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

Nov 7, 2016

Our most recent State 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 the Youth 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. 

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

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.

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

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

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 Race2Equity project. 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 Stories project.