One Detroit – Detroit Civility Project

May 5, 2019

One Detroit – Detroit Public Television

DETROIT CIVILITY PROJECT: A One Detroit report looks at Nolan and Stephen’s Detroit Civility Project, launched with the Detroit Regional Chamber at its 2019 Detroit Policy Conference. The team talks about the project’s goal of getting people who disagree to sit down together and try to understand each other.

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Detroiters Share During First, Second, and Last Word at #DPC19

The 2019 Detroit Policy Conference offered attendees the opportunity to hear Detroit’s First, Second, and Last Word throughout the day at the Michigan Talent Investment Agency Stage.

Detroit’s First Word

Conversations during “The Power of Placemaking in Neighborhoods” and “Creating Community Space for All” panels surrounded the importance of listening to community voices and focusing on involving the people who will be using your service or program. We need to listen to receive and not listen to respond, to let community members know their voices are valued and heard.

Detroit’s Second Word

“Promise Scholarship: A Path to a Degree” panelists focused on the importance of thinking about the next for students after high school and realizing that success isn’t just getting the students into college but helping them work on their journey to finish school.

“Skilled Trades: The Talent Pursuit” discussed the importance of skilled trades and exposing younger students to skilled trade opportunities so they can see what the industry has to offer. Reaching students earlier in their life and sooner gives employers new opportunities to engage with potential employers and also discuss the needs of future talent.

Detroit’s Final Word

Rounding out the day with the last three sessions, Detroit’s Final Word talks included “Detroit’s Cost of Living: Housing”, Detroit’s Cost of Living: Transportation and Auto Insurance” and “Access to Capital: Disparities for Entrepreneurs of Color.” Although the topics covered a wide range of content, one point was made clear, if you want to make an impact in the community you have to look at the problem and work together with people who encounter it every day. By working with the community, we can really understand the root of the problem and fix it to make an impact.


Five of Detroit’s Most Dynamic Voices Deliver Power Perspectives

Throughout the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, five local community leaders took the stage to deliver for “TEDx-style Power Perspectives.

Shamayim “Mama Shu” Harris, Founder and CEO, Avalon Village

Transforming blight to beauty, Harris wanted to build for the better and transformed her pain into power. Some people look for a beautiful place, Harris chooses to make the place beautiful.

Andre Spivey, Council Member District 4, Detroit City Council

Detroit’s comeback is about how we value education in the city. We must value education to help educate children, and underprepared and non-educated adults. We have a great system but there are still some challenges; if we want to move forward, we must prepare all of our residents, both young and old, for the future.

Armond Rashad, Owner, Jabs Gym Eastern Market; Creator, Run This Town Detroit

The health and wellness industry are alive and well in Detroit and it’s been shown through the success of Jabs Gym and Run This Town Detroit. By 2030, Detroit will be the healthiest city in all of the U.S., Rashad Said. By taking advantage of personal wellness, we can build a healthy Detroit together.

Courtney Smith, Founder and Executive Director, Detroit Phoenix Center

In Detroit, 1.6 million youth are homeless, one in five are victims of human trafficking and 346 percent are less likely to graduate from high school.  Based on her lived experiences and the reality that is Detroit, Smith created Detroit Phoenix Center to better help serve homeless youth. By using her lived experiences, integrating youth voice, and working to better Detroit, Smith is working to make Detroit a city that leads the way in solving the most precious issues. Detroiters need to save Detroit.

Laura Granneman, Vice President, Strategic Investments, Quicken Loans Community Fund

Detroit has one of the highest municipal taxes in the country and we haven’t gotten to the root cause of the problem. Granneman said, we need to help our most vulnerable residents from being displaced as the city changes and evolves. We must make tools accessible and work quickly to reach home owners before it is too late, and their homes are lost.

Power Perspectives were sponsored by Grand Valley State University.

Jay Pitter: Building Inclusive Communities

“We can’t seize future opportunities if we disregard the past,” said Jay Pitter, author and placemaker.

At the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, Pitter emphasized the importance of creating an inclusive community to continue Detroit’s upward trajectory. Pitter, who is from Toronto, is an expert in social justice, spatial relations, and inclusive planning. She gave Detroiters a number of ideas to create inclusive communities.

Key takeaways from Pitter’s keynote discussion:

  • Pay respect to the history of a space when building new structures.
  • Create spaces that provide value, healing, and discovery. They should not only focus on appearance.
  • Tell stories with the spaces you are building.
  • Remember that urban design is not neutral; it has a history rooted in colonization and tense racial relations. Designers need to create spaces that respect our history while still moving toward the future.
  • Recognize local leaders and heroes who are building inclusive communities now.

This session was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Barry Matherly: Become an Ambassador for the Region

At the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, Detroit Regional Partnership President and CEO Barry Matherly took to the Sound Board stage to promote the Detroit region and the power of collaboration. Citing the region’s 5.4 million people and 275 municipalities, Matherly focused on helping the region compete globally, not just within the United States. For the region to succeed on a global scale, Matherly provided some key takeaways:

  • Neighborhoods must grow in conjunction with larger cities; it is imperative that regional growth is inclusive.
  • The region is not devoid of issues. We should not hide them, but instead learn from them.
  • People should become ambassadors of their hometown and entire region.

This session was sponsored by DTE Energy Foundation.