MC Digital Edition 3.27.24

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New Generation of Black Tennis Stars

Roots. A3

UAW Triple Strike Against Detroit Automakers

Comerica Celebrates 35 Years of Supporting the Nation’s Largest UNCF Walk for Education Scholarship Fundraiser

Late Thursday night, Sept. 14, a historic moment unfolded in American labor relations as the United Auto Workers (UAW) union initiated a strike against Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis. For the first time, the union took simultaneous action against all three major Detroit-based automakers. The action involves approximately 13,000 UAW members in assembly plants across Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri, who walked off their jobs after existing labor contracts expired at 11:59 p.m.

INational Assessment of Educational Progress. That’s unacceptable.

Shortly before midnight on Sept. 14, GM released a statement expressing disappointment with the strike action, despite offering what it termed an “unprecedented economic package” that included historic wage increases. Stellantis

excellence, the Michigan Chronicle marked its 10th Annual 40 Under 40 event Thursday evening. This year’s soirée, drenched in the theme “All Black Everything with Gold Accents,” transcended expectations and essential ly illuminated the golden gems within the true essence of Black excellence. Hosted by the charismatic duo of Andre Ash and Lynzee Mychael from Michigan Chronicle’s Finally Friday, the night was a triumph for the city of Detroit and its vibrant community of young Black pro-

fashion and entrepreneurship has left an indelible mark.

The evening sparkled with a golden promise as we celebrated remarkable individuals from various walks of life. Among the honorees were the brilliant and visionary co-founders of Detroit Hives, Nicole Lindsey and Timothy Paul Jackson. Their work has not only changed the landscape of beekeeping and urban farming in Detroit but also exemplified the transformative impact Black professionals can have on their communities.

“Entrepreneur of the year – that’s a big deal,” said Brown. “It’s always an honor to be honored and it’s always a blessing to be in a room full of so many talented, accomplished, and popular people that look like me. I’m geeked. I started making and selling clothes as a kid and I always knew that I would have a business, but I never knew it would be Detroit’s brand name business, so I take a lot of pride in the fact that our business represents our city’s pride.”

Amidst the glitz and glamour, the event also showcased the diversity of talent within our community. From Paris T. Prichard, a forensic scientist pushing the boundaries of her field, to math wizards like Donna Laster, who

Greektown Had 1.4 Million Visits This Summer and No Shootings

Can Reparative Investment Finally Heal the Wounds Left by I-375?

Taking home the Corporate Excellence Award was Dannis Mitchell, Director of Community Engagement at Barton Malow.

‘Keep Our Kids at Home’: Billionaire Businessman Dan Gilbert Kicks of 2024 Pancakes & Politics Series

ness district that had been the lifeblood of the community.

“Together we have created a social, environmental, and financial impact through bees,” said Jackson. Lindsey followed that sentiment with, “It is through our local partnerships and collaborative efforts that we exist in over 28 plus locations managing the health of 4.5 million honeybees – humbly speaking our movement has inspired others locally, nationally, and even internationally to take on similar missions.”

Strike,” focusing on specific plants within each automaker. UAW President Shawn Fain stated, “This strategy will keep the companies guessing. It will give our national negotiators maximum leverage and flexibility in bargaining. And if we need to go all out, we will.

For many Detroiters, Interstate 375, or I-375, has long been just another stretch of urban highway, a concrete artery connecting different parts of the city. To some, it’s a mere convenience; to others, it’s an unremarkable part of their daily commute. However, there’s a deeper, far more troubling story beneath the surface of this seemingly ordinary freeway—a story of pain, displacement, and the lasting impact on Black Detroiters.

Detroit Hives, a pioneering organization founded by Lindsey and Jackson, harnesses the power of urban beekeeping to revitalize neighborhoods in the Motor City. Their initiative not only addresses critical issues like environmental conservation but also provides valuable education and employment opportunities to Black De-

Everything is on the table.” Union leaders have also indicated that additional plants could be targeted in future waves if negotiations remain stalled.

We are working hard to change this status quo. Since my first day in office, we have more than tripled the number of literacy coaches working in schools helping kids learn how to read—adding 10 in Muskegon, 13 in Genesee County, and 83 in Wayne County. We mailed books to kids through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Last year, we invested $25.5 million towards grants and coaches to help students achieve their academic potential and funded literacy professional development for educators. The budget I proposed this year goes even farther, increasing this investment tenfold to $251.2 million. It also continues tutoring and other special supports through MI Kids Back on Track, a program that is closing post-pandemic learning gaps.

We closed the funding gap between schools and brought per student funding to an all-time high 5 years in a row, leveling the playing field for previously underfunded schools in Black communities and providing better textbooks, sports equipment, and smaller class sizes. With the help of Biden administration programs, we made school meals free for all 1.4 million public school students—so they can focus on reading and learning without worrying about an empty stomach.

On March 21, on the 16th floor of downtown’s One Campus Martius building, a diverse crowd of approximately 400 individuals representing various businesses throughout Detroit gathered for the Michigan Chronicle’s 19th Pancakes & Politics Speakers’ Forum series.

“It is so important to recognize that there are young leaders across the country, many that are born here in Detroit. I represent our city nationally and I tell people, ‘Yea I’m a D-girl I’m from the west-side of Detroit,’” Mitchell expressed. “But more importantly, I’ve been able to have experiences within an industry that not many of us, specifically women of color, have the opportunity to engage in and I’ve been the youngest person in the room, the only Black person in the room, and the only Sistah in the room, and I really had to articulate the importance of showing up, giving chances when others won’t, and being persistent.” As a trailblazing Black woman thriving in a predominantly male-dominated industry, her unwavering commitment to fortifying the connections between businesses and Detroit’s communities is unde-

It’s a history marred by pain, injustice, and economic devastation. More than 130,000 residents, primarily Black, were forcibly displaced. Families were uprooted, generational wealth was obliterated, and a thriving community was torn asunder. The wounds inflicted by I-375 run deep, transcending the physical barrier of a freeway to penetrate the very soul of Black Detroiters.

The audience, a melting pot of Southeast Michigan’s vibrant business and political community, was there to engage in a dialogue that has, over the years, become a cornerstone event for tackling the region’s and, more specifically, Detroit’s Black community’s pressing issues. Again, the forum’s reputation as a catalyst for meaningful discourse on Detroit’s socio-economic landscape was fully displayed.

towards mending the wounds inflicted on Black Detroiters and restoring a sense of belonging that was so callously torn away in the past.

Homelessness continues to plague urban communities, with families and individuals grappling with the challenges of making ends meet in today’s economic climate. Whether it’s struggling to meet monthly mortgage payments or coping with soaring rental costs in a housing market marked by shockingly high prices, a variety of factors contribute to the growing issue of people becoming unhoused.

The tale begins in what is now Lafayette Park, once known as Black Bottom—a neighborhood rooted in African-American culture and history. Named after its dark, fertile soil, Black Bottom flourished during the mid1900s, nurturing the dreams and aspirations of prominent Detroiters like Coleman Young, Joe Louis, and numerous other Detroit legends. But in the name of urban renewal in the 1950s, this vibrant neighborhood was systematically dismantled, erased from the map, and replaced by a lifeless stretch of asphalt. While the residential areas bore the brunt of this demolition, the heart of Black Bottom, its thriving business center, remained largely untouched. Restaurants, theaters, clubs, and bars—the very places that brought Detroit’s Black community together—were concentrated around Hastings Street, the epicenter of African-American culture in the city.

We also invested $40 million in last year’s budget to help adults learn to read and get their GEDs, setting them up for college and

Then, in a cruel twist of fate, Hastings Street, too, was obliterated a few years later, making way for the construction of I-375. This marked the final blow, sealing the fate of Black Bottom and signaling the beginning of the end for Paradise Valley, the Black busi-

This painful legacy can be traced back to the nation’s interstate highway program of 1956—a program that aimed to connect the country but often did so at the expense of marginalized communities. In the case of I-375, it meant carving a path through the heart of Black Detroit, reinforcing segregation, and perpetuating inequality.

Pancakes & Politics consistently aims to propel Detroit towards growth through dialogue, be it in economic or social spheres, and the latest edition was no exception. At the heart of the discussion this year was billionaire Dan Gilbert, who delved into a comprehensive exploration of Detroit’s development, emphasizing a holistic approach that extends beyond the confines of downtown to encompass the entire city. This initiative is more than just a series of discussions; it represents a sustained movement, a commitment to the city’s future, underpinned by the CEO of Real Times Media and Publisher of Michigan Chronicle, Hiram E. Jackson’s long-term vision for Detroit’s prosperity.

As dawn broke over Detroit, the event kicked off with a live stream partnered with WDIV that captured the attention of many, heralding a new chapter in the ‘Pancakes and Politics’ series. The dialogue between Gilbert and Dennis Archer, Jr. was seasoned with live audience questions and insights from WDIV’s Christy McDonald and Michigan Chronicle’s Executive Editor Jeremy Allen. The audience had an opportunity to engage and paint a comprehensive picture of Detroit’s current state and its trajectory straight from the minds of our local businesses, entrepreneurs, developers, and everyone in between.

Historically, shelters have provided a temporary respite for those in need, often serving as the first or second option after exhausting alternatives like staying with friends or family. Shelters offer a place to rest one’s head and a warm meal, albeit sometimes for extended periods. For others, being unhoused means living in cars or makeshift outdoor

The causes of homelessness are as diverse and complex as the individuals experiencing it. In response, the City of Detroit has adopted a holistic approach to combat this issue.

“Providing services and high-quality housing to persons at risk of or who are experiencing homelessness is a key priority of the City of Detroit, said Julie Schneider, Director of Detroit’s Housing and Revitalization Department.

“This means focusing on building the pipeline of supportive housing and coordinating with the Continuum of Care on the delivery of critical resources such as emergency shelter, rapid rehousing, and diversion and prevention programs. It also means preserving and expanding affordable housing options for Detroiters of all incomes and improving housing stability though comprehensive service offerings available through the Detroit Housing Resource HelpLine and Detroit Housing Services Division within HRD.”

In May 2023, the City of Detroit launched the Detroit

A string of shootings in Greektown in mid-April left both visitors and residents of this bustling downtown destination in awe. One of these shootings tragically claimed the life of a popular and beloved security guard following a dispute with a patron. The male suspect allegedly shot the guard before fleeing the scene, while his female companion is accused of concealing the weapon in her bra.

The I-375 Boulevard Project is about more than just correcting historical injustices; it’s about redefining the future. It will connect downtown Detroit to surrounding neighborhoods, bridging the gap that was placed upon the city decades ago.

This year’s edition was particularly poignant, aptly titled ‘A Conversation with Dan Gilbert.’ The focus was clear: addressing the critical challenges and opportunities within Detroit, with an eye towards a holistic improvement beyond downtown. Gilbert, alongside Archer Jr., delved into various topics, each underscoring the forum’s overarching theme of propelling the city into a future marked by prosperity and inclusivity.

The forum’s discussions ventured into diverse territories, from Gilbert’s recovery journey following his stroke to the broader narrative of youth retention in Michigan. The emphasis was on creating an environment where young individuals seek opportunities and envision a future within the state’s borders. This conversation extended to the housing market, where Gen Z’s aspirations for homeownership were highlighted as a pivotal element of the American dream. “

Housing Resource Helpline in response to the challenges that residents face in navigating the complex system of housing services. The helpline provides a single point of contact for people seeking housing assistance and connects them with the resources they need. Support for the helpline comes from the Gilbert Family Foundation, which has pledged $10 million over three years to fund the program. Wayne Metro Community Action Agency manages the helpline, making it accessible to all Detroit residents. This initiative simplifies access to the City’s various housing services, ensuring that residents in need can easily find assistance.

Southeast Michigan’s Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced the initiation of the Detroit Air Xpress (DAX), a dedicated service facilitating nonstop journeys between Downtown Detroit and the Detroit Metro Airport (DTW). Launched on Monday, March 25, the service aims to bridge the gap between the city and the airport, enhancing connectivity and convenience for both residents and visitors.

These incidents unfolded during an unseasonably warm spring, leading to increased pedestrian traffic and heightened tensions in the densely populated downtown area.

For one to aptly recognize the harm caused by such projects, it is vital to note that some of the planners and politicians behind those projects built them directly through the heart of vibrant, populated communities—oftentimes to reinforce segregation and sometimes as part of a direct effort to replace or eliminate Black neighborhoods.

Today, the resurgence of Paradise Valley stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of Black Detroiters and the enduring legacy of Black excellence. This historic district, once a vibrant hub for Black businesses and culture, is experiencing a renaissance that harkens back to its glory days. The destruction of Black Bottom may have torn apart a thriving community, but the resolute determination of a new generation of entrepreneurs and visionaries is reclaiming that lost legacy.

The surge in crime and the influx of visitors to Detroit’s downtown core garnered the attention of the Detroit Police Department (DPD), catching them somewhat off guard.

But now, after decades of enduring the scars of I-375, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Plans have been unveiled to transform this once-divisive freeway into a vision that seeks to right the wrongs of the past while heralding a new era of inclusivity and community revitalization.

The vitality of Detroit, a city on the rise, hinges significantly on its ability to retain and attract young talent. “Keep our kids at home,” expressed Gilbert. As Michigan’s economic and cultural hub, Detroit offers a unique blend of opportunities that particularly appeal to the younger demographic. The city’s ongoing growth and revitalization provides fertile ground for innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative endeavors, making it an attractive destination for ambitious young professionals. By fostering an environment that supports and nurtures the aspirations of the youth, Detroit ensures a dynamic and sustainable workforce and injects fresh energy and ideas into its communities. This, in turn, fuels the city’s continuous evolution as a vibrant, forward-thinking metropolis capable of competing nationally and globally. Keeping young people in Michigan and drawing in new talent are crucial strategies for maintaining the momentum of Detroit’s resurgence, ensuring the city remains a beacon of progress and opportunity.

Fueled by more than $100 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and other partners, this ambitious project aims to create jobs, remove barriers to economic growth, and reconnect the neighborhood with the rest of Detroit. It is a step

“The city and its partners offer a lot of great services to help Detroiters with their housing needs, but they don’t mean much if people don’t know how to access them,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to the efforts of our partners and the generous support of the Gilbert Family Foundation, we now have a simple process to



Ben Stupka, the RTA’s Executive Director, expressed his enthusiasm about the new service, highlighting the introduction of specially designed coaches for the DAX route.

From the days of the Great Migration when thousands of Black families flocked to Detroit in search of jobs and a better life, to the pivotal role they played in the city’s cultural and musical heritage, Black Detroiters have left an indelible mark on the city. However, in recent years, Detroit has experienced significant gentrification, which has raised concerns about the displacement of long-standing Black residents. Similar to a setting sun, there’s a rising spirit, and Black Detroiters are reclaiming their place in the city, despite the challenges

“I am excited to unveil the new coaches we will be using for our new Detroit Air Xpress pilot service that will travel between Downtown Detroit and DTW Airport,” Stupka remarked.

He emphasized the RTA’s commitment to addressing the region’s


James White, Chief of Police for the Detroit Police Department, said: “We were caught somewhat flat-footed right out the gate. By design we went into the spring deployment, which is less than the mid-summer deployment, and saw we say an uptick in violence that first warm weekend.”

In the heart of Paradise Valley, Blackowned businesses are not just flourishing but thriving, offering diverse services, products, and experiences that pay homage to the past while paving the way for a prosperous future. From jazz clubs to soul food restaurants, the Black Press, and art galleries to fashion boutiques, this revival is breathing life into the very essence of what once made this neighborhood a vibrant cultural epicenter. It’s a resurgence that extends beyond brick and mortar; it represents the resurgence of a spirit that refuses to be subdued.

“The number one issue in not only Detroit but the state of Michigan is keeping our young people here,” said Gilbert. “Most

Chief White attributes the violence in Greektown to a combination of weather conditions and a surge in population. He explained, “ We saw numbers downtown that we have not seen, ever. People are emerging from COVID and there’s a feeling that we’re in a post-COVID era… and with the venues downtown and the reasons to come down with all the activities that are going on, we saw hundreds of more people and, in particularly, young folks, teenagers that we hadn’t seen.”

Detroit City Councilman Fred Durhal III, representing District 7, where Eastern Market resides, told the Michigan Chronicle, “It’s still very early in the process, MDOT is

Responding swiftly to the surge in violence, DPD adjusted its deployment plans. Rather than waiting for mid-summer, they deployed officers in the spring itself to address the situation.

