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Could city ID cards make Detroit more inclusive?

 
Last week, Newark, NJ became the latest U.S. city to issue local ID cards to residents.
 
In a recent story in CityLab, Vicky Gan writes: "In 2007, New Haven, Connecticut, became the first city in the U.S. to offer city IDs, followed by several cities in California (including San Francisco and Los Angeles), Washington, D.C., New York City, and a few others."
 
The thinking goes that city IDs help people who have difficulty presenting documents typically required for obtaining state IDs, namely undocumented immigrants, the recently incarcerated, and homeless people. More recently, however, city ID cards have become ways for municipalities to express gender sensitivity to their residents.
 
In 2009, San Francisco became the first city to issue ID cards that did not specify the holder's gender. In 2014, New York City became the first municipality to issue ID cards that allowed holders to specify their own gender identities.
 
Writes Van, "In a 2013 report on municipal ID programs across the U.S., the Center for Popular Democracy wrote that 'cities that offer ID to their residents regardless of immigration status are making a powerful statement of welcome and inclusion.' The same goes for cities who do so regardless of gender identity."
 
Currently, no cities in the Midwest offer municipal ID cards. Could Detroit become the first?
 
Read more: CityLab

Celebrate the 100th birthday of legendary Detroit activist and philosopher, Grace Lee Boggs

 
Grace Lee Boggs is a name most Detroiters should know. For the last 75 years, Ms. Boggs has been a leader in the labor, black power, and civil rights movements in the city and beyond, influencing generations of activists along the way.
 
On June 27, Ms. Boggs turns 100. Her birthday will be celebrated with a party on June 26 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Midtown.
 
Born in 1915 in Providence, Rhode Island, Grace Lee Boggs earned a PhD in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College before eventually moving to Detroit. She and her late husband James, a former auto worker and revolutionary author, rubbed shoulders with the likes of C.L.R. James and Malcolm X as they developed their own political and social philosophies.
 
Later in life Boggs founded Detroit Summer, "a multi-racial, inter-generational collective in Detroit that has been working to transform communities through youth leadership, creativity and collective action since 1992." In 1995, she served as a founding member of the Boggs Center, an organization whose mission is "to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities."
 
Most recently, the Boggs School on Detroit's east side was named for Grace and James.
 
You can celebrate the life and legacy of Grace Lee Boggs at her 100th birthday party from 6 to 10 p.m. on June 26 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Midtown.
 
Click here for details.

We're hiring!

 
Looking for some extra work, or know someone fabulous who is? Issue Media Group, Model D's parent company, is hiring a program manager to assist with the delivery of a few strategic custom content and underwriting programs. 
 
This person will serve as a liaison between clients, project teams and IMG leadership to ensure client expectations are met while contract deliverables are completed at the highest quality, on time, and within scope and budget. The role is tied to a few specific content programs, but there may be opportunities for this role to grow as we bring on more projects that require extra support.
 
Here's a complete job description. We prefer a candidate based in southeast or mid-Michigan, but we're open to the right remote candidate, so all are welcome to apply.
 

Small business in Detroit: a romantic notion, but no picnic

In a recent feature for the Detroit Free Press, John Gallagher reminds us that "it takes more than a clever idea or catchy product to make a go of a small business in Detroit." Highlighting three stalwart businesses – Russell Street Deli in Eastern Market, Lovio-George in Midtown, and White Construction in New Center – Gallagher points out the challenges to being an entrepreneur in Detroit.
 
Despite operating in different sectors, each of the featured business struggled in the years following the economic downturn of 2008, experiencing declining revenues that made them reconfigure their operations. Owners also site challenges unique to the city, such as higher taxes and increased competition.
 
"These firms show that running a small business in Detroit requires both smarts and stamina – and can offer lessons for those hoping to start their own firms," writes Gallagher.
 
Read more in the Detroit Free Press.

Deadline to apply for $10k NEIdeas small business challenge grants is June 4


Last year, the New Economy Initiative and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation teamed up to award 32 existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park a combined total of over $500,000 for their ideas for growth.

