RESIDENTS PLEDGE TO TAKE ACTION AFTER NEIGHBORHOOD SUMMIT

November 15, 2017

Nearly 400 attend to improve their neighborhoods. 

By Anne Marie Biondo

ARISE Detroit! Special Writer

Written on January 10, 2018

“I saw the rich history of Detroit in this film. The families,

the churches, the neighborhoods, the picnics, the

employment. We must convince our young people to

not move away but rather to stay and continue the push

forward.”—Selina Johnson, Hollywood Golf Institute

11TH ANNUAL NEIGHBORHOODS DAY LIFTS DETROIT

Written on August 18, 2017

Click the button below to see a color pictorial of the day.

ARISE DETROIT! NEIGHBORHOOD EXHIBIT AT DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY

Written on July 25, 2017

ARISE DETROIT! NEIGHBORHOODS RISING EXHIBIT

OPENS AT DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY MAIN BRANCH;

WILL REMAIN OPEN UNTIL END OF AUGUST

 

Detroit—ARISE Detroit’s Neighborhood Rising exhibit, which

had a two month run at the Detroit Historical Museum, is now

open at the main branch of The Detroit Public Library.

 

The free exhibit will remain open through Aug. 31. Sponsored by The DTE Energy Foundation, the exhibit focuses on the neighborhood people and programs that have partnered with ARISE Detroit! since the community mobilization nonprofit began in 2006.

 

“We’re thrilled and thankful that the Detroit Public Library has given the residents of Detroit and others another opportunity to see this amazing exhibit,” said Luther Keith, executive director of ARISE Detroit. “This truly a people’s exhibit that reflects the spirit and love that so many have for our city.”

 

The library is also one of the major sponsors for the 11th annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day, which will be Aug. 5, in neighborhoods all over the city. The library’s branches are spotlighting a number of programs leading up to and after Neighborhoods Day throughout the month of August.

 

The exhibit features more than 200 photos and dozens of artifacts that have been part of the annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day, the Neighborhood Summit and other activities.

 

ARISE Detroit! will host a special Community Day public showing of the exhibit on Tuesday, Aug. 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

 

The exhibit spotlights the remarkable energy residents have poured into improving their neighborhoods over the last decade.

 

“You’ll be able to walk through 10 years of Neighborhoods Day,” Keith said. “We think people will be inspired and motivated, hopefully enough to get involved and join with us to continue to push the city forward in a positive direction.”

 

There is no admission charge to attend the exhibit. The main branch of the Detroit Public Library located at 5201 Woodward, Detroit. 48202. Phone, 313-481-1300.

 

About ARISE Detroit!

ARISE Detroit! is a nonprofit community mobilization coalition of more than 400 community organizations, promoting volunteerism, community activism, and positive media images to create a better Detroit. www.arisedetroitorg; 313-921-1955

Articles from ARISE Detroit!

ARISE DETROIT! LAUNCHES MEMBERSHIP

PROGRAM TO HELP LOCAL MERCHANTS

 

ARISE Detroit! has a launched its first ever membership drive tied to a local merchants incentive program that will offer discounts to those who donate $10 for a membership card. By becoming a member, cardholders will qualify for a wide range of discounts from local businesses, including restaurants, printing and design work, book purchases, car detailing, spa services and more. In addition, cardholders will receive the ARISE Detroit! newsletter and qualify for ARISE Detroit! event discounts.

 

“We’ve never done a membership drive before, but now, with 11 years of demonstrated community impact, we believe the membership has value and is something the people will embrace,” said, Luther Keith, executive director of ARISE Detroit! “We also want to support our local merchants in Detroit and we are happy with the response we have had so far.” 

 

CARDS CAN BE PURCHASED BY PHONING 313-921-1955, or email your request to info@arisedetroit.org

 

MEMBERSHIP DETAILS

Valid ARISE Detroit! Membership Required. Various restrictions apply. Good at participating locations only. Offer may change without notice. Discounts cannot be honored after the sale. Amount of discount subject to merchant discretion.

 

ARISE Detroit! Membership Program Merchant List

Pages Bookshop

Address: 19560 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48223

Phone: (313) 473-7342     Website: Click HERE

 

1917 American Bistro

Address: 19416 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI 48221

Phone: (313) 863-1917

 

Spa-A-Peal

Address: 19025 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48223

Phone: (313) 272-7335     Website: Click HERE

 

R&L Color Graphics

Address: 18709 Meyers Rd, Detroit, MI 48235

Phone: (313) 345-3838     Website: Click HERE

 

Hot Sam’s (Downtown)

Address: 127 Monroe Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Phone: (313) 961-6779     Website: Click HERE

 

AAA True Value Hardware

West Location

Address: 8749 Joy Road, Detroit, MI 48204

Phone: (313) 934-2266     Website: Click HERE

 

AAA True Value Hardware

North Location

Address: 17400 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI 48221

Phone: (313) 340-1200     Website: Click HERE

 

AAA True Value Hardware

East Location

Address: 11616 Whittier St. Detroit, MI 48224

Phone: (313) 527-4900     Website: Click HERE

 

Bel Air Luxury Cinema

Address: 10100 East 8 Mile Road, Detroit, MI 48234

Phone: (313) 438-3494

Website: Click HERE

 

Val’s Barber Shop

Address: 18474 Wyoming, Detroit, MI 48221

Phone: 313-863-6848

 

Doctor Detroit Auto Detailing

Address: 9861 Oakland Ave., Detroit, MI 48211

Phone: (313) 529-7777     Website: Click HERE

 

 

MOVE OVER DOWNTOWN AND MIDTOWN; NEIGHBORHOODS DAY HAS GROWN INTO “NEIGHBORHOOD TOWN”

Written on July 10, 2017

By Luther Keith, Executive Director, ARISE Detroit!

 

A lot can happen in ten years.
A seed can grow into a tree.
A baby can grow into an exuberant child.
A student can go from junior high to college graduate.

ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day has done lot of growing

over the past 10 years as well, going from baby steps with 55 community events and one financial sponsor, to a roaring community celebration with more than 320 community improvement projects, involving nearly 40  corporate and foundation sponsors, and thousands of volunteers and participants of all kinds.

 

We started Neighborhoods Day without trend lines, polls, surveys, or politicians telling us it was the right thing to do. We started BEFORE downtown and Midtown became Boom Towns. We wanted a day to showcase and encourage residents to display how they were transforming their communities and the lives of others – through building homes, beautifying neighborhoods, through concerts, health fairs, back to school events, parades and more.

 

Take a look, world, we said; Take a look, media. People in Detroit are doing great things – all the time!

We KNEW it was the right thing to do then – starting in August of 2007 — and it is the right thing to do now. The 10th anniversary of ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day, held on Aug. 6, 2015 was a phenomenal testament to all that is the best of Detroit. People from ever part of the city, every zip code; people of every faith, people of every color.

 

Joining hands, working together. It was a day with one shared purpose and goal – to make our neighborhoods truly rise. Special thanks to the DTE Energy Foundation, presenting sponsor for the 10th annual Neighborhoods Day and the Thank You Detroit Festival. No, all the problems were not solved on Neighborhoods Day; Nor, will they ever be on one day. Neighborhoods Day really reflects what hundreds of block clubs, churches and community groups do on every day throughout the year.

 

But it has become a signature City of Detroit event, like no other – a place where all spirits can meet, where all are embraced, where we all are reminded that we are all really one big family.

 

Maybe we should take a cue from the downtown and Midtown marketers use the term “Neighborhood Town, ” for the collection of blocks, homes and businesses that take part in Neighborhoods Day. Maybe that will attract more resources, investment, people and believers in our neighborhoods. Okay, that may be too corny. What, I’m really saying is let’s give our neighborhoods and neighborhoods people some LOVE. They deserve it.

 

The 11th annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day, once again presented by the DTE Energy Foundation, will be held Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, from sunup until sundown in neighborhoods all over Detroit. Churches block clubs and community groups can register at www.arisedetroit.org, or phone, 313-921-1955.

YOUTH SERVING GROUPS INVITED TO BE PART OF 2nd ANNUAL YOUTH RESOURCE SUMMIT

June 7, 2017

The 11th annual Neighborhoods Day is just around the corner (August 5, 2017)  and we

are seeking financial assistance to help with underwriting hardware store vouchers

for Detroit neighborhood group

beautification projects and senior citizen

clean up/paint projects.  Please continue

reading how we started, by ARISE Detroit’s operations officer, Crystal Staffney. 

 

 

 

 

LEARN TO IMPROVE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD AT NEIGHBORHOOD SUMMIT

September 27, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Luther Keith, 313-921-1955

lkeith@arisedetroit.org

————————————————————————

WHAT: SEVENTH ANNUAL ARISE Detroit!

Neighborhoods Rising Summit

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 5, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown campus, Wayne County

Community College District, 1001 W. Fort St.,

Detroit, 48226.

WHAT IS IT:  A full day of panel discussions and workshops on a wide range of issues to help residents improve their neighborhoods.

———————————————————————————————————————————————

COMMUNITY BENEFITS PROPOSAL FORUM WILL HIGHLIGHT SUMMIT FOR 7th ANNUAL ARISE DETROIT! NEIGHBORHOODS SUMMIT PARTICIPANTS WILL LEARN HOW TO FIGHT CRIME, ORGANIZE BLOCK CLUBS, FUNDING STRATEGIES FOR NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAMS AND MORE

Detroit– An information forum on two competing community benefit proposals will be featured as part of the 7th annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Rising Summit, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 5 at the downtown campus of Wayne County Community College District.

 

The summit’s purpose is to equip residents with strategies and tools to address many of the issues they face throughout the year, including crime, fighting blight and establishing neighborhood block clubs.

Sponsored by the Kresge Foundation, Detroit Future City, and the DTE Energy Foundation,   the summit is free and will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the downtown campus of WCCCD  located at 1001 W. Fort Street, 48226.  It will include a continental breakfast and lunch.

The discussion of the two community benefit proposals, created to give residents greater input in neighborhood development projects, is sure to be a hot topic. However, the proposals are structured differently in terms of how the community will be involved if developments reach a certain financial threshold.

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and Councilman Scott Benson have agreed to participate in the forum, either personally or through their representatives. Community supporters of the proposals, listed on the Nov. 8 ballot as Proposal A and Proposal B, are also expected to participate in the forum.

 

The summit will offer 12 workshops in a number of areas, including:

*Promoting diversity in entrepreneurship.

*Home buying through the Detroit Land Bank and banking programs.

*Fighting crime and curtailing blight.

*Using community collaborations to procure volunteers and sponsors for community projects.

*Finding jobs and overcoming barriers to employment.

*Finding funding and strategic planning support for neighborhood projects.

*Creating new neighborhood leaders, focusing on the millennial generation.

Workshops will be held the morning from 10:45 a.m. to noon and in the afternoon from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m.

 

Individuals can register for the summit at www.arisedetroit.org, or phone, 313-921-1955.

The summit will also feature community organization exhibitors with information and resources to help neighborhood residents.

 

Funded by the Kresge Foundation, ARISE Detroit! is a coalition more than 400 community organizations promoting volunteerism, community activism, and positive media images to create a better Detroit. For more information, phone 313-921-1955, or go to www.arisedetroit.org.

THURSDAY, JUNE 22, AT THE SAMARITAN

CENTER; HOSTED BY BETTER DETROIT YOUTH

MOVEMENT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ARISE

DETROIT!

 

Does your organization work with the youth of Detroit?

If so, you will want to attend the second annual Detroit Youth Resource Summit, sponsored by the Better

Detroit Youth Movement and ARISE Detroit!


The summit will be held Thursday, June 22, from 6 p.m to 8 p.m. in the Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick Conference Room of the Samaritan Center, 5555 Conner, Detroit, 48213. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

 

The summit’s purpose is to bring together groups that assist youth in everything from education to recreational programs. This year’s program will have a special emphasis on conflict resolution programs, said Reuben Gordon, co-founder and co-director of the Better Detroit Youth Movement.


He is also the founder of the Detroit Resource Alert Project, or RAP, aimed at making youth aware of the many community resources available to help them in their life decisions, academic and other needs.

 

“We think it’s important to make youth aware of the many efforts to help them,” Gordon said. “We expect this to be a great networking, information sharing and collaboration building event.”

 

Summit participants are encouraged to bring and distribute material about their organizations. A number of information tables will be made available.
“We want to improve the quality of life for our children,” Gordon said.

ARISE Detroit! NEIGHBORHOOD CLEAN UP

Written on July 26, 2016

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD)

ARISE Detroit Neighborhood Clean Up

Saturday, August 6, 2015

10:00am – 2:00pm

 

Groups that wish to adopt a school, should email their

selection to info@arisedetroit.org, or phone,

313-921-1955.