The rise in visitors to the Greektown area is evident

because of discrimination, but they were also coming because Black people was doing some stuff. When did Black people start doing things in the city? They started doing things in this area in the 1800’s. In the 1800’s the major thing that they were doing in Detroit is they were the leaders in the fight against slavery. The Underground Railroad is the root in the city of Detroit to all of this Black innovation that you Musical legends like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and the Motown sound

were here, and its was Black businesses here,” said Jordon. “They were coming of course

SPECIAL TO THE MICHIGAN CHRONICLE WHAT’S INSIDE Vol. 87 – No. 30 | March 27 - April 2, 2024 City.Life.Style. B1 HONOREES See A5 Michigan Chronicle Powered by Real Times Media | $1.00 Vol. 87 – No. 3 | September 20-26, 2023 Powered by Real Times Media | Money. A5
See INVESTMENT Page A-2 See LEGACY page A2
Black families
the South came to Detroit in search of jobs in the
built vibrant
on the city’s east
became centers of Black culture and entrepreneurship.
to Historian Jamon Jordon Black resilience in the city has roots that extend far before the Great Migration and will persist
after our current phase of gentrification.
posed by gentrification.
the Great Migration, thousands of
industry. Despite facing discrimina-
and segregation, they
people were coming to Detroit because Black churches were here, black schools
emerged from Detroit, providing a soundtrack for the civil rights movement and inspiring generations. Motown Records, founded by Berry Gordy Jr., was not just a record label but a symbol of Black excellence and empowerment. However, as Detroit faced economic decline and population loss in the late 20th century, many Black Resilience Amidst Gentrification: Reclaiming Detroit’s Legacy What a Federal Government Shutdown Could Mean for Detroiters?
We gave the companies our economic demands eight weeks ago and it took more than a month to get to the table.” The union is pushing for a comprehensive list of demands. This $1.00 Vol. 87 – No. 2 | September 13-19, 2023 Powered by Real Times Media |
DPD Chief James White Says Increased Police Presence Culled Violence
Fain clarified the union’s strategy: “I want to give a major shoutout to the thousands of members who are on the picket lines right now fighting for all of us. The Stand-Up Strike is a new approach to striking. Instead of striking all plants at once, select locals will be called on to stand up and walk out on strike. This is our generation’s answer to the movement that built our union – the sit-down strikes of 1937. We told the Big 3 that Sept. 14 was the deadline and we meant it.
Michigan Chronicle
DPD Chief James White
guide residents to the right housing resource and a growing number of programs to help them.”
Gilbert Family Foundation’s broader commitment involves pledging $500 million to support projects across Detroit over the next ten years, with housing initiatives being a significant part of their contribution.
response system. In 2021, about 5,687 people experienced homelessness. According to the City of Detroit, since the start of the fiscal year 2019 to 2021, Detroit saw a 28% decrease in the All Hands On Deck to Combat Homelessness A Holistic Approach to Providing Shelter and Support for Detroit’s Unhoused People Meagan DunnJulie Schneider All Black Everything: A Night of Elegance and Excellence at the 10th Annual Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40
Detroit has witnessed a consistent decrease in recent years, with the number of unhoused residents steadi ly declining. In 2019, approximately 7,847 people were unhoused and entered the City’s community
a breathtaking celebration of talent, determination, and the unyielding spirit of Black
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$400 Million
Is Detroit’s
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Accessible for Black Detroiters? Money. A5 City.Life.Style. B1
See LITERACY page A2
in Literacy
Investing in Our
March is Reading Month in Michigan and I am hitting the road, visiting elementary schools, high schools, and early learning classrooms across our state to read books to classrooms full of enthusiastic students. Literacy sets our kids and our communities up for success. But racial equity gaps in literacy hurt everyone. That
administration has made historic investments to help more Michiganders read. Let’s build on this progress and ensure every Michigander has the power of literacy. Reading entertains us, unleashes our imaginations, boosts our empathy, and empowers us to see ourselves as the protagonists of our own stories. Students who read are adults who succeed. Unfortunately, for too long, school districts and communities of color haven’t had the resources they need to help every person read, stifling opportunity. Michigan
ranked 43rd in 4th grade reading on the 2022
is why my
travel needs, supported by substantial funding from federal and state sources, including a $2 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Carbon Reduction Program and a $500,000 contribution from the Michigan Department of Transportation. “At the RTA, working toward secured funding to close travel gaps in Southeast Michigan is part of our job. People have been asking for an affordable and convenient way to get from Downtown Detroit to
Luxury Bus Service from Downtown Detroit to DTW Airport for Just $6
CeCe Winans: A Journey of Faith, Music, and Homecoming in Detroit
(Left to right): Dan Gilbert, Founder & Chairman of Rocket Companies; Michael Bickers, PNC Regional President Detroit & Southeast Michigan; Hiram Jackson, CEO Real Times Media, Publisher Michigan Chronicle; Dennis Archer, Jr. Chairman & CEO of sixteen42 ventures.

cine and healthcare, may be adversely impacted by the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

what the Supreme Court will rule in the upcoming days. Despite the deci-

women been premoment of the final. a law1931 law effect, asked the affirm that constitucontain abortion. Our Planned Advocates of founding coalition ReproducAll, a affirm abortion and freedom in constitution,” Giroux. is that everything in aborMichigan, makes we will we can patients care they

Pancakes & Politics

Elected officials are also working to keep Roe v. Wade intact thus holding off Michigan’s 1931 trigger ban. Governor Gretchen Whitmer released a statement saying, in part:

From page A-1

of these graduates are going to New York, Chicago, or LA and all throughout the summer parents will brag on how their kids have moved to these cities but the reality is that we need to keep them here in Detroit. The investment that the state makes is billions of dollars a year so we’re investing our tax money to train these students and when those kids leave those states are getting the benefit and that’s crazy.”

“The words ‘Roe overturned’ are no longer theoretical. I want every Michigander to know— no matter what happens in D.C., I’m going to fight like hell to protect access to safe, legal abortion in Michigan…”

Anticipation for the upcoming NFL draft was no surprise, signifying not just a sporting event but a milestone in Detroit’s ongoing narrative of renewal and vibrancy. The discourse also navigated the dynamics of downtown development and hospitality, underlining the critical choices in fostering a welcoming atmosphere for residents and visitors alike.

The conversation encapsulated the essence of urban living, where the availability of quality dining and accommodation options plays a crucial role in shaping a city’s appeal. Hospitality was a hot topic in Gilbert’s take on the upcoming massive event. He emphasized that good food, nice hotels, drinks, and atmosphere is what attracts people to the city and more and more have come to see what Detroit is all about – Gilbert believes that this trajectory is going to just continue to grow.

More than legal implications, overturning Roe v. Wade would impact several systems across the spectrum. With the potential to drive both foster and adoption numbers upward, a ban on abortions could leave many women to choose a less safe route restoring ‘back alley’ and illegal abortion practices, including self-abortions. Moreover, African American women and women of color, who already have a long-storied history with access and inclusion in medi-

islature adopts it.

Moreover, the forum was open to addressing the needs of the small business community, recognizing its vital contribution to the fabric of Detroit’s economy and culture. The dialogue underscored the necessity of nurturing an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurial ventures, ensuring they thrive and, in turn, contribute to the city’s resurgence.

Increase school funding: Statutory changes to increase the School Aid Fund revenue by at least $3.6 billion and establish a permanent weighted funding formula based on student and community needs and universal preschool (0-3).

This year, a notable milestone was the announcement of a new partnership that was brokered by Jackson and Bob Ellis, Vice President and general manager of WDIV. This collaboration signifies a pivotal convergence of black press and broadcast media in Detroit,

concerned about is the impact on our patients. Access to abortion is al ready out of reach for far too many Michiganders, especially Black people and people of color who face additional barriers to care as a result of sys temic inequalities and in stitutional racism. Losing access to legal abortion will impact those com munities most, forcing people to become parents or expand their families against their will. Being able to decide and con trol if, when and how to become a parent is central to building and living a healthy, happy life,” said Vasquez Giroux.

Beyond the scope of pro-choice versus prolife, the fight for reproductive choice is one of freedom. As Michigan officials work to ensure each woman who finds herself in the position to choose has access to care without the threat of legal action, many wonder

The health committee recommends reviewing state licensure policies to address the barriers that Black psychologists face in obtaining licensure in Michigan.

From page A-1

Reject censorship in history instruction: Encouraging Gov. Whitmer to ensure the goal for Michigan schools should be history instruction that is presented by professionals with the subject matter expertise, pedagogical skills, and judgment necessary to present complex information to students that are grounded in provable facts and add to the understanding of modern-day America.

highlighting the critical role of such mergers in amplifying local voices and narratives. This fusion of black press with mainstream broadcast media is more than a strategic alliance; it is a profound statement on the importance of inclusive storytelling and representation in media. By bringing these two powerful platforms together, the partnership promises to enhance the reach and impact of stories that matter to Detroit’s communities, ensuring that diverse perspectives are heard and acknowledged. This move broadens the audience for Detroit’s pressing issues and reinforces the city’s rich tapestry of experiences, challenges, and triumphs, setting a precedent for other cities to follow. Pancakes and Politics stands out not merely for its influence but for its authenticity and effortless embodiment of Black excellence. The dialogue covered a spectrum of vital topics, from Black Tech Saturdays to the pivotal role of Black developers, among other significant subjects. This year marked a departure from tradition in terms of venue, yet Campus Martius One rose to the occasion. The event was hosted on the top floor, symbolically elevating the discussions on Black progress to new heights, reinforcing the event’s core mission of fostering meaningful conversations that drive advancement.

Ensure equitable distribution of state health funds: Ensure all Michigan communities with a significant Black population receive adequate funds to address mental health issues.

Protecting Black voting rights: Urge state officials to remain vigilant in the fight against schemes to disenfranchise Michiganders of color.

the Airport. Thanks to a $2 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Carbon Reduction Program, administered by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), and a $500,000 matching grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation, this service is now a reality.”

Increase mental health supports for the Black community: Recommending Michigan set a goal of increasing the number of Black mental health service providers by 20% each year over five years.

The pilot phase, expected to span 12 to 18 months, will allow the RTA to track the service’s effectiveness, monitor rider engagement, and assess long-term requirements. Amy O’Leary, SEMCOG’s Executive Director, pointed out the service’s significance in connecting two vital locations in Southeast Michigan and its potential to reduce vehicle emissions and foster a more sustainable transportation network. “RTA’s new Detroit Air Xpress service meets a need for Southeast Michigan and connects two of our most significant places – DTW and Downtown Detroit – with fast, reliable transit service,” said O’Leary.

“BLAC members have worked hard to identify the needs of the Black community and we feel these recommendations will provide a solid first step towards breaking down barriers in education, community safety, health and business,” said BLAC Co-Chair Dr. Donna L. Bell.

Operated by Michigan Flyer, the DAX will make stops in Downtown Detroit and at both terminals at DTW, with efforts underway to establish park and ride facilities and encourage connections with local transit services. The service promises to offer a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to personal vehicle use, aligning with Michigan’s Healthy Climate goals.

tive freedom,” said Chair Alisha Bell, on behalf of the Wayne County Commission.

As the forum concluded, the resonance of the discussions lingered, leaving attendees with a renewed sense of commitment toward Detroit’s transformation journey. Once again, the Michigan Chronicle’s Pancakes & Politics proved a beacon of hope and action, uniting diverse voices in a shared vision for a thriving Detroit. The narrative that unfolded at this year’s event was not just about reflection. Still, a call to action, echoing the sentiment that the city’s future is bright, provided we all contribute to its narrative of progress and inclusivity. To learn more about the remainder of the 2024 Pancakes & Politics forums, and to watch forum No. 1 with Gilbert and Archer, Jr., visit

up her own book fair, putting books in the hands of 80 students who otherwise wouldn’t have them. We can all celebrate March is Reading Month by reading books with our kids and families, including those by Michigan authors like Kai Harris or Alice Randall. Let’s keep working to give every Michigander a book and the power not just to read it but to open doors to opportunity and a brighter future.

booked in advance and $8 for on-the-spot purchases, the service also offers discounts for various traveler categories. The ADA-compliant coaches are equipped with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable and accessible travel experience for all passengers. The introduction of the Detroit Air Xpress (DAX) service by the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan marks a significant leap forward in the evolution of Detroit’s transportation landscape. This initiative not only bridges a critical gap between downtown Detroit and the Detroit Metro Airport, but it also exemplifies a broader commitment to enhancing mobility and accessibility within the region. By providing a direct, nonstop transit option, the DAX service is poised to transform the travel experience for residents and visitors alike, making journeys between key urban and aviation hubs both convenient and efficient. This development reflects a concerted effort to address long-standing transportation challenges in Detroit, promising to propel the city’s transit infrastructure towards greater connectivity and resilience.

embraces. transforleadership as a approach that change the syscircumstancoperating Ivory “Transformationdoesn’t just do certhem view of and exdrive that because what create everyentire because people believe that they need to for themselves and others to live better lives.”

BLAC will hold a virtual town hall meeting to discuss its policy recommendations on Thursday, May 12 at 4 p.m. Join BLAC and a virtual audience in discussing the recommendations to support the Black community.

Zachary Kolodin of the Michigan Infrastructure Office lauded the initiative for its contribution to the state’s transit landscape and its alignment with broader environmental and connectivity objectives. The service, available every day of the year, will offer 16 round trips daily, with travel times estimated between 30 to 50 minutes, subject to traffic and construction activities.

“The Detroit Air Express is Xpress is exactly the kind of service that Michigan needs to meet the needs of folks who prefer to use transit. Better yet, by empowering Michiganders to take an express bus straight into the heart of the city, it will save people money and help meet our Healthy Climate goals,” said Kolodin.

“Chancellor Ivery is a true transformational leader and an outstanding CEO, who is more than worthy of the CEO of the Year Award he just received, “ said Prof. James C. Mays, who teaches entrepreneurship and supply chain management at WCCCD’s Corporate College. “In his 27 years at WCCCD, Dr. Ivery has elevated WCCCD to become nationally recognized for excellence and innovation and preparing our students professionally and personally to do great things in the world.”

BLAC is housed in the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Members represent many professional backgrounds, including economics, law, public safety, health and wellness, arts and culture and media. They leverage their experiences and expertise to make recommendations to the governor on critical issues affecting the Black community.

Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Chad Newton and Detroit Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison acknowledged the DAX’s potential to enhance the travel experience for airport visitors and employees alike, as well as its timely introduction ahead of major city events like the NFL Draft.

The DAX initiative represents a pivotal moment in Detroit’s ongoing journey towards sustainable urban development and environmental stewardship. Supported by significant grants aimed at reducing carbon emissions and promoting clean transportation alternatives, the service underscores the city’s dedication to embracing eco-friendly solutions. As Detroit continues to rebuild and reimagine its public transportation system, the successful implementation of the DAX service will undoubtedly serve as a cornerstone for future projects. This movement towards a more integrated, accessible, and sustainable transit network signals a new era for Detroit, where innovative transportation solutions drive the city’s progress and enhance the quality of life for its communities.

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans commended the initiative for expanding transportation options in the region, highlighting its significance for airport employees and the broader community.

To learn more about BLAC and this upcoming event, visit

“RTA is providing a much-needed service with Detroit Air Xpress,” said Newton. “DAX will allow more people to experience the number one ranked mega airport in North America and provide customers flying into DTW quick, nonstop access to the Motor City. It will also benefit many airport employees who rely on public transportation to get to work.”

With a one-way fare set at $6 when

“This is a great initiative. Transit in the Metro-Detroit area continues to be a challenge because of its limitations,” said Evans.

“In addition to giving people more options regarding transport to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, this pilot program will increase convenience for patrons. Additionally, it is an affordable alternative. Furthermore, this transportation launch will be beneficial to people who are employed at the airport who depend on public transportation. Ultimately, this pilot program will expand transit options for those who reside here and for visitors.”

The DAX pilot is seen as a step forward in improving Metro-Detroit’s transit landscape, offering a viable alternative for travelers and contributing to the area’s overall accessibility and appeal.