This year, a whole new group of time-tested Detroit businesses will receive NEIdeas challenge grants. The deadline to apply for the challenge is June 4.
 
Instead of focusing on startups like other Detroit business competitions, NEIdeas is designed specifically for small businesses that are at least three years old and have had a lasting impact on their neghborhoods -- established businesses like Touch of Class Restoration, a Brightmoor-based construction and remediation company that used its 2014 NEideas award to buy new equipment and hire a marketing manager, and G + C Style, a 50-year-old storefront barber shop that used its award to expand its services to repairing and sharpening clippers for other barber shops.
 
In 2014, 30 small businesses each received awards of $10,000, while two businesses with high growth potential each received $100,000.
 
Visit neideasdetroit.org for more information.

New Center Park's summer series returns with movies, music, 'Macbeth,' and more

Since it opened in 2010, New Center Park has hosted free events every summer, from free concerts to movie screenings. This year is no exception. The summer season kicks off on Wednesday, June 3, with a screening of local film "Detroit Unleaded" in conjunction with the Cinetopia International Film Festival.

This year's movie series, which traditionally took place on Wednesday evenings, has been expanded to two nights. Films for adults will play on Wednesdays and Films for families will play on Fridays.

A series of special events are also scheduled for New Center Park this summer, ranging from a performance of "Macbeth" by Shakespeare in Detroit to musical performances by local artists like Thornetta Davis to a celebration of Motor City Brew Works' 20th anniversary.

For a full schedule of New Center Park's summer series, click here.

Tour homes in two of Detroit's most iconic historic neighborhoods, Corktown and Palmer Woods


This summer, historic homes in two of Detroit's most iconic neighborhoods will open to the public thanks to a concert series and a home and garden tour.
 
On May 30, the Palmer Woods Music in Homes series kicks off for the 8th year with a performance by Orquesta La Inspiracion, an Afro-Caribbean Latin Jazz ensemble. According to a press release, the event will take place "in the gardens of a historic Streamline Moderne home." The exact location of the event will be revealed with the purchase of tickets ($45 each or $40 for groups of 10 or more). Tickets can be purchased at palmerwoods.org or by calling 313-891-2514.
 
The May 30 concert, which begins at 8 p.m., will be the first of several musical events hosted in different Palmer Woods mansions over the course of the summer. For a complete list of performances, click here.
 
Additionally, a Palmer Woods home tour is being planned for the fall in conjunction with the neighborhood's centennial celebration.
 
Palmer Woods is located north of 7 Mile Road at Woodward Avenue and is home to an eclectic mix of historic homes, from mansions of industrial magnates dating to the 1910s and '20s to mid-century modern residences.
 
On the other side of town on Sunday, June 7, check out some more modest, but equally interesting historic homes during the annual Corktown Home and Garden Tour. Detroit's oldest neighborhood, Corktown is home to charming workers' cottages and row houses, as well as a variety of new and historic businesses.
 
The Corktown Home and Garden Tour will take place June 7, from noon until 5 p.m. Tickets, which cost $15, can be purchased the day of the event at the Gaelic League, located at 2068 Michigan Ave. Take a break from the tour to catch a vintage baseball game at 2 p.m. on Navin Field, the site of the old Tiger Stadium.
 
To learn more about the tour, click here.

Policy Lab conference to tackle regional transit issues June 3-5 in Port Austin

Last year, a group of young Detroiters hosted Mackinac(ish), a conference in Charlevoix billed as an affordable, accessible alternative to the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Policy Conference (MPC). Registration for MPC costs Chamber members $1,950 and non-members $2,725 to attend. Mackinac(ish) was open to anyone who applied and cost participants a modest sum to cover food and other event expenses.
 
The idea was to get young Detroiters involved in policy discussions relevant to the future of the city and region, as well as build a sense of camaraderie that would be carried back to Detroit. Sessions from MPC were live-streamed at Mackinack(ish), and the group was even visited by Sen. Carl Levin, who stopped by on his way to Mackinac Island. Click here to read Model D's recap of Mackinac(ish).
 
