This Week on One Detroit:

Blast Detroit’s EV Automotive Mobility Program prepares Detroiters for an electrified future

Blast Detroit has launched an innovative program, the EV Automotive Mobility Program, that equips Detroiters with the skills necessary for jobs that will soon be in high demand. The program offers hands-on training in the maintenance and repair of electric vehicles, as well as education in internal combustion engine technology, in an effort to bridge the gap and address the racial disparity within the electric vehicle (EV) industry.  

Only roughly 2% of EV owners are Black, according to the National Center for Sustainable Transportation. The statistic is attributed to vehicle costs and a lack of charging stations in predominantly Black neighborhoods, often referred to as “charging deserts.” The racial disparity within the EV industry is not just about car ownership; it extends to broader implications for public health and economic opportunities.

High asthma rates and air pollution have disproportionately affected Black Americans in zip codes where electric vehicle adoption has been slower due to a lack of infrastructure. Additionally, the lack of charging stations has hindered mobility and participation in the gig economy, especially in urban areas.  

Ray Smith, the visionary behind the Detroit program, spoke with One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota, about the mission of the program and the skills students are being taught. Smith also talks about how he hopes the program will narrow the employment gap, improve health outcomes, and promote green job opportunities in communities of color. 

Residents and businesses clash over industry near Riverside Park

In the heart of Southwest Detroit lies Riverside Park. The renovated park is near industry, leaving residents grappling with the challenge of enjoying nature amid truck noise and concerns over air quality.

The battleground between residents and businesses, however, becomes a testing ground for civic cooperation, as city officials strive to strike a balance that caters to the diverse needs of the community. The City of Detroit has engaged a local civil engineering group to chart the park’s multi-phase transformation, including expanding boundaries, reclaiming acres for public space, and enhancing riverfrontage. The revitalized park now boasts interactive features such as a spray park, a winter-ready sledding hill, and a ¼-mile walking loop. 

One Detroit contributor Bryce Huffman sat down with residents and businesses living and operating near Riverside Park, as well as a Detroit city council member, to learn how the city is ensuring residents and businesses can both be heard and have their input incorporated into decisions shaping the park’s future.  

Huffman talks with Debra Sumner, a longtime Hubbard Farms neighborhood resident; Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision Executive Director Raquel Garcia; Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Detroit City Council Member for District 6; and Heather Grondin, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority Vice President of Corporate Affairs and External Relations.

Korean American artist Dominic Pangborn digs out forgotten, unseen works for final exhibit ‘Uncrated’

In a vibrant celebration of creative evolution, artist and entrepreneur Dominic Pangborn has unveiled his final exhibit, “Uncrated: A Final Retrospective,” at the Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, Michigan. As Pangborn prepares for a significant life transition, moving out of the United States to the Philippines, the exhibit showcases some of Pangborn’s forgotten and unseen works, offering patrons a glimpse into the artist’s four-decade career. 

Renowned for his enigmatic work and hailed as an artistic luminary in the Asian American community, Pangborn’s journey intertwines with the very fibers of Jackson, his cherished hometown. As a Korean child adopted and raised in the heart of Jackson, Pangborn’s artistic journey is a testament to never-ending change, a narrative mirrored in the ever-shifting strokes of his work.  

Now, as a celebrated Korean American artist and designer, Pangborn has etched his legacy across mediums, from canvas to pixel. His artistic pursuits have helped him reach global acclaim, with works being shown in such places as the White House and the 2018 Winter Olympics. Yet, Pangborn’s journey also reveals the delicate dance between commercial success and artistic acknowledgment. 

One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota caught up with Pangborn to talk about his legacy and final exhibit as an artist. Plus, art collector and dealer Paul Williams sheds light on the conundrum Pangborn has faced throughout his career as an artist, navigating the arts community’s reception to his work. Despite his prolific contributions, some within the artistic realm have struggled to fully embrace Pangborn, perhaps overshadowed by his commercial triumphs. And, Georgia Fojtasek, an Ella Sharp Museum Board Member shares how the city of Jackson has embraced Pangborn, a homegrown talent.  

One Detroit Weekend: November 17, 2023

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and the Christmas lights aren’t far behind. This weekend, families can check out the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade. Plus, ring in the holiday with the 20th annual Detroit Tree Lighting downtown or the Magic of Lights at Pine Knob Music Theatre. For those looking to start their holiday shopping early, visit the Jingle & Mingle Ferndale Holiday Market. See what else is coming up this weekend around Southeast Michigan with contributor Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ on “One Detroit Weekend.” 

List of Upcoming Events:  

  • Ring in the holiday season with the 20th annual Detroit Tree Lighting at Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit Nov. 17. The event will feature holiday shopping, hot chocolate giveaways, food trucks, visits from Santa, Olympic figure skaters and much more. 
  • Drive through the dazzling Magic of Lights at Pine Knob Music Theatre. The holiday lights experience features scenes and characters from your favorite holiday films using the latest LED technology and digital animations. The event runs through Dec. 30.  
  • Check out the annual Detroit Doll Show at Marygrove Conservancy Nov. 18. The event’s mission is to inspire women and children of color to love the skin they’re in. 
  • Join the Jingle and Mingle Ferndale Holiday Market where you can start your holiday shopping and shop from local artisans underground beneath the Ferndale parking structure.  
  • Don’t miss one of the biggest events of the season — the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade along Woodward Avenue from Kirby to Congress Street on Nov. 23. Enjoy tons of colorful floats, fantastic bands, dancers and more.  
  • Catch the Christmas bug with a drive through Nite Lights at the Michigan International Speedway. The five-mile-long holiday lights show runs through January 7, 2024.  
  • Enjoy the final installment of the “Christmas at Pemberley” series with a production of “Georgiana and Kitty: Christmas at Pemberleys” at Open Book Theatre in Trenton, Michigan through Dec. 17.  
  • Find your live music fix at El Club Detroit where Toronto rap-electronic group Keys N Krates will perform on Friday, Nov. 17. The trio will be joined by artist Key Mitch. 

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