This Week on One Detroit:

2023 Detroit Policy Conference focuses on the City’s resurgence and the future for downtown

Ten years ago, in 2013, Detroit was facing arguably one of its hardest situations yet: bankruptcy. In the last decade, however, the city’s downtown has rebounded and revitalized itself, and in the grand scheme of things, for some city officials and key stakeholders, Detroit’s resurgence is just getting started. 

This story also appeared in DPTV - One Detroit

Detroiters will have a chance to learn more about upcoming efforts to build a more equitable and prosperous future for downtown Detroit at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2023 Detroit Policy Conference. The conference will be hosted Jan. 10 at Motor City Casino Hotel, featuring notable speakers like Detroit Regional Chamber President & CEO Sandy K. Baruah, Bedrock LLC CEO Kofi Bonner, City of Detroit Director of Planning and Development Antoine Bryant, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, “American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson and several others. 

Covering the conference through the lens of our Future of Work initiative, One Detroit contributors Nolan Finley, of the Detroit News, and Henderson sit down with Baruah about this year’s conference theme and the conversations policymakers will have there

They’ll drive to you: Mobile health resources across Detroit address homeless needs, health disparities

Detroit’s car-centric infrastructure has long impeded its citizens without adequate transportation or housing from accessing the resources they need. From the lack of public restrooms to healthcare disparities in underserved communities, citizens are not able to get to brick-and-mortar facilities like they used to. That’s when two Detroit organizations started to change how they looked at the problem. If people can’t get to them, then they’ll meet people where they are. 

The WAVE Project, short for Welcoming All Valuing Everyone, is addressing the needs of the homeless community by providing mobile closets, hygiene kits, and showers. Through mobile shower vans, the WAVE Project now travels to communities across metro Detroit to offer their services to those who need them without being tied down to a single location. 

The benefits of mobile outreach vans proved useful in the healthcare industry too, and Wayne State University’s School of Medicine quickly jumped on board. The university’s Wayne Health Mobile Units are bringing health screenings, vaccines and preventative care to communities with health disparities. One Detroit’s Rose LaForest sat down with WAVE Project Co-Founders Todd and Laura Gordon, as well as a handful of people involved with the Wayne Health Mobile Unit program to learn more about the services they both provide.

The Black Church in Detroit: Detroit’s Black church leaders look ahead to 2023

As Detroit’s Black church leaders look ahead to 2023, what are their goals, strategies and hopes for the new year? One Detroit contributor Stephen Henderson sat down for an in-depth conversation with three ministers who are part of a coalition of more than 100 Detroit churches working collectively to make a difference in the city: Pastor Barry Randolph of Church of the Messiah, Rev. Anthony Estes of St. Matthew’s & St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church and All Saints Episcopal Church in Detroit, and Rev. Cecile Massey of Carry the Word Ministries.   

As faith leaders of smaller churches in the community, the pastors talk about the challenges they are concerned about in 2023, both within their church walls and out in the community. They discuss how to engage both young people and older members of the church, the use of technology in ministry, reducing gun violence in the community, and the importance of partnering with other churches on issues impacting the community. Additionally, they talk with Henderson about the overall exhaustion being felt by members of the clergy and the congregation, and the ways they’re trying to address it. 

Longtime jazz supporter, philanthropist and businesswoman Gretchen Valade dead at 97

Detroit has lost one of its greatest supporters of the city’s jazz music and arts scene. Gretchen Valade, the “Angel of Jazz,” passed away at her Grosse Pointe Farms home on Dec. 30, 2022. She was 97 years old. 

Valade was a prominent businesswoman and philanthropist. As the owner of the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe and Mack Avenue Records, Valade promoted the musical careers of many Detroit and international jazz musicians. She was also a champion of countless Detroit jazz projects including the creation of a $10 million endowment fund for the Detroit Jazz Festival so it would remain free to attendees and, more recently, a $9.5 million donation to jazz studies and performance at Wayne State University. 

In tribute to Valade’s legacy, WRCJ’s “The Swing Set” host Linda Yohn sat down with Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation President Chris Collins to talk about Valade’s passing and the impact that will be felt by her loss. “Her passion, commitment and vision were a legacy in itself,” Collins told WRCJ. 

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A preview of the 2023 Detroit Policy Conference. A look at mobile health outreach in Detroit. An outlook for 2023 from Detroit’s Black church leaders. Plus, remembering Detroit’s “Angel of Jazz” Gretchen Valade.
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Stephen Henderson is the Founding Editor of BridgeDetroit, and a former writer and editor for the Detroit Free Press, Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune. Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary,...

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