Organizers of Mackinac(ish), now calling themselves After the Storm, are holding another summit June 3-5, this time in Port Austin, Mich. The event has been renamed Policy Lab and will focus on transit and mobility issues facing the metro Detroit region.
 
Friday, May 22, is the final day to apply for a spot at the conference. Those accepted will be asked to pay an $80 registration fee. To apply, click here.
 
For more information on After the Storm and Policy Lab, click here.

Neighborhood Exchange, a new resource for Detroit communities, launches Thursday

On Thursday, May 21, Michigan Community Resources (MCR) will celebrate the launch of Neighborhood Exchange, a new online resource for empowering Detroit communities, during an event at Gleaner's Community Food Bank.
 
"The idea for Neighborhood Exchange originated from members of our Vacant Property Coalition who noticed community organizations tackling common needs and issues without knowledge of each other's work or valuable resources," says Jill Ferrari, CEO of MCR, in a statement. "So we saw the need for a tool that shares that work and combines it with the resources that MCR and other providers have for everyone to use and learn from."
 
Key features of Neighborhood Exchange will include monthly features highlighting achievements in Detroit's neighborhoods, an events calendar of community happenings and volunteer opportunities throughout Detroit, a directory of neighborhood resources, and a discussion board for neighborhood issues.
 
MCR hopes that community groups and residents will engage with and submit their own resources to Neighborhood Exchange.
 
Issue Media Group, which publishes Model D, partnered with Michigan Community Resources to develop the web platform for Neighborhood Exchange.
 
To RSVP to Neighborhood Exchange's launch event happening Thursday, May 21, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Gleaner's Community Food Bank (2131 Beaufait), email Janai Gilmore at jgilmore@mi-community.org.
 
 

Detroit to be featured on Esquire TV's "Best Bars in America"

On Wednesday, May 27, the rest of America will find out what many Detroiters already knew: that Detroit is home to some of the best bars in America. Esquire TV visited Detroit in October of last year to shoot an episode of its series "The Best Bars in America," now in its second season.
 
Among the bars featured is PJ's Lager House, a classic Corktown watering hole and rock and roll venue. According to a press release, PJ's is "throwing a big party" for the episode's debut: "Our kitchen will be open, the episode will play, and we'll party with sets from the Royal Blackbirds and Doop & the Inside Outlaws after the show. Come watch PJ's on the TVs inside PJ's."
 
The Detroit episode of "The Best Bars in America" will air at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, and feature a number of Detroit's favorite drinking establishments.

Urban agriculture moves indoors


Back in May of 2014, we reported on Jeff Adams' plans to develop a then-unnamed indoor urban agriculture operation in an industrial park in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood. Today, that operation, which is now known as Artesian Farms, is in full production mode, growing leafy greens and other vegetables in vertically stacked hydroponic trays.
 
John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press reports on how Adams and others are introducing indoor, "vertical" farming to Detroit's urban agriculture scene. Click here to see a video of Adams' operation.

Write a House begins second chapter of literary neighborhood development


Last year, Casey Rocheteau, a poet formerly based in Brooklyn, moved into a newly rehabbed house in a Detroit neighborhood just north of Hamtramck. This wasn't some ordinary lease, however. As the winner of the inaugural Write a House prize, Rocheteau was granted that home, which she now owns free and clear.
 
A nonprofit organization, Write a House's mission is to "leverage Detroit's available housing in creative ways to bolster an emerging literary community to benefit the city of Detroit and its neighborhoods." It does so by renovating vacant homes and granting them to worthy writers who submit a simple application and writing samples that are reviewed by a jury of writers. Think of it as a permanent sort of writers residency.
 
The group purchased three homes in the 2012 through Wayne County's annual auction of tax foreclosed properties. The first of those was rehabbed and given away to Rocheteau last year. This year, a second Write a House home will be awarded to another writer. The application process is currently open.
 
