This Week on One Detroit:

Historic Detroit Chinatown building demolished despite city council, Asian American community backlash

A historic building in Detroit’s Chinatown has been torn down, even as advocates were attempting to save it. Despite backlash from the Asian American community, 3143 Cass Avenue was demolished July 29. The historic building was at the heart of Detroit’s Chinatown and held historical and spiritual significance to the neighborhood.

City officials said the building was a public safety hazard, and the building’s current owners, Olympia Development of Michigan, the Ilitch family organization’s real estate firm, obtained a permit to tear it down despite a unanimous vote by the Detroit City Council to halt the demolition. The building had stood there for 140 years.  

The building was known as the Chinese Merchant Association building, according to American Citizens for Justice President Roland Hwang. When the building was in use, the ACJ organized there following the killing of Vincent Chin in 1982. Its demolition marks the continuation of an all-but-lost Chinatown in Detroit nowadays. Detroit’s first Chinatown was moved in the 1960s due to the construction of the Lodge Freeway, and many Asian Americans opted to move to the suburbs of Detroit in the 1970s.

Producer Bill Kubota visits a press conference at the demolished site where activists and residents talk about what this loss means to the Asian American community in Detroit, as well as ways to preserve the history of Chinatown and what some want to see happen in the future. 

Almost Famous metro Detroit musicians band together to fight childhood cancer with benefit concert 

Two local musicians are using their personal journey with cancer to give back to others affected by the life-threatening disease. “Almost Famous,” a band of musicians from metro Detroit who have individually traveled the world in pursuit of their art, reconnected in 2022 for a benefit concert for CURE Childhood Cancer after the band’s drummer, Eric “E” Mcdonald, went through his own battle with the disease.

This year, the longtime musicians have reunited and formed a bond in the Oakland County village of Wolverine Lake to keep the benefit rock concert going. The second annual concert is on Saturday, Aug. 5 at Wolverine Lake’s Mallow Beach. 

CURE Childhood Cancer is a renowned nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer and has been a beacon of hope for families battling this devastating disease since its inception in 1975. Having raised millions of dollars for research and support programs, the organization has been at the forefront of advancing treatments and improving the lives of young cancer patients.  

Almost Famous lead vocalist and guitarist Tommy Ingham and Mcdonald, who are co-organizers of the benefit concert, talked with producer Sarah Zientarski about McDonald’s battle with tongue cancer, the creation of their band Almost Famous and the benefit concert, and what it means to them to support a cause that has touched their lives too.

ARISE Detroit! celebrates neighborhood pride with 17th annual Neighborhoods Day

ARISE Detroit’s flagship event, its annual Neighborhoods Day, returns Aug. 5 this year with more than 150 events and beautification projects happening around the city. This will be the nonprofit’s 17th annual Neighborhoods Day, which began a year after the nonprofit was founded in 2006.   

Held on the first Saturday in August, the event brings together thousands of Detroit residents, community organizations and businesses to celebrate their neighborhoods, showcase local initiatives, and foster a sense of unity among the people that live, work and play there.   

Neighborhoods Day events can vary from local clean-ups to block parties, art exhibits, health and wellness fairs, youth programs, live performances, food drives, and more. The Belle Isle Art Fair and the Sidewalk Festival will also return this year.  

ARISE Detroit! Executive Director Luther Keith joins contributor Stephen Henderson to give viewers a preview of the event and discuss its mission. They also talk about the uniqueness of Neighborhoods Day and the overall goal of the yearly event.

One Detroit Weekend: August 4, 2023

Looking for some summer fun in Detroit? Hear some great music at the 42nd Annual Dearborn Homecoming or eat dinner in a sunflower field at the Frankenmuth Flower Festival.

Plus, you can browse the Art Fair at Belle Isle or head to Ann Arbor to hear from author Ann Patchett about her new novel. For a more active experience, go to the Motown Museum’s Rocket Plaza to learn the hustle.

Check out everything you can do around town during the August 4th weekend and beyond on “One Detroit Weekend” with contributors Peter Whorf and Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ.

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