When I think about Detroit and living in the city again, it helps me to think about Harlem and how in just 33 years I witnessed first hand the transformation of a dangerous and degraded neighborhood into a place where people want to raise their families. I believe this is possible in Detroit as well.
Big thanks to TEDx Lansing for featuring me and Detroit Diaspora alongside the 9 other all-star speakers.
With each person putting out positive vibes from wherever they are, more momentum builds. That momentum build potential and that potential builds power. The power to change. The power to overcome. The power to recover from being down, but not out.
For every person who’s said that they would come back to Detroit once things were “better,” we are here to help hold them to their word. In fact, we are here to go one step further and call them to be a part of the upswing instead of simply waiting for things to plateau. We are choosing to enable accountability instead of be bound by the results.
I share my story not to discourage anyone from moving back to Detroit but actually to encourage the exact opposite. As I stated at the outset, the story of how my decision to come back here pretty much ended my engineering career before it even got started epitomized everything wrong with the state of Michigan in the previous decade. Conversely, my story and others like it illustrates the unquestionable truth that entrepreneurship and shared vision will revitalize the city of Detroit well before an influx of new and different industries will (as vital as they are). Collective collaboration will revitalize our communities.
We are a diaspora, and nothing says that we cannot become connected in meaningful ways that will shape the future of our city – no matter where we may currently call home. I love it, and I will do my best to be a part of the solutions that we can create. What about you?
Nothing unites Detroiters like that old-English ‘D’ that our beloved Tigers wear on their heads and over their hearts.
This is the first in what will be a a diverse set of stories from the Detroit Diaspora. It’s only appropriate that the set of stories begin with that of Elizabeth W., a woman who was born and raised in Detroit and lived in several different places before returning home to Detroit to do great work.
We are only limited by our imaginations when trying to envision what would be possible if we mapped and connected the Detroit Diaspora. When you connect people to one another that share common bonds, sparks are lit, fires are started and lives are changed forever.