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Heal Detroit: A Holistic Health Approach to Revitalization

This post is the third in a series written by some of Detroit’s Emerging City Champions. To become the Emerging City Champions representing Detroit, young people in the Metro Detroit area presented their ideas for community revitalization in Detroit to judges from 8 80 Cities and The Knight Foundation. Posts will follow the City Champions and share their experience as they seek to make Detroit a better place to live, work, and play. 

When we hear the word “revitalization,” it usually means re-building city infrastructures for bike lanes, parks or bringing in shiny, new corporate stores to increase job opportunities and consumerism. At best, this is plain oversight and at worst, it is complete negligence of the city’s most important resource—the health of its people. Throughout the city of Detroit, there is a call for healing and restoration of the people. Yet, this call largely goes unanswered, leaving many native Detroiters to suffer in silence and isolation.

For decades, Detroit’s devastating health disparities have inhibited the personal and collective progression of Detroiters. With a scarcity of fresh and healthy food options, an abundance of liquor stores and fast food restaurants, limited access to quality education resources and other variations of systemic oppression, there is no real mystery why the physical, mental and spiritual health of many Detroiters is failing or at risk. In our quest to rebuild our city, this can not continue to be ignored. We must learn from Detroit’s historical failures that solely increasing consumerism and corporate profits are not an effective means for rebuilding a more livable and vibrant city.

If our goal is to create a city where we can truly thrive, it is critical that our creative process is intelligent enough to include innovative and sustainable avenues for all Detroiters to achieve health and wellness. To say it plain, capitalism and the western medical model are not enough to sustain the healing that native Detroiters require. Too often, both systems leave Black Americans and low-income people (Detroit’s largest demographics) with few options for restorative health measures. As a holistic health educator and community doula, I intimately understand the importance of going beyond these limitations and responding to the community’s needs holistically. My winning K880 Emerging City Champions project proposal, Heal Detroit, is born out of this work.

Heal Detroit: Creating Community Healing Alternatives  

Heal Detroit’s mission is to address Detroit’s health disparities by providing inner-city Detroit communities with transformative healing spaces and resources that teach and affirm effective holistic wellness practices. Through collaborating with local community organizers, holistic health practitioners and educators, Heal Detroit will offer financially accessible and socially conscious workshops, skillshares, events, classes and practice spaces that respond to specific community needs holistically. With an evolving, multidisciplinary approach, Heal Detroit employs proven effective mediums through which mind-body-spirit balance can be achieved, both individually and collectively.

Each avenue for health and wellness triggers internal and communal dialogues that empower positive change on various levels. Our objective is to develop and foster community-healing resources that prompt integration of effective and healthy lifestyle alternatives and healthy community. With the many challenges that Detroiters face, it is critically important and necessary to open community spaces where we can plug into something timeless: our inner power. From this space, we have an opportunity to create infinite avenues from which wellness can be actualized in our city