 If you are interested in sharing a loved ones name with an ongoing or upcoming commemorative initiative, see the list below:


“To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.”—African Proverb

Ancestor List

  • McGregor Logo
  • MM Fisher Foundation