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  • Writer's pictureDeb Seaton


Updated: Aug 29, 2019

“These groups come together because they have a passion to be a part of the change and that’s why we’re here because we all want to make a difference in this community.” – Pastor Annie Adams, Holy Ground Missionary Baptist Church.

By Deb Seaton

ARISE Detroit! Special Writer

Willie Clark Sr. had just starting grilling hotdogs.

It was about 9:45 a.m. and sunny over Kelley Park in Detroit. Several children had already started marching down Oakfield Avenue chanting “Wake up, Detroit! Unity in the Community.”

Clark is a 95-year-old resident of the Crary-St. Mary’s Community and says he has volunteered his time by cooking and gathering donations for the community parade simply because he likes to do it.

“We’re trying to let the young generation know there’s a future ahead if they so try to accept it,” said Clark, a Detroit residence since.1948.

Clark was one of many participants in the 13th annual Arise Detroit! Neighborhoods Day on Saturday, August 3. More than 200 organizations across the city participated in the day-long event finding different ways to express community pride.

The Crary-St. Mary’s neighborhood celebrated the city-wide event with its Unity in The Community Parade that started north on Oakfield Avenue and ended west to Kelley Park.

Beverly Hall, treasurer for Crary-St. Mary’s Community Council Board, said being a part of Neighborhoods Day showcases that Detroiters, specifically African Americans, still care about their communities and she hopes the neighborhoods will grow through community volunteerism.

“I hope that we will be vibrant and supporting each other,” said Hall, “That we have a real feel of what community is, put love back in and help us grow as a race.”


In the Palmer Park neighborhood, Eugene Franklin is sweeping up the basement floor of Detroit Unity Temple, 17505 2nd Ave. For Neighborhoods Day, the church offered a health fair in which 21 vendors provided education and free testing to residents such as mammograms by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, HIV testing, and the medical center DLIVE hosted a teen discussion on cyber bullying and trauma.

“We have a need in our community to have healthcare for all age groups,” said Franklin, chairman of the trustee board at Detroit Unity Temple. “African American men have the shortest life expectancy for any of the four major age groups in our country. Our children need to see us advocating for healthy diets, healthy habits and getting tested. These are things our kids need to see us model.”

It was important for Jacquelyn Perkins, a registered nurse and event coordinator, to bring a health fair to the neighborhood with the intent to have all information and testing free because it was affordable for residents.

“Part of this neighborhood is lower socioeconomically,” she said. “A lot of these people don’t have health insurance so I was trying to find vendors that would provide free testing. We did it for the neighborhood.”


Holy Ground Missionary Baptist Church, 13321 Puritan Ave., hosted its Picnic with a Purpose that included community clean up, the Lending an Ear program that offers school supplies and the Oak Park Alternative Education Center helping youth who need to obtain their high school diploma.

“We believe the city of Detroit is coming back and some of us live, work and worship here in the city,” said Annie Adams, pastor of Holy Ground Missionary Baptist Church, and an ARISE Detroit! board member. “These groups come together because they have a passion to be a part of the change and that’s why we’re here because we all want to make a difference in this community.”


Detroit Historical Museum showed out for Neighborhoods Day with custom-made quilts.

In collaboration with the Great Lakes African American Quilters Network, the museum’s theme “What Does Freedom Mean in Detroit” featured a large quilt of the Flag of Detroit with more than 200 participants answers throughout the work.

Kalisha Davis, director of community outreach & engagement at the Detroit Historical Museum, said Neighborhoods Day provides a chance for residents and nonresidents to see the good in Detroit.

“It definitely promotes what is right and good and that’s always here in the city,” says Davis. “Sometimes people don’t know about it but there are so many people who care about what happens in this community and are making a significant contribution.”


Inhibiting car theft in its neighborhood was the contribution of the Bethune Community Council. The group offered free vehicle identification number etching on residents’ car windows holding their Neighborhoods Day event in the same area as the Desoto-Ellsworth Block Association.

Carolyn Valentine, program contact of the Bethune Community Council VIN etching project, said she has participated Neighborhoods Day since it began in 2007. She said VIN etching is just a small act of neighborhood and personal security, she added her vision for the city is has not changed.

“My vision remains the same: that events such as this and neighborhoods that were of the type that I grew up in – and I’ve been in Detroit at least 50 years – where neighbors just out and about and protecting each other,” she said. “And doing things to promote a quality of life that young people can really become good citizens. It was the job of the entire neighborhood, not a specific organization – everybody joined in.”

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