 

1. School Name: Ann Arbor Trail Magnet Middle School

School Address: 7635 Chatham, 48239

Name of Principal/Contact Person:  Darron Jackson

Contact Number:  313-910-5739 OR 313-274-8560

Grades Served:  Pre K-8

Project Request: Painting Trim of exterior windows and school trim and landscaping

Number of volunteers needed: 20

Resources needed to complete the request: Paint, brushes, drop cloths, paint cleaner, rollers, pans, etc. and shovels and plants (assorted annuals and perennials)

 

2. School Name:  John J. Bagley Elementary

School Address: 8100 Curtis. 48221

Name of Principal/Contact Person:  Christa Reeves, Principal

Contact Number: 313.494.7175

Grades Served: Pre K-6th

Project Request: Beautification project

Number of volunteers needed: 5-8

Resources needed to complete the request: shovels and plants (assorted annuals and perennials)

 

3. School Name:  Bennett Elementary School    

School Address:  2111 Mullane Detroit, MI 48209

Name of Principal/Contact Person:  Dina Binomo

Contact Number:  313-849-3585 (school) or 313-330-5396 (cell)

Grades Served:  Pre K – 5

Project Request: Graffiti removal, beautification project

Number of volunteers needed: 5-8

Resources needed to complete the request: Graffiti removal (gorilla snoot); rags, scrub brushes, shovels and plants. FYI  2nd  If possible– Project Request: Bordering up abandon building

Number of volunteers needed: 10-15

Resources needed to complete the request: Boards for windows, brooms, gloves, bags and broken glass removal receptacles.

 

4. Name of School: Brewer Academy

School Address: 18025 Brock, 48205

Name of Principal/Contact Person: Micrael Linton

Contact Number: 313-244-5607

Grades Served: K-8

Project Request: Painting   Beautification Project (exterior) and repainting the lines in parking lot.

Number of volunteers needed: 5-10

Resources needed to complete the request: Paint, brushes/rollers, flowers (perennials) and bags etc.

 

5. School Name: Durfee

School Address: 2470 Collingwood, 48206

Name of Principal/Contact Person: Ricardo Martin

Contact Number: 313-252-3070 or 313-623-0056

Grades Served: Pre K-8

Project Requested: Painting of Lockers Vibrant Colors: Orange, Yellow, Light Green, Sky Blue, Red, Purple

Number of Volunteers Needed: 35

Materials Needed: Paint colors listed above; brushes, drop cloths, tape, rags, paint removal for cleaning, water for drinking

Attend: 7/14 Kickoff: YES

 

6. School Name: Golightly Education Center

School Address:  5536 St. Antoine

Name of Principal/Contact Person:    Sherill Hobbs/Shirita Hightower

Contact Number:   313-494-2538

Grades Served:  Pre K-8

Project Request: Painting

Number of volunteers needed: 20

Resources needed to complete the request: Paint, brushes, drop cloths, paint cleaner, rollers, pans, etc.

 

7. School Name: Gompers

School Address:  14450 Burt Rd.

Name of Principal/Contact Person:   Bobbie Posey-Millner

Contact Number:    313-494-7495

Grades Served:  Pre K-8

Project Request: Painting   Stairwells (walls and stairs), walls in the hallway, lunchroom locker rooms main office and attendance agents office; Window cleaning, high dusting, lockers washed inside and out.

Number of volunteers needed: 20

Resources needed to complete the request: Paint, brushes/rollers, flowers and cleaning supplies

 

8. School Name: Marshall, Thurgood Elementary School

School Address:  15531 Linwood Street

Name of Principal/Contact Person:   Sharon Lee/Craig McKee

Contact Number:   313-494-8820

Grades Served:  Pre K-8

Project Request: Painting lockers and some walls

Number of volunteers needed: 25+

Resources needed to complete the request: Paint, brushes, drop cloths, paint cleaner, rollers, pans, etc.

 

9. School Name: Twain  School for Scholars

School Address:  12800  Visger Street

Name of Principal/Contact Person:   Momtaz Haque

Contact Number:   313-386-5530

Grades Served:  Pre K-8

Project Request: Painting   Exterior doors (white) and Beautification Project (grounds).

Number of volunteers needed: 5-10

Resources needed to complete the request: Paint, brushes/rollers, flowers (annuals & perennials) and bags etc.

 

10. School Name: Mason Elementary School

School Address: 19955 Fenelon Street, Detroit MI, 48234-2273

Name of Principal/Contact Person: Omega Mostyn

Contact Number: 313-204-3647

Grades Served: Pre K-8

Project Request: Painting   Exterior doors and Beautification Project (grounds). Number of volunteers needed: 20

 

11. School Name: Young, Coleman A.

School Address:  15771 Hubbell Street

Name of Principal/Contact Person:   Melissa Scott

Contact Number:   313-852-0725

Grades Served:  Pre K-8

Project Request: Beautification project

Number of volunteers needed: 5-8

Resources needed to complete the request: shovels and plants (assorted annuals and perennials)

HOW TO VOLUNTEER FOR NEIGHBORHOODS DAY

Written on July 20, 2016

HOW TO VOLUNTEER FOR NEIGHBORHOODS

DAY ON SATURDAY, AUG. 6, 10TH ANNUAL

NEIGHBORHOODS DAY

 

There will be scores of volunteer projects available for

the 10th annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day on

Saturday, Aug.6. There are many cleanup and

beautification projects as well as event support

opportunities at festivals and other events. You can

participate as an individual or you can have your

organization “adopt” or partnering with a Neighborhoods Day group.

 

Volunteering is simple four processes.
1. Go to the website, www.arisedetroit.org,
2. Click on the Neighborhoods Events List.
3. Scan the list of projects and select the project that interests you.
4. Phone the contact person listed for the project and make arrangements for your visit on Neighborhoods Day.

If you make a connection, please email us at info@arisedetroit.org and let us know what project you will support. Thank you for Being Part Of The Change!

Written on May 18, 2016

Before there were business moguls buying buildings

in downtown Detroit … Before there were national

retail chains and restaurants coming back to Detroit… 

Before claiming to be concerned about the

neighborhoods of Detroit became a trend and a

feel-good cliché …Before the so-called hipsters and

the new creative class started discovering Detroit…

Written on May 17, 2016

Neighborhoods Day celebrates all the great work block

clubs, churches, school community groups and local

businesses do throughout the year in the effort to

create a better Detroit. Neighborhoods Day events

are  held all over the city on the same day, from

midtown to downtown, from the west side to the east

side.

 

WHAT TYPE OF EVENT SHOULD I HAVE?

Whatever shows off the work and serves the needs of

your neighborhood or organization – such as

community cleanups, parades, workshops on various issues, youth events and concerts, volunteer signups for community programs, health fairs, garage sales, picnics, etc.

 

DO I HAVE TO HAVE A LARGE EVENT?

No. Do whatever works best for your situation. Some events have had several hundred people or over 1,000, some 20 to 50. The size of the event is not as important as demonstrating your desire to be connected to other Detroiters who share a common spirit for a better community.

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

There is a $50 registration fee. You will receive a Neighborhoods Day banner, T-shirts and a “community toolkit,” of neighborhood services, vouchers for supplies for your beautification projects. ARISE Detroit! also will assist in identifying potential vendors for your event if you wish. Registration deadline is July 5, 2016.

 

HOW WILL I RAISE MONEY TO HOST MY EVENT?

ARISE Detroit! does not make grants, but many groups obtain funding from their community businesses and organizations that are eager to support groups that support them throughout the year.

 

WILL MY EVENT RECEIVE MEDIA COVERAGE? 

Some events will receive media coverage, but we cannot guarantee it for all events. However, ARISE Detroit! promotes all the events to the local media and all events will be posted on our website map.

 

TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL NEIGHBORHOODS DAY EVENT

START EARLY/REGISTER EARLY: The more time you can devote to planning, the better it will be. The registration deadline is July 5, so if you are interested, register on our website, www.arisedetroit.org, or by hard copy as soon as possible!

 

GET YOUR NEIGHBORS INVOLVED/COLLABORATE WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS:  Don’t try to do too much by yourself. Contact your neighbors, churches, community organizations that you have relationships with and ask them to be part of your event.

 

BUILD IN SUCCESS: If you are trying to attract a certain number of people, why not get a commitment from a church group, social organization or block club to have on of their events – and send their supporters – to your event. That way you have a guaranteed audience in addition to whomever else you might attract.

 

DO COMMUNITY/MEDIA OUTREACH: If you can, develop flyers and do an email campaign in your neighborhood. Get your information published in local church bulletins. Send press releases about your event to local media. Also send them to ARISE Detroit! so we can help publicize your event.

 

DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL: If you already have a program or activity that you are already doing each summer or fall, such as feeding the homeless each Saturday, or a back-to-school event just plug that program into Neighborhoods Day.

 

LARGE OR SMALL IS GOOD:  Don’t feel compelled to have a huge event if it doesn’t fit your budget or resources; Do what works best for you. You can do a neighborhood Lemonade stand if you wish, just something to show you care.

 

NEED HELP WITH VENDORS?  Each group determines its own vendor procedures, but ARISE Detroit! will assist in identifying vendors if you wish. Call us at 313-921-1955 or email at info@arisedetroit.org.

 

HAVE A RAIN PLAN: Neighborhoods Day will be a great event, rain or shine, but if it rains have a backup plan – date or indoor location – for your activity

 

THANKS FOR BEING PART OF THIS GREAT DAY FOR DETROIT

TELL US ABOUT OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT SHOULD BE PART OF NEIGHBORHOODS DAY. CALL 313-921-1955, or email info@arisedetroit.org.

YOUTH SUMMIT TO CONNECT GROUPS TO RESOURCES

Written on May 20, 2016

YOUTH SERVING GROUPS INVITED FOR MAY 28

EVENT AT SAMARITAN CENTER

 

DO YOU RUN A YOUTH-SERVING

ORGANIZATION that tries to help young people

improve their lives? Have you wanted a better way to

find and connect with other young people and to

collaborate with other groups?

 

 

Then the first annual Youth Resource Summit is meant for you. Supported by a partnership between the Better Detroit Youth Movement and ARISE Detroit, the unique event will be held Saturday, May 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the conference room of the Samaritan Center. The center is located at 5555 Conner, Detroit, 48213.

 

The event is free but is targeted at organizations who have resources of all kinds– academic, athletic, mentorship – targeted at helping young people improve their lives in academics and other ways through smart choices and good information.

 

The program that will be unveiled at the summit is called the Resource Alert Project (RAP).

“We hope to really make a difference by bringing different groups together,” said Reuben Gordon, the co-director of the Better Detroit Youth Movement, and the creator of RAP. “We think we have a creative way to get information in a way that our young people will utilize.” That way involves social media, a new app that will be filled with hundreds of resources and organizations to help young people.

 

Gordon believes RAP will deliver three primary benefits: “One, to connect our youth to programs, a youth events calendar, and a variety of wonderful individuals and groups who are here to help them grow into positive and productive adults, and our future leaders,” he said.

He added: “ Two, to foster stronger communication, cohesion and collaboration among our youth-serving community so we’re collectively empowered to lift more children more often. Three, to consistently encourage more of us to actively support the success of our youth by serving as volunteers, mentors, teachers, etc.”

 

Gordon said, technology is used for many things, “but not enough for our most precious resource – our children.And we certainly don’t leverage their preferred mode of communication – mobile devices – to show them we care by consistently connecting them to positive people and productive opportunities.”

 

Youth-serving groups can register by clicking on this link:

SIGN UP FOR YOUTH RESOURCE SUMMIT

For more information about the summit and the Resource Alert Project, call 313-342-0697.

 

ARISE Detroit! 6th ANNUAL NEIGHBORHOODS RISING SUMMIT

Written on May 20, 2016

RESIDENTS LEARN, GET INSPIRED, READY TO

WORK ARISE DETROIT! SUMMIT DRAWS

HUNDREDS OF WORKING FOR CHANGE

 

By Leslie Ellis
Special for ARISE Detroit!

 

“Working together, the ants eat the elephant.”

That African proverb set the tone at ARISE Detroit’s sixth

annual Neighborhoods Rising Summit on Nov. 7 at

Wayne County Community College District’s downtown campus. More than 300 people came to network and learn about resources and funding opportunities that can help them improve their communities.

                                                                                       Speakers from ARISE Detroit!, The Kresge Foundation,                                                                                         Detroit Future City and Black Family Development                                                                                                 kicked off the summit. It featured a slew of exhibitors,                                                                                             50 panelists and 12 workshops on topics including                                                                                                   entrepreneurship, overcoming job barriers, Detroit                                                                                                   banks, partnerships for neighborhood change and more.

                                                                                      “(The summit) gives neighborhood groups the necessary                                                                                        tools they need to go back into their neighborhoods and                                                                                        make all kinds of improvements,” said Wendy Lewis                                                                                                  Jackson, deputy director of The Kresge Foundation. “It’s                                                                                        the one place in the city where block clubs can come talk                                                                                        to experts and access resources. It’s the one place that                                                                                          brings the neighborhood warriors together in one place to learn from each other as well as various programs that (support) their work.”

 

ARISE Detroit! Executive Director Luther Keith said he

feels momentum building in the city.

“More people care about it. More people are getting

involved,” he said. “All these announcements about

grants, about resources, they weren’t available six years

ago. Now, the funding is getting pushed down into the

grass-roots groups.”

