By Anne Marie Biondo
ARISE Detroit! Special Writer
They played music and read poetry. They swept broken glass from the sidewalks and cleared weeds and debris from alleyways. They visited with the elderly. They ran along downtown streets. They painted tree trunks.
They were among the thousands of city residents who participated in more than 200 events across the city on the 11th annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhood Days on Aug. 5.
It was a day that lifted spirits, put smiles on people’s faces and beautified scores of neighborhoods across the city. It was a day, as ARISE Detroit! likes to say, that changed Detroit.
VOICES OF NEIGHBORHOODS DAY
Toni McIlwain, ARISE Detroit! board member, of the Ravendale Community Group and Eastside Community Network, hosted 42 children at the Wayne County Family Aquatic Center to paint pictures of the city’s only water park and Chandler Park’s gem. “Those children painted what they saw, and they saw nothing but beauty. They saw a brother and sister holding hands. They saw children splashing in the pool. They saw people laughing and enjoying their day.”
Barb Freeborn of Project Compassion Ministries helped organize a block party of for residents of eight nursing homes along East Grand Boulevard. “This is a great day for them. We have clowns and a strolling trumpeter. We have people who just sit and talk and keep them company. It lifts their spirits and improves their independence.”
Mose Primus of Yorkshire Woods community invited neighborhood children to help put finishing touches on the east side neighborhoods’ vegetable garden. About 50 children showed up to paint tree stumps left after Primus and his board members cleared six vacant lots to plant the garden. “We thought, let’s make the trunks into benches and stools. Once they dried, we decided to paint them. That’s where this paint party came in.”
Jomo King, Grandmont Community Association, drew 500 people for its annual Arts & Crafts Fair. Some 50 artisans, crafters and small business owners participated. “It not only allows us to showcase our local talent. It’s free, it’s safe and it’s no nonsense. You don’t often hear the positive things going on, but we just held a quality event in the neighborhood,” King said.
Tor Vinson, Detroit Roses, held a back-to-school supplies drive at Stoepel Park. “We decided to focus on youth, which ties into one of our pillars: Strengthening Our People. We pride ourselves on getting into the community. ARISE Detroit! helped us get the word out,” said Vinson.
Dr. Threada Lynn Young, of “Bridging the Gap, Bringing communities Together” walk/run on the Detroit Riverfront said the event was designed to bring old and new Detroiters together and drew 57 runners and 150 participants overall. “I didn’t think the communities, the neighborhoods were aware of what was going on downtown, in Midtown and along the riverfront. Sports is a way to break down racial barriers,” said Young.
Jevona Watson, of Detroit Sip, held an entrepreneur fair at her coffee shop on W. McNichols after cleaning up alleys behind six businesses. Her new coffee shop, Detroit Sip, will open in September. “We Detroiters cannot afford to pick and choose when we want to celebrate and be proud. We have to do it all the time. The lesson is, we will always need each other,” she said.
ARISE Detroit! is a nonprofit coalition promoting community activism, volunteerism and positive images to create a better Detroit. Learn more at www.arisedetrit.org or phone, 313-921-1955.
Spirits soar and work gets done on 11th annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day.