ARISE Detroit!

Neighborhoods Summit Wrapup 

                                                                                                                                            Nov. 16,  2017
           Nearly 400 attend event to improve their neighborhoods                                                      


 "Events like this give us encouragement to reach out and work together to improve our blocks and beautify our community."--Gloria Thornton, resident Crary St. Mary's community.  

By Anne Marie Biondo
ARISE Detroit! Special Writer
After being discouraged by traditional lenders, Ricardo Beecham was excited to learn that buying a home in Detroit is "doable." Beecham attended the recent Neighborhoods Rising Summit and left the Home Buying breakout session enthusiastic and encouraged.
"It has been hard to find a home through the normal process," he said. "But now I know it's doable. I just need to reach out to organizations like the Detroit Land Bank Authority."
The summit made that step especially easy for Detroiters like Beecham. The Detroit Land Bank Authority came to them - as one of four presenters at the Home Buying breakout session.
Nearly 400 people participated in the Eighth Annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Rising Summit at Wayne County Community College District in downtown Detroit on Saturday, Nov. 4. The day-long summit offered breakout sessions on a variety of topics including urban planning, entrepreneurship, neighborhood organizing, safety and youth programming.
During lunch, attendees listened to a panel discussion on neighborhood development. Anika Goss-Foster, executive director of Detroit Future City, presented statistics from the organization's report entitled, 139 Square Miles.
"Detroit has many neighborhoods and differing conditions across each of them, but Detroit is still one city," states the report. "And a thriving city requires all its neighborhoods to be successful."
At the Home Buying session, Krysta Pate of Detroit Home Mortgage said the time to buy Detroit property is now. "If you're interested in buying a home, do not wait," she said. "Detroit is a national Cinderella."
Perrin T. Emanuel, a realtor with Reach Realty Group, wore a "Black Homeownership Matters," T-shirt and encouraged the audience to stop renting and buy: "Home ownership creates black wealth," he said.
 Above: Mark S. Lee, assisted by ARISE Detroit! board member Jackie Berg, moderated the lunchtime discussion on neighborhood development. Seated are Douglass Diggs of The Diggs Group; Dietrich Knoer of The Platform; Marvin Beatty of Magic Plus; Pam Martin Turner of Vanguard CDC and Jeffrey Jones of Doing Development Differently in Detroit.
After the session, attendees lined up to talk to the presenters.
Joya Mills was among them. Her goal is to become a developer, to buy homes, rehab and sell them as move-in ready. She came to the session seeking information on how to fund her investment. She said she found the answer there.
"A lot of people don't have the wherewithal to go through banks," Mills said. "This summit helps find other solutions."
Yelena Ramautar attended the Home Buying session to gain ideas on acquiring and transforming closed elementary schools in the O'Hair Park community.
"This is my second summit," Ramautar said. "As a community organizer, I'm curious about the development aspect. I'm interested in positive programs for youth and developing our neighborhood. This summit is an excellent place to get information and network."
James Haddrill splits his time between Brooklyn and Detroit. As an artist, he founded The Maintenance Room Detroit several years ago, purchasing blighted properties from the Land Bank and transforming them into artist studios. Today, he is focused on vacant land for sculpture exhibits.
"Sculpture parks are educational and cultural," Haddrill said. "It's a good way to invest in the city."
Beecham, Ramautar and Haddrill echoed the sentiments of other summit-goers: Gaining information and ideas from presenters and networking with like-minded community organizers make the summit an important annual event.
In addition to home buying, the summit offered useful information on other community topics, according to attendees.
Gloria Thornton has lived in her Crary St. Mary's neighborhood for 45 years. She was appreciative of the information she received on community resources and tools for connecting better with other residents.
"Our neighborhoods have changed a lot over the years," Thornton said. "Events like this give us encouragement to reach out and work together to improve our blocks and beautify our community."
Linda S. Campbell, program director of Detroit People's Platform, came to the summit to network and spread information about her organization.
"Groups are trying to figure out how to be a part of the new Detroit," Campbell said. "There is a lot of investment going on downtown and the citizens need to have some say in those developments and how those tax incentives are being used."
At another session, Millennials in Action, a standing-room only crowd listened to strategies for community action by eight young local professionals, many of whom had to their hometown from Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C.
The panel of millennials spoke with enthusiasm and passion about "doing" - everything from opening a dance studio for children to creating safe bike paths in alleys and organizing a week to highlight black-owned restaurants.
The session left many in the audience excited to pursue their interests. Christina McCoy, who founded Daughters of Daddies Incarcerated, met a law student at the session who gave her ideas moving her goals forward.
"My father has been in prison since I was four," she said. "We talk every day. And I feel I'm meant to do this, to help other girls and young women learn how to have a relationship with their fathers. I need help and coming here has helped me network and find people who can help."
Another young person at the Millennials session also came away enthusiastic. Christina Young, a junior at Groves High School in Birmingham, said the session taught her to be "courageous."
"I often felt alone and different in my school," she said. "But today I learned to be courageous, not to be ashamed and that black is beautiful."
                                                                  SCENES FROM THE NEIGHBORHOODS SUMMIT
                                                  Marcus Harris of Tech Town hosted the Connecting Capital to Entrepreneurs session
      ARISE Detroit! Board Member Toni McIlwain detailed the keys to neighborhood organizing 
       Millennials In Action, moderated by Erin Keith of the Return2Detroit Project, drew a full house.                             
Above: Youth, Creating Community Leaders and Jobs workshops.
Below: Crystal Staffney, ARISE Detroit! Operations Officer, contributes to the Taking It To Next Level
discussion. Odis Bellinger, of Building Better Men, make point at youth workshop.




ARISE Detroit!
ARISE Detroit!