 

‘DREAMING ON A WHOLE OTHER LEVEL’

Kim Sherobbi of the Birwood Block Club Association

said she was interested to learn that Detroit Future City

is launching mini-grants to help residents transform

vacant lots. The grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded

in late February to help with preparation, technical assistance and execution of projects in the spring.

 

Sherobbi said her block club plans to transform a vacant lot that kids pass on the way to school. Turning it into a focal point of the neighborhood will tell passers-by that people there care, she said.

“I’m a big supporter of ARISE Detroit! I always meet new people (at the summit) and, actually, I always gain new ideas,” said Sherobbi, who also serves on the Boggs Center board. “For example, I sat next to a lady and we exchanged info. She said, you seem to know a lot of people. I said call me up! She was having trouble getting people to engage in the community.”

 

Karen Williams of the Bennett Street Block Club also had questions about how to engage her neighbors during the summit’s Neighborhood Organizing/Planning workshop.

What gives, she asked panelists? She and others have been knocking on doors and hosting get-togethers since the club formed in June. But, they wanted to have more impact.

 

“You have folks following you. You have folks watching you. Folks are going to recognize a true leader,” panelist Prophet Cedric Banks from Heart of Jesus Church said. “(They) are going to come out.”

Panelist Vanessa Peake of the Urban Development Corporation offered context.

“Sometimes people aren’t coming out because people’s spirits are broken,” she said. “You have to be patient.”

 

Over a lunch of buttered noodles and meatballs, in WCCC’s sunny atrium, Karen Williams reflected.

“We just need to be persistent. We’re doing the footwork, the legwork, the assessment,” she said. “I got a pat on my back and I learned to be diligent.”

 

First-time summit participant the Rev. Rita Monique Henderson of Empowering Through The Word Ministries said she came to see where she fits in. She hopes to create a community organization focused on faith, family and finances. Neighbors also have urged her to form a block club.

“I love the event,” she said. “I’ve had a wonderful time. I have a bunch of resources. . “It (the summit) has me dreaming on a whole other level.”

 

OLD MEETS NEW

Laced throughout the summit were discussions of “Old Detroit” and “New Detroit.”

Panelists in the “Old Meets New” workshop addressed the issue head-on. There has been some controversy over how newcomer Detroiters should interact with longtime residents.

 

“We are living in an interesting time in Detroit, with a lot of people moving into Detroit without understanding the history,” said Aaron Foley, author of “How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass.”

He cited the paving over Black Bottom, a mostly black neighborhood, to make way for urban renewal projects, including Lafayette Park, in the 1960s.

 

“People still have that in the back of their minds,” he said. “I don’t want to say history is repeating itself but echoes of the past are getting louder and louder.”

An audience member asked the panelists to address racial tensions.

 

“People are reluctant to talk about race – it’s too big,” responded Jordan Twardy, executive director of the Eight Mile Boulevard Association.

Instead, start small, he suggested: Meet after hours over a beer or a coffee to create safe spaces for those conversations.

 

Panelist Carl Zerweck III of Rippling Hope said his faith-based blight-removal organization, many of whose volunteers are white out-of-towners, tackles race by creating opportunities for engagement.

“We deal with racial tension just by bringing them here and having them live in a safe place and be exposed to neighbors,” he said. “I’m more and more stunned by the number of people who come here and say, ‘We thought all this racial stuff was behind us.’ We try to create conversation and dialog.”

Policy also has a role to play, the panelists said.

 

“No matter how many buildings Dan Gilbert buys, that’s not going to close the education gap. That’s not going to close the poverty gap,” Foley said, in reference to the billionaire investor behind much of the “New Detroit” boom downtown.

 

Twardy suggested closing the gaps requires commitment from leaders throughout Metro Detroit.

“The subjective assumption of regional policies is there’s a line at Eight Mile: Keep blacks away from whites,” he said. “That’s a policy challenge.”

 

WORKING TOGETHER FOR CHANGE

While there were plenty of thorny problems to sort out, there was no shortage of inspiration during the Neighborhoods Rising Summit.

 

During her opening comments, keynote speaker Alice Thompson, CEO of Black Family Development, urged the audience to see vacant lots as opportunities instead of eyesores, redefining them as open space just waiting to be beautified.

 

“What do kids see on the way to school? Vacant space or open space? I’ve reframed that: Detroit is rich in land,” she said. “With open space, we can be creative.”

Thompson urged residents roll up their sleeves and to tap into the Detroit Future City framework and field guide to working with lots.
“You can purchase the vacant lot next to your house and transform vacant space into vibrant open space,” she said.

 

Thompson laid out a series of steps to help residents get started
Among her suggestions:

  • Form block club.

  • Frame a vision for the community and get consensus.

  • Develop an action plan with a timeline.

  • Develop a community revitalization co-op. Meaning: If Miss Jones needs to have her grass cut, neighbors will do it for her, no questions asked.

  • Engage all community residents, including youths. Keep knocking on the doors.

 

Thompson then shared with the audience the African proverb that motivates her: “Working together, the ants eat the elephant.”

“No matter how big the elephant is in your neighborhood, working together, you can conquer that,” she said. “Your block clubs have power. Your associations have power. Use your power!”

Leslie Ellis is a Metro Detroit freelance writer

 

MORE RESOURCES

Michigan Community Resources
http://mi-community.org/

 

Detroit Future City
http://detroitfuturecity.com

 

Detroit Future City: Working With Lots, A Field Guide
http://dfc-lots.com

 

Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit grants
http://kresge.org

 

IMPACT DETROIT
http://www.impact-detroit.org/

 

Below are a few photos from the event for you to enjoy.

WORKSHOPS FOR NEIGHBORHOODS RISING SUMMIT

Written on October 5, 2015

MORNING WORKSHOPS, 10:45 A.M.-Noon

1. ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUCCESS: Local entrepreneurs offers advice and tips about overcoming barriers and challenges to thrive in city neighborhoods. How to get funding, businesses technical support, writing business plans, marketing and more.


2. NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZING/PLANNING: How to form block clubs and community coalitions to mobilize residents to tackle issues to improve your neighborhoods. Overcoming neighborhood apathy, identifying neighborhood leaders and more.


3. FIGHTING BLIGHT WITH CITY DISTRICT MANAGERS: Learn how to utilize the resources of city district managers in the fight against neighborhood blight. Identifying resources for your community beatification and blight projects.


4. PUBLIC SAFETY: How to develop crime-fighting strategies for your neighborhoods, including organizing neighborhood patrols, overcoming the no-snitch culture, creating crime watch and peace walk programs.


5. OVERCOMING JOB BARRIERS: How to make sure you are prepared and able to compete for Detroit’s new jobs. Acquiring literacy skills, getting job training support, finding skill training programs.


6. ALTERNATIVE FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: How to utilize social media for successful crowdfunding programs for projects when you can’t raise money by conventional means. How to create a successful crowdfunding program and more.

 

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS, 1:45 P.M.- 3 P.M.

1. USING THE LAND BANK: How to acquire vacant homes/properties and side lots through city programs and other Land Bank Authority initiatives. How to find out who owns the land, property taxes on vacant homes and more.


2. WHERE IS THE MONEY? BANKS IN DETROIT: Representatives of several banks talk about their mortgage, business loan and other programs that are available for residents of Detroit. How to qualify for programs.


3. PARTNERSHIPS FOR COMMUNITY CHANGE: Finding others in the community, businesses, organizations, and residents, to partner with you on your community projects. How to form positive coalitions to recruit volunteers and other support

 

4. OLD MEETS NEW: When other groups income to the city, what is the right way to avoid conflicts with longtime residents so groups can get along and work together for positive change. Tips for a smooth relationship


5. BUILDING COMMUNITY WITH FESTIVALS: Creating a community festival can be a great way to build an identity in a neighborhood and bring people together for future collaboration and projects. How do you get sponsors, volunteers etc?

6. YOUTH PROGRAMS /PUBLIC SERVICE: How to develop programs where youth help create positive change and participate in programs that help them succeed in life.

 

THE CITY RISES, AND THE NEIGHBORHOODS CHANGE

Written on August 1, 2015, By Leslie Ellis

From the east side to the west side, from downtown to the north end, they came armed with paint brushes and shovels, creativity and love, ready to make a difference. There were people from Detroit, volunteers from the suburbs, big corporations and small churches.

 

All together, they accounted for more than 250 community improvement projects in zips codes all over the city, making the 9th annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day on Aug. 1, the biggest and most far reaching in history.

 

“Neighborhoods Day helps us to have pride in where we live,” said Edna Jackson of Detroit, who attend a UAW Jobs Fair in southwest Detroit on Neighborhoods Day. “We drive up and down the street and say, ‘When is somebody going to do something about that? That’s what you’re watching today. It encourages people to continue throughout the year. It gives you some idea of what you can do to make a difference in your community.”

 

Perhaps Detroit Circus performer Eric Scott Baker said it best when he spoke to the Neighborhoods Day crowd gathered around him at the Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts in the Old Redford community in northwest Detroit.

 

“You are the manager of your reality and you can be anything you want.”

 

Here’s a snapshot of some of the Neighborhoods Day events:

 

GRATIOT SPLASH: Lower East Side

The scent of hickory smoke and thump of dance music created a block party feeling Saturday as the Gratiot Splash event kicked off Neighborhoods Day.

 

In a grassy lot near Eastern Market, children tumbled joyfully in a colorful bounce house, bustling vendors set up booths and adults took a cardio workout class under the big tent. The morning dawned with prayers for Detroit led by Prophet Cedric Banks from Heart of Jesus Church.

 

Later, volunteers Nehemiah Hamm of Detroit and Speed Miller of Ypsilanti fired up a massive metal barbecue to cook hot dogs for the community on behalf of Marracci Temple No. 13 in Detroit. The temple also provided face painting and pony and carriage rides.

 

“We want to help support the event for the day,” Hamm said. “We do it every year.”

 

“The kids love it,” Miller added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United Way of Southeastern Michigan was on hand to offer resources, free health screenings were available and Mosaic Youth Theater performed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Derek Blackmon of Black Family Development organized anti-crime marchers at the Gratiot Splash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

BikeVon group at the Gratiot Splash, getting reading to tour Detroit on Neighborhoods Day.

 

RIDING IN THE D: East Side Bike Cruise

A diverse cavalcade of smiling bikers circled up Saturday at the potential site of an Olympic-level cycling track before heading out on the inaugural Neighborhoods Day bike rally.

 

The 25-mile “Riding in the D” bike ride started at The Gratiot Splash and visited sev1eral Neighborhoods Day events and was a nod to the popularity of cycling in the city.

 

“Pretty much any weekend, you’re going to have two to three-hundred bikers going through Detroit,” said Calvin T. Hughes, Vice President of Touring for Wolverine Sports Club., citing the Slow Roll and Critical Mass bike rides.

 

“Riding in the D” organizer Yvonne Rucker, who’s also owner and executive director of BikeVON, said she hopes the ride will become an annual part of Neighborhoods Day.

 

BikeVON’s mission is to introduce kids of color in Detroit to the Olympic sport of track racing.

Rucker supports the Detroit Velo Project’s plan to build an indoor cycling track, also called a velodrome, in Detroit. The track would cost $3-5 million and still needs city approval. “Riding in the D” embarked from an empty lot near Gratiot Avenue and Vernor Highway that is one of the sites under consideration for the velodrome.

 

Rucker hopes to convince potential neighbors of the project’s value.

“We’d like the community to look at it in a positive way,” Rucker said. “We’re hoping for community support.”

 

CHESS KINGS AND QUEENS: East Side

Members of the national award-winning Detroit City Chess Club challenged each other, their coaches and the community to battle wits Saturday outside Chrysler Elementary School on Lafayette.

Tables, chairs and chess boards set up on a shady stretch of sidewalk near downtown served as an invitation to play.

 

“You get people that drive by and want their kids to play it to learn. Some say, ‘We can’t play now, but can you give us more information?’ ” Coach Kevin Fite said. “It’s open to anybody. Most of the kids are national champion kids. They compete all over the country.”

 

In 2002, Fite was a mathematics teacher at the city’s now-shuttered Duffield Elementary School for kindergarten through eighth-grade when the chess club began.

 

“I asked the kids if they played chess. Only two admitted it. Out of 150 kids, those two came,” Fite said. “But, more and more started coming. Then, some of the popular kids came. Once the popular kids started coming, it just took off. It changed the culture of the whole school. When new kids would come, they’d ask them, ‘Do you play chess?’ ”

 

“An eighth-grade girl asked me, ‘What if the high school doesn’t have chess?’ I didn’t know what to tell her. That’s how (the citywide club) got started, because of her.”

Playing chess builds students’ self-esteem and opens new horizons, Fite said. He added that most club members make it to college.

 

Zoe Frazier of Detroit, who will enter eighth grade at University Prep Science & Math Middle School in the fall, has been playing chess with the club for the past four years.

 

“When we play in the community, people see all these kids beating the older guys. They actually want to see us play,” she said. “Coach Fite is always telling us to play people we don’t know so we can teach them or learn from them. When you beat an adult, it feels kind of good.”

