Detroit— The Detroit News and Detroit Unity Temple are sponsoring a town hall forum Nov. 9 about the city’s tangled descent into bankruptcy and where it goes from here.
The event will bring together academics, neighborhood activists, nonprofits, clergy and city leaders to discuss causes of the decline and swap strategies for rebirth. It was inspired by The News’ project “Six Decades in Detroit” this month. It traced the financial missteps, racial tensions, crime and corruption that led to bankruptcy through a single block on the city’s east side, Lakewood Street.
“Our series examined the six difficult decades which brought Detroit to its current crossroads, and we’re glad the town hall will give the community a chance to consider the road from blight to revival,” said Jonathan Wolman, publisher and editor of The News.
“The town hall can sharpen the understanding of where Detroit wants to go at this pivotal time, and how we can make the journey together,” he said. “We expect the participants — speakers and community members alike — will cross-pollinate a variety of ideas to overcome the abandonment examined in our coverage.”
The forum is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the church, 17505 Second Ave. Senior minister, the Rev. Gregory Guice, contacted The News after he was inspired by the “Six Decades” project.
“We need to raise awareness that it takes all of us to get out of this situation rather than blame one or two people for getting us into it. Detroit is primed to begin anew,” Guice said.
The forum is divided into two sessions — causes of the decline and where the city goes from here.
Planned speakers include authors of the project and those featured in it, including James “Jack Rabbit” Jackson, a retired cop who patrols the east side. Other scheduled participants are Reynolds Farley, a University of Michigan professor emeritus and co-author of “Detroit Divided”; Kurt Metzger, director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit; Linda Smith, executive director of U-SNAP-BAC; the Rev. Charles Adams of Hartford Memorial Church; Russ Bellant of the Helco Block Club of Northeast Detroit; Muhsin Muhammad I, who organizes citizen patrols; and representatives from People for Palmer Park and the Greening of Detroit.
Moderators are Angelo Henderson, talk-show host on WCHB-AM (1200), and journalist Bankole Thompson, who is working on a book about Detroit. Winners of the Nov. 5 city elections will be invited.
The forum will include questions from the audience and through Twitter. Use the hashtag #6decades to pose them in advance. Also check the Facebook pages of The Detroit News and Detroit Unity Temple for updates.