This post is the fourth 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.
“Cornetta, you have nothing to lose. Apply and see what happens,” said a friend who was urging me to submit an application to the K8-80 and Knights Foundation fellowship. He was right– I had nothing to lose, but rejection letters appeared in my inbox more often than I would like to admit. Even though I had doubts, I applied. Two weeks later I received an email announcing my acceptance into the fellowship as an Emerging City Champion.
I joined 24 other talented champions on a 4-day conference in Toronto to a) learn more about what makes a city vibrant and b) clearly define the challenges our individual projects were addressing. At the conference, I received peer-to-peer feedback on my project: Detroit Dialogues, a monthly discussion group that seeks to strengthen Detroit communities through honest conversation and civic engagement.
Some of the feedback helped reframe my project and concentrate more on the civic engagement piece. As a result, I decided to create a project around preserving the historical identities of Detroit neighborhoods in jeopardy of cultural “rebranding”, through the art of storytelling. We will achieve that by mapping out a walking/biking tour to hear the stories of residents about the history of their neighborhood as they know it.
The project, Core City Stories Project, is well underway. To learn more about the project please visit the website: http://corecitystories.strikingly.com/