 

If you missed your chance to play chess with the club during Neighborhoods Day, don’t worry. The Detroit City Chess Club welcomes the public to join in games held from 4-8 p.m. most Friday nights in Prentis Court at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Visit the DIA’s website for upcoming dates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members of the national award-winning Detroit City Chess Club face-off during the 9th annual Neighborhoods Day.

 

UAW LOCAL 22 JOB FAIR: Southwest Detroit

Next August, you might find Percy Johnson relaxing on a fishing boat in Louisiana.

But there was no sign Saturday the community action program chairman for UAW Local 22 in Detroit plans to retire at the end of the year.

 

Instead, Johnson prepared job seekers during the union hall’s first Neighborhoods Day job fair with the intensity of a coach whose team is down at half time. Approximately 50 people turned out for the event and received information about job openings and training programs; 80 additional participants received employment counseling over the phone, he said.

 

“The work is here, but the people don’t know where to go or what to do to get the work,” Johnson said.

 

“We’re trying to bridge that gap.”

No high school diploma or GED? No driver’s license? Previously incarcerated? Representatives from Focus: HOPE, Southwest Solutions and Access for All were on hand to match job hunters with the right programs to overcome these hurdles.

 

“You can just see the change in people when they find they can get that kind of help,” said Edna Jackson, a social worker for Focus:HOPE. “When folks come in and are really down on their luck, we can help them.”

 

The only deal breaker of the day? No drugs.

 

“A poor person, all he’s got is to alter his mind. But once you give them employment, they change completely,” Johnson said. “The opportunity (to work) is here in Detroit like never before.”

 

Need help with your job search? Visit www.focushope.edu or call 313-494-4300 for more information about workforce development and education programs. Or, attend an upcoming meeting of the City of Detroit’s Skilled Trades Task Force. Meetings are held the last Tuesday of each month (except in August). The next meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 22. Call City Council President Brenda Jones’ office at (313) 224-1245 for more information.

 

FARMING IN THE CITY: Far West Side

Just past the placid river, where green-leaved branches dance in the breeze and insects sing a summer song, you’ll find D-Town Farm.

 

The seven-acre plot inside River Rouge Park on Detroit’s west side is a haven from the city’s crumbling concrete, pulsing highways and status quo. D-Town Farm grows fresh produce, as well as a vision for a different kind of future.

 

The farm is an outreach effort of The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. The coalition employs urban agriculture, policy development and cooperative buying to give African-Americans a leading voice in the city’s food security movement.

 

“This (growing season) is my first time ever being on a farm, except being in my grandma’s garden. It’s really peaceful,” said volunteer Imani Smith of Detroit. “It’s a great place to connect. You get to meet people from all walks of life and you find out you have things in common.”

 

One of those people was the Rev. Gary Wright of Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church in Detroit. Wright brought several members of his church to D-Town Farm on Neighborhoods Day.

“We were looking for a place to do some service and this seemed like something really different,” he said.

“It was great.”

 

The church members toured D-Town’s hoop houses and garden beds. Then, they pulled weeds and cleaned a median between the farm and a tidy row of ranch homes across the street.

“What they’re doing is producing food that serves people in the community,” Wright said of D-Town Farm. “It changes the way we distribute food.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malik Yakini of the Black Community Food Security Network on his tractor at the D-Town Farm at River Rouge Park on Neighborhoods Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These volunteers with Rippling Hope spruced up neighborhoods on the west side of Detroit. 

 

 

YOUTH CREATED MURALS: East Side

A bakery near a swing set. A gun marked with a red “X.”

 

These are some of the images children used to express their hopes for Detroit in a new mural on the city’s east side. The colorful, seven-panel artwork was the focal point of a small gathering at Warren Avenue and Philip Street during Neighborhoods Day.

 

Music enlivened the corner, where kids picked up paintbrushes wet with color to work on another mural while families could get a bite to eat.

The event was held in the Chalmers neighborhood, where empty lots frequently interrupt lovingly tended brick homes with neatly manicured yards.

 

“What Neighborhoods Day does really well in bringing out neighbors,” said Payton Wilkins, Youth Engagement Manager for the Eastside Community Network. “They participate in a project and then they have a sense of ownership and have pride in the neighborhood.”

 

Wilkins said the Eastside Community Network aims to transform the community using a mix of economic development and land use revitalization. “This area is slowly gentrifying. It’s slowly starting to become a more diverse neighborhood,” Wilkins said. “We really wanted to give our youth a voice. Their mural represents what they want to see in Detroit and what they don’t like. It’s a big statement.”

AT THE LIBRARY: CELEBRATING 150 YEARS WITH BOOK GIVEAWAYS: In Midtown

Five-year-old Millie Harris was so excited about Neighborhoods Day, she didn’t even want to eat breakfast before leaving home. “She’s having a blast. We’re doing a cultural weekend and it’s perfect!” her mom, Malon Harris of Detroit, said as Millie bopped around a bounce house on the lawn of the Detroit Public Library’s main branch. “She made her puzzle at the African-American museum. She planted her seed at the science center. Now, we’re here.”

 

The library used Neighborhoods Day as an opportunity to celebrate its 150th anniversary with music, crafts, food, free books and a clown tying balloons.

“We consider ourselves as the community’s living room,” said A.J. Funchess, the library’s assistant director for marketing and communications. “We try to provide our community with what they need. Right now, that’s very technology-driven.”

 

He said the library has adapted to the digital age by offering e-books, streaming video, Wi-Fi access and more than 700 public access computers at branches throughout the city.The library’s Neighborhoods Day celebration inspired Harris to inquire about getting a library card so she and Millie can come back to check out books. “If it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t have even thought about it,” she said.

“(Neighborhoods Day) was really good, when you have a parent on a tight budget. I wish I could have gotten my school involved, brought them down on a field trip,” said Harris, who is principal of Murphy Performance Academy in Detroit. “This is something they normally wouldn’t be exposed to. I’ll explore doing that next year.”

 

DANCE CITY FESTIVAL: Harmonie Park, Downtown

Fringed by greenery, hula dancers swayed under blue skies as a gentle breeze whispered through the peaceful park.

 

But this was no Hawaiian beachside retreat.

 

Rather, it was a performance during the three-day Detroit Dance City Festival that culminated on Neighborhoods Day. The festival was put on by the Detroit-based nonprofit ARTLAB J and featured workshops and exhibitions by local, national and international performing artists.

“(The lineup has) been very diverse this year,” said Jiwan Jackson, performing arts manager for The Arts

 

League of Michigan. The organization, which celebrates African-American artists, helps to present the festival.“Our goal is to have different people from different backgrounds engaging with each other,” Jackson said. 

 

Clifton Tuggle of Detroit was delighted to discover the Detroit Dance City Festival performance in the city’s downtown Harmonie Park neighborhood.“I just stumbled on it. I like cultural things, I enjoy stuff like this,” he said. “I think it enhances the city.

Bringing that to Detroit is an excellent thing.”

 

 

 

BRINGING IN CHANGE BACK-TO-SCHOOL RALLY: Northeast Detroit

“You must be registered to pick up a backpack,” Shirley Burch boomed into the microphone. “Line up for backpacks this way.”

 

The longtime community organizer sported a jaunty red sailor cap as she marshaled the crowd during the “Bringing in Change Back-to-School Rally” on Neighborhoods Day in northeast Detroit."

 

Hundreds of people attended the event that featured backpack giveaways, a visit from Detroit Tigers mascot Paws, a picnic pavilion, miniature train rides for kids, music, health screenings and more.

Prophet Cedric Banks and other members of Heart of Jesus Church in Detroit set up a prayer circle during the event and prayed for dozens of people.

 

“I think (Neighborhoods Day) is something special. I think it’s brought a spark to this city,” Banks said. “It’s brought a lot of people out who have visions. They’re coming to Neighborhoods Day – ARISE

Detroit! is giving them an opportunity. It affects a lot of people’s lives.”

Burch echoed that sentiment. “The day couldn’t have went better,” she said. “We have had such an outburst of love that, like a tree, it buds out and multiplies.”

 

It’s the eighth year Burch’s organization, Community United for Progressala has participated in Neighborhoods Day. C.U.P.’s key partners include Imperial Supermarket and Belmont Shopping Center at Eight Mile and Dequindre roads, where the event was held. “We’re giving away 650 backpacks. What aren’t given away will be shared with the Detroit Police Department,” to distribute to the community, Burch said. “Eight years I’ve been here and every year it gets bigger. People wonder how they can get involved, how they can make a difference in their neighborhood.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hundreds of youngsters like these received free backpacks at the Bringing In Change Festival at the Belmont Shopping Center in northeast Detroit.

 

SIDEWALK FESTIVAL OF PERFORMING ARTS: Northwest Detroit

Imagine you’ve been dropped into an artist’s dream.

In an alleyway festooned with colorful streamers, a crowd gathers around an upright bassist, a drummer and a trio of violin players. Nearby, a circus performer plays with fire and dancers leap through the street. Children have their faces painted and poets cry out.

This is an artist’s dream, but one she’s transformed into reality.

 

Native Detroiter Ryan Myers-Johnson founded the Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts, located at the Artists Village on Lahser near Grand River, to celebrate independent artists and build community. The third annual outdoor festival was the event’s largest to date. It drew more than 60 artists and hundreds of people to the alleys, sidewalks, streets, gardens and courtyards of the city’s Old Redford and Brightmoor neighborhood.

 

Performers included Detroit poet Jessica Care Moore, Ballet Folkloriko de Detroit, Gabriel Brass Band, opera singer Kisma Jordan and Mosaic Youth Theatre.

The free festival attracted a diverse audience from the city and suburbs, who engaged with the artists and each other in joyful wonder.

 

“It’s my first time and it’s incredible,” said Hayley Thompson of Huntington Woods. “It feels like everything’s a pop-up activity. It’s very organic. It’s very inspiring.

“This is pretty much the main reason I know anything about this neighborhood,” she said. “I work in Detroit but I’m still very much a suburbanite.”

Dan Aprilianto of Ann Arbor, whose wife Emilia Javanica performed a puppet show for kids during the festival, agreed.

“It’s interesting,” he said. “It’s really good for the city because it attracts so many people to come to Detroit.”

 

SUMMING IT UP

Neighborhoods Day activities were slated to continue throughout the month.

“It says a lot about the spirit of the people in our neighborhoods,” ARISE Detroit! Executive Director Luther Keith said. “The growth in registrations, as well as the strong sponsorship support from businesses, foundations and volunteers, is a clear sign that more people are recognizing that creating vibrant neighborhoods is essential for Detroit’s comeback.”

 

For the second year in a row, Detroit Future City was the title sponsor of Neighborhoods Day, joined by a record number of more than 30 major sponsors.

“Part of the DFC Implementation Office’s mission is to empower Detroiters to engage in the city’s transformation, and this event is another shining example of putting that sentiment into action,” said Dan Kinkead, interim Director of the DFC implementation office.

 

Elected officials also showed their support for Neighborhoods Day.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and his team adopted Bagley Elementary School and spent the day gardening, cleaning and painting to prepare the building for the school year. Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, Councilmen Scott Benson and James Tate, and Department of Neighborhoods Director Charlie Beckham all attended events.

 

Corporate volunteers that adopted schools for projects for Neighborhoods Day included Blue Cross Blue Shield, PNC Bank, Meijer, FCA Chrysler. Volunteers also come from Oakland University, Wisdom Lodge No. 57, and Oakland County Community College.

 

Leslie Ellis is a Detroit-area freelance writer.

 

 

HELP FOR YOUR COMMUNITY PROJECTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARISE Detroit! partners with Seed Detroit. Be sure to mark your calendar for the 9th Annual Neighborhoods Day all over Detroit. August 1, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written on March 17, 2015

PRIDE, POWER AND POSITIVITY: NEIGHBORHOODS DAY CONTINUES TO GROW

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

How do we know ARISE DETROIT!

Neighborhoods Day, and the work of

people in city neighborhoods, is having an

impact?

 

You can see it in transformed city blocks,

once blighted,  now beautified, hear it in

the pride-filled voices of people all over

the city and feel it in a renewed spirit of

change that continues to gain momentum.

 

This change is not driven by one organization, one foundation, one person, one church or one corporation. It is driven by all of us, — churches, block clubs and community groups of all kinds — because all of us are needed.

 

That is what has fueled the remarkable growth of Neighborhoods  Day, from 55 inaugural  events in 2007, to 225 registered improvement projects in 2014. It is a day that celebrates the best of Detroit, with cleanups, abandoned home board ups, health fairs, concerts, parades and much, much more.

It is a day for the people in the city, but also a day for the people in the suburbs to join hands with Detroiters.

 

That’s why we are so excited about the 9th annual Neighborhoods Day. We know it will be bigger. We know it will be better. We are hard at work, seeking new partnerships, organizations, sponsors and volunteers to continue to spread the word and the work.

 

. We have kept the registration fee at $50 (name me something else that has not increased in cost in nine years). For that fee, you will get well more than that in a customized banner for your organizations, t-shirts, www.arisedetroit.orgYou can register at cleanup bags for beautification projects, marketing support for your event and much more.