Page A-2 | March 27 - April 2, 2024 | LONGWORTH M. QUINN Publisher-Emeritus 1909-1989 Michigan Chronicle A Real Times Media Newspaper SAMUEL LOGAN Publisher 1933-2011 JOHN H. SENGSTACKE Chairman-Emeritus 1912-1997 CONTACT US 1452 Randolph • Detroit, MI 48226 • (313) 963-8100 • e-mail: HIRAM E. JACKSON Publisher | JEREMY ALLEN Executive Editor 528 032 400 327 097 216 999 4 26 38 42 48 12 37 PICKS 417 827 591 642 075 322 2605 7641 WEEK’S BEST LOTTERY THE MICHIGAN CHRONICLE PUBLISHING COMPANY ADVERTISING DEADLINE Classified: 3 p.m Friday Copy, corrections and cancellations, preceding the Wednesday publication. Display: 12 p.m. Friday preceding the Wednesday publication. For all news and calendar items: Deadline is two weeks prior to event. Weeks that contain holidays, deadline is Thursday prior to publication date. OFFICE HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. | Closed Sat. and Sun. The Michigan Chronicle is published every Wednesday. Periodical Postage, paid at Detroit, MI. Price $1.00 and other post office. MEMBER OF AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATION POSTMASTER — Send address changes to: MICHIGAN CHRONICLE • 1452 Randolph • DETROIT, MI 48226 1452 Randolph • Detroit, MI 48226 • Phone: (313) 963-8100 Publication No.: USPS 344-820 April 20-26, 2022 | LONGWORTH M. QUINN Publisher-Emeritus 1909-1989 ichigan Chronicle A Real Times Media Newspaper SAMUEL LOGAN Publisher 1933-2011 JOHN H. SENGSTACKE Chairman-Emeritus 1912-1997 1452 Randolph • Detroit, MI 48226 • (313) 963-8100 • e-mail: E. JACKSON Publisher | AJ WILLIAMS Managing Editor ADVERTISING DEADLINE Classified: 3 p.m Friday Copy, corrections and cancellations, preceding the Wednesday publication. Display: 12 p.m. Friday preceding the Wednesday publication. For all news and calendar items: Deadline is two weeks prior to event. Weeks that contain holidays, deadline is Thursday prior to publication date. OFFICE HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Sat. and Sun. The Michigan Chronicle is published every Wednesday. Periodical Postage, paid at Detroit, MI. Price $1.00 and other post office. MEMBER OF AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATION POSTMASTER Send address changes to: MICHIGAN CHRONICLE | 1452 Randolph • DETROIT, MI 48226 THE MICHIGAN CHRONICLE PUBLISHING COMPANY 1452 Randolph • Detroit, MI 48226 • Phone: (313) 963-8100 Publication No.: USPS 344-820 To Choose A-1 A-1 Curtis Ivery A-1 602 513 482 871 350 754 123 14 31 35 40 56 24 37 PICKS 205 149 013 526 816 960 5190 6285 WEEK’S BEST LOTTERY Opera House Ad 3cols x 5.25 BIN AD 3cols x 5.25 to have representalegislacollection and criminal jusrecomcollection analywith the AttorMichigan Law Standards Association Prosecutors stakeholders collect and strategically. warHouse Operations hearand other would ban of noknock urging the pass reform and Whitmer to the leg-
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Xpress From page A-1 Let’s take the dream out of dream home. Equal Housing Lender | Member FDIC Programs for qualified borrowers. All borrowers are subject to credit approval, underwriting approval, and product requirements including loan to value, credit score limits, and other lender terms and conditions. Fees and charges may vary by state and are subject to change without notice. Some restrictions may apply. Not a commitment to lend. Grants are limited and subject to change without notice. Recipients must meet program requirements and applicable restrictions. Homeownership education may be required. Here are three ways we can help: • Low or no down payment options • Grants and gifts to help lower costs • Affordable payments Get started today. Scan the QR code, visit or call 313-751-8288 now. Home Loans skills training. This will help close the racial unemployment gap, helping more Black Michiganders get
ter-paying, high-skill jobs.
vestments addressing
equity gaps
work to do, and
all have a role to play.
heard about one parent
of these in-
in literacy. But we know there is more

Wayne County:

An energized team ready to help

Wayne County is a cornerstone of Michigan’s populace encompassing more than 1.8 million residents. Every day, a vast majority of these residents depend on DTE Energy for their essential gas and electricity needs. Playing a pivotal role behind the scenes is DTE’s dedicated team of regional and relationship managers.

The regional and relationship managers bridge the gap between the company and the community. Their role involves not only sharing resources – such as safety information, local reliability work and energy efficiency supplies – with the public but also collecting community insights and requirements to convey back to leadership.

“We’re in service to the community, ensuring our customers can receive the reliable power they demand and deserve,” said Mark Jones, a dedicated relationship manager for over a decade.

Actively engaged in customer support activities orchestrated by DTE, Jones collaborates with various partner organizations to offer diverse resources to the community.

“People often arrive distressed, facing potential shut-offs, poverty and homelessness,” said Jones. “Surprised by the array of services available in one location, they leave expressing immense gratitude to DTE for providing resources and aiding with bill payments.”

Regional and relationship managers juggle many responsibilities, engaging directly and indirectly with the community. Their dynamic role can shift in an instant from event participation to distributing resources during an emergency.

Julie Jozwiak, a regional manager at DTE, transitioned from a career in the automotive industry in pursuit of new learning opportunities and community involvement. With over 10 years at DTE and residing in Detroit for 25 years, her passion for problem-solving is deeply rooted in her commitment to the city she proudly calls home.

Outside of work, the managers are continuing incredible ventures in Wayne County. Jozwiak leverages her expertise acquired at DTE to actively contribute to her community. For the last 3.5 years, she’s been a consistent presenter, sharing insights on various energy-related topics. “I saw a gap of folks not understanding the basics of how utilities work, and I jumped at the opportunity,” said Jozwiak.

The DTE managers celebrate their diversity in culture and experience with one another. Barbara Rykwalder, government affairs manager, is excited about embracing diverse cultures, both within her community and among her colleagues.

“Once, while assisting a customer, we struggled to communicate due to a language barrier. I sought help from my coworkers, and their willingness to support was inspiring,” said Rykwalder. “A colleague fluent in the language helped convey my message to the customer and he was able to connect with DTE services.” That customer’s small business is still open today thanks to Rykwalder’s support and relentless commitment.

The regional and relationship managers work around the clock to provide DTE customers with the best service possible. “If it is 1 a.m. on a Saturday morning and I get a phone call, I pick it up because I know someone is depending on me, as do all of the regional managers” said Rykwalder.

Despite where their passion formed, all the DTE regional and relationship managers have a deep-rooted commitment for serving their community. Kirstie Staelens, regional manager, discovered her passion early on for helping others through community service.

While her days are devoted to supporting DTE customers, her commitment to making a difference extends far beyond the workplace. “Through my role at DTE, I work with customers by supporting their various needs and requests, and in my spare time, I volunteer in the community to guide and mentor the next generation of female leaders,” said Staelens.

From the intricate workings of Wayne County’s energy infrastructure to the vital role played by DTE’s regional and relationship managers, these professionals are the linchpin between the community’s needs and the company’s services. Mark Jones, Julie Jozwiak, Barbara Rykwalder, and Kirstie Staelens all share a passion for problem-solving and genuine care for the Wayne County community.

For more information on DTE’s efforts in your community, visit If you’re interested in speaking with a DTE representative or coordinating a speaking opportunity, contact When

DTE powering Corktown now, into the future

• Replacing many current power poles with taller, stronger poles that are better able to withstand extreme weather. Restoration of property will follow in areas where poles are removed.

• Trimming or removing trees that may interfere with power lines. This type of work has proven to improve reliability for customers. Some of the other benefits include:

• Increased safety and power quality.

• Fewer outages during extreme weather.

• Increased grid capacity.

“Over the next five years, we’re modernizing the overhead and underground distribution system in the area,” Michael Thompson, Distribution Operations project manager, said. “The work we’re doing will make the power we provide more dependable and will help us meet our customers’ growing energy needs.”

The work, which began October 2022 and is expected to be completed by December 2027, includes:

• Modernizing the underground and overhead distribution systems, which deliver power to homes and businesses.

• Upgrading 30.5 miles of overhead and underground infrastructure including new cables and conduit to protect those cables, along with other electrical equipment.


By modernizing and adding capacity to the system, we will be able to better support future growth in and around Corktown. Greater electric capacity will help power new residents and developments in the area like the Ford autonomous vehicle campus (opening in June 2024) and the Greater Corktown Mixed-Income Housing Initiative. It is also needed to support clean energy solutions, including more electric vehicles.

This project is part of the larger city of Detroit infrastructure investment DTE is making to modernize the grid and increase electric reliability.

To learn more about reliability improvement work happening in your community, visit

A3 | March 27 - April 2, 2024
it comes to planting trees, putting the right one in the right place plays a big part of making sure it thrives. But sometimes, the right place means more than in rich soil or away from power lines. Enter the Tree Equity Score Analyzer. Pioneered by American Forests, communities across the United States can now see how their city, neighborhood and even street compares when it comes to tree canopy. The tool was recently revamped to feature metrics like heat disparity, high resolution tree canopy data that’s powered by Google and even a function that lets you see what planting different trees will do to a specific parcel of land. The goal of tree equity is to ensure that urban neighborhoods have enough trees so every person benefits. This is also the basis of the Detroit Tree Equity Partnership (DTEP), a pilot program that aims to plant 75,000 trees across targeted areas of the city over five years. DTEP brings groups like American Forests and the Greening of Detroit together the City of Detroit and companies like founding partner DTE Energy to work together to tackle the tree canopy disparity problem. The program has already made enormous strides, planting more than 10,000 trees and training 70 people in the art of urban forestry since DTEP’s launch in October 2022. By using tree equity scores, the partnership can find the parts of the city that have disproportionately fewer trees. These areas are frequently home to people of color and individuals with lower incomes, making these populations more likely to be impacted by the lack of trees. Having a robust tree canopy does more than make a neighborhood look nice. It also lowers asthma rates, keeps temperatures cooler in summer and warmer in winter, reduces stormwater run off and plenty more. Increasing a neighborhood’s tree equity score can help ensure that more people have access to all these benefits. To use the Tree Equity Score Analyzer, visit and use the map to explore different metrics of your neighborhood. Type in your address on the upper left and see if your street is warmer or cooler than those around it, how your tree canopy compares and what planting more trees will do for your community. Once you’ve explored your neighborhood and beyond, you can use the information from the tool to effect real change in your community. You can plant a tree in your yard, reach out to local leaders to share what you learned or find a volunteer event through DTEP to experience firsthand how planting trees can help your neighborhood. How the Tree Equity Score Analyzer can help your community
Mark Jones Julie Jozwiak Barbara Rykwalder
Detroit — the city that put the world on wheels — is rising back to the top and returning to its innovative roots. With leading companies growing, new businesses popping up and new people moving to the city each year, delivering reliable power to Detroit is more important than ever. That is why DTE Energy plans to invest $1.2 billion to rebuild the underground system that delivers power to the city. That includes more than $165 million to build a modern, more resilient grid system around the historic Corktown neighborhood. The project also includes
Kirstie Staelens
Corktown, Woodbridge, Core City, Hubbard Richards and Jeffries neighborhoods.
recently kicked off at DTE Energy’s headquarters, marking the opening of the enrollment portal for thousands of Detroiters. Joi Harris, DTE president and COO, was joined by Mayor Mike Duggan, City Council members, employers, program partners and youth and community leaders to announce this year’s program.
is honored to continue our commitment to Grow Detroit’s Young Talent by providing pivotal work experiences for the city’s youth,” said Harris. “Nurturing bright, young minds and showing them a variety of career pathways is an invaluable way to enable successful futures for all.” DTE has been a partner and supporter of this program since Grow Detroit’s Young Talent was launched in 2015. More than 8,000 young Detroiters will participate this summer. “When we launched GDYT in 2015, we knew there was a need for a centrally coordinated approach to bring all the various summer employment opportunities together, so our young people could more easily access them,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “This is our 10th year, and we are so appreciative of all of our funding partners and employment partners that have helped make GDYT a national model for summer youth employment programs.” The GDYT program is managed every year by Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) as the lead implementation agency and fiduciary, partnering with a wide range of employers, foundations, philanthropic donors and community partners. Every year, GDYT offers a wide range of opportunities to Detroit youth, from experience with numerous City of Detroit Departments including Police and Fire, and in industries ranging from IT to skilled trades to healthcare.
years of growing Detroit’s talent
10th year of Detroit’s summer jobs program for the city’s youth, Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT),

In the complex landscape of navigating college entry, the thought of financing a college education has long loomed as one of the biggest barriers for many people in Michigan. Even with an understanding of grants, loans, and scholarships for students, there still exists a level of intimidation for students, parents, and caregivers when it comes to filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

But that’s where Michigan Student Aid (MISA) comes into play.

As a division within the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP), MISA is committed to breaking down barriers for Michigan students seeking higher education. Through a variety of state financial aid programs, resources, and informational outreach, MISA strives to make college accessible to all.

Annually, MISA disburses nearly $200 million to more than 80,000 students, making higher education a reality for countless individuals across the state. However, this impactful work wouldn’t be possible without the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders, including high school counselors, college access professionals, and community members who help to inform and lead students and prospective students to the resources that exist to help them to remove this hurdle.

One of the easiest ways to help relieve some of the financial stressors of paying for college is to complete the FAFSA.

According to Chad Somerville, outreach manager for the MiLEAP, there are a lot of misconceptions associated with the FAFSA process.

“The biggest misconception we often hear students and families say is that they aren’t going to complete their FAFSA because they won’t be offered any financial aid anyways. However, most students qualify for some sort of financial aid, even if that is just a student loan,” Somerville said.

“FAFSA is free to complete and is often a gatekeeper for institutional and outside scholarships. Failing to do your FAFSA can cause a student to lose out on free money from us here at the state of Michigan, their college, university or even local organizations.”

He added that it is always a good idea to complete the FAFSA each year even if a student only qualifies for loans and does not want to take them.

“People need to be reminded that they must fill out a FAFSA every year, not just once. I think that misconception is there because they think you only apply once, but your financial situation can change year to year,” Somerville said.

State officials at MISA have been working hard over the years to make the FAFSA process easier and simpler for families. As a result of their work, filling out the FAFSA has become a much faster process than in years past. To complete the 2024-25 FAFSA you may need:

• Your parents’ SSNs if you’re a dependent student

• Tax returns

• Records of child support received

• Current balances of cash, savings, and checking accounts

• Net worth of investments, businesses, and farm

“Probably the biggest determinant is the FAFSA application, which is the most important step in the financial aid process and the subsequent Student Aid Index (SAI) that is calculated. Many types of aid that are need-based use the SAI as a gauge to determine how much and what type of aid a student receives,” Somerville notes. “However, it’s not solely about need-based aid, merit-based scholarships also play a significant role. Somerville adds, “Whether or not the student does a little extra legwork to apply for institutional and outside scholarships can also have a substantial impact on the amount of financial aid that a student receives.”

Somerville highlights the versatility of federal and state aid, which can cover expenses beyond tuition fees. “Federal and state financial aid may be used for college costs outside of tuition costs,” he says. “Many students use their Pell Grants or student loans to help pay for housing, books and even gas to get to class if they commute.”

MISA even offers free informational webinars for Michiganders to help navigate the financial aid world, including an upcoming virtual seminar scheduled for April 18, 2024, at 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. and accessible through

MISA is also heavily promoting its Michigan Achievement Scholarships, designed to help recent high school graduates receive funds for continuing education. Eligible students could receive financial aid to attend a college or university with the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, or for a career training program with the Michigan Achievement Skills Scholarship.

For students seeking to attend a college or university, qualified applicants could receive:

• Up to $2,750 to attend a Michigan community college, per year, up to three years

• Up to $4,000 to attend a Michigan private college or university, per year, up to five years

• Up to $5,500 to attend a Michigan public university or enroll in a four-year degree program at a Michigan community college, per year, up to five years

For people seeking career training, qualified applicants could receive:

• Up to $2,000 per year for up to two years

• An industry-recognized certificate

• A faster track to a high-paying career

In essence, MISA serves as a beacon of opportunity for Michigan students, providing essential financial support and resources to pave the way for their educational journey. While the journey starts with a now-simpler version of the FAFSA, the result could be a free college application or career training and unlocking endless career opportunities through education.

Through collaborative efforts and a steadfast commitment to accessibility, MISA continues to make strides in leveling the playing field and ensuring that all students have the chance to pursue higher education and fulfill their potential.

Beauty and Brains: Celebrating Metro Detroit’s Leading Women in the Beauty Industry

In a world where beauty standards constantly evolve and redefine themselves, a group of remarkable women in Metro Detroit stand out not just for their prowess in the realm of aesthetics, but for their exceptional entrepreneurship, community engagement, and empowerment of women.

As we celebrate National Women’s History Month, it is only fitting to shine a spotlight on these five trailblazers who are making waves in the beauty industry, transforming not only the faces of their clients but also the landscape of their communities.

Jas Black, the Owner and Master Colorist of Studio Lush Salon, leads with her innovative approach to hair color and styling. Her salon isn’t just a place for hair transformations; it’s a sanctuary where clients can indulge in self-care while fostering a sense of belonging. Black’s commitment to excellence and creativity has earned her personal and professional brand a stellar reputation in the industry and a loyal clientele.

In addition to being a dedicated salon over who credits her inspiration and 18 years of experience to coming from a lineage of hairstylist, she is creating her own lineage as a doting wife and mother. She maintains her work/ life balance by designating two family days a week and making sure her work schedule is clear by 6 p.m. She encourages other aspiring salon owners to “focus on unique services that you can deliver with excellence, give great service, and to market yourself heavily until your brand becomes familiar.

Her salon Studio Lush, located in Southfield, is known for its scientific and artistic approach to hair coloring. They specialize in understanding color theory, all hair textures, and how each chemical will affect different hair types. When asked what keeps her motivate, Jas says reaching her full potential, building a brand that has longevity and a positive impact, and creating a business that keeps Black Women employed.

“It won’t always be perfect – many mistakes will be made – but I have never seen a person wo didn’t quit not succeed. Believe in your vision,” she said.

Kristian “KM” Styles, known as a Master Stylist, brings her unparalleled skill and flair to every haircut and style she creates. With an eye for detail and a passion for her craft, KM Styles has become synonymous with cutting-edge hairstyling in Metro Detroit. Her dedication to her clients’ satisfaction and her commitment to mentorship inspire aspiring stylists across the region. Born to iconic Detroit legends of the hair industry Sonya M. and Cool C, KM was destined to be great in her field.

