Capturing the culture that makes Detroit what it is.

Own Your Story the Detroit Initiative: Black Millennials win national Fellowship

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The Black experience in America is often misunderstood. The context in which Black culture is developed, society engages it, and values are built upon it in America is historically problematic. ‘Own Your Story’ is a program led by TandemEd and partnering with Campaign for Black Male Achievement here in Detroit. The mission is to unite our neighborhoods in Detroit, and the Metro-Detroit area, around healthy perspectives and positive stories that we can be proud of, stories that will cast the vision for our future.

In this Detroit is Different interview I host a mix of the Own Your Story team, a Detroit Own Your Story steering committee member, and Detroit Own Your Story fellow to explore the programming here and vision for it. Jason Rivers (Own Your Story Managing Director – Pittsburgh PA), Alexander (Own Your Story Detroit Fellow – Martin Luther King Jr Senior HS Detroit MI), James Scrill (Own Your Story Detroit Steering Committee member – New Era Detroit) join me for this fruitful intergenerational discussion. You will find the perspectives of Black men in teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s to be interesting. I suggest listening to this Detroit is Different to gain a better insight of Own Your Story and Young Black Men today.

Stephanie Johnson-Cobb of the Hope Village Revitalization

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Stephanie Johnson-Cobb is and has been working within her neighborhood for years. Born and raised in the Linwood/Davison community she’s seen her community for decades with family, extended family, and now work. Stephanie works with Hope Village Revitalization bringing to life the interests, love, and passion of residents. In this interview, Stephanie shares how her mission to re-open and clear a park in the neighborhood strengthened her. Today Stephanie’s work is family, neighbor, love based engaging politicians, businesspeople, foundation representatives and more.

Jahleel Muhammad talks Saviours’ Day and Nation of Islam

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The Muhammad Family has made a mark on Detroit for generations. Jahleel carries the legacy of a Mother and Father who have played roles in and out of the house with many. The Father of three today stretches the reach more. Speaking, martial arts, and seeking knowledge is the evident value set Jahleel has shown in this interview.

We talk about the North End, Kettering HS, Minister Louis Farrakhan, and Black Faith in this interview. Deloris Bennett, Dawud Muhammad (former Minister for the Detroit Mosque for the Nation of Islam), and Bishop Edgar Vann working in the North End community are discussed as well. Also the gems of information about the foundation of the Nation of Islam taking place in Detroit.

Ways Detroiters Fight Against Tax Foreclosure

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Michelle Oberholtzer of the United Community Housing Coalition comes back to Detroit is Different to talk Detroit Homeowner’s rights. Michelle shares how you can contest the tax assessment of your property and many of the injustices that exist within these systems. This was an information-based discussion that should prepare homeowners and inform those interested.

The current tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit stems from changes to state tax laws in 1999, which shortened the foreclosure timeline and created new fees:

Taxpayers now face property tax foreclosure after being delinquent on payments for three years. Taxes that are delinquent for more than one year are charged interest at 1.5% per month, or 18% per year, plus fees. Since 2017, owners of foreclosed homes are banned from purchasing their properties back at auction

Michelle Oberholtzer
(313) 963-3310 |
United Community Housing Coalition
2727 Second Ave #313 | Detroit MI 48201

Discussion on Community Development with Racial Equity and Healing. Hosted by Yusef Shakur and Khary Frazier

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Racial Healing and Equity in Community Development was a discussion held by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion led by myself (Khary Frazier) and Yusef Shakur. Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at the Urban Network (2433 Ferry Park Detroit MI 48208) we welcomed a small and impactful group of community-minded activists, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and organizers.

Documenting this discussion naturally led to the realization that more will be needed. Facets of Community Development Block Grants, Community Development Financial Institutions, and Detroit’s polarizing Detroit’s Community Benefits Ordinance were all discussed. This introductory forum served as a way for Yusef Shakur to speak to the racism that has systemically incepted bias towards neighborhood residents. The value of property over people was explored in depth. Philosophy of coping with racism and planning beyond oppression is shared as well.

Questions asked:
In what ways should philanthropists and foundations partner in community development to build neighborhoods? How can residents hold these organizations accountable for racial equity?

In what ways should government and HUD be included in community development that is residentially and racially equitable? How can residents hold government organizations accountable for racial equity?

Art is a Voice and not a Passion for Sabrina Nelson

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“Why You Wanna Fly Blackbird,” is an exhibit by Sabrina Nelson exploring the relationship between Black Women and children they’ve lost. In her, Detroit is Different interview Sabrina shares her story on growing up in Detroit and how Art is her voice. The joy of using designing clothes, painting, drawings, and more as a gateway to developing confidence and identity is explored in this interview.

Visit the “Why You Wanna Fly Blackbird” Exhibit by Sabrina Nelson at Madonna University 36600 Schoolcraft Livonia MI 48150 January 17 – March 16, 2020 (Monday – Thursday 8 am – 12 Mid | Friday & Saturday 10 am – 6 pm)

Curating an Experience: Shed Amin

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Experiencing Detroit nightlife is something that has inspired the dance culture of Germany, has nightclubs mimic the feel in NYC, and from Madonna to Motown has soundtracked parties EVERYWHERE. Shed Amin began creating spaces and places for Michigan State University students from Detroit to gather and now has built a niche and career in the business. If you attend any events sponsored and endorsed by premiere liquor brands featuring Urban entertainment in Metro-Detroit it’s a 90% chance you are at an event Shed Amin is curating. Today the experiences he makes are anchored by the MLK Ski Weekend extravaganza he leads (happening this weekend January 17 – 20, 2020 in Collingwood Ontario CA). In this Detroit is Different interview we explore his background in real estate and interest in events. Shed also shares his perspective of doing business in Detroit and what that looks and feels like today.

Books for the family with Stories for the Soul: SF Hardy

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Imagination is a tool that captures the essence of a child. SF Hardy used her imagination as a tool to teach, guide, and connect with her son. Storytelling was a gateway for the connection with her son to grow stronger. Today (as her son is in college) she uses the stories to help connect parents to their children. Her children’s book ‘Like a Salad’ has received national acclaim and presents the concept of diversity and inclusion to children.

SF Hardy opens up about her story growing up on Detroit’s Eastside in the historic Conant Gardens community. Her story also delves into the experience of being part of one of Crockett Technical HS’s originating graduating classes. SF Hardy also speaks to being part of the African American Studies program at Wayne State University and learning about Black culture internationally, nationally, and locally. This is a great discussion on family, books, and purpose.

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