 

Registration deadline is July 1.

 

Neighborhoods  Day, of course, is about much more than one day.  We know people are hard at work in neighborhoods throughout the year.  But Neighborhoods  Day allows us to showcase all this work in spectacular fashion for all to notice.

 

And people are noticing.

 

Recently, I have been contacted by a group in Chicago, a professor in Hawaii and businessmen from  San Francisco, all interested in learning more about what is happening in the neighborhoods of  Detroit.

Come to Detroit on  Aug. 1 for  Neighborhoods Day, I told them.

You will be amazed!

 

 

TORONTO STAR spotlights ARISE Detroit! in story on Detroit’s comeback efforts.

By: Jim Coyle News, Published on Fri Dec 12 2014

“When you’re at zero, anything can happen.”

 

— Detroit: A Play, by Lisa D’Amour,2011

 

DETROIT—As much as anyone, Luther Keith has had a close-up, lifelong look at his city’s rise, terrible fall and, as many Detroiters hope, ongoing reinvention.

 

Keith was 17 that summer Sunday in 1967. He’d gone to 8 a.m. mass at St. Agnes Catholic Church on 12th St. By the time he stepped back into the morning, Detroit was changing before his eyes.

Keith saw people breaking into stores. A shoe-store owner near his house would be beaten to death. At the time, he didn’t know what was going on or how bad it was.

 

“So that afternoon I played baseball. I’m playing the outfield and I’m looking up and I’m seeing black smoke coming up across the city.”

 

Click HERE for full story.

 

ARISE DETROIT! TAKES NATIONAL STATE

ON THE HUCKABEE SHOW 

Written on September 24, 2014

ARISE Detroit! executive director Luther Keith

was recently interviewed about groups working

to improve the city on the nationally syndicated

Huckabee Show. The annual Habitat for

Humanity of Detroit Blitz Build was the

backdrop for the segment.

 

 

 

 

NEIGHBORHOODS DAY HAS CREATED SOMETHING GREAT FOR DETROIT

Saying “thank you” is not good enough to

express our appreciation for the thousands

of folks across Detroit who helped make

the 8th annual ARISE Detroit!

Neighborhoods Day on Aug. 2 our biggest

and best ever.

 

With a record number of 225 registrations

as well as a record number of sponsors,

Neighborhoods Day literally rose to a new level this year with the support of hundreds of churches, block clubs, community groups, and businesses.

 

And with additional support from Dallas-based Rippling Hope and Richmond, Va.-based Rebuild America, who brought in hundreds of volunteers from 13 states and Canada, Neighborhoods Day went national and international.

 

As I traveled the city, hope, work and change were all on display from downtown to midtown, from the east side to the west side in the scores of community service and improvement projects of every description.

 

Detroit. we are building something great with this!

We are doing with it rakes, shovels and weedwackers.

We are doing it with grit, determination, and guts.

We are doing with music, heart, and soul.

 

I saw it wherever I went–  in the faces and the spirit all over the city—at the Gratiot Splash, at Life Church on Davison near Livernois, at the Russell Woods-Sullivan Association get together on the west side, Jazz on the Ave on Livernois, at Palmer Park at the Heal Detroit Rally, at the Hollywood Golf Institute youth tournament, at the Bringing In Change festival on Eight Mile, and the Stafford House community garage sale on Woodward near Belmont.

 

“It’s all about hope,” said Pat Bosch, of the Nortown Community Development Association, involved in an east side neighborhood cleanup. “Neighborhoods Day lets people know that all is not lost.”

Detroit resident Richard Brown said he saw evidence of the impact of ARISE Detroit! and Neighborhoods Day groups repeatedly as he drove around the city.

 

“It was almost like you could see the city changing literally right before your eyes,” he said. “You could see blight going down and gardens growing up. It was a great thing.”

 

Over on Lakewood on the city’s east side, Thelma Hall of the Lakewood Block was delighted to find folks from other blocks coming out to join them in sprucing up the neighborhood. “We’re getting more people involved each year because of Neighborhoods Day,” she said. “People are helping each other.”

The Promised Land Networked helped out at Carsten Elementary school with a neighborhood festival  and Ethel Schroeder, Community Coordinator for the group, had this to say.

 

“Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the 8th Annual Neighborhoods Day.

What a great time!  We met so many residents. The neighbors came and volunteered.   This was our first year.  We served over 250 students and residents with book bags with supplies, uniforms, shoes, plants and treats for seniors, balloons for children, food for everybody fun, fun, fun. Thank you again!”

 

No, Ethel.

 

Thank you and thank you, Detroit!

 

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

Written on March 17, 2015

SPECIAL REPORT ON THE 5TH ANNUAL ARISE DETROIT! NEIGHBORHOODS SUMMIT

Special for ARISE Detroit! 

 

The true heartbeat of Detroit could be

heard pumping a positive rhythm loud and

clear at the 5th annual ARISE Detroit!

Neighborhoods Rising Summit,  infusing

the more than 300 participants with a

potent lifeblood of hope and determination.

 

Neighbor by neighbor, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, Detroiters themselves will see to it that all of Detroit lives up to its potential, not just certain chosen areas.

 

The parking lot at Wayne County Community College District’s downtown campus on Saturday, Nov. 1,  was already full before 9 a.m., barely an hour after event registration had begun. Few spaces could be found on the streets nearby.

 

Detroit has always been a city of neighborhoods, and if ever anyone needed proof of how important neighborhoods are to Detroit’s revitalization – and how committed Detroit residents are to their beloved neighborhoods – then all the proof they ever needed was in plain view at the Summit.

Equally important was the supportive commitment exhibited by the cooperative and enthusiastic participation of so many local and regional leaders from the government, business, religious, and non-profit sectors.

 

“If you aren’t at the table you’re gonna be on the menu,” said ARISE Detroit!  Executive Director Luther Keith, quoting a relevant and well-known saying during his opening comments.

 

DETROITERS COMMITTED TO SAVING THEMSELVES

No one had to wonder what Keith meant. Detroiters have long known that their most reliable source for salvation is themselves, which is why so many showed up for the day-long conference.

There were  morning and lunchtime sessions held in the atrium  and 12 separate workshops scheduled throughout the day on a wide range of topics.

 

They included Entrepreneurship, Blue/Green Infrastructure Recycling, Youth in Public Service/Leadership, Faith-Based Development, Neighborhood Organizing/Planning, Partnerships for Community Change, Fighting Blight/Deconstruction,  Grantmaking, Urban Farming, Public Safety, Home Auction, and Art as a Community Builder.

 

“The summit creates a lot of positive energy and is positive movement for the city,” said Gena Edwards, a workshop panelist who is helping Hartford Memorial Baptist Church develop a senior citizen’s  housing complex in northwest Detroit. “There were  lots of people, all focused on revitalizing the city.”

 

Former  Detroit mayor and city councilman Ken Cockrel, Jr.  gave the keynote morning presentation on the progress of Detroit Future City, where he now serves as executive director. He dispelled rumors that the endgame of the organization is an ‘urban removal’ approach to displace current residents and make way for gentrification. He also highlighted many community projects DFC is working with groups on around the city, including urban farming and a project at Denby High School.

 

Lisa Howze, chief of government affairs for Mayor Mike Duggan, gave the key lunchtime address and detailed efforts to  improve the city’s accessibility through social media and technology, as well as working to stem the tide of foreclosures

 

She said a program called , Detroit Delivers has partnered with SeeClickFix to create an app that can be downloaded straight to any mobile device (click on the Detroit Delivers link). Residents can use this app to report running water in a vacant home or building directly to DWSD. Other neighborhood issues such as potholes or downed trees can be reported from the SeeClickFix site. Residents can also download the Blexting app which allows them to take a picture of an abandoned home, make an assessment, then send that assessment in directly to the city.

 

The city is taking the problem of abandoned and foreclosed homes very seriously,  Howze said.

“In the upcoming year there could be more than 100,000 homes going into tax foreclosure, and more than 64 percent of them are occupied,” she said, adding that the city is pursuing legislation that would cut the current penalties for tax delinquent properties.

The penalties can now increase up to 18 percent annually by the second year of delinquency. Howze said the city would like to cut the penalties to a more manageable six percent.

 

THEME FOR THE SUMMIT: HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO

A  common theme that ran through each and every presentation. It was this: Here’s what you can do to strengthen/repair your neighborhood, and here is where you can go/who you need to see to get the resources you need to get the job done. This wasn’t about cheerleading generalities or platitudes; this was about the work of making Detroit work for those who need Detroit to work the most, namely those of us who live here.

 

“The summit was amazing,” said Jessica Patton of the Neighborhood BUG (Building Urban Gardens) program. “This was the first time we participated and we learned so much. The summit is important because it provides lots of information on programs that people are not aware of.”

The most well-attended session – with nearly 80 participants — was Grantmaking/Meet the Funders where participants had the rare opportunity to meet with representatives from three of the largest private funding organizations in the state; The Skillman Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and The Knight Foundation. Each has launched major funding initiatives in Detroit and were on-hand to interact with members of the community about how community organizations could apply for grants and what kinds of grants are available.

 

The Faith-Based Development workshop attracted an enthusiastic crowd as well who were interested in what local churches have been doing to stabilize neighborhoods. Rev. Jim Holley, pastor of Little Rock Baptist Church, received a strong positive reaction from those in attendance with his philosophy that church leaders need to “claim your territory.”

 

“You got to have a vision,” said Holley, who is also director of civic and community affairs for the City of Detroit. “It’s a matter of claiming your territory and having the community buy into that vision for that territory. And I try to protect my territory. The brand for my church is salvation, education, and economics.”

 

Little Rock operates a number of businesses and community outreach programs.

Father Don Archambault of Corpus Christi Catholic Church said  that in a devastated community like Detroit, churches are often required to step up and fill roles/gaps in community building that normally they would not do, simply because they are the only entities capable of doing the necessary work. Panelist Rev. Alonzo Bell said that his church, Martin Evans Missionary Baptist Church, has started an automotive repair class for young people in a former Detroit Public School on  the city’s east side.

Errol Jennings, president of the Russell Woods-Sullivan Association on the city’s west side, was a panelist in the Neighborhood Organizing workshop but also took advantage of the summit’s many networking opportunities.

 

“The summit was fantastic,” he  said. “It got a lot of people really energized about the positive side of Detroit and gave them information they needed. I’m definitely going to be taking advantage of some of the networking I did by hooking up with other groups.”

 

Singer J’Renee, who has performed at a number of ARISE Detroit! events, delivered a stirring song—her own version of I Believe in Detroit City —  at the morning opening session.

“Detroit is down but certainly not out,” she said. “We all have to do our part.”

 

J’Renee has worked for both city and county elected leaders as well as volunteering for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen for nearly two decades and started a youth-centered organization of her own.

It’s in my blood,” she said. “Since I was small I remember wanting to help make a difference in my community. You have to believe in something before you can become a part of something.”

 

Believe in Detroit.

 

Keith Owens is a Detroit-based freelance writer

 

By Keith Owens

Written on September 24, 2014

HOW TO VOLUNTEER FOR NEIGHBORHOODS DAY

Written on July 16, 2014

1. Go to the ARISE Detroit! website, 

www.arisedetroit.org and click the link that 

says Neighborhoods Day Events.

2. Scan the list of events and select the 

one that interest you. Many are designated

that they are seeking volunteers. Events 

are also listed on the Neighborhoods Day

map to assist with determining location.

3. Phone the contact person listed for the 

event.

4. Make your arrangements to volunteer 

through the contact person. (The organization you contact will manager your volunteer opportunity. ARISE Detroit! does not manage volunteers.) 

5. Enjoy the experience.

6. E-mail us at infor@arisedetroit.org to let us know the event you selected.

 

Types of volunteer projects: Neighborhood Cleanup, Beautification, Home Builds, Blight Removal, Painting, Event Set Up, Material Distribution, Assistance with Event Management.

 

 

 

HELP OUR KIDS ADOPT A SCHOOL FOR NEIGHBORHOODS DAY

CLICK HERE to learn how your company

or organization can do a service project at

a Detroit school on Aug. 2.

 

 

 

Written on June 23, 2014

WHAT IS NEIGHBORHOODS DAY?

Written on March 21, 2014

Neighborhoods Day celebrates all the great work block clubs, churches, schools community groups and local businesses do throughout the year in the effort to create a better Detroit. Neighborhoods Day events are held all over the city on the same day, from midtown to downtown, from the west side to the east side.

 

WHAT TYPE OF EVENT SHOULD I HAVE?

Whatever shows off the work and serves the needs of your neighborhood or organization – such as community cleanups, parades, workshops on various issues,  youth events and concerts, volunteer signups for community programs, health fairs, garage sales, picnics, etc.

 

DO I  HAVE TO HAVE A LARGE EVENT?

No. Do whatever works best for your  situation. Some events have had several hundred people or over 1,000, some 20 to 50. The size of the event is not as important as demonstrating your desire to be connected to other Detroiters who share a common spirit for a better community.