At 7 years old, KM began playing with hair mannequins and leftover pieces of hair from her mother’s clients. By age 12, her mother was already teaching her how to cut layers. As she moved through life, she began doing hair out of her and her sister’s apartment in Kalamazoo. After receiving her first check from a local beauty supply store, Kristian’s mom strongly advised that she was meant to be an entrepreneur, and the rest is history. After traveling between Detroit and Kalamazoo working at a high-end salon, heeding the wisdom of her “shop parents,” Kristian was able place her roots in the hair care industry.

She attributes her parents for encouraging her originality, allowing her to wear different hair colors and teaching her the importance of being herself, using her creatively authentically to cultivate her own clientele. Her iconic hot pink hair speaks to the boldness of her styling. KM is encouraging this generation of Black Women to express themselves freely and outside of the box. Adding her exposure to Avril Lavigne, anime, and love for Nicki Minaj has inspired her to create her own trends rather than follow them. Kristian encourages budding stylists to serve other tenured stylists to learn and complete cosmetology school, and once graduated, to continue to invest in themselves.

“Invest in your mental health as well”, KM states. She advises that often, stylists are not just stylists but also act as “therapists” for some of their clients, giving them the safe space they need to be vulnerable and share parts of themselves they don’t always share with others. She urges other hair care professionals to get therapists of their own so that they can effectively balance their own self-care and mental health.

On being honored for Women’s History Month, KM shares her deep appreciation for the personal struggles she has overcome as a Black woman entrepreneur. She shared that through the years, she overcame homelessness and mental health issues, and now regularly maintains her mental health by attending therapy and upholding her faith. She adds that some of her most memorable moments in her career are being flown out California to be the solo hair stylist on the set of a music video, having supporters recognize her and her work from social media, and servicing celebrity clients like Tamar Braxton.

Bianca, the owner and Master Loctician of Locs of Love Salon, has carved a niche for herself in the beauty industry by specializing in loc maintenance and styling. Beyond her technique, Bianca fosters a sense of community among her clients, building relationships that extend far beyond the salon chair. Her commitment to celebrating natural beauty and nurturing the spiritual connection between hair and identity has garnered widespread acclaim.

Sporting her own beautiful locs, Bianca says she discovered her passion while in graduate school. As business degree holder, she quickly realized that traditional

corporate America was not for her. Now expanding into her third retail space and now offering more central operations, she acknowledged that the uprising in Black culture embracing more natural styling has been a trend her business has undoubtedly benefited from.

“I used to feel unique when I would be the only woman to walk in the room with locs, and now there are so many other women who have them too, it’s not just the men.” Bianca says. She said that at one point, men in the NBA were not yet even able to sport their natural tresses in every form. In addition to being a successful business owner, she is also an exceptional mother. She shared that her daughter has locs as well, and as she is venturing into womanhood, she has questions around her hair and how it ties into her identity. Bianca encourages her and all women to be leaders and not to fall victim to so-called traditional beauty standards.

As a wife and a mother, she prioritizes her time between administrative work and family time; even talking with her clients about their lives so that they can support one another. After recently giving birth to her son, she praised her husband and family for being a very supportive village and being involved in the family business.

To aspiring locticians, Bianca expresses to not get caught up in the trends of the world. “YouTube can be very informative but also misleading, especially for new stylists.” She encourages them make sure they invest in the proper tools and products to give the best service to their clients.

Deja Wharton, a Master Makeup Artist and owner of “Dewy By Dej” Studio, uses her artistic talents to enhance and embrace her clients’ unique features. Through her makeup artistry, Deja doesn’t just transform faces; she transforms lives, using her infectious personality to instill confidence and self-assurance in everyone she touches.

Once discouraged from pursuing a traditional corporate career after college graduation, Deja pursued a career in make up after a four-year mentorship with celebrity makeup artist Moriah Mierre a.k.a “Beat By Mo”. Deja said that although she initially did not set out to be in this field, after she made her first $300 in one day she quickly realized how lucrative the beauty industry was. She quickly developed a love and passion for her clientele and developed her own signature style of make-up application.

“I have the best clients!” Dej exclaimed, saying her clients for keep her motivated and inspired. She believes that you truly attract what you are and promotes an environment that allows for her to build loyal relationships with her clients. On being honored for Women’s History Month, Deja fervently emphasizes how women achieve so much and must give themselves permission to learn balance while also earnestly showing gratitude and appreciation for the women who have paved the way for her.

“Do not try to force yourself into rooms you don’t fit in,” she said, adding that there are so many women who don’t gatekeep and who will look out for aspiring beauticians.

A soon to be mom, Deja said she gives herself the grace to grow into different spaces of her business without putting pressure on herself to overachieve.

Brittany “Bee” Farr, the owner and Master Esthetician of Bee’s Beauty Bar and Spa, offers more than just skincare treatments; she provides a haven for relaxation, rejuvenation, and self-discovery. Bee’s dedication to holistic wellness and her commitment to personalized care have made her spa a destination for those seeking not only beauty enhancement but also inner harmony.

A business owner and loving mother of two Brittany aka “Bee” is making huge strides in the world of self-care and wellness. After expanding into a new location in Southfield, she said she now relies on organization as a key to ensure she operates in excellence.

“If I don’t take care of me, I cannot pour into my business or my children.” Bee says. Admitting that these days self-care for her is not just a typical manicure or facial but incorporating faith-filled practices such as journaling and reading her Bible.

Acknowledging the specific needs of others is what has led to such a powerful increase in her business. Bee is now offering “Bee’s Beauty Academy” where she shares her knowledge to assist other beauty professionals in the elevation of their career. She also stresses the importance of cultivating her own staff, offering dual roles within her company to allow them to explore passions beyond their ordinary roles.

“I realized that sometimes balance is not what we think it is, sometimes it’s taking one thing on at a time. If I’m operating as an esthetician in that moment, I may not be thinking about operations,” she said. Giving her staff the ability to take space as needed to complete their duties has increased her work culture of positivity and inclusivity.

Led by integrity, Brittany uplifts the women she encounters by encouraging them to lead their businesses based on their personal values. She hopes to continue to inspire the entire beauty business by setting a new standard of excellence and encouraging a more collaborative culture.

These five remarkable women exemplify the essence of beauty and brains, leveraging their talent, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit to leave an indelible mark on the industry and the communities they serve. As we honor them during Women’s History Month, let us celebrate their achievements and draw inspiration from their extraordinary journeys.

Page A-4 | March 27 - April 2, 2024 |
MISA Helps Families Relieve the Burden of Financial Aid for College

Michigan Chronicle

The Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence Awards, in its 17th year, celebrates local African American women who inspire others through their vision and leadership, exceptional achievements, and participation in community service. They are women who exemplify extraordinary stature, poise and grace. These women do it all while maintaining the delicate balance of filling the roles of helpmate, mother, teacher and professional. Our 2024 WOE Class are champions of economic empowerment and diversity, backbone of religious and educational organizations, and driving forces in politics and community service. Help us welcome these distinguished Women of Excellence.

Tonya Adair is an accomplished leader dedicated to positively impacting children and families in communities served. Since arrival to United Way in 2018, she has initiated programs and partnerships to deepen investments and capacity building supports in BIPOC-led organizations, schools, faith-based institutions, and smaller non-profits to advance United Way’s vision of creating more equitable communities across Southeastern Michigan. She has also led efforts to establish the organization’s first Diversity, Equity & Inclusion department in 2021 and launched a regional 21-Day Equity Challenge engaging local and national community members in conversations to disrupt inequitable and non-inclusive practices.

Within community, Tonya serves as board chair for City Year Detroit, is a member of Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan’s board, and executive lead for both Connect 313 Detroit and Tech United digital inclusion efforts. She has received numerous accolades including a 2023 Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Leader in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion honoree.

Tonya is a proud HBCU alumnus of Louisiana’s Grambling State University with a BS in Education and Alverno College of Wisconsin with an MA in Education Administration & Leadership.

Teberah Alexander has dedicated her life to uplifting others through her remarkable nursing career and entrepreneurial endeavors. Born and raised in Michigan, Teberah's journey began with a deep-seated passion for nursing and a desire to make a meaningful difference in people's lives.

After graduating from Michigan State University in 2003 with a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing, Teberah served in various healthcare settings, including Labor and Delivery, Cardiac, ICU, and Long Term Care Units. Teberah founded Compassionate Home Care Services, a pioneering company dedicated to providing essential support to older individuals whose health needs were often overlooked. Her dedication to enhancing the lives of dementia patients led her to become a Certified Dementia Practitioner, and she established Kathelene's Adult Day Care Center in loving memory of her grandmother, Kathelene.

Teberah's passion for nursing excellence and her desire to empower others inspired her to establish Nurses Who Care, a platform aimed at nurturing and mentoring aspiring nurses to become exceptional healthcare professionals. Through initiatives like the Future Nurses Program and the Caregivers Who Care Program, Teberah has continued to shape the next generation of compassionate caregivers. Her commitment to nurturing future leaders is further demonstrated by her role as a proud mother to Amiya Alexander, President of Amiya's Mobile Dance Academy and a distinguished alumna of New York University.

As Teberah continues to blaze trails in nursing and entrepreneurship, her latest venture, Nurse T's Body Bar, stands as a testament to her unwavering dedication to holistic wellness and compassionate care.

In her current role as Diversity Media Strategy & Investment Lead at General Motors, Brianne Boles-Marshall continues to champion diverse media and marketing efforts across all GM brands with the goal of ensuring that every investment generates impact for both the General Motors enterprise and its diverse media ecosystem.

For over 15 years, Brianne Boles-Marshall has been a noteworthy leader in the media/marketing industry, leading general market and multicultural strategy on accounts such as MillerCoors, P&G, and Nestle Purina. During her tenure on those accounts, she spearheaded diversity initiatives that helped each company better realize the growth opportunities made possible by authentic outreach to diverse audiences.

In addition to her role at GM, Brianne also a rising graduate (c/o 2024) of The Black Executive CMO Alliance’s Future Leaders program, which further prepares Black marketers for the C-Suite. She is also a part of the AIMM (ANA) steering committee, ANA’s Diverse Media initiatives, the BRIDGE organization’s definitions steering committee, and is a 2024 inductee in the Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors. She has also been selected to participate as a judge for industry award selection committees, training institutes, is a contributor to published works by the ANA on diverse media investment and is an active board member and trustee in multiple organizations.

A native of Flint, Michigan, Brianne earned her MBA from Wayne State University and her bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Brianne is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and actively demonstrates sisterhood, scholarship and service as a mentor and corporate and community–leader.

A born-and-raised Detroiter with more than 26 years in the human resources field, DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital Chief Human Resources Officer Deidre Boyd is dedicated to lifting up those with a career – or who hope to have a career –in healthcare. She’s solidified DMC Sinai-Grace’s connection with local high schools and community colleges with mentorship and shadowing programs, transitioning many people to employment and supporting career goals with tuition reimbursement.

She has implemented out-of-the-box hiring initiatives and aggressive recruiting practices to provide opportunities in the community. She also has implemented and bolstered programs to uplift employees at the hospital, which in turn helps support patient care. Deidre partners with The Friends of Sinai-Grace, a group of prominent Detroit pastors who provide feedback and support for the hospital, and she also leads the hospital’s Employee Engagement Committee. Deidre also participates in events by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, in honor of her nephew, Craig, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in honor of her mother, Martha, who passed away due to leukemia in 2022. As a human resources leader, Deidre focuses on connecting with the community inside and outside the hospital.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Faye Alexander Nelson is the Former Michigan Director of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she led the foundation’s statewide work in Michigan to improve the well-being of children through partnerships that address equity in employment, health equity, and equity in early childhood education and education systems.

Nelson also previously served as the University of Michigan’s Sojourner Truth Fellow; DTE Energy’s Vice President; DTE Energy Foundation’s President and Board Chair; and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Nelson is actively involved in her community, serving on numerous boards including Corewell Health, Michigan Women’s Commission, the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Nelson’s many awards include the 2022 Detroit News’ Michiganian of the Year; Crain’s Detroit Business’ 2016 and 2021 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan; 2020 Michigan Business Hall of Fame.

Nelson earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Mercy College of Detroit and a law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Nelson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Mercy College of Detroit and a law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Woman of the Year

Denise Brooks-Williams is a seasoned healthcare executive with 30 years of healthcare experience. With a passion for work focused on equity and eliminating health disparities, Denise’s career reflects a demonstrated record of leading successful transformation initiatives and optimizing fiscal management processes in complex business environments. Brooks-Williams brings deep corporate governance experience through her work with corporate boards, including audit and finance committees. She is a committed servant leader and participates in several philanthropic organizations, at both the community and national levels. Brooks-Williams is the immediate past Chair of the University of Michigan Health Management and Policy Alumni Association. She is a board member and treasurer for Authority Health and further involvement includes the Detroit Wayne County Health Authority.

Brooks-Williams was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Care Delivery System Operations at Henry Ford Health. In her capacity, she serves a growing customer base across Michigan. Market Operations generates over $5 billion in revenue, manages over 430,000 ER visits, nearly 75,000 surgical procedures. In addition to current stewardship of market strategy and hospital operations, provides system-wide leadership over other key and significant areas including ambulatory operations, surgical services, service lines, and emergency departments to drive growth, integration, and efficiency across the care delivery system. While overseeing just over 21,000 team members, 5 hospitals and 250 care sites, she and her executive leadership team concentrating on growth and overall market performance and operations.

Brooks-Williams is a native of Detroit, Michigan. She attended the University of Michigan, where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Health Services Administration. Denise is married to Jeffrey and has two adult daughters, Jenise and Jasmine.





Nikkiya Branch Penson, Esq. is a distinguished attorney, recognized for her expertise in litigation, strategy, innovation, and leadership. Presently, she serves as the Deputy General Counsel at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, where she offers her legal acumen as a litigator and policy advisor. With over 14 years of experience in the field, Nikkiya's strength lies in her ability to deconstruct policy initiatives and work with stakeholders to prioritize policy objectives. Her visionary approach has been instrumental in developing and executing multiple local policies that have positively impacted the metro-Detroit area. Nikkiya values inclusivity and consistently devises innovative solutions that benefit everyone.

Nikkiya's legal expertise spans diverse disciplines, including real estate, employment, contracts, and personal injury. Her keen anticipation of her opponents' strategies gives her a tactical advantage as a litigator. When not engaged in legal work, Nikkiya pursues her passion for travel and mentors young professionals. She devotes herself to her community through her membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Britta Brown is a sports executive, serving as the Senior Director of Basketball Administration for the Detroit Pistons. In her role, she focuses on team operations and logistics as well as assists in the day-to-day management of the basketball operations department.

Prior to her role at the Pistons, she worked in college athletics development and administration at the University of Maryland, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Eastern Michigan University. She served as the Assistant Athletic Director of Development at Eastern Michigan University prior to her current position. She’s also a proud graduate and former lacrosse student athlete at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Britta's passion for community involvement and women's empowerment is evident in her volunteer efforts. She is a founding member and administrator of Detroit Black JeepHERS, the first African American female Jeep Wrangler club in Detroit, as well as co-chair

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of PWR, the Pistons Women’s Resource Group. Additionally, Britta gives back to her alma mater and serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for the Rams Club, the philanthropic entity providing educational and athletic opportunities for the 800+ UNC student-athletes. In her spare time, Britta enjoys traveling, RVing, and the outdoors.

Marca Brown is the Senior Manager of Fleet Strategy and Procurement for DTE Energy. She is responsible for the end-to-end lifecycle management of new fleet vehicles including specification, acquisition, delivery, remarketing and other Fleet strategic initiatives. She oversees 5,600 assets and a multi-million-dollar annual budget, focusing on appropriately protecting DTE’s return on investment.

Brown joined DTE in 2010. She most recently served as manager of Fleet Operations. Prior to that position, she held a leadership position in DTE’s Marketing team. Before joining DTE, Brown held various leadership roles in Marketing and Program Management within the automotive and consumer products industries.

Brown played a significant role in redesigning and implementing new Fleet process to advance and modernize the department, improve customer service, drive down costs, and improve driver productivity and efficiency. Her focus on continuous improvement led her to earn the 2020 Honoree, Fleet Visionary-Leader of the Future from the National Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Arts from Michigan State University, East Lansing. Brown is the 2024 Scholarship Co-Chair for DTE’s Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritage (REACH) employee resource group. She is also a member of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business Alumni and the National Black MBA Association.

Tamika Brown is President and Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of RSVP Premier Group and the Harmon Group, an event and marketing services company that specializes in designing meetings, events, experiential marketing, incentive programs, promotional products, and branded merchandise based in metro Detroit, Michigan.

Tamika has received several honorable mentions and awards, including the Diversity Champion in Business Award by NAWBO Greater Detroit, the MVP “Most Valuable Professional Award” from Corp! Magazine, and she was nominated by Michigan Meetings & Events Magazine as The Best Event Planner in Metro Detroit.

With over 19 years of meeting and event experience, Tamika has planned numerous conferences, meetings, special events, tradeshows, and experiential marketing events for several Fortune 500 companies, associations, and non-profit organizations nationwide.

