This Week on One Detroit:

Mayor Duggan’s 10th annual State of the City paints optimistic forecast for Detroit’s future

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan delivered his 10th annual State of the City speech Tuesday, March 7 at Michigan Central Station, the future site of Ford’s new electric vehicle campus. Duggan took the podium with an optimistic outlook for the future of Detroit, highlighting the city’s turnaround in vacant housing and homeowners as well as ongoing efforts to clean up and restore blighted neighborhood communities. 

His speech celebrated historic investments happening around the city, like the Joe Louis Greenway, Richard Hosey’s investment in the Fisher Body Plant, and automotive investments to build and support an all-electric future. Duggan also spoke about a new community violence intervention program, ShotStoppers, unemployment rates in the city, working with returning citizens, and the importance of tax abatements to incentivize developments in the city.  

One Detroit contributors Stephen Henderson, host of American Black Journal, and Nolan Finley, editorial page editor at the Detroit News, sat down to discuss the focal points of the mayor’s speech. They talk about Duggan’s push for community buy-in on tax abatements, what he plans to do with the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, and the efficacy of how ShotStoppers might work to reduce community violence. 

Future uncertain for Detroit’s paratransit system as DDOT takes over, searches for new provider

Melody Williams, a legally blind paratransit rider in Detroit, wakes up every morning at 3 a.m. to get ready for her 4:30 a.m. ride to the dialysis center for her appointment. While the paratransit services eventually get Williams to her location, it’s not often without a bump in the road she says. Under the city’s former paratransit services, provided by Transdev, riders might be dropped off at the wrong location, picked up late, or not treated with care.  

Williams wasn’t alone in her criticism of MetroLift, the Detroit Department of Transportation’s paratransit service, either. The paratransit services faced enough scrutiny that in November 2022 Detroit City Council members voted against a contract extension for Transdev, and in December Mayor Mike Duggan used his emergency powers to ensure the city still offered paratransit services under the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT).

Since then, DDOT has continued to fill the paratransit services with temporary contractors as they search for a long-term provider. At the same time, the Department of Justice is looking into if the city has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing riders with disabilities.  

One Detroit contributor Bryce Huffman sat down with Williams to learn more about her experiences as a rider and what she hopes to get from the new service provider. Plus, Huffman talks with Mikel Oglesby, executive director of transit for Detroit, about what the future holds for Detroit’s paratransit services. 

Gayelynn McKinney, trailblazing Detroit jazz drummer paves way for other female drummers

Women’s History Month is underway. What better way to start off this special month than by highlighting one of Detroit’s trailblazing women in music, the renowned jazz drummer Gayelynn McKinney, who’s made her presence known in what was once a male-dominated area of the music industry.  

As the daughter of legendary Detroit jazz pianist and Tribe member, Harold McKinney, and the late singer Gwen Shepherd McKinney, Gayelynn jokes she didn’t have much of a choice in her career path. Now, as one of Detroit’s most accomplished drummers, McKinney sits down with 90.9 WRCJ host Cecelia Sharpe for a conversation about her roots and the importance of showcasing women in music.  

They talk about the barriers McKinney has had to break through as a female drummer, her trailblazing work with Straight Ahead, an all-female jazz band that formed after McKinney finished college, and the recent launch of her “Women Who Drum” festival in 2022 as a way to share the love and highlight female drummers in the music industry. 

One Detroit Weekend: March 10, 2023

Are you looking for some arts, culture, music and family-friendly fun to experience in Southeast Michigan this weekend? One Detroit contributor Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ shares what Detroit and other metro cities have on tap for the March 10 weekend and into next week on “One Detroit Weekend.” 

List of Upcoming Events: 

  • The Galerie Camile will showcase the multi-artist exhibit “Resonance, Reverence” through April 1. The exhibit is curated by Dalia Reyes and Dayana Juarez.  
  • Groove to the music of Stevie Wonder with the Detroit City Jazz Orchestra Plus at The Cube at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 8-10 p.m. March 11.  
  • Ahead of the Oscars, the Detroit Film Theater at the Detroit Institute of Arts is showing this year’s Oscar-nominated short films on the big screen. You can check out the 2023 Oscar-nominated animation and live-action short films through March 11.  
  • The University Musical Society presents Step Afrika!, a dance company dedicated to the African American tradition stepping, at Hill Auditorium starting at 4 p.m. March 12. 
  • The Arab American National Museum hosts “Put Your Feet in Our Shoes,” a youth and family workshop, from 10-12 a.m. March 11.  
  • Internationally renowned bassist Rodney Whitaker, the Director of jazz studies at Michigan State University, takes the stage at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café for a slate of performances March 15-18.  
  • Visit Detroit mixed-media artist Judy Bowman’s inaugural solo exhibit “Gratiot Griot” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit through March 26. 

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