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

There is a $50 registration fee. You will receive a Neighborhoods Day banner, T-shirts and a “community toolkit,” of neighborhood services and resources. ARISE Detroit! also will assist in identifying potential vendors for your event if you wish. Registration deadline is July 1, 2014.

 

HOW WILL I RAISE MONEY TO HOST MY EVENT?

ARISE Detroit! does not make grants, but many groups obtain funding from their community businesses and organizations that are eager to support groups that support them throughout the year.

 

WILL MY EVENT RECEIVE MEDIA COVERAGE? 

Some events will receive media coverage, but we cannot guarantee it for all events. However, ARISE Detroit! promotes all the events to the local media and all events will be posted on our website map.

A CALL TO DETROIT'S ARTISTIC COMMUNITY 

Written on December 18, 2013

CALL TO DETROIT’S ARTISTIC COMMUNITY IN RESPONSE TO HEIDELBERG PROJECT ARSONS

 

LOCAL ARTISTS WILL MARCH IN NEIGHBORHOOD TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR ARTISTIC FREEDOM

 

SATURDAY, DEC. 21, 11 A.M.

 

Detroit community artists are being asked to participate in a “Walk For  Artistic Freedom” to show their support for the Heidelberg Project which has been the subject of several recent arsons.

 

ARISE Detroit! has worked with some of the local artists that will be participating in the march, which will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, on the grounds of the Heidelberg Project, the urban art vision of

Tyree Guyton who has transformed abandoned homes with his artistic creations. The walk will be held in conjunction with the Heidelberg Project’s annual Winter Solstice Event.

 

The march will take place on the grounds of the Heidelberg Project, around  3000 Mt.  Elliott, on Detroit’s lower east side. The Solstice event will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. also includes a bonfire, a harvest table and other family activities.

 

“In the past, ARISE Detroit has partnered with the Heidelberg Project and other community art efforts to show the healing and positive impact art can have in our neighborhoods,” said Luther Keith, executive director of ARISE Detroit! “It is important for the artistic community and others to demonstrate their distaste, disgust and unwillingness to accept this type of assault on artistic expression in  Detroit.”

 

In 2011, ARISE Detroit! presented a Community Servant award to Guyton for his efforts to use his unique artistic creations on an area that before  was known only for its abandoned housing stock.

One of the march participants is Ryan Myers-Johnson, a local performing artist in dance and choreography and producer of sidewalk artist festivals.

 

“The Heidelberg project has been a source of inspiration for me ever since I was a young girl,” she said. “Tyree Guyton is the ultimate artist and has put his whole life on the line to make a positive impact on the community. As artists, we need to let our voices be heard and  let people know this is something we need and want.

 

“The arsons are crimes against art and crimes against our city,” she added. “What kind of message are we sending if we don’t respond. The Heidelberg Project has redefined Detroit as  a center for art and draws visitors from all over the world.”

 

Donna Jackson, an artist who has a poster project called “100 Ways to Love Detroit,” said she supports the march.
“What’s going on at the Heidelberg Project is nothing more than urban terrorism,” she said. “We can’t let that stand.”

 

More info, Contact: Luther Keith, 313-921-1955

NEW YORK TIMES  STORY ON DETROIT QUOTES ARISE DETROIT!  DIRECTOR 

Written on November 22, 2013

CLICK HERE for full story.

CLICK HERE to Register

 

DETROIT POLICE CHIEF TO DETAIL STRATEGIES

TO REDUCE CRIME; PARTICIPANTS WILL LEARN

HOW TO  BE PART OF REDEFINING CITY’S

FUTURE

 

DETROIT –  Detroit police chief James Craig will detail

community crime-fighting strategies at the fourth annual

ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Rising Summit, Saturday,

Nov. 2, at the downtown campus of Wayne County

Community College District.

Free and open to the public, the summit is a full day of

tutorial workshops and panels focused on how residents can improve their neighborhoods.

Summit participants  also will hear a presentation from Dan Pitera on how they can be part of the implementation phase of Detroit Future City, the massive community planning project for Detroit, that is being rolled out in neighborhoods all across Detroit.  The presentation will explain how community groups and residents can connect to strategies to improve their neighborhoods.

 

“Now, more than ever, we need all Detroit residents to play an active role in creating the kind of neighborhoods we all want to live in,” said Luther Keith, executive director of ARISE Detroit! “The summit offers an outstanding opportunity for residents and community groups to learn, teach and network with each other on strategies that will move our city forward.”

 

Sponsored by the Kresge Foundation and Detroit Future City,  the summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the  downtown campus  of WCCCD  located at 1001 W. Fort Street, 48226.  It will include a continental breakfast and lunch.

 

The summit will offer 12 workshops with information and strategies to help residents improve their neighborhoods in areas ranging from fighting blight and crime and forming block clubs, to developing youth leadership programs , establishing community art programs, urban farming, developing farmers markets,  obtaining mini-grants for neighborhood programs,  youth unemployment efforts and more.

 

Workshops will be held the morning from 10:45 a.m. to noon., and in the afternoon from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Although the summit is free, all participants are urged to register at www.arisedetroit.org to secure a spot in the workshops. They can also phone 313-921-1955.

 

In addition, there will be community organization exhibitors with information and resources to help neighborhood residents.

 

Panelists will include:

1. John George, president of Motor City Blightbusters, and Linda Smith, president, U-SNAP BAC, on fighting neighborhood blight.

 

2. Mike Bresee, College of Creative Studies, on neighborhood art programs.

 

3. Nyasia Valdez of Young Nation on an innovative program to that transforms alleys into community art projects.

 

4. Guy Williams, president of Citizens for Environmental Justice, on creating environmentally  safe neighborhoods.

 

5. Robert Counts of the Youth Development Commission on summer youth employment opportunities.

 

6. Tepfirah Rushdan of the Greening of Detroit on urban farming.

 

7. Marsha Lemieux of Bright Recycling on recycling opportunities.

 

8. Tyson Gersh of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative on urban farming.  

———————————————————————————————————————————————

Funded by the Kresge Foundation, ARISE Detroit! is a coalition more than 400 community organizations promoting volunteerism, community activism and positive media images to create a better Detroit. For more information, phone 313-921-1955, or go to www.arisedetroit.org.

 

 

 

 

Written on October 2, 2013

HUNDREDS  WILL  GATHER AT 4th ANNUAL SUMMIT  TO IMPROVE  DETROIT NEIGHBORHOODS

DETROIT ONE

Written on August 11, 2013

Find out how Detroit One got its name, who is involved, and how it is going to make a difference.

On June 11, 1805, the entire City of Detroit, except for one building, was destroyed by a fire. Now, 203 years later, the city is trying to recover from another fire, the text message saga that rocked City Hall for months, and plummeted the national and international image of Detroit to a new low.

 

Many people breathed a sign of relief with the resignation of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges, but that hardly ends all of the problems facing Detroit. We still have under-performing schools, too much crime, widespread illiteracy and litany of other social challenges.

our new mayor and former City Council president, Kenneth Cockrel Jr., set the right tone in emphasizing the need for a fresh start for the city at his swearing-in ceremony. Now, there is much talk about “healing,” and how to move the city forward.

 

What does Detroit need now? Healing, yes, but much more than that. Take a look at the flag of the City Detroit, designed in 1907 by David E. Heineman, who added a Latin motto in recognition of the 1805 fire that swept through Detroit.

 

According to the book Detroit’s Coming of Age: 1873-1973 by Don Lochbiler, the translation of the motto reads: “We hope for better things, we will arise from our ashes.”

Much like 1805, and again after the 1967 city disturbances, it is time for Detroit to “arise” from its ashes.

 

ARISE Detroit! While that is the name of our growing organization and movement that promotes volunteerism, personal responsibility and community activism, it is also an ideal call to action for our entire community.

 

ARISE Detroit! How do we do this? By making a personal commitment to be part of the solution to make our city better. Yes, we still must demand integrity, honesty and accountability from our public officials, but each of us can do more than sit on the sidelines and complain about what is wrong.

 

ARISE Detroit! A coalition of more than 300 block clubs, community groups, churches, businesses and other organizations, ARISE Detroit! connects people to hundred of opportunities to mentor, tutor, clean up neighborhoods and to get involved in positive programs to help our children and families.

 

We need to do a better job of loving and directing our children and taking care of our senior citizens. It’s worth noting that both presidential nominees, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, have national community service programs as part of their agendas. And the Sept. 22 issue of Time Magazine has both candidates on the cover with the headline “21 Ways to Fix Up America,” focused on community activism to improve our nation’s communities.

 

Many organizations are doing great things in Detroit but they need much more help – they need you. Pick one and get involved. As you become involved, you will be inspired and be an inspiration to others.

 

This is how we do it, Detroit. We need healing, but we must heal ourselves. ARISE Detroit!

 

Do you have an idea or a program that Detroiters can use to help make the city better? E-mail lkeith@arisedetroit.org and we will share them with the community on the ARISE Detroit blog at www.arisedetroit.org

LET'S HEAL AND ARISE DETROIT!

Written on May 27, 2013

WHY I'M HOPEFUL ABOUT DETROIT

WHY I'M HOPEFUL ABOUT DETROIT

Written on May 27, 2013

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

Written on May 27, 2013

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

I was seated between two thirty-something African American men, articulate, nice looking and unfailingly polite. It was quite hard for me to grasp that both were convicted of murder, sentenced to life imprisonment, doing time at the Ryan Correctional Facility on Detroit’s east side.

 

The occasion was a Peace Day observance and the two men, along with about 50 other inmates, were gathered for the event sponsored by the prison’s Child of The Month Club. I had been invited there on behalf of ARISE Detroit!. Monitoring news developments from inside the prison, several inmates wanted to hear more about our message of uniting the community, recruiting volunteers and supporting organizations helping to improve the lives of children and families in Detroit.

 

These are the men society too often views as “throw aways,” representing the worst in human behavior — gangsters, stick up men and carjackers. Yes, too many of them do return to our streets to a life crime.

Yet, others see opportunity from the bad consequences that they suffered because of their bad choices. They want to teach the “boys in the hood” to learn from their mistakes. “How can we connect with what ARISE Detroit! is doing when we get on the outside,” one asked. Said another: “I’ve done 20 years and I’m getting out in 31 days. I want to talk to some of these young kids before they mess up.”

 

Indeed, who is better suited to warn our young people of the perils of drugs, guns and criminal activity than these men who are paying the price for indulging in this negative behavior? What was most astounding, however, was the spirit of the event – uplifting and inspirational, much like a Sunday church worship service.

 

The Peace Day event involved a number of speakers. In addition to myself, Cardinal Mbiyu Chui, leader of the Shrine of the Black Madonna, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow and businessman Tom Adams shared their views on how to make peace and transform lives of desperation into lives of hope.

 

Unlike myself, all of them routinely make prison visits and are involved in prison ministry programs. In a dialogue following the panel presentations, the prisoners – clad in standard prison garb of blue apparel with orange stripes – criticized parents who are not parenting, talked about the need for community groups to work together to promote positive change and urged the media to do more stories of inspiration and hope to encourage good behavior from our youth. Attendance was voluntary. Only those who wanted to change their lives – or someone else’s – showed up.

 

The Peace Day event was just one of a number of ongoing efforts by the prisoners to do something positive, including collecting turkeys for the needy for the holidays – paid for with their own money. They also have adopted Detroit Henry Ford High School and are trying to raise money to secure computers for its classrooms.

 

Finally, they are seeking approval for the governor’s office and prison officials to re-establish a NAACP Youth Deterrent program at Ryan that would allow them to directly interact in the prison with youngsters who are showing signs of heading down the wrong path.

 

More than just the traditional “scared straight, ” programs, it would also emphasize the importance of education, family values, and yes, love of others, to break the “culture of violence” that grips our community. There are lessons here for all of us.

 

If these young men behind prison walls care enough to reach out to those on the outside in hopes of creating a better environment for our young people, what excuse do any of the rest of you have for not doing our part as well?

Luther Keith is a former award-winning newspaper editor and columnist. He can be reached at lkeith@arisedetroit.org or by phone at 313-921-1955. To learn more about ARISE Detroit! go to the website, arisedetroit.org.

I was seated between two thirty-something African American men, articulate, nice looking and unfailingly polite. It was quite hard for me to grasp that both were convicted of murder, sentenced to life imprisonment, doing time at the Ryan Correctional Facility on Detroit’s east side.

 

The occasion was a Peace Day observance and the two men, along with about 50 other inmates, were gathered for the event sponsored by the prison’s Child of The Month Club. I had been invited there on behalf of ARISE Detroit!. Monitoring news developments from inside the prison, several inmates wanted to hear more about our message of uniting the community, recruiting volunteers and supporting organizations helping to improve the lives of children and families in Detroit.

 

These are the men society too often views as “throw aways,” representing the worst in human behavior — gangsters, stick up men and carjackers. Yes, too many of them do return to our streets to a life crime.

Yet, others see opportunity from the bad consequences that they suffered because of their bad choices. They want to teach the “boys in the hood” to learn from their mistakes. “How can we connect with what ARISE Detroit! is doing when we get on the outside,” one asked. Said another: “I’ve done 20 years and I’m getting out in 31 days. I want to talk to some of these young kids before they mess up.”