Tamika’s strategic leadership and visionary insight help ensure each event is aligned with the client’s mission/objective to ensure maximum results and ROI. As Chief Experience Officer and Curator, she specializes in creating unique attendee/guest experiences and engagement for in-person and virtual events.

Tamika is a graduate of the prestigious Dartmouth Tuck School of Business: Google Digital Excellence Program and Building a High Performing Minority Business Program. In December 2020 she completed the Center of Excellence Certificate Program (COECP) through NMSDC and Rutgers University and most recently a graduate of the National Business League’s National Black Supplier Development Program sponsored by Stellantis and the National Business League.

Tamika currently mentors undergraduate students at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan School of Hospitality Business.





Tinetra Taylor Burns, a Clinical Specialist with Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN), oversees Behavioral Health Justice-Involved and Special Project Initiatives demonstrating a caring attitude, and strong commitment to helping individuals within the Metro-Detroit and Wayne County area. Since January 2021, she’s assisted with the development of the landmark partnership with the City of Detroit and Police Department to support police officers, 911 call takers/dispatchers and homeless outreach when they encounter citizens experiencing mental health challenges. She also has volunteered a weekly minimum of 20 direct service hours to ensure positive implementation and connection to both treatment and supportive resources with DWIHN. In August 2023, she began working with DPD’s Co-Response Mental Health Unit, which had been featured on MSNBC to provide insight on the dynamics of crisis intervention team trained policing, and how impactful this will be for the citizens of Detroit.

Tinetra holds a master’s degree in public administration, bachelor’s degree in health services administration, various facilitator certifications in Mental Health First Aid, Suicide Prevention, Trauma-Informed Care, Addictions Professional, and a PhD Candidate, specializing in Law and Public Policy.

Council Member Angela Whitfield Calloway, a lifelong Detroiter, proudly represents District 2 on the Detroit City Council. With a diverse background in adult education, human resources, and law, Angela is an alumna of Spelman College and the Detroit College of Law, showcasing her commitment to education and civic leadership. Advocating fearlessly, Council Member Calloway focuses on quality education, safer neighborhoods, and enhanced quality of life for Detroiters. During her tenure, she initiated task forces on Human & Sex Trafficking and Youth & Civic Engagement. Angela actively shapes policies as Chair of the Rules Committee and Vice-Chair of the Neighborhood and Community Services Standing Committee. Notable achievements include passing ordinances against cashless businesses, recognizing Suicide Awareness Month, advocating for paid parental leave for city employees, and early childhood education. Engaging in extensive community service, Angela is affiliated with various organizations and maintains strong ties to her grassroots leadership. Supported by her family and friends, Council Member Calloway exemplifies an advocate’s heart, tirelessly empowering the citizens she serves.

Trailblazer, Ronneshia Carter, a Detroit native, is the first black Executive Director of NeuroRestorative. In her first year, she reduced employee turnover rates, maintained census, decreased expenses, and improved revenue. Her professional highlights include leadership roles within the human service and healthcare sectors, such as Sr. Director, Area Director, and Chief Operating Officer.

The former Miss Livingstone College holds a BA in Psychology and a MSA from Central Michigan University. Ronneshia has been an avid supporter of individual groups providing financial assistance and clothing items to women and children’s programs throughout metropolitan Detroit. With her sister circle, she developed an annual award for Wayne County high school seniors, providing students full financial coverage for prom and graduation. Ronneshia has consistently supported local backpack giveaways, coats for kids, little league fundraising campaigns, and Detroit Meals on Wheels. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, actively serving as the 2nd Vice-President of the Eta Iota Omega chapter in Inkster, Michigan. Ronneshia is the proud mother of two daughters and two sons and enjoys hosting, cooking, and the performing arts.



Dr. Coleman is the Chief Executive Officer for Residential Opportunities, Inc. She holds an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Sociology from Eastern Michigan University. She also has a Ph.D. in Human Services with a concentration in Social and Community Services. Dr. Coleman has more than 30 years of experience working in the area of Human Services in Southeastern and Western Michigan.

In her current role, Dr. Coleman ensures that services provided to adults, children and adolescents living with developmental and intellectual disabilities are delivered at an optimal level and in a manner that place the needs of individuals served at the highest priority.

Dr. Coleman is a highly accomplished Human Service Executive with competencies in human systems and appropriate interventions to maximize outcomes. Her experience has been in leadership and management of government and non-profit organizations. She was an Associate Professor at Baker College and served as a member of the Governor’s Committee on Juvenile Justice. She participates on several human service agency boards and committees aimed at addressing the social determinants of health affecting underserved communities.


LaJuan Counts is a seasoned construction and contractor management veteran with 32 years of experience and currently serves as Director of Construction & Demolition for the City of Detroit. She was appointed by Mayor Mike Duggan in 2020 to oversee a $250M bond-funded initiative targeting 14,000 blighted residential properties through demolition and stabilization. Before heading the Demolition Department, Counts held various roles including GSD Deputy Director Operations and Superintendent of Building Maintenance managing services for 140+ facilities. In 2023, she expanded her responsibilities to include Capital Projects and Facility Maintenance, instituting a "cradle-to-grave" asset management approach for all city properties. Counts actively advocates for women in construction, a mission that intensified with becoming Demolition Director. Previously operating behind the scenes to “get the job done,” she now emphasizes women's significant role in the industry. She holds a B.S. in Building Construction Technology from Michigan State University and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Rose M. Dady, appointed by President Joe Biden, is a trailblazer in public service and engagement, currently leading as the inaugural Director of the Office of Community Engagement at the U.S. Department of Energy. In this groundbreaking role, Rose has established the department from its inception, dedicating her efforts to enhance clean energy access and foster partnerships that uplift communities nationwide.

Her extensive career spans over 20 years in pivotal positions, reflecting her deep commitment to community service and social equity. In her first appointment at U.S. DOE, Rose developed strategies that significantly impacted the Midwest region's political landscape and energy policies.

Rose's recognition as a notable leader in energy by Crain’s Detroit in 2023 is a testament to her impactful contributions to the sector. Through her work, Rose continues to drive meaningful change, focusing on energy justice and community empowerment. As a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., she enjoys engaging in community service projects that uplift underrepresented groups. Rose’s dedication and commitment to fostering inclusive opportunities resonate both in her professional endeavors and in community involvement.



Michelle Davis is a 27 year educational leader who is passionate about teaching and transforming the lives of students in and outside of the classroom. She is a lifelong Detroiter and a proud DPS graduate who attended Duffield Elementary, Miller Middle, and Murray Wright High School. After graduating from DPS, Michelle attended Alabama State University. There she earned a degree in English Language Arts, before moving on to Marygrove College where she earned a Master’s in the Art of Teaching degree, and Oakland University where she earned an Education Specialist degree in Administration, giving her the skills to make a difference at a high level. She is a lifelong activist, advocate and servant leader. Michelle’s vision for Davis Aerospace is to create a world class institution that will inspire and train students, and become a hub for innovation, creativity and academic excellence honoring the legacy of those who dare to envision an aviation school in DPS.

Briana DuBose is the executive director of EcoWorks, a Detroit-based nonprofit that provides services at the intersection of community development and sustainability. DuBose is an accomplished and influential figure in Detroit’s climate and sustainability landscape. She designs and manages community-driven programs that address pressing environmental and societal concerns. Her efforts, grounded in equity and justice, aim to uplift communities disproportionately burdened by high-energy costs and the adverse effects of climate change.

Briana has spent years advocating for equitable environmental practices and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. She has managed various initiatives to bring energy efficiency statewide, supporting municipalities, universities, and school districts.

Her roles in both municipal and private spheres have enriched her with invaluable insights. These experiences have been pivotal in shaping her into the non-profit leader she is today, one committed to creating solutions for the voiceless.

DuBose is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati attaining a Juris Doctorate degree and Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Communications

Norma has over 20 years of accounting and finance experience. She is currently the Senior Manager of U.S. Accounting and Consolidations at General Dynamics Land Systems and manages several accounting teams in her position. Prior to joining the defense industry, Norma spent 15 years in automotive at General Motors and Stellantis managing global accounting and finance processes and sizable teams with a focus on continuous improvement and leadership. She has also served in banking and public accounting roles for Bank of America and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Norma is also a trusted Board Member and CFO for Making it Count Community Development Corporation. a non-profit

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organization bringing positive change and equity to underserved communities. Norma obtained her BBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She later earned her MBA from the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University and holds CPA, CISA, and CIA designations. NORMA EARLY SENIOR MANAGER U.S. ACCOUNTING AND CONSOLIDATIONS GENERAL DYNAMICS LAND SYSTEMS

Robin Gamble is an individual with a passion for art and a creative spirit. She is dedicated to fulfilling her dreams and bringing beauty into the world through her artistic talents. Over the past five years, Robin has focused on creating beautiful moments for her clients as a photographer. She captures personal memories and helps others tell their stories, using photography as her chosen medium for self-expression and connection.

Beyond her own creative pursuits, Robin believes in making a positive impact in her community. She has restructured a photography program for Focus Hope and created a new photography program for youth at Franklin Wright Settlements. Through these initiatives, she shares her expertise and helps young individuals discover their artistic potential. In addition to photography, Robin offers a range of services to cater to different needs. This includes marketing/branding consulting, public speaking coaching, and photography lessons. She also supports business startups and offers skills in videography and documentary filmmaking. With a background in radiation therapy and a Masters degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Robin is not only a photographer but also a visionary. She has consulted and coached nonprofit organizations, corporations, and entrepreneurs on various areas including leadership development, branding, marketing, and sales. Robin Gamble’s dedication and diverse skill set make her a valuable resource for artistic and creative services. Her ability to bring visions to life through photography, marketing, branding, and videography has earned her a reputation as a trusted professional. As she continues on her artistic journey, she will undoubtedly continue to inspire and impact those around her with her passion and commitment.

Khalilah Burt Gaston is the founding Executive Director of the Song Foundation, shepherding its efforts to invest in ideas, people, and organizations that amplify equity, power, prosperity, and joy in Southeast Michigan.

A trained urban planner and passionate advocate for equitable communities, her work has been featured in Dwell Magazine, The New York Times, Chicago Public Radio, and the Harvard Family Research Project.

Khalilah has held a variety of other positions in the private and private sectors. These include her prior role as Program Officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she was the foundation’s lead architect of Hope Starts Here: Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership and managed a grant portfolio of $500 million.

She received a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and Communication and a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Mikiah Glynn is a versatile professional seamlessly weaving together brand strategy expertise as an Associate Director of Strategy at Razorfish. Her unique impact is evident in her innovative use of social and digital media to connect and elevate brands. Originating in public relations and event management in New York’s corporate arena, Mikiah’s marketing journey began with a robust foundation.

Beyond her corporate role, she ventures into en -

trepreneurship as the proud owner of Brix Wine in Detroit, a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for wine. Mikiah embodies the qualities of a visionary, community leader, and dynamic force in branding and business, showcasing a dedication to excellence, innovation, and a profound understanding of strategic principles throughout her multifaceted career journey.

The Honorable Nicole N. Goodson graduated from the University of Detroit in 1994 and was awarded a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 1997. She began her career as a Staff Attorney with UAW Legal Services. In 1999 Attorney Goodson joined Legal Aid & Defender Association, Inc. (LAD) representing low-income residents of Wayne County in housing, consumers, real estate, and debt collection matters. From 2005 to 2009 Attorney Goodson served as a Partner with the Bingham Law Group, PLLC. In 2009, she rejoined LAD to pursue to her passion for serving the underserved and often overlooked low-income residents. In May of 2017 she was named Chief Counsel/COO for LAD and in December of that same year she was named President & CEO. In November of 2022 Governor Whitmer appointed her to the Wayne County Circuit Court’s Family Domestic Division. Throughout her career she has always demonstrated a commitment to public service. She has received the following awards: Community Leadership Award from First Step for her work with survivors of domestic violence, the Hon. Wade H McCree Jr Award for the Advancement of Social Justice by the Federal Bar Association - Eastern District of Michigan Chapter, Notable Women in the Law by Crain’s Magazine, and recently the Vanguard Award Detroit Choice Award for her outstanding work in the community.

She was recently appointed to the State Bar of Michigan’s Access to Justice Policy Committee, and serves as a board member with the SASHA Center and the Girls Factory. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Ann Arbor Alumnae Chapter where she serves as Treasurer.

Michigan architect, entrepreneur, and community leader, Beverly Hannah is President and CEO of HANNAH Architects, formerly Hannah & Associates, Inc. Committed to the transformation and growth of the City of Detroit, she has successfully operated the architectural firm for the past 31 years.

A native Detroiter, and graduate of Henry Ford High School, Beverly began her college education as an engineering student at Michigan State University, but soon discovered a passion for architecture and design and transferred to Lawrence Institute of Technology (now Lawrence Technological University). There she earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree in 1985, a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1988, and a Master of Architecture degree in 2000. Her first job as an Architect was with the legendary firm of Albert Kahn Associates (AKA) where she excelled in multiple departments while establishing a strong design and technical foundation. She earned her Michigan architectural license in 1991 and launched her firm in 1993 to provide architectural and interior design services. Notably, her firm is the first African American Woman Owned Architectural firm in the State of Michigan, and one of less than twenty architectural firms owned and operated by a licensed African American Female Architect in the United States. In 2013, her firm formed a strategic partnership with Neumann/Smith Architecture, where she is the managing partner and majority owner of Hannah-Neumann/Smith which offers the creativity, expertise, and experience to help clients develop distinctive new buildings or re-purpose, restore, and modernize existing facilities.




Andrea is the Chief of Staff and Director of Culture and Community for the Michigan Science Center, an organization focused on inspiring curious minds through STEM education. As a dynamic leader with over 15 years of experience in nonprofit roles, she optimizes operational excellence and strategic planning.

Andrea, with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from Spring Arbor University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Phoenix, champions collaboration and community engagement. Her passion for people shines through mentorship, advocacy for access, and empowering girls interested in STEM. Before joining the Michigan Science Center, Andrea served in various organizations focused on youth, families, and providing access to basic needs.

Andrea actively contributes to the leadership and field development committee of the Association of Science and Technology Centers, serves on the editorial board for Water Ways Magazine, and is an active participant in the prestigious Leadership Detroit program.

Andrea’s heart is at home, where she nurtures her daughter, Ashlyn, supports her husband Dr. Harp, and loves on Gizmo, the family dog.

Born and raised in Fresno, California, Shuna has been active in the youth development and after school community in Detroit since locating here in 1998. Since that time, she has designed and led major youth employment initiatives, serving thousands of Detroit youth.

She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Biology with a concentration in Child Development from Stanford University and earned her Master’s in Education from Harvard University. She has spent over 25 years working with youth serving programs and non-profit organizations specializing in youth workforce development, program design, building collaboratives, and strategic planning.

Shuna currently works for Connect Detroit as the Vice President of Programs, where she heads their children, youth, and families initiatives. Shuna serves as the board chair for Heritage Works and a board member for Wellspring, two youth development organizations in the city of Detroit. Shuna is also a proud member of the Buffalo Soldiers of Michigan Motorcycle Club, wife and mother of four.

Dr. April Y. M. Hearn is an ordained minister and native of Detroit, MI. After several years as an educator, she entered full-time ministry at New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of the late Rev. Dr. Wilma R. Johnson. During her nineteen years at NPMBC, she served as Pastor of Children and Youth, Curriculum Coordinator, and Director, of the NPMBC After School Program, Administrative Assistant to the Senior Pastor and coordinator of ministry events, and community projects. Currently, Dr. Hearn serves on the Executive Pastoral Staff at NPMBC in addition to being a sought-after preacher and conference presenter at both the local and national level.

Dr. Hearn earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education from Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana; a Masters in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College and a Master of Divinity from Ecumenical Theological Seminary, both in the city of the Detroit. In 2019, Dr. Hearn was conferred the Doctor of Ministry Degree from Ecumenical Theological Seminary. Her dissertation is titled, Behind the Veil: Domestic Abuse in Christian Homes.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, and a proud alumnus of Detroit Public Schools, Dr. CharMaine Hines is a leader in higher education, a scholar, and a practitioner, holding progressive levels of leadership at both public and private universities, and community college(s) in Michigan. She currently serves as the Vice Chancellor of Academic Accountability and Policy at the Wayne County Community College District.

A servant leader, deeply committed to and has a passion for open access to education and life-long learning. CharMaine is an alum, advisory board member, and founding co-director of the corporate summer internship and mentoring program for Michigan Business Professionals of America (BPA) a national career, and technical student association. A King/Chavez/Parks Future Faculty Fellow and highly regarded regional and national presenter on a range of topics about academia, leadership, and communication.

Dr. Hines’ service work as an executive officer and/or member includes; the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission, President’s Round Table (PRT) of African American Community College CEOs, American Council on Education’s (ACE) MI-ACE Women’s Network and Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Incorporated Ann Arbor Alumnae Chapter.