After a successful inaugural process, this year's application is much the same as last year's.
 
"Honestly, in terms of judging, we're using the same process as last year," says Sarah Cox, director of Write a House and vice president of its executive board. "Our app is so simple, we're sticking with it."
 
Applications and writing samples will be judged by a jury that includes local and national writers.
 
For tips on writing a successful application, check out this blogpost from inaugural Write a House resident Casey Rocheteau.
 
Cox expects a deep pool of applicants as Write a House begins its second chapter. "I feel like we have a much wider reach this go around," she says. "I'm excited to see who applies."
 
To find out more about the Write a House application process, click here.
 

Acclaimed director Werner Herzog makes short film about Corktown's Ponyride for American Express

Werner Herzog is one of the world's most renowned movie directors. His beloved filmography ranges from collaborations with German actor Klaus Kinski on dramas like 1982's "Fitzcarraldo," the story of one man's insane quest to build an opera house in the heart of the Amazon jungle, to recent documentaries like "Grizzlyman" (2005) and "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (2010).
 
Most recently, Herzog has turned his lens on Detroit for a hybrid commercial for American Express and documentary about the community that has developed inside of Corktown's Ponyride. Between cut scenes of Detroit fauna blowing in the breeze and industrial ruins, a handful of entrepreneurs and makers based out of Ponyride talk about their vision for the city.
 
To watch the video, which was produced by ad agency Rokkan, click here and scroll below the wall of mildly nauseating hyperbole about Detroit ("But in the wake of the city’s mass exodus, a few have refused to leave their dying hometown, clinging to the stubborn hope that Detroit can be resurrected from the ashes."). 
 
What do you think, does Herzog get Detroit?

Read more: "Ponyride: Growing the New Generation of Local Business"

NEIdeas challenge returns for second year of grants to Detroit businesses with ideas for growth

 
Last year, the New Economy Initiative and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation teamed up to award 32 existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park a combined total of over $500,000 for their ideas for growth.
 
Instead of focusing on startups like other Detroit business competitions, NEIdeas is designed specifically for small businesses that are at least three years old and have had a lasting impact on their neghborhoods -- established businesses like Touch of Class Restoration, a Brightmoor-based construction and remediation company that used its 2014 NEideas award to buy new equipment and hire a marketing manager, and G + C Style, a 50-year-old storefront barber shop that used its award to expand its services to repairing and sharpening clippers for other barber shops.
 
In 2014, 30 small businesses each received awards of $10,000, while two businesses with high growth potential each received $100,000.
 
This year, a whole new group of time-tested Detroit businesses will receive NEIdeas challenge grants. On Thursday, April 16, the 2015 round of the challenge opens with an event at the Bel Air 10 Theater located at 10100 E. 8 Mile Rd. Starting at 10 a.m., winners of the 2014 challenge will be on hand to answer prospective applicants' questions, as will other challenge ambassadors. At 10:30 a.m., Dave Egner, executive director of the NEI, and Rodrick Miller, president and CEO of the DEGC, will give remarks, which will be followed by an NEIdeas information session.
 
Visit neideasdetroit.org for more information.

Detroit Modernism Week kicks off April 16

Eames, Yamasaki, Wright, Saarinen, and van der Rohe.
 
These are the names of just a few of the many modernist masters who have made their lasting mark on southeast Michigan in the 20th century. Next week, you have a chance to learn about and celebrate the region's modernist heritage thanks to the people at the Detroit Area Art Deco Society.
 
Starting April 16, Detroit Modernism Week, the first 10-day period "structured around events celebrating the Detroit area's 20th century modernist architecture," will salute Michigan's contributions to the Modern Movement.
 
Events range from lectures to exhibits to tours, including an April 16 bicycle tour of Palmer Park ("Detroit's most modern neighborhood") and an April 18 tour of Mies van der Rohe's Lafayette Park. For a full schedule of happenings, click here.
 
Learn more about Detroit Modernism Week here.
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