 

Indeed, who is better suited to warn our young people of the perils of drugs, guns and criminal activity than these men who are paying the price for indulging in this negative behavior? What was most astounding, however, was the spirit of the event – uplifting and inspirational, much like a Sunday church worship service.

 

The Peace Day event involved a number of speakers. In addition to myself, Cardinal Mbiyu Chui, leader of the Shrine of the Black Madonna, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow and businessman Tom Adams shared their views on how to make peace and transform lives of desperation into lives of hope.

 

Unlike myself, all of them routinely make prison visits and are involved in prison ministry programs. In a dialogue following the panel presentations, the prisoners – clad in standard prison garb of blue apparel with orange stripes – criticized parents who are not parenting, talked about the need for community groups to work together to promote positive change and urged the media to do more stories of inspiration and hope to encourage good behavior from our youth. Attendance was voluntary. Only those who wanted to change their lives – or someone else’s – showed up.

 

The Peace Day event was just one of a number of ongoing efforts by the prisoners to do something positive, including collecting turkeys for the needy for the holidays – paid for with their own money. They also have adopted Detroit Henry Ford High School and are trying to raise money to secure computers for its classrooms.

 

Finally, they are seeking approval for the governor’s office and prison officials to re-establish a NAACP Youth Deterrent program at Ryan that would allow them to directly interact in the prison with youngsters who are showing signs of heading down the wrong path.

 

More than just the traditional “scared straight, ” programs, it would also emphasize the importance of education, family values, and yes, love of others, to break the “culture of violence” that grips our community. There are lessons here for all of us.

 

If these young men behind prison walls care enough to reach out to those on the outside in hopes of creating a better environment for our young people, what excuse do any of the rest of you have for not doing our part as well?

Luther Keith is a former award-winning newspaper editor and columnist. He can be reached at lkeith@arisedetroit.org or by phone at 313-921-1955. To learn more about ARISE Detroit! go to the website, arisedetroit.org.

WHY I'M HOPEFUL ABOUT DETROIT

Written on May 27, 2013

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

I was seated between two thirty-something African American men, articulate, nice looking and unfailingly polite. It was quite hard for me to grasp that both were convicted of murder, sentenced to life imprisonment, doing time at the Ryan Correctional Facility on Detroit’s east side.

 

The occasion was a Peace Day observance and the two men, along with about 50 other inmates, were gathered for the event sponsored by the prison’s Child of The Month Club. I had been invited there on behalf of ARISE Detroit!. Monitoring news developments from inside the prison, several inmates wanted to hear more about our message of uniting the community, recruiting volunteers and supporting organizations helping to improve the lives of children and families in Detroit.

 

These are the men society too often views as “throw aways,” representing the worst in human behavior — gangsters, stick up men and carjackers. Yes, too many of them do return to our streets to a life crime.

Yet, others see opportunity from the bad consequences that they suffered because of their bad choices. They want to teach the “boys in the hood” to learn from their mistakes. “How can we connect with what ARISE Detroit! is doing when we get on the outside,” one asked. Said another: “I’ve done 20 years and I’m getting out in 31 days. I want to talk to some of these young kids before they mess up.”

 

Indeed, who is better suited to warn our young people of the perils of drugs, guns and criminal activity than these men who are paying the price for indulging in this negative behavior? What was most astounding, however, was the spirit of the event – uplifting and inspirational, much like a Sunday church worship service.

 

The Peace Day event involved a number of speakers. In addition to myself, Cardinal Mbiyu Chui, leader of the Shrine of the Black Madonna, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow and businessman Tom Adams shared their views on how to make peace and transform lives of desperation into lives of hope.

 

Unlike myself, all of them routinely make prison visits and are involved in prison ministry programs. In a dialogue following the panel presentations, the prisoners – clad in standard prison garb of blue apparel with orange stripes – criticized parents who are not parenting, talked about the need for community groups to work together to promote positive change and urged the media to do more stories of inspiration and hope to encourage good behavior from our youth. Attendance was voluntary. Only those who wanted to change their lives – or someone else’s – showed up.

 

The Peace Day event was just one of a number of ongoing efforts by the prisoners to do something positive, including collecting turkeys for the needy for the holidays – paid for with their own money. They also have adopted Detroit Henry Ford High School and are trying to raise money to secure computers for its classrooms.

 

Finally, they are seeking approval for the governor’s office and prison officials to re-establish a NAACP Youth Deterrent program at Ryan that would allow them to directly interact in the prison with youngsters who are showing signs of heading down the wrong path.

 

More than just the traditional “scared straight, ” programs, it would also emphasize the importance of education, family values, and yes, love of others, to break the “culture of violence” that grips our community. There are lessons here for all of us.

 

If these young men behind prison walls care enough to reach out to those on the outside in hopes of creating a better environment for our young people, what excuse do any of the rest of you have for not doing our part as well?

Luther Keith is a former award-winning newspaper editor and columnist. He can be reached at lkeith@arisedetroit.org or by phone at 313-921-1955. To learn more about ARISE Detroit! go to the website, arisedetroit.org.

HOPE BEHIND THE PRISON WALL

Written on May 27, 2013

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

Faith, determination, courage – and working together — can lift our city

“…., it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.”—President Barack Obama.

 

Even before newly inaugurated President Barack Obama issued his call for a new era of “personal responsibility,” and urged all Americans to become involved in efforts to improve their communities, thousands of Detroiters and hundreds of organizations were already embarked on a mission of transformation.

 

Now, hopefully, more people who have been sitting on the sidelines will join hands with their neighbors in churches, community groups, block clubs and social organizations and dedicate themselves to “Be Part of The Change.”

 

This is not about politics; it’s about people, creating a better America – and for those of us who live here – creating a better Detroit. That’s why I am so hopeful about Detroit’s future in 2009, despite the many daunting challenges we face.

 

I’m hopeful because of people like Agnes Reed, who didn’t know anything about ARISE Detroit! until she heard one of our promotional spots playing on recently on a local radio station. “I liked what I heard because it was about making our neighborhoods better,” said Reed, who is president of the Lenox Block Club on the far east side of Detroit in the Jefferson Conner area.

 

Reed phoned the offices of ARISE Detroit! and I was lucky enough to answer her call. She is a refreshing reminder that despite a bad economy, crime, high unemployment and schools that need a makeover, there are thousands of Detroiters like Reed who are not just committed to staying the course – they want to chart a new and better course for the city they love. Reed is active in a wide number of community efforts and wants to see a cleaner, safer community. She’s would welcome volunteers to help with clean up of blighted neighborhood eyesores. “We all need to be doing something,” she said. Amen!.

 

Reed promises to spread the word about ARISE Detroit! And we are going spread the word about her and the Lenox Block Club! I’m hopeful because I know there are many people like Reed, often unsung and behind the headlines, who are part of a growing “Transformation Community” in Detroit, hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals working in ways large and small to create a better Detroit.

 

I’m hopeful because of the passion of people like Tiffany Tilley of the Mannie Project , Fred Hart of Brothers Against Guns, Weusi Olusola of Pioneers For Peace and Linda White of the Arc of Nonviolence all of whom have turned personal tragedies into organized efforts to reduce crime and violence in Detroit.

 

I’m hopeful because of commitment of Amy Good, who 20 years ago grew tired of seeing teenage girls sell their bodies on the streets of southwest Detroit and pulled some friends together to form Alternative For Girls to offer housing and educational opportunities.

 

I’m hopeful because of the dedication of Jeron Campbell, a young Ford Motor Co. engineer, who started the Aces program, to help Detroit students boost their college entrance scores, and Mark Mayberry, a former educator, who started Exam Experts for the same reason.

 

I’m hopeful because even with all the problems with Detroit public schools, there are many people like Sharlonda Buckman and Minnie Davis of the Detroit Parent Network, Charlie Anderson, Alan Dozier and Pandora Brown of Communities in Schools of Detroit and Penny Bailer of City Year Detroit who refuse give up on our children and continue to use their resources and volunteers to point our youngsters toward a brighter future.

 

I’m hopeful because of Terrance Collier of The Rapping Mentor and the Good Boys, who with his sons gives positive message rap performances.

 

I’m hopeful because of David Sawicki and his wife Lisa Lapides of Youth Under Construction and Rae Glover and Susan Storey – a Cody High School Teacher — of the Better Detroit Youth Movement, who use entertainment, music and dance to promote self-esteem and educational achievement with our young people.

 

I’m hopeful because of Rick Sperling, who founded the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, to use the performing arts to teach young people not just to sing and dance, but also to become better people.
I’m hopeful because of Nat Pernick, a suburbanite who has launched the Detroit College of Promise – with Cody High as the first school – to guarantee college scholarships for city public school graduates, and Leslie Andrews –a Detroiter — who is making higher education for youngsters through the United Negro College Fund.

 

I’m hopeful because of the unflagging efforts to revive neighborhoods on the east side of Detroit with Toni McIlwain of the Ravendale Community, Mike Fisher of the Detroit Community Initiave and Shirley Burch of Community United for Progress.

 

I’m hopeful because their efforts are matched on the west side of town by Olivia Shakoor of the Crary St. Mary’s Community Council, John George of the Motor City Blight Busters, Mary Banks of the Brightmoor Alliance and Kim Tandy of the University Community Association.

 

I’m hopeful because of Carol Shoch, a former music teacher, who started the Detroit Children’s Choir to bring the joy of choral singing to Detroit students.

 

I’m hopeful because of Terry Blackhawk and Nandi Comer of the Inside Out LiteraryArts Project, which has brought the love poetry to city schools.

 

I’m hopeful because of Paul Miles, a talented local blues musician who has used his skills to raise money for ARISE Detroit! and other local non-profits and produced a song called Motown Still Our Town to boost the spirits of Detroiters.

 

I’m hopeful for these and countless other reasons.

 

I’m hopeful because I believe in Detroit. I believe in you.

 

Funded by the Skillman Foundation, ARISE Detroit! is a coalition of more than 400 community groups, block clubs, churches, businesses and media outlets promoting volunteerism, community activism, and positive media images to create a better Detroit.

 

Learn more at www.arisedetroit.org or phone, 313-921-1955.

Written on May 27, 2013

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

How you can be part of it

 

Even before newly inaugurated President Barack Obama issued his call for a new era of “personal responsibility,” and urged all Americans to become involved in efforts to improve their communities, thousands of Detroiters and hundreds of organizations were already embarked on a mission of transformation.

 

Now, hopefully, more people who have been sitting on the sidelines will join hands with their neighbors in churches, community groups, block clubs and social organizations and dedicate themselves to “Be Part of The Change.”

 

This is not about politics; it’s about people, creating a better America – and for those of us who live here – creating a better Detroit. That’s why I am so hopeful about Detroit’s future in 2009, despite the many daunting challenges we face.

 

Agnes Reed is just one of many reasons that I am hopeful about Detroit, no matter how bleak some may paint our future. Reed didn’t know anything about ARISE Detroit! until she heard one of our promotional spots playing on recently on radio station WCHB, 1200 AM.

 

“I liked what I heard because it was about making our neighborhoods better,” said Reed, who is president of the Lenox Block Club on the far east side of Detroit in the Jefferson Conner area.


Reed phoned the offices of ARISE Detroit! and I was lucky enough to answer her call. She is a refreshing reminder that despite all the very real challenges of a bad economy, crime, high unemployment and schools that need a makeover, there are thousands of Detroiters like Reed who are not just committed to staying the course – they want to chart a new and better course for the city they love.

 

Reed is active in a wide number of community efforts and wants to see a cleaner, safer community. She’s would welcome volunteers to help with clean up of blighted neighborhood eyesores.
“We all need to be doing something,” she said.

 

Reed promises to spread the word about ARISE Detroit! And we are going spread the word about her and the Lenox Block Club! I’m hopeful because I know there are many people like Reed, often unsung and behind the headlines, who like Reed are part of a growing “Transformation Community” in Detroit, hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals working in ways large and small to create a better Detroit.

I’m hopeful because of the passion of people like Tiffany Tilley of the Mannie Project, Fred Hart of Brothers Against Guns, Weusi Olusola of Pioneers For Peace and Linda White of the Arc of Nonviolence all of whom have turned personal tragedies into organized efforts to to reduce crime and violence in Detroit.

 

I’m hopeful because of commitment of Amy Good, who 20 years ago grew tired of seeing teenage girls sell their bodies on the streets of southwest Detroit and pulled some friends together to form Alternative For Girls to offer housing and educational opportunities.

 

I’m hopeful because of the dedication of Jeron Campbell, a young Ford Motor Co. engineer, who started the Aces program, to help Detroit students boost their college entrance scores, and Mark Mayberry, a former educator, who started Exam Experts for the same reason.

 

I’m hopeful because even with all the problems with Detroit public schools, there are many people like Sharlonda Buckman and Minnie Davis of the Detroit Parent Network, Charlie Anderson and Pandora Brown of Communities in Schools of Detroit and Penny Bailer of City Year Detroit who refuse give up on our children and continue to use their resources and volunteers to point our youngsters toward a brighter future.