Dr. Krystle Hollier, a distinguished psychologist and psychotherapist, received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from MSU, following her undergraduate studies at Yale University. She serves as a Director at LifeStance Health, providing oversight and supervision to 70 therapists and prescribers in the metro-Detroit area. Dr. Hollier conducts individual therapy with adults, focusing on goal-setting and behavior change to address the systems threatening to maintain anxiety and depression and help clients create the life they want to live. She is also the creator of the KW Planning System, providing individual, group, and corporate coaching sessions geared towards setting and achieving goals across multiple life areas: health, relationships, personal growth, spirituality/emotional health, home, finances, fun, and career. She has authored several articles and book chapters on the impact of culture and gender on African-American mental health and has led workshops, panels, and trainings on suicide prevention, self-care, managing stress during the COVID pandemic, depression, and anxiety for the United Way, FCA, the MI State Senate, Plymouth Church, Motor City Sings, and her beloved sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has won multiple awards from the American Psychological Association and serves on the Board of the Detroit Wayne County Health Authority. When she is not working, you will find her building Lego sets or weightlifting with her husband of 12 years, Adam Hollier, and their two children.

Kyra Joy Hope is a testament to resilience and service. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she is the spirited youngest of four siblings and the granddaughter of civil rights advocate James Brown, Jr. Her education is extensive: Cass Technical High School, dual degrees in Science from Wayne State University, an MBA, and a Master’s from Eastern Michigan University, capped with Northwestern University's School of Staff and Command—always graduating summa cum laude.

Kyra's life was forever changed by a stray bullet, steering her from medical aspirations to community upliftment, punctuated by her entrepreneurial foray on the Avenue of Fashion. With a 37-year tenure in the Detroit Police Department, she now stands as the 2nd Deputy Chief, encapsulating roles such as the Chief’s Neighborhood Liaison and Mental Health Co-Response. Dubbed "Mother Hope," she's bridged gaps between the community and law enforcement, installing impactful programs and fostering an environment of trust.

From the Special Operations Section to the D.E.A. Task Force, she has made historic strides including the formation of a multi-agency task force and spearheading the Neighborhood Police Officer’s Program. Her accolades are many, but her mission is one: to serve and elevate Detroit, embodying

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Dr. Jessie Katherine Kimbrough is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University (EMU). She attended Wayne State University for medical school and residency, then completed advanced studies at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University. Her career has included clinical practice, public health leadership, managed-care, and health equity promotion. In 2020, she was appointed to the EMU Board of Regents, and has especially focused on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher-education.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked with faithand community-based organizations to share information on COVID-19 prevention, vaccine hesitancy, and racial disparities. She also volunteered with Wayne Health and University of Michigan mobile health-units for COVID-19 testing and vaccination throughout southeastern MI. She joined the Strategic Testing Infrastructure Workgroup of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities and helped develop recommendations for long-term community-based testing and vaccination strategies. Her work has been featured in local and national media. She is a member of Impact Church (Detroit) and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, four children, and family dog.

Entering her twenty-fourth year as an educator, Tanisha joined Denby High School in 2005 and has served as a teacher, athletic director, assistant principal, and the last nine years as principal.

Tanisha has an unwavering dedication to serving the exceptional Denby students, staff, parents, and community. Her goal is to provide students with a structured academic environment and cherishes mentoring and preparing young souls for college and career readiness.

Some of Tanisha’s proudest moments during her educational journey have been having an award named in her honor, the Tanisha Manningham Empowerment Award through Caught Up Mentoring, being named one of the 10 Most Inspirational Community Leaders through Life Remodeled, sitting on various educational panels, and presenting at several educational conferences.

Tanisha proudly continues her family’s legacy of dedicated educators, including her maternal grandmother and father. Tanisha holds a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan, MAT in Elementary Education from Wayne State University, and endorsements in learning disabilities and K-12 administration. Tanisha is a proud charter member of the Macomb Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Anita Milson, President & CEO of Mentorscope Community Outreach, is a dynamic leadership within the realms of government services, primarily focusing on agricultural and educational sectors. Her tenure as the Government Services Director for a top government contracting organization was marked by relentless efforts to deliver exceptional outreach, education, and technical assistance, empowering individuals and organizations alike.

Anita's dedication to bridging the divide between government policies and the grassroots needs has led to the creation of impactful programs that have significantly uplifted communities. Her strategic vision, coupled with her prowess in forging robust partnerships, has spearheaded initiatives that foster growth, sustainability, and innovation.

Anita provides mentoring and programming to at-risk adolescents, assessing risks, and coordinating with external agencies to enhance social service provision. Moreover, her leadership in organizing job fairs and college recruiting events showcases her dedication to creating opportunities for staffing and student recruitment. Her role in linking schools, families, and students with community services underscores her holistic approach to addressing educational challenges. Anita Milson's profound impact and unwavering dedication have not only transformed individual lives but have also significantly contributed to strengthening the agricultural and educational communities through her visionary leadership at Mentorscope Community Outreach.

Kerrie M. Mitchell is the fourth and youngest President and CEO of The Detroit Public Schools Community District Foundation. Beginning in March of 2023, Mitchell was tasked with redesigning and realigning the foundation to the Detroit Public School Community District. Within one year of service, Mitchell developed a three-year strategic plan to ensure organizational long-term sustainability that included a negotiated partnership agreement with DPSCD outlining the foundation as its philanthropic arm, boosted employee offerings to attract and hire top talent, fulfilled 85% of staffing positions, raised over 4M in funding to support programming and operations and increased board engagement.

Prior to joining the DPSCD Foundation 2023, Mitchell was the Executive Vice President of Strategy, Development, and Marketing for Matrix Human Services for nearly seven years. Mitchell assisted in growing its annual giving from $1.5m to $6.5m while developing a marketing program that resulted in nearly two million earned media placements in a single year.

Kerrie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Arts from Wayne State University and has received the 40 Under 40 Award from the Michigan Chronicle (2018); the Spirit of Detroit Award from the Detroit City Council (2019); and the Most Valuable Millennial Award from Corps Magazine (2021). She serves as a Next Gen Advisory Board Member for First Independence Bank.



Dominique Morgan, MPH, has decades of experience and a passion for transforming health outcomes for under-resourced populations. As the new chief operating officer, she oversees Health Leads programs, initiatives, and operational support functions including finance, people and culture. Prior to joining Health Leads, Dominique was the market president for VillageMD of Michigan and founder of Morgan Solomon Consulting, a healthcare consulting practice, focused on population health and value-based care solutions. She also served as chief operating officer of Steward Medical Group and senior vice president of population health for Steward Health Care and was with Kaiser Permanente in Northern California for eight years leading Northern California complex needs populations portfolio and women’s health.

As a national speaker on accountable care organizations (ACOs), Medicaid expansion, community collaboration, patient/consumer engagement and the importance of health technology, Dominique frequently draws on her experience to assist other care delivery systems across the country, helping develop and enhance their care management and population health efforts.

Dominique currently serves on the National Board of Peer Health Education and Franciscan’s Children’s Hospital in Boston. Dominique received a bachelor of arts degrees from Cornell University in biology and political science, and a master of public health in health policy from the University of Michigan. She is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executive (ACHE), National Association of Health Service Executives (NAHSE), and American Public Health Association (APHA). Dominique resides in the Detroit metro area with her two teenage children, and enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with friends and family.

Jessica Parker, Deputy Chief Operating Officer in the Mayor’s Office for the City of Detroit, boasts over two decades of dedicated service marked by excellence in strategic planning, project management, and policy & procedure design and implementation. Born and raised in Detroit, Jessica is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard, and leveraged the G.I. Bill to pursue higher education, earning a master’s in architecture from the University of Detroit Mercy. Throughout her tenure with the City of Detroit, Jessica has spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at improving urban life. From managing city-wide beautification efforts to enforcing property maintenance codes, she has consistently demonstrated a commitment to efficiency and collaboration. Jessica’s ability to build and maintain professional relationships has been instrumental in fostering cooperation among city departments and key stakeholders. In her current role, Jessica continues to drive impactful change by pursuing excellence in every project that she oversees and manages. Her unwavering dedication to the betterment of Detroit underscores her role to further enhance and improve the quality of life for the citizens of Detroit.



Tashawna Parker is a dedicated nonprofit executive and community leader with a passion for making a positive impact in the underserved community. Tashawna has served in several executive roles including non-profit, government and for-profit industries, demonstrating her exceptional leadership, strategic vision, and a relentless commitment to serving others.

As Chief Operating Officer of Focus Hope, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering underprivileged communities and individuals, Tashawna serves as the operational leader of the organization, overseeing programming and supporting growth and stability through strategic planning and implementation initiatives.

Tashawna previously served as Deputy Director and Compliance Manager for the City of Detroit’s Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department. Fostered collaborations and partnerships among various stakeholders to drive positive community change. Her ability to build strong relationship between government agencies, corporate partners, other nonprofit organizations has been instrumental in creating sustainable solutions for the local workforce and social issues. Tashawna received her undergraduate degree in Business Management from Eastern Michigan University and Master of Science in Program and Project Management from the University of Michigan. She is also Lean/Green Belt certified as well as DEI certified.



Jacqueline Pritchett was born in Vineland, Alabama. At the age of seven, her family relocated to Detroit, Michigan. She is the oldest sibling of three. She is the mother of one son, Jordan. She attended John J. Pershing High School, Wayne State University and Cleary University (Bachelors in Business Administration, Summa Cum Laude). She has also attended Michigan’s Chiefs of Police School and the FBI National Academy. She has been employed with the Detroit Police Department for 29 years, where she is currently Deputy Chief over Neighborhood Policing Bureau West. Her innovative and cutting-edge thinking has resulted in substantial violent crime reduction in her previous assignments. She has successfully prepared, submitted and implemented numerous policies and procedures that resulted in high marks from industry peers. She began her career on patrol at Eastern Precinct Support Unit. She then began to “climb the ladder, receiving several promotions and elevations. During her career, she has received numerous awards and citations. She is a member of the following organizations: National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, FBI National Academy (FBINA) and Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP). She serves on many public safety advisory boards and continues to share her wealth of knowledge with other public/private safety and security professionals across the county. She also works on many ministries throughout her church: Usher Board, Women’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, dedicated Sunday school teacher and mentor for the Bethany Pearls. In addition, she also volunteers her time with both boys and girls ages 11 through 18, assisting them in becoming positive and productive citizens in society.

Teresa Mask Recinto has always exemplified excellence: the first in her family to earn a college degree, leader in the classroom and among fellow athletes, dedicated mother, wife and community volunteer.

Her career has been dedicated to sharing stories and helping communities, first as a reporter and editor for several news outlets, including the Detroit Free Press, then as a director of media relations for AT&T, where she led strategy for DEI and sustainability. She now is director of the department of public communications for Oakland County Government, focusing on promoting services and programs to residents, businesses, and communities.

Teresa serves on the dean’s advisory board for Butler University’s College of Communications, is a professional advisory board member for Gilda’s Club of Metro Detroit and is an active volunteer in her children’s schools. In 2023, she was honored with a Distinguished Service Award for her PTA involvement.

Among her hobbies, she enjoys nature photography and traveling. She has vacationed in several countries, including the Philippines and Argentina, as well as 44 of the 50 states.


Dr. Tara M. Reid is a distinguished leader based at Wayne State University's School of Medicine. In her role as Director, she focuses on ensuring equitable access to and effective navigation of the undergraduate medical education curriculum for both faculty and students. Under her leadership, the Office of Learning and Teaching, offers comprehensive services for course design and faculty enrichment, alongside student support initiatives for learning skills and academic remediation.

Dr. Reid's service includes Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Advisory Committee, and the Alumni Association Board both at Wayne State University, and past membership on the Canton Charter Academy School Board. Her remarkable achievements extend to her appointment to the State of Michigan’s, Department of Education, Anti-racist Anti-bias Taskforce which is dedicated to eradicating systemic racism in Michigan’s schools and universities. Dr. Reid's contributions have also garnered recognition from Black Women PhDs, a national organization honoring black women in scholarship, activism, and equity work. With her extensive background and dedication to education, Dr. Tara M. Reid continues to be a trailblazer making significant contributions to the academic landscape.



Retired Judge Victoria Roberts, a Past President of the State Bar of Michigan, served as a federal district court judge in the Eastern District of Michigan for 25 years before she retired on September 1, 2023. She is recognized as an international teacher and lecturer on behalf of the Federal Judicial Center, the State Department and the Department of Justice. Judge Roberts is the recipient of numerous awards, including the two highest conferred by the State Bar of Michigan. Judge Roberts received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Northeastern University. She has served on the boards of several organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters; the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit; St. Leo’s Soup Kitchen and the State Bar of Michigan Foundation. Under the auspices of the Wolverine Bar Association - which offers a scholarship in her name - Judge Roberts engineered two programs designed to increase minority representation in the legal profession. Judge Roberts received her Juris Doctor in 1976 from Northeastern University School of Law. Her undergraduate degree, in journalism and sociology, is from the University of Michigan. She practiced law for 22 years before joining the bench. In December, 2023, Judge Roberts joined JAMS as a neutral mediator and arbitrator.

Page A-8 • • March 27 - April 2, 2024

Kimberly R. Rogers, EdS is the Principal of Northwestern High School (Detroit Public Schools Community District).

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Master of Arts in Counseling, Educational Specialist in Counseling Education and Clinical Supervision and a Certification in Secondary Administration from Wayne State University.

Ms. Rogers is a servant leader. An avid educator for 26 years, she served as Assistant Principal, Academic Engagement Administrator, Summer School and Extended Day Program Director, and Dean of Culture and Climate. A transformational leader, she wrote grants to secure over 9 million dollars in School Improvement (SIG) funds to increase learning opportunities, enhance students’ academic achievement, social-emotional capacities and cultural competencies at King and Northwestern High Schools.

Ms. Rogers’ love for children and learning transcended into her passion for education. Her motto is Elevate Expectations. Elevate Excellence. Imparting a “Can Achieve” mentality in her school community. She fosters a growth mindset to build generational knowledge.

Ms. Rogers is a proud mother to Rodney, Jr and R’Ciera (CeCe), and MiMi to Re’Niya, Rodney III, R’Cean, R’Mani, Ryan, and Rylee. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.




Charli Rose’s background in mortuary science and extensive laboratory experience makes her the prime candidate to serve as the liaison between Wayne County and Wayne State University, facilitating partnerships to enhance services for residents within Wayne County.

As the first person to hold the position of Division Director at Wayne County’s Medical Examiner Office, Charli Rose oversees the largest population in Michigan, providing leadership for 43 communities within the MEO.

Under the administration of County Executive Warren Evans, Charli Rose has consistently demonstrated tenacity in developing and implementing systems to achieve set goals, always with the aim of benefiting Wayne County residents.

She has played a pivotal role in expanding the scope of services offered by Wayne County’s Medical Examiner’s Office. Charli’s leadership abilities allow her to break barriers and keep relationships with vendors to expedite services for residents within Wayne County.

Dr. Karen Russell is a highly respected Primary Care Physician with a holistic approach to medicine. She brings a unique perspective to her practice, Amity Internal Medicine, combining traditional medicine and herbal medicinal practices with a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit.

Dr. Russell is dedicated to supporting her patients in achieving their best possible health and wellness outcomes. As part of this commitment, she founded Amity Total Body, a non-invasive aesthetic division of her practice that promotes wellness and beauty as integral components of a total body transformation.

In 2020, Dr. Russell established a non-profit organization, Amity Health Gives, to address food insecurity. Through her non-profit work, she has expanded her impact beyond her practice to provide fresh, nutritional, organic and garden-grown food 365 days a year in under-served communities in Detroit.

She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, a Wayne State University School of Medicine graduate, and completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago and Indiana University. She is a frequent speaker and media contributor on holistic health and wellness topics.



Rinia Shelby-Crooms is a Portfolio Manager with Ballmer Group’s Southeast Michigan team, responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of local and regional investments focused on improving outcomes for children and youth. She is an accomplished professional with more than 20 years of experience supporting business executives, as well as advising and supporting government leaders at the United States House of Representatives.

Denise Steele serves as a Vice President and Community Engagement Manager for JPMorgan Chase, supporting the Midwest Region. As part of the Corporate Responsibility team, she focuses on building enduring relationships with community stakeholders in support of the firm’s efforts to drive positive, lasting community-centered impact.

Her professional background includes over 35 years of banking experience including 15 years of community lending and development. She is a proven leader in the community, and has developed a reputation as a champion for change.

Denise is a proven leader in the community, engaging key stake holders to champion change in the markets supported. Denise serves on several Boards and Committees including Chair of Wayne County CRA Association and is a current member of the National Disability Institute (NDI) National Workgroup for the Center for Disability-Inclusive Community Development (CDICD).

She currently resides in the Southeast Michigan area with her husband and son. She enjoys community volunteerism, traveling, but most of all, being a mom and Shopping!

Elmeka Steele, Esq. is a Deputy Director in the Wayne County Department of Public Services and the Wayne County Drain Commissioner appointed by Wayne County Chief Executive Officer Warren C. Evans. She provides executive management in a department with an annual budget of $330 million and a culturally diverse workforce of 600+ employees within six divisions. Ms. Steele is the Second Vice-President of the Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners.

