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State of Opportunity and the Michigan Roundtable ask: What does peace look like in Detroit?

crowd in front of stage
April Van Buren
Michigan Radio
State of Opportunity teamed up with the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion to host an evening of stories and conversation about peace in Detroit.

Our most recentState of Opportunity documentary focused on Detroiters whose personal experience with violence has inspired them to advocate for peace in their city.

We wanted to create a place for people from Detroit's neighborhoods and other Michigan Radio listeners to come together and talk about issues of racial equity and peace in the city. So, we teamed up with the folks at the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion to put on an evening of stories and conversation at the Matrix Center in Detroit's Osborn neighborhood. 

To set the stage for the evening's stories and conversation, we talked to two people who have thought a lot about how to build more peaceful communities in Detroit's neighborhoods. Lauren Hood, founder of Deep Dive Detroit, and Frank McGhee, who leads theYouth Initiatives Project at Detroit's Neighborhood Service Organization. They discussed how the city's long history of racial inequity influences the high rates of violence in Detroit today, why a movement for peace has to start at the grassroots level, and what role the city's youth has to play in that movement.

We also heard stories from five Detroiters about what peace looks like to them: 

Teferi Brent is a long-time urban peace activist in Detroit. 

Teferi Brent's story

Tamika Gaines is a self-described social justice sergeant and the founder of Social Justice via Social Media. 

Tamika Gaines' story

Josh Pelt grew up in Detroit and graduated from University Prep High School. He is also an alumnus of the Neighborhood Service Organization's Youth Initiatives Project.

Josh Pelt's story

Odis Bellinger is the assistant director of the Matrix Center and runs teen mentoring and programming for the center. 

Odis Bellinger's story

Yusef Shakur is a neighborhood organizer and the co-director of programs at the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion.

Yusef Shakur's story

If you are interested in more discussions about racial equity issues in the metro Detroit area, you can check out the monthly First Friday Forum series from the Michigan Roundtable's Race2Equityproject. You can also hear more stories of the impact of race on the lives of people living in the region recorded as part of their Healing Storiesproject. 

April Van Buren is a producer for Stateside. She produces interviews for air as well as web and social media content for the show.
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