 

I’m hopeful because of Terrance Collier of The Rapping Mentor and the Good Boys, who with his sons gives positive message rap performances.

I’m hopeful because of David Sawicki and his wife Lisa Lapides of Youth Under Construction and Rae Glover and Susan Storey – a Cody High School Teacher — of the Better Detroit Youth Movement, who use entertainment, music and dance to promote self-esteem and educational achievement with our young people.

 

I’m hopeful because of Nat Pernick, a suburbanite who has launched the Detroit College of Promise – with Cody High as the first school – to guarantee college scholarships for city public school graduates, and Leslie Andrews –a Detroiter — who is making higher education for youngsters through the United Negro College Fund.

 

I’m hopeful because of the unflagging efforts to revive neighborhoods on the east side of Detroit with Toni McIlwain of the Ravendale Community, Mike Fisher of the Detroit Community Initiave and Shirley Burch of Community United for Progress.

 

I’m hopeful because their efforts are matched on the west side of town by Olivia Shakoor of the Crary St. Mary’s Community Council, John George of the Motor City Blight Busters, Mary Banks of the Brightmoor Alliance and Kim Tandy of the University Community Association.

 

I’m hopeful because of Carol Shoch, a former music teacher, who started the Detroit Children’s Choir to bring the joy of choral singing to Detroit students.

 

I’m hopeful because of Nandi Comer of the Inside Out LiteraryArtsProject, which teaches poetry to Detroit school students.

 

Paul Miles

 

Written on May 27, 2013

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

Written on May 27, 2013

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

Third annual Neighborhoods Day on Aug. 1 will feature more than 100 events showcasing the positive efforts of community groups, block clubs, churches and businesses

Where is the change in Detroit? Where is the hope?


One thing for sure; You can’t see either from 10,000 feet. But if you take the ground level view, if you go to the neighborhoods, go to the schools – even the worst of them – go to the churches, go to the people, that’s where you will find the heart and soul of Detroit beating – and people working for real change.


Problem is most people in today’s microwave, “fix it right now” society expect the change to come overnight with the power and thunder of a lightning bolt, or the earth-shattering crash of an asteroid. Show me something really big, they say! Show me something really sexy! Show it to me right now!
But real change often starts with small connections, with neighbors caring about neighbors, conversations about children, finding common ground for a common purpose. As more connections are made, more people become involved, more people care,….the movement grows and change happens.


The kind of change when you teach a child, or an adult struggling with illiteracy, to read; the kind of change that persuades young people that violence is not the way to solve conflict; the kind of change that stirs community residents to clean up their neighborhoods and look out for senior citizens.


It is with this firm belief three years ago, on an auspiciously sunny Saturday morning, that ARISE Detroit! – funded by the Skillman Foundation — launched in Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit with the goal of enlisting an army of new volunteers and to inspire local residents to take up the challenge for change.


From that first event, a still growing movement has sprung. From 22 founding partner organizations, we have grown to a coalition of more than 400, churches, community groups, block clubs, media outlets and businesses promoting volunteerism, community activism and positive media images to create a better Detroit.


Through marketing support with our e-newsletters, website, a radio show, which we hope to resume soon, and relationships with local media we also aim to be a catalyst for more news stories of hope and inspiration.


ARISE Detroit! has become a champion for Detroit’s “Transformation Community,” the hundreds of non-profit organizations, philanthropic foundations and the thousands of people quietly working every day to improve Detroit.


Many people have little sense of the breadth of this community because their impressions of Detroit are defined by the crime and various urban ills that so often lead our local newscasts. Yes, positive stories are reported but they are generally tucked in between a sea of mayhem, making the “good,” seem aberrant and the “bad” seem the norm. Don’t misunderstand me, as a former journalist I fully support reporting all the news – even the bad stuff that makes people uncomfortable.


But if you take the time to come down from the 10,000 foot media-defined view, you will see another side of Detroit.


This is the side where thousands of parents get up on a Saturday morning and by 8 a.m. are at the Cobo Conference Center to register their children for a program called DAPCEP to see that they get special courses in science and math to prepare them for college.


This is the side, where a former Ford Motor Co. engineer formed a program called ACES and uses volunteers to prep city youngsters to boost their college entrance exam scores. The is the side where hundreds of just plain folks turn out for community brainstorming sessions to develop strategies to revive their neighborhoods.


This is the side of CB patrols and community anti-crime programs and neighborhood watch groups. This is the side that mentors and tutors our young people.


This other side of Detroit will be on spectacular display on Saturday, Aug. 1, when ARISE Detroit! hosts its third annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day. Well over 100 events will be held all over Detroit on the same day, from dawn till dusk, from midtown to downtown, from the far east side, to the far west side.
 

Block clubs, churches, community groups and business will host community cleanups, health fairs, library and school events, youth concerts, garage sales, parades, volunteer signup programs and much more.
 

Thousands of proud and determined Detroiters will be connected to a common vision for a transformed community. Organizations can participate by registering at www.arisedetroit.org , or phone 313-921-1955. I invite you to discover this other side of Detroit.


You will be amazed.

Third annual Neighborhoods Day on Aug. 1 will feature more than 100 events showcasing the positive efforts of community groups, block clubs, churches and businesses

Where is the change in Detroit? Where is the hope?


One thing for sure; You can’t see either from 10,000 feet. But if you take the ground level view, if you go to the neighborhoods, go to the schools – even the worst of them – go to the churches, go to the people, that’s where you will find the heart and soul of Detroit beating – and people working for real change.


Problem is most people in today’s microwave, “fix it right now” society expect the change to come overnight with the power and thunder of a lightning bolt, or the earth-shattering crash of an asteroid. Show me something really big, they say! Show me something really sexy! Show it to me right now!
But real change often starts with small connections, with neighbors caring about neighbors, conversations about children, finding common ground for a common purpose. As more connections are made, more people become involved, more people care,….the movement grows and change happens.


The kind of change when you teach a child, or an adult struggling with illiteracy, to read; the kind of change that persuades young people that violence is not the way to solve conflict; the kind of change that stirs community residents to clean up their neighborhoods and look out for senior citizens.


It is with this firm belief three years ago, on an auspiciously sunny Saturday morning, that ARISE Detroit! – funded by the Skillman Foundation — launched in Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit with the goal of enlisting an army of new volunteers and to inspire local residents to take up the challenge for change.


From that first event, a still growing movement has sprung. From 22 founding partner organizations, we have grown to a coalition of more than 400, churches, community groups, block clubs, media outlets and businesses promoting volunteerism, community activism and positive media images to create a better Detroit.


Through marketing support with our e-newsletters, website, a radio show, which we hope to resume soon, and relationships with local media we also aim to be a catalyst for more news stories of hope and inspiration.


ARISE Detroit! has become a champion for Detroit’s “Transformation Community,” the hundreds of non-profit organizations, philanthropic foundations and the thousands of people quietly working every day to improve Detroit.


Many people have little sense of the breadth of this community because their impressions of Detroit are defined by the crime and various urban ills that so often lead our local newscasts. Yes, positive stories are reported but they are generally tucked in between a sea of mayhem, making the “good,” seem aberrant and the “bad” seem the norm. Don’t misunderstand me, as a former journalist I fully support reporting all the news – even the bad stuff that makes people uncomfortable.


But if you take the time to come down from the 10,000 foot media-defined view, you will see another side of Detroit.


This is the side where thousands of parents get up on a Saturday morning and by 8 a.m. are at the Cobo Conference Center to register their children for a program called DAPCEP to see that they get special courses in science and math to prepare them for college.


This is the side, where a former Ford Motor Co. engineer formed a program called ACES and uses volunteers to prep city youngsters to boost their college entrance exam scores. The is the side where hundreds of just plain folks turn out for community brainstorming sessions to develop strategies to revive their neighborhoods.


This is the side of CB patrols and community anti-crime programs and neighborhood watch groups. This is the side that mentors and tutors our young people.


This other side of Detroit will be on spectacular display on Saturday, Aug. 1, when ARISE Detroit! hosts its third annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day. Well over 100 events will be held all over Detroit on the same day, from dawn till dusk, from midtown to downtown, from the far east side, to the far west side.
 

Block clubs, churches, community groups and business will host community cleanups, health fairs, library and school events, youth concerts, garage sales, parades, volunteer signup programs and much more.
 

Thousands of proud and determined Detroiters will be connected to a common vision for a transformed community. Organizations can participate by registering at www.arisedetroit.org , or phone 313-921-1955. I invite you to discover this other side of Detroit.


You will be amazed.

Written on May 27, 2013

By Luther Keith, Executive Director

Here we go again.

After a rash of youth related killings, assaults and car-jackings, we have seen the usual hand-wringing and declarations of outrage on editorial pages, talk shows and from pundits of all kinds, including those of the barber shop and beauty salon variety.

But outrage alone– while it does have some value and makes for great headlines and media dramatics — is not enough.

We need a plan and we need to work like heck to make the plan work. We must have staying power, understand that there is no microwave, no magic bullet or quick-fix solution that can be prescribed by any politician, preacher, celebrity or even the president of the United States.

Looking for answers?

Look in the mirror. Look around you. Look on your block. Look in your community. It is on us folks, all of us parents, all of us teachers, anyone who cares about our future and our community in Detroit and beyond, in Michigan and beyond.

First of all, it is not a youth problem; it is a parent problem, an adult problem. Children do not raise themselves.

Listen to Keith Bennett of Goodwill Industries of Detroit and the mastermind behind the Flip the Script male responsibility program that has redirected the lives of more than 1,000 young African American males, many of whom at one point walked on the wrong side of the law.

“I’ve been working with kids since I was coaching in 1971 and kids have not changed,” Bennett said. “What has changed is the things we tolerate as parents. We make excuses and have lowered the bar.

“Whenever I see kids out on the street behaving badly and acting improperly, that means somebody has not finished their business (of raising their children). We started the process by bringing them into the world but didn’t finish the process of raising them to maturation so they will know how to behave.

“If you do your work inside the home, you won’t have to worry about them on the street.”

Frank McGhee directs the Youth Initiative Project, a youth leadership program for the Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO).

He wants to see the community as a whole become more actively engaged in efforts to direct young people in the right direction, showing outrage over crime and violence, but also moving beyond displays of rage.

“The community has got to stop saying it is not my problem (until I am personally affected),” McGhee said. “When they do that, young people will respond. These kids are only copying what they see adults do.”

McGhee views the violence as a deterrent to educational achievement.

“”If you are struggling with violence, scared to go to school, you won’t be able to do well in school,” he said.

Of course, law enforcement has a huge role to play in this and McGhee wants to see a better job of curtailing the purchase of illegal weapons which too often ends up in the hands of young people.

Finally, he wants to see elected officials not just saying more, but doing more on the issue of crime and violence.

Of course, Bennett and McGhee are both right.

However, there is laundry list of other contributing factors as well, including the societal glorification of violence in all forms of media, the failure to make all children understand the value of education, the fraying of the family unit and the proliferation of illegal drugs which continues to wreak a devastating toll on our community.

I submit, in keeping with the mission and spirit of ARISE Detroit!, we need to find a way to engage EVERYONE – churches, businesses, schools and individuals – with the idea that we all have a personal stake in creating good in our community.

It’s not about one organization, one campaign or one agenda.

During WW II, Detroit was known as the Arsenal of Democracy for turning out material for the war effort and all Detroiters, indeed all Americans, had a stake in doing something to achieve the common goal of victory for our nation.

We need no less a commitment now.

That means whatever, skill, talent, concern, interest or belief you have, find a way to use it to contribute it to the righteous cause of community transformation.

There are some things you can do RIGHT NOW that can have a positive impact, in some cases immediately, on the lives of our young people and the health of our community.

Take a child to school, even if not your own. Take a child to church, even if not your own. Read to a child, even if not your own. Teach a child to read, even if not your own.

Become a mentor, become a tutor.

Become a Big Brother or a Big Sister. Join 100 Black Men. Join the Detroit Parent Network and learn what’s going on in the schools and how you can help.

Get involved with the Boy Scouts, the Girls Scouts.

Find out what your church is doing to promote positive youth development.

Go over to YouthVille Detroit and learn how you can help with any of their many worthwhile youth programs, including the Peace Project.

Connect with Communities in Schools of Detroit and get plugged into volunteer at a school.

Contact the Detroit Public Library and become a literacy tutor.

Find out what your block club is doing for neighborhood youth. If you don’t have a block club, form one.

Call the United Way of Southeastern Michigan and look into volunteer opportunities. Call ARISE Detroit!, 313-921-1955, or go to our website, www.arisedetroit.org, and register for any of the more than 400 programs and thousands of volunteer opportunities. If you can’t do any of that, just sit on your front porch and make sure the kids in your neighborhood are safe when they walk home from school.

Those are just a few of my ideas. Let me hear some of yours, and more importantly, let me hear what your are DOING.

 

(313) 921-1955

5555 Conner St # 1233, Detroit, MI 48213, USA

©2020 BY ARISE Detroit!