Ms. Steele received her B.A. degree in English from the University of Detroit Mercy and her J.D. degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. As a licensed attorney, Ms. Steele has 22+ years of legal experience and over a decade of experience on issues related to climate resiliency of critical infrastructure, improving stormwater

LaTonia (Toni) Stewart-Limmitt is a seasoned Procurement Professional with over 25 years of extensive experience in Procurement and Accounting. Throughout her career,

Toni has held diverse roles including Accounts Payable Accountant, Contract Procurement Specialist, Contracting and Procurement Supervisor, Associate Director and currently serves as the Deputy Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Detroit, where she oversees Contracts with an eagle eye.

Toni’s educational journey began at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, MI, where she focused on Business Administration. She later earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Western Michigan University and went on to obtain an MBA from Davenport University. Toni is a firm believer in the power of education, leadership, and community service.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Toni is deeply engaged in various professional and service organizations, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Top Ladies of Distinction, Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc., and Project Management Institute, among others. She also serves as a Board Member for the Michigan Public Procurement Officers Association (MPPOA).

As a dedicated wife, mother, and community servant, Toni embodies the spirit of giving back. She lives by the motto "Together we rise by helping others," and continuously seeks opportunities to make a positive impact in the lives of those around her. With her wealth of experience, commitment to education, and passion for service, LaTonia (Toni) Stewart-Limmitt is an invaluable asset to both her professional field and her community.



Jeanne Wardford, with over three decades of leadership locally, nationally and internationally in policy shaping and program development, is a visionary dedicated to enhancing the lives of children, families, and communities. Embracing roles across non-profit, government, and philanthropic sectors, Jeanne excels in both advocating for social change externally and reforming institutions internally. Currently, as a Program Officer for Family Economic Security at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, Jeanne spearheads initiatives focused on employment equity, business enterprise development, and systemic changes conducive to children's holistic growth. She helped launch this national portfolio that has supported over $100 million is investments supporting income-insecure families, as well as women owned and businesses of color.

Prior to her tenure at the Kellogg Foundation in 2015, she significantly contributed to NeighborWorks America in Washington, D.C., where she led National Partnerships, securing substantial investments for asset development programs.

Jeanne's educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University and a Master's in Education from Marygrove College, Detroit, Michigan. She will also be receiving a Global Doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California in May 2024. A Detroit native, Jeanne is a devoted mother of four and grandmother of seven.







Donna is an accomplished healthcare leader with over 25 years of leadership experience at Henry Ford Health in Detroit, Michigan. She currently serves as the SVP, Chief Ambulatory Officer and VP System Primary Care , where she is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction, operational management and integration of ambulatory care services ensuring high quality patient centered care across the ambulatory footprint.

Donna is highly experienced in hospital operations, ambulatory care, and behavioral health services. She has held roles such as VP Operations at Henry Ford Hospital, COO Behavioral Health, Nurse Administrator and Senior Administrator at various Henry Ford Medical Group departments such as Women’s Health, Dermatology, Urology, Primary Care and Pediatrics.

Donna's impact extends beyond Henry Ford Health as she serves on multiple boards including the Ontario Hospital Association and Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital. Donna was named a 2020 honouree to the prestigious Top 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women and is a fellow of the AHA and Carol Emmott Fellowship.

Kimberly Keaton Williams is Vice President, Talent Acquisition and Development & Chief Diversity Officer at McLaren Health Care. She has responsibility for recruitment strategies and leadership development across the healthcare system. Additionally, Kim is responsible for programs and practices to ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace and a culturally competent care team at McLaren. Kim has received a number of professional awards including: Crain’s Notable Leaders in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (2023) and Diversity, Equity Inclusion Officers to Know (Becker’s Hospital Review, 2023).

Outside of work, Kim serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Rhonda Walker Foundation and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Inforum. In addition, Kim serves on the Schoolcraft College Foundation’s Board of Governors, is the Vice President of The Links, Incorporated (Detroit Chapter) and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (Pi Tau Omega Chapter).

Kim holds a B.S. in Engineering from Michigan State University and a M.B.A. from The University of Michigan.

Kim’s greatest passion is her family, including her husband Mark, and children, Taylor and Troy.

Dr. Teniesha Wright-Jones is currently the Chair of DEIABIDE at Ascension Providence Hospital Southfield and Novi Park. She also serves as the Family Medicine Residency Program Director overseeing 28 FM residents. She enjoys advocacy for equity in medicine both for physicians and patients. She recently served as Vice President of the Ascension Providence Medical Staff. She is a Detroit native, graduated from Cass Tech and Michigan State University. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority,Inc. She is married to Dr. Lamont Jones, a previous Men of Excellence awardee. Together they have 2 beautiful daughters, Montana (NYU) and Miranda (Cranbrook)

March 27 - April 2, 2024 • • Page A-9
rivers, and
strong record
public service
diamond life member
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority,
international service sorority, and has held numerous elected and appointed positions within the organization.
management, and the water quality of area lakes,
streams. As a lifelong resident of southeast Michigan, Ms. Steele has a
and is a
Inc., an
Page A-10 | March 27 - April 2, 2024 | 8045 Second Ave, Detroit, MI

CeCe Winans: A Journey of Faith, Music, and Homecoming in Detroit

From the heart of Detroit to the global stage, CeCe Winans journey in gospel music is marked by authentic faith and a profound impact on her listeners. Her journey, a testament to the transformative power of belief, is a story that resonates with the hearts of millions, both across the globe and certainly right here in her home, Detroit.

“Home has always been special to me,” Winans shared. “It’s where we started as a family and me as an artist. Detroit has always supported us and helped really nurture us.” Winans, whose voice serves as a source of comfort and motivation in both personal and communal spaces, has reached a significant milestone with her album Believe for It, which has resonated widely, garnering over 445 million U.S. streams. This achievement, coupled with the fact that her music catalog amassed over two billion YouTube impressions in 2023, underscores her enduring connection with her audience.

CeCe Winans took to the stage at Detroit’s Fox Theater, located at 2211 Woodward Ave., as a highlight of “The Goodness Tour.”

Known for her genuine engagement with her music and the authentic sense of warmth she brings, Winans is ready to deliver an evening rich in both melody and message.

This event was more than a concert; it was an opportunity for the community to come together and experience the uplifting energy Winans is known for. “Understanding God’s faithfulness through the challenging times is crucial,” Winans said. “It’s easy to sing uplifting praise songs when everything’s going right, but when things are not going the way you pray for them to go when you’re in the middle of the storm, when I’ve been in the storms of life, there is comfort in knowing that God never fails, that he’s never failed me, and he never brings us this far to leave us.”

As she returns to the stage in Detroit, the audience could expect an evening where the essence of community and shared experience is palpable, reflecting the unique bond Winans shares with her hometown.

“I now get to look back over my life, over my career, over my ministry, and see all the incredible things that have happened,” Winans shared. “And now to come back home where it all started, it’s just really no words to express except just gratitude.”

Winans achievements are a reflection of her musical talent and spiritual dedication, earning her 15 GRAMMY Awards, 28 Dove Awards, 15 Stellar Awards, and a Billboard Music Award for the Top Gospel Song, “Goodness of God”. Her literary contributions, including six published books, further demonstrate her commitment to sharing her faith, with Believe For It: Passing On Faith To The Next Generation making notable ap-

The Ladies League of Detroit: Empowering Women Personally and Professionally

In the spirit of Women’s History Month, the Ladies League of Detroit (LLD) is making natural history by inspiring women to discover and embrace their powers, purposes, and gifts to live their best lives.

Founded in 2018 by Detroiter Latonia Walker, LLD has grown from 22 women to 87 members - and continues to expand. LLD’s ten core values, according to Walker, the organization’s CEO, are focused on women’s empowerment, professional/personal development, sisterhood, spirituality, self-esteem/self-efficacy, accountability, networking, community service, entrepreneurship, and financial empowerment.

“The Ladies League of Detroit is a sisterhood, where we work collectively on our personal and professional development,” said Walker. “There is power when we do that together.”

Walker said one of the major reasons that she formed LLD was to counter a popular negative stereotype often aimed at women, which characterizes them as jealous of each other, acting catty, and not supporting the aspirations and goals of other females.

“I wanted to start the organization to show that women exist who are supportive of each other in multiple ways,” Walker said. “LLD is a viable way of bringing women together in inspirational ways where they collectively uplift each other.”

In its quest to embrace, motivate, mentor, and inspire women across broad sectors, Walker said LLD holds two meetings each month – one in person and one virtually. Attendees are encouraged to explore and learn about an array of topics and issues confronting women in areas including, but not limited, to credit and wealth building, mental health awareness, living overall healthy lifestyles, developing and maintaining healthy relationships, marriage, the single life and dating, exploring careers and entrepreneurial opportunities, book readings and discussions, and more.

While Walker said LLD’s current mem-

bership is overwhelmingly comprised of African American women, she is creating initiatives to bring other ethnicities into the fold, which will help the organization reach its membership goal of 250 women.

In addition to the local Ladies League of Detroit doing empowering work in the Motor City, two other chapters are making waves in other cities: The Ladies League of Baltimore (established in July 2021) and The Ladies League of Jacksonville (established in 2022). Walker said a new chapter will be established in another major American city before the end of 2024.

The mission and goals of other national chapters follow the blueprint and model of success established by LLD’s founding chapter in Detroit. Walker is CEO of all LLD chapters – present and future.

“My goal from the beginning was to expand the Ladies League of Detroit to other cities,” Walker told the Michigan Chronicle. “We will continue to grow more chapters over time. Having sisters in other cities will strengthen LLD’s networking power. It’s also important to connect with multiple women who are positive, want to be empowered, and want to help empower other women on personal and professional levels.”

Walker said LLD is proud to have launched its Detroit Small Business Directory, comprised of the organization’s favorite Metro Detroit businesses categorized as either Black-owned and/or Women-Owned. A special marking is also attached to listed businesses officially endorsed by LLD.

“We actually launched the business directory online a few months ago and have 100 small businesses in the directory,” said Walker. “Our goal is to expand the directory to 250 or more Metro Detroit Small Businesses. The directory is not just for our members to list their businesses, although some of the chapter’s women entrepreneurs are included. The online directory is our way of giving back to serve and support small businesses in the community.”

For Walker, a native Detroiter, the beat goes on to expand the mission, goals, and reach of LLD.

“I am always thinking of creative ways to keep women connected and grow in our ten founding values,” said Walker, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baker College and a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from Wayne State University. “I love how we support each other in the Ladies League of Detroit in many ways, personally, professionally, and spiritually. LLD is a safe and judgement-free space for women to feel comfortable discussing their personal and professional experiences, challenges, dreams, and ambitions.”

“It’s an amazing organization where there will always be opportunities for women to grow,” said Laura Emerson, a founding member and entrepreneur. “We do what we say, which is to empower women and develop them. And not only will women have an opportunity to grow personally and professionally with other women, but they will also have opportunities to give back to the empowerment of the community.”

Since its inception in 2018, LLD has hosted numerous community service events for and with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Alternative for Girls, COTS, the Detroit Fire Department, and more.

In addition to her leadership role with LLD, Walker, according to LinkedIn, is the director of coaching and social work at the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS), a Detroit-based organization created to alleviate homelessness and poverty by providing an array of services to people in need. In 2023, the Michigan Chronicle bestowed Walker with its “Women of Excellence” honors, citing her work empowering women in Metro Detroit and aiding individuals who are homeless and destitute.

“It was a great honor to have been chosen by the Michigan Chronicle for my contributions to empowering people,” Walker said. “I’m just a proud Detroiter, and happy about all the positive development going on throughout the city. And I’m happy that The Ladies League of Detroit is contributing to the great things happening in this city.”

Black Women Play a Crucial Role in the Success of Detroit’s Non-Profits

Today, we are witnessing a society teetering on the brink of profound social transformation and the role of Black women as architects of change cannot be overstated. Historically, Black women have been the backbone of movements that have propelled society forward, often doing so from the margins of the very systems they seek to reform. The aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, marked by a surge in corporate and philanthropic pledges towards racial justice, seemed to herald a new era of progress. The significant increase in diversity, equity and inclusion roles and funding aimed at bridging the racial wealth gap for Black girls and women appeared promising.

Detroit, a city with a rich history and the largest Black population in the United States, stands as a beacon of this progress stamped by resilience and community spirit. The non-profit sector in Detroit, much like in other predominantly Black cities, serves

just about filling a gap; it’s about understanding the deep-rooted issues that affect their communi-

and finding sustainable solutions.

Grassroots organizations, often born out of immediate communi-

needs and spearheaded by local women, are a testament to the

of localized, hands-on activism. These entities work on the front lines, offering services and programs tailored to the unique challenges faced by their communities. From after-school programs and health awareness campaigns to food pantries and housing assistance, these organizations fill critical gaps left by larger institutions.

Grassroots organizations like A Girl Like Me Inc., where the focus is on a wide array of challenges faced by young girls, from body image, mental health, education, career development, and social challenges. The organization’s objective is to equip those girls with the tools they need to over-

C ity . L ife . Style . Where City Meets Life and Life Meets Style B1 | March 27 - April 2, 2024 See NON-PROFITS Page B-2
as a crucial backbone, addressing systemic issues ranging from education and health disparities to economic inequality and social justice. At the heart of this spirit lies the indispensable role of Black women in the non-profit sector, whose leadership is characterized by empathy, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to community upliftment. Where grassroots organiza-
to larger entities strive to make a significant impact, Black women are leading the charge with unwavering dedication and innovative strategies. Their leadership in the non-profit sector is not
informed Black Women Non-Profit Lila Asante-Appiah, CAO Detroit Downtown Partnership, - Eradajere Olieta, Founder Chip Bag Project, -Tyra Moore, Founder A Girl Like Me Inc.
come obstacles, make
CeCe Winans


decisions, and pursue their goals with confidence. Tyra Moore, the founder and executive director of A Girl Like Me Inc., states, “Black women play a vital role in shaping and leading non-profit organizations, bringing unique perspectives and experiences to the table.” She further emphasizes the critical role of Black women in the non-profit sector, particularly in Detroit, saying, “In Detroit Black women are instrumental in addressing systemic inequalities, championing social justice, and uplifting marginalized communities within the non-profit sector.” Moore also highlights her personal contribution, remarking, “It’s my ability to relate to women of all races and age groups that makes me invaluable in the community service sector.”

On a larger scale, Black women are also at the helm of significant non-profit organizations that tackle broader systemic issues and economic development advancements. By leading these entities, they bring a unique perspective that intertwines lived experience with strategic vision. This combination is crucial in developing programs and policies that are not only effective but also resonate with the communities they are meant to serve.

Leaders like Lila Asante-Appiah Chief Administrator Officer for Downtown Detroit Partnership believes that when it comes to efficient leadership in these spaces a few principles must be set in place, “The most important attributes to me are authenticity. I think it is important for leaders to be mindful that being in a formal leadership position doesn’t mean that you are the smartest person in the room,” said Asante-Appiah. “Another attribute is sharing power with others as opposed to having power over others. Black leaders of non-profit organizations, especially those that are benefiting Black communities, are often very connected to the experiences of those they serve. While sharing power with others is important, it is equally essential to empower community members to use their personal agency to get involved in the process and effect positive change.”

The Downtown Detroit Partnership stands as a beacon for progress and vitality within the heart of the city, downtown. This

nonprofit organization, with a broad membership base, dedicates itself to the transformation and enhancement of Downtown Detroit into a bustling, world-class metropolis and by doing so, the correlation between Detroiters and DDP must include DEI. “The last attribute that I will mention, which won’t be a surprise, is being a DEI crusader.” Asante-Appiah said. “For me this looks like showing others how to advocate like they are correct but listen closely, because the devil is in the details. What helps me to embody this is keeping the dialogue open, because we can only reach solutions with open, healthy communication.”

One cannot overlook the historical context that has paved the way for these women to emerge as community leaders. Detroit’s economic challenges, coupled with social issues, have disproportionately affected the Black population. In response, Black women have harnessed their collective strength and knowledge to spearhead initiatives that address everything from education and healthcare disparities to economic empowerment and social justice.

They operate on the front lines, directly engaging with community members to understand their needs and aspirations. These organizations are adept at mobilizing resources, raising awareness, and fostering a sense of community and belonging. Their work is a testament to the power of localized, culturally informed interventions in creating lasting change.

Reflecting on the evolution of support for Black women reveals a rich history of collective action and philanthropy. From grassroots fundraising efforts during the Civil Rights Movement to the creation of land co-operatives, Black women have long exemplified the power of communal support and resource sharing as means to combat systemic injustices. These acts of solidarity and resilience underscore the critical role of Black women in shaping a just society.

“Black women emerge as the radiant threads embodying resilience, compassion, and boundless innovation,” shared Eradajere Oleita founder of the Chip Bag Project, a nonprofit organization that was started with a simple goal to keep unhoused Detroiters warm, but little did Oleita know, this grassroots organization was to become an international recognized and supported non-profit. As a young Black woman, she

shares her insight on her community of Black women in this sector, “Their unwavering dedication to uplifting communities serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating pathways to equity and justice. Here in Detroit, their leadership transcends mere influence; it becomes the very essence of community empowerment. Through their tireless efforts, they cultivate spaces of belonging and opportunity, nurturing dreams and igniting aspirations.”

