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Nothing without a woman or a girl

In February, President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative aimed at helping young men and boys of color. The initiative brings together foundations, businesses, governors, mayors, faith leaders and nonprofit organizations. At Mayor Mike Duggan’s State of the City address, he indicated he would support the Obama administration effort in Detroit. President Obama pledged $200 million to My Brothe ...

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Broken Promise Zone

President Barack Obama first announced the Promise Zone Initiative during his 2013 State of the Union Address. The initiative is supposed to be a way for the administration to work with “local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand access to educational opportunities and quality, affordable housing and improve public safety,” according to a press statement at the time. ...

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You can’t build Detroit without Detroiters

If many readers aren’t excited about the future of Detroit, the corporate, foundation and establishment stakeholders who trek to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference every year are. It appears all of the obstructionists are gone — no more fighting city council or elected Black or local leaders with any real say. Few are left to question the ideas coming out of the conference. No more bi ...

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Rap isn’t the problem, racism is

It would be easy for some to dismiss the racial dynamics of a Hamtramck-bar incident. But the racial politics of Southeastern Michigan are entrenched. When someone suggests rap music and Hennessey aren’t allowed, it is undoubtedly code for Black people aren’t welcome. Increasingly, in this supposed post-racial environment, comments or actions that are disparaging or alienating to Black people are disguised ...

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Whose island? Not Penske’s island

Reports flashed across Facebook on Mother’s Day, despite the beautiful weather, no one was on Belle Isle. What a contrast to years previous and city folk’s habits. Could the reason be state police harassment? The acres and acres of concrete covering the western half of the island? Or a combination of both? For sure, Detroiters were absent on the island while crowds thronged to the Riverwalk. Thousands were ...

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EAA, a chaotic experiment that needs to end

High teacher turnover, declining enrollment, lack of curriculum, too many Teach for America staff and too few certified teachers, harsh discipline practices, absence of books, broken or missing computers and a faulty premise on which to build a school system — that “failing” children working for most of the day on a computer will find inspiration, skills and a love of learning: That’s the EAA, the Education ...

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Belle Isle

Detroit City Council correctly blasted the state in its management of Belle Isle. City Clerk Janice Winfrey, who stated she did not expect preferential treatment because she is an elected official, testified she was concerned about the sarcastic disposition of the state police trooper who said he wanted to keep “riff-raff“ off the island. The mainstream press laughed off Council President Brenda Jones claim ...

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National Association of Meaningless Awards

From Detroit to Los Angeles, Leon Jenkins has been selling out the whole way. Jenkins left Detroit disgraced. He was disbarred, removed from his seat at 36th District Court, and effectively run out of town. He was caught taking bribes and fixing tickets and was under FBI surveillance. So he leaves Detroit and goes to Los Angeles for what could have been a fresh start. What better place to go, following thou ...

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We’re all losers after the Supreme Court’s decision in Schuette

There are many individuals and groups in Michigan who lost as a result of the United States Supreme Court decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. Schuette is widely misunderstood as being a case about affirmative action. It is not. In fact, it leaves in place Supreme Court law recognizing diversity as a compelling governmental interest and permitting carefully constructed affirmative ...

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Two Detroits? Gentrification.

Mostly, gentrification has to do with displacement. Wealthier residents move into a community, changing property values and culture. The changes push out residents who have lived and invested for years and generations. Some believe gentrification is — by definition — violent, and, undoubtedly in some cities, gentrification has been ruthless. San Francisco, Harlem, Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. are gentrifyi ...

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