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'I Was Here' event to highlight experiences of homegrown Detroiters


In recent years, certain Detroit neighborhoods have experienced significant investment and succeeded in attracting new residents -- all in the face of a citywide trend of population decline that has persisted for over half a century. The development of these neighborhoods and the experience of new Detroiters who move into them have been well-documented in the media -- from stories found in Model D to national stories in the New York Times -- yet narratives of long-time Detroiters are often overlooked.

A new conversation forum, however, will attempt to remedy that by exploring narratives of homegrown Detroiters who were raised in the city and choose to remain there.

On Tuesday, August 26, "I Was Here," a new series of speaker events, kicks off at 1515 Broadway at 7 p.m.

Detroiters Ryan Barrett and Lauren Hood, both of whom grew up in the city, decided to launch "I Was Here" in order to create a safe space for long-time Detroiters to share their experiences.

"Lifelong Detroiters have these conversations all the time," says Barrett. "Now we can take them to a wider audience."

"People are dying for this kind of conversation," says Hood.

In addition to monthly events, "I Was Here" organizers are in the process of launching a blog that will feature transcribed interviews with lifelong Detroiters. So far, the blog promises to be a rich resource of Detroit oral history.


"So far I've completed 24 interviews," says Barrett.

The first "I Was Here" panel will feature three women raised and currently residing in Detroit who will share their personal histories and current relationships with the city.

They are:

Allison Kriger, LaRene & Kriger, PLC
Angelique Robinson, Treats by Angelique
Sara Aldridge, Our/Detroit Vodka & Nothing Elegant)

The event on the 26th is intended to be the first of many. Follow the "I Was Here" Facebook page for updates.
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