Historically, Black women have been at the forefront of philanthropic innovation, embodying the spirit of communal support for societal advancement. Their efforts, ranging from grassroots fundraising through the sale of homemade goods to support pivotal movements like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, to the establishment of land cooperatives,

pearances on bestseller lists.

Beyond her personal accolades, Winans has been instrumental in creating platforms for spiritual growth and community engagement. The ‘Generations Live! Women’s Conference’, inspired by her popular YouTube show, is a notable example of how she uses her influence to foster connections across generations.

Her legacy is also enshrined in various halls of fame, including the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, reflecting the broad recognition of her contributions to music and faith communities. These honors, alongside awards from BET, NAACP, and others, highlight the respect and admiration she has garnered throughout her career.

Winans ability to connect with people extends beyond her music and into live events, such as the Believe For It Tour, which saw sold-out shows across the U.S. Looking ahead, The Goodness Tour in spring 2024 and the release of her single ‘That’s My King’ from the upcoming album More Than This promise to bring more of her heartfelt music to fans old and new.

have been instrumental in driving significant social changes. This tradition of collective action and mutual aid has served not only as a means of progress but also as a vital coping mechanism against the compounded effects of racism and sexism.

The importance of Black women in the non-profit sector extends beyond their immediate achievements. They serve as role models and mentors, inspiring the next generation of leaders. Their presence and success challenge the stereotypes and barriers that have historically limited opportunities for Black women, opening doors for more inclusive and equitable leadership across all sectors.

In Detroit and similar cities, the work of these formidable women and the organizations they lead is a beacon of hope and a catalyst for change. They exemplify the

profound impact that dedicated, community-oriented leadership can have in transforming lives and landscapes.

As we celebrate the achievements of Black women in Detroit’s non-profit sector, we are reminded of the power of collective action and the enduring strength of communities when led by those who understand their heart and soul. Their work not only uplifts the present but also lays the foundation for a more just and vibrant future for all.

“As architects of change, they bridge divides and dismantle barriers, weaving together the fabric of a future where every voice resonates, and every life flourishes,” said Oleita. “Their legacy is not merely defined by milestones, but by the indelible mark they leave on hearts, minds, and the collective conscience.”

At the core of Winans life and career is her role as co-founder of Nashville Life Church with her husband, Alvin Love. Their leadership has cultivated a community where faith is lived out in fellowship, offering a space for spiritual growth and connection.

CeCe Winans, with her roots in Detroit, has crafted a narrative not just of personal success but of making a lasting impact through music, faith, and community en-

gagement. Her story is a testament to the power of genuine connection and the enduring influence of faith in the arts. “I am just totally grateful for Detroit. I’m grateful for all that has happened and I’m grateful to be back.”

Page B-2 | March 27 - April 2, 2024 | From page B-1 From page B-1 Scan the QR Code to Sign Up for the Digital Daily Newsletter Get Michigan Chronicle Delivered Daily to Your Inbox! CeCe Winans
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Aries Season: Time to Ignite Your Potential

The winds of change are whistling, and a potent energy crackles in the air. That’s right, Aries season is upon us!

From March 20th to April 19th, the celestial ram takes the reins, ushering in a period of fiery ambition, bold action, and a relentless pursuit of desires.

For those born under the Aries sign (March 21st - April 19th), this is your time to shine. The Sun’s presence in your zodiac sign ignites your inner spark, fueling your confidence and natural leadership abilities. But even if you weren’t born under this cardinal fire sign, the Aries influence will be felt by all.

So, buckle up and get ready to ramrod your way through the next few weeks! Here’s your compass to navigate the energetic terrain of Aries season:

Embrace Your Inner Trailblazer

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the pioneering spirit. It’s about taking initiative, diving headfirst into new experiences, and forging your own path. This season is the perfect time to shed any self-doubt and step into your role as a frontrunner.

Do you have a project you’ve been putting off? An idea itching to be explored? Aries season throws open the door for initiating action. Don’t be afraid to be the first one to raise your hand, volunteer for a challenging task, or simply say “yes” to an unfamiliar adventure.

Channel Your Fiery Passion

The Ram is a fire sign, radiating raw, untamed energy. This season is about tapping into your passions and letting your enthusiasm ignite the world around you. Think of it as permission to infuse your endeavors with excitement and a healthy dose of competitive spirit.

Whether it’s pursuing a creative project, tackling a fitness goal, or simply taking charge of your social life, let your fire burn brightly. This isn’t the time for lukewarm efforts; pour your heart and soul into everything you do. Honesty is the Best Policy (But Be Kind About It)

Aries is known for its blunt honesty. While this directness can be refreshing, it can also come across as harsh. This season, strive for assertive communication, but remember to temper it with a touch of diplomacy.

Express yourself openly and honestly, but be mindful of the delivery. Frame your words constructively and avoid being overly critical. Remember, even a ram needs to choose its battles carefully.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Aries is a fearless sign, always up for a challenge. This season, embrace calculated risks and step outside your comfort zone. The universe is conspiring to support your daring ventures, so don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith.

This is a powerful time to push your boundaries and explore uncharted territories. Whether it’s a new career path, a travel adventure, or simply trying a new recipe, embrace the unknown with an open mind and a courageous spirit.

Celebrate Your Individuality

The Ram is a fiercely independent sign that marches to the beat of its own drum. This season is your time to celebrate your unique quirks and embrace what makes you, you. Don’t feel pressured to conform to societal expectations; instead, flaunt your individuality with pride.

Surround yourself with people who appreciate your authentic self and who support your personal growth. This is a time to embrace your individuality and let your true colors shine.

Spring Forward:

Renewing Mind, Body & Spirit with the Season’s Energy

Spring whispers promises of new beginnings. As nature awakens from its winter slumber, a vibrant energy surges, urging us to follow suit. It’s the perfect time to shed the sluggishness of winter and revitalize your mind, body, and spirit. Here’s how to harness the spirit of spring and embark on a personal renewal journey:

Aries Season for All Signs

Aries: This is your power time! Confidence soars, and taking action on your desires feels natural. Embrace your bold spirit and go for what you want.

Taurus: Time for introspection and emotional release. Past hurts might resurface, but use this energy for inner healing and clearing the way for fresh starts.

Gemini: Your social circle takes center stage. Collaborations and networking bring exciting opportunities. Don’t be afraid to connect with new people or revisit old friendships.

Cancer: Career goals are in sharp focus. This is a powerful time to assert yourself professionally and take ownership of your achievements.

Leo: The urge for adventure and intellectual exploration is strong. Consider a trip, a new course, or simply diving deeper into a topic that ignites your passion.

Virgo: Transformation is on the horizon. This could involve finances, partnerships, or even confronting your own fears. Embrace change as a chance for growth.

Libra: Relationships take center stage. Open communication and assertiveness are key in partnerships. This could be a time to strengthen existing bonds or attract new connections.

Scorpio: Focus on your health and daily routines. Streamlining your habits and taking care of yourself physically and mentally will energize you for the coming months.

Sagittarius: Unleash your creativity and embrace your inner child! Explore your passions, have fun, and reconnect with your playful spirit. Romance might also be in the air.

Capricorn: Home and family become a priority. This could involve renovations, redecorating, or simply spending quality time with loved ones. Consider ways to nurture your emotional well-being in your domestic space.

Aquarius: Communication and learning take center stage. Express yourself openly and embrace new ideas. This is a powerful time for short trips, connecting with siblings, or expanding your knowledge.

Pisces: Your values and finances are in focus. Re-evaluate your budget, explore new income streams, and indulge in something that brings you joy.

A Recharge is Needed for the Long Haul

While Aries season is all about action and initiative, it’s important to remember that even rams need to rest. Don’t let your fiery passion burn you out. Schedule time for relaxation and self-care.

Listen to your body’s signals and take breaks when needed. Getting enough sleep, eating nourishing foods, and engaging in activities that bring you joy will help you maintain your energy levels throughout the season.

Embrace the Great Outdoors: Spring beckons you to step outside. Bask in the warm sunshine, a natural mood booster that increases Vitamin D production. Go for walks or hikes, feeling the soft earth beneath your feet and the gentle breeze on your skin. Immerse yourself in the symphony of birdsong and the explosion of color in blooming flowers. Studies show spending time in nature reduces stress, improves focus, and enhances overall well-being.

Detoxify Your Body:

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home. Consider a gentle detox to cleanse your body and eliminate accumulated toxins. Focus on a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Increase your water intake to flush out impurities. Light exercise like yoga or pilates can also aid detoxification by stimulating your lymphatic system.

Revamp Your Fitness Routine:

The longer daylight hours of spring are an invitation to move your body more. Trade the gym for outdoor workouts. Try brisk walking, cycling, or even gardening – activities that combine exercise with fresh air. Explore new physical activities like dance classes, swimming, or team sports. Finding an exercise you enjoy makes sticking with it much easier.

Declutter Your Space, Declutter Your Mind: Spring cleaning isn’t just about tidying up – it’s about clearing out the physical and mental clutter that can weigh you down. Get rid of unwanted items that no longer serve you. This act of letting go can be symbolic of releasing negative thoughts and habits. Reorganize your living space to create a calming and inspiring environment. Decluttering can leave you feeling lighter, both physically and mentally.

Awaken Your Creativity:

Spring is a season of growth and new beginnings. It’s the perfect time to tap into your creativity. Explore a new art form like painting, writing, or music. Take a class, join a workshop, or simply allow yourself to experiment and play. Unleashing your creativity is a powerful way to express yourself, improve focus, and experience joy.

Connect with Your Inner Self:

Spring awakens the desire for introspection. Dedicate time for self-reflection. Journal your thoughts and feelings. Consider practicing meditation or mindfulness exercises to quiet your mind and connect with your inner voice. This inward journey can help you identify areas of your life that need attention and set goals for personal growth.

Embrace New Beginnings:

Spring is a symbol of fresh starts. Have you been putting off a project or dream? Seize the momentum of the season and take that first step. Spring encourages you to step outside your comfort zone and explore new possibilities. Whether it’s a new hobby, a career change, or a personal challenge, use the energy of spring to embark on a path of self-discovery and growth.

Remember, renewal is a journey, not a destination. Take small steps each day, celebrating your progress along the way. By harnessing the vibrant energy of spring, you can cultivate a sense of well-being, discover new passions, and step into a brighter, more fulfilling future. | March 27 - April 2, 2024 | Page B-3


As Women’s History Month winds down, it’s a time to celebrate the monumental strides women have made across all facets of life, while also acknowledging the ongoing journey toward equality and representation.

This month shines a spotlight on the courage, resilience, and unwavering spirit of women who have broken barriers and redefined what is possible. Among these trailblazers, Black women have played a pivotal role, their achievements carving out spaces where future generations can see themselves reflected in every level of professional and public life. Their contributions, often made in the face of systemic challenges, underscore the importance of diversity and the richness it brings to our collective history and future.

Here in Detroit, Delonda Little has become a significant figure in the annals of sports history through her roles as a basketball official for both the NCAA and the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). She extends her influence beyond the court as an association leader for the MHSAA and spearheads the Motor City Area Official Association in Michigan, serving as both president and founder. Her contributions to the sport and her community have also earned her a prestigious place in the Wayne State University Hall of Fame, further cementing her legacy in the realm of athletics.

“My story is very unique,” Little admitted. “I was originally a softball and volleyball player; I started playing those two sports when I was 10. I didn’t start playing basketball until my senior year at Detroit Osborne High School.”

Little’s leap into the world of basketball was serendipitous, a testament to the unexpected turns life can take. With no initial interest in the sport, her journey into basketball underscores the beauty of divine timing and the impact of encouragement from unexpected sources.

“Somebody just, out the blue, asked me about playing basketball,” she recalled. The idea was foreign to her, having never engaged with the sport in any capacity before. “I didn’t want to play. I never played. I never even picked up a basketball,” she expressed, highlighting her detachment from the game that would later define much of her career.

The pivotal moment came when the father of a friend saw potential in her athletic prowess, despite her inexperience. “I had a friend of mine whose father kind of worked with her one on one, and he was like, hey, let me just show you a few things. I think you could pick it up. You’re an athlete and you play volleyball pretty well,” he offered, seeing beyond her immediate skills to what she could become. Through daily practice and guidance, Delonda began

to grasp the fundamentals of basketball, although by her own admission, she wasn’t on par with seasoned players.

“At that time, I had many offers for volleyball, I was an all-state volleyball player. And then my commitment was to Tennessee State University, so that’s where I was going,” she recalled, outlining a future that seemed set in stone. However, her plans took an unexpected turn due to family circumstances. “At that time, my grandmother kind of had some type of illness, and I couldn’t go to school that year. So, when I was staying with her, I said, ‘okay, I’ll take care of her.’” This pivotal decision led her to spend a summer closer to home, during which she would visit her friend at Wayne State, the same friend whose father had first introduced her to basketball.

Her friend had secured a scholarship to play ball at Wayne State and gave Little the nudge to get into the sport on a collegiate level, “So, I literally go and play pickup with them at Wayne State. And I went two days in a row, and the next thing I know, the coach is calling me in the office, like, hey, we saw you playing pickup. We want to offer you a scholarship.” This unexpected offer marked the beginning of an entirely new chapter in Little’s athletic career.

Fast forward decades later, Little stands under the bright lights of a packed gymnasium, where the echoes of cheering fans blend with the rhythmic dribbling of a basketball, her presence on the court is more than just about calling fouls and starts. Her journey to this moment, a crescendo of dedication and barrier-breaking achievements, has reshaped the landscape of Michigan high school basketball. It all began in 2005 when she was inducted into Wayne State University’s Hall of Fame pushing her to a historic

moment in 2015, when Little first shattered expectations by becoming the first woman to officiate a Public School League title game, setting the stage for a career defined by firsts and forging paths for others to follow.

Little’s impact extended beyond the hardwood floors of basketball courts to the grassy fields of football stadiums. On a memorable day in September of the previous year, she joined forces with Caryn Jackson, Nicole Randolph, RanDee Henry, and Kamaria Douglas to form an all-female officiating crew for a varsity football game between Waterford Kettering and Detroit Lincoln-King at Detroit Mercy. This momentous occasion, highlighted by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, marked a pioneering event in Michigan’s sports history, showcasing an all-women team in charge of a varsity football match.

Now in the prime of her life, Delonda Little has reached yet another milestone by being the first woman since 1995 to officiate a boy’s state championship basketball game. The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s practice of keeping the identities of state finals referees confidential until game day added an element of surprise to Little’s historic appointment.

This achievement is not just a reflection of her remarkable dedication but also of the refined skills she has developed throughout her enduring involvement in sports. In addition, Little has recently embraced another significant achievement where she has become a member of a prestigious Black Greek sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated in December of 2023. Her story, rich with triumphs, is deeply interwoven with the challenges she faced from a young age, including her parents’ strug-

gles with drug addiction, her life with her grandmother, and assuming the role of her caregiver.

Reflecting on these experiences, Little said, “I didn’t really have anybody that I could look up to. But I always was a person who was very humble and didn’t mind sharing where I came from because my story of where I came from made me who I am today.” These words encapsulate her resilience and the profound impact of her past on shaping her present and future.

With over two decades of experience, including officiating at the college women’s games level, Little’s journey to becoming a respected official was sparked by Lenny Memminger, a well-regarded figure in the officiating community who saw potential in her background as a former player. Under the mentorship of Mike Smith, Little refined her officiating prowess, becoming a formidable presence on the court.

Juggling a demanding schedule that includes multiple games a week, Little also excels in her day job as a parole supervisor for the Department of Corrections in metro Detroit. Her extraordinary dedication and pursuit of excellence serve as an inspiration to women and women of color aiming to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness in sports officiating.

Delonda Little’s story is a powerful narrative of persistence, skill, and the courage to challenge traditional boundaries. Through her historic achievements, Little has laid a foundation for future generations of women in basketball officiating, proving that with determination and hard work, the possibilities are boundless.

In the realm of high school sports, an arena often dominated by traditional norms, Black women like Little are redefining the landscape of refereeing, showcasing that leadership and expertise know no gender or color. Little’s journey to officiating at significant games, breaking longstanding norms, and becoming a beacon for aspiring referees, especially women and women of color, encapsulates the spirit of Women’s History Month. Her story is a testament to the fact that with determination and the right support, women can not only enter but excel and lead in areas previously inaccessible to them. It’s a reminder that the path toward equality requires the courage to challenge the status quo and the vision to pave new ways, ensuring that the next generation of women, irrespective of their background, have more doors open to them than ever before.

“If you have the opportunity to choose a woman, why not a woman?” posed Little. “Women are really the game changers. We are really the minds behind a lot of things that happen, and we don’t always get the credit for it. So, I feel like we should be acknowledged every day because we do so much.”

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Little Started on an Unexpected Journeys that Led to Historic Achievements
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