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This Week on One Detroit:

From attendee to activist: Rev. Dr. JoAnn Watson’s life changed after the 1963 Detroit Walk to Freedom

Rev. Dr. JoAnn Watson, senior pastor of West Side Unity Church in Detroit, was 12 years old when her grandparents picked her up on a summer afternoon in June 1963. Little did she know that day she would find her passion for activism and purpose in life. 

This story also appeared in DPTV - One Detroit

Her grandparents took her to the 1963 Detroit Walk to Freedom, the largest civil rights demonstration up to that point with 125,000 people attending, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King gave an early version of his “I Have a Dream” speech there before his famous national address two months later in Washington, D.C. 

In commemoration of the 1963 Detroit Walk to Freedom, the Detroit Branch NAACP has organized a weekend-long slate of June Jubilee events June 22-25, including an unveiling of a Martin Luther King statue at Hart Plaza, the 60th-anniversary commemoration of the Freedom Walk, and the 68th annual Fight for Freedom Fund dinner at Huntington Place. The Freedom Fund dinner will feature keynote speaker U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia. 

Reflecting on her experiences at the 1963 march and her career in public service, Rev. Watson shares her memories from that historic day and its impact on her life trajectory with One Detroit contributor Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ. Plus, they talk about Rev. Watson’s influence on the Melody American Girl doll and how people can commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Detroit Walk to Freedom.  

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Inside the minds of Gen Z: What the next generation thinks about the future of work

As the baton of the workforce is passed from one generation to the next, Generation Z emerges as a powerful force, bringing their unique perspectives and aspirations to the table. Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z is approaching higher education and their future careers with a fresh mindset, seeking practical skills and hands-on experiences that will empower them in an ever-evolving job market. 

Gen Z also remains optimistic for a future where their work aligns with their passions, enables positive societal impact and fosters constant learning. Statistics from a Deloitte and Network of Executive Women (NEW) poll show that 77% of Generation Z said they would prefer to work for a company that shared similar values. 

While many factors may influence their career decisions, including opportunities elsewhere, a significant question remains: Will Michigan’s Gen Z population continue to call the state home, pursuing their dreams here and contributing to the state’s prosperity? 

Three members of Generation Z — Brooke Snow, Samantha Chiang and Kendall Murray — sat down with One Detroit producer and Future of Work host Will Glover to talk about their hopes for the future, the types of jobs they have been exposed to in their K-12 careers, and whether they will stay in Michigan after graduation. 

This conversation comes from One Detroit’s Future of Work Town Hall “Gen Z in the Workforce” and continues One Detroit’s cumulative, ongoing conversations involving the future of work and workforce development in Michigan.

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16th annual Silence the Violence march advocates for ending gun violence in communities of color

In a resolute stand against the impact of gun violence in communities of color, the Church of the Messiah is gearing up for its 16th annual Silence the Violence march and rally on June 17. The community-led event, deeply rooted in principles of unity and solidarity, seeks to advocate for change and bring an end to the alarming rate of gun violence impacting communities of color.  

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, Black Americans experience gun-related deaths at a rate 10 times higher than their white counterparts. Young people are impacted the most by this epidemic, with gun violence being a leading cause of death among youth aged 15-24.  

Against the backdrop of these staggering statistics, the Silence the Violence march and rally will offer peaceful demonstrations, engaging speeches and heartfelt testimonials to shed light on the urgent need for comprehensive gun control measures, increased community resources and holistic approaches to violence prevention.  

Church of the Messiah Pastor Barry Randolph joins “American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson to preview the 16th annual event and talk about how the march honors gun violence victims. Plus, they talk about the growth of the event over the years, how other cities are joining the efforts by holding similar activities, and the importance of creating cohesive communities to help eradicate gun violence. 

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One Detroit Weekend: June 16, 2023

Are you looking for some arts, culture, music and family-friendly fun to experience around the Detroit area this weekend? From ways to celebrate Father’s Day to a host of Juneteenth events around the city, a luxury car experience and more, Detroit has a lot to offer this weekend. 

One Detroit contributor Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ shares what you can do around the Detroit area during the June 16 weekend and into next week on “One Detroit Weekend.” 

List of Upcoming Events:  

  • Kick-off Juneteenth and the 60th anniversary of the Detroit Walk to Freedom by joining New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Eig’s talk about his book “King: A Life” at the Detroit Historical Society Friday, June 16.
  • Take in some chamber music during the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival’s presentation of “Shouse: Schumann & Shostakovich” Friday, June 16 at the Detroit Institute of Arts, but the festival continues performances through June 24.
  • Get ready to drive and/or ride in luxury this weekend at the M1-Concourse for the Xtreme Xperience, a two-day car festival June 15-16 that will allow attendees to test drive Lamborghinis, Porsches and other supercars around the racetrack.
  • Pair some wine and dinner with music at the Andiamo Showroom Friday, June 16 for A Cabaret Dinner. Artist Ben Sharkey will blend his sounds of jazz, soul and pop music with a delicious meal and a wine tasting.
  • Detroit has several Juneteenth events and activities to offer, like the Batch Brewing Company’s Beats & BBQ Block Party on June 16, the Detroit Association of Black Organization’s Juneteenth Celebration on June 17, and the Juneteenth Freedom Festival at Eastern Market Shed 5 on June 18.
  • Join The Oak Ridge Boys for a night of four-part harmonies and upbeat Country hits Saturday, June 17 at the Andiamo Showroom for their “Front Porch Singin’” tour.
  • Celebrate the opening of the Cranbrook Art Museum’s 2023 summer exhibition, Sonya Clark: We Are Each Other, with an opening preview at the museum from 6-9 p.m. Friday, June 16.
  • Transport to the golden era of automobiles this Father’s Day weekend with the Henry Ford Museum’s Motor Muster, one of the country’s most exciting car shows, located in Greenfield Village on Saturday and Sunday, June 17-18.
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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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