This Week on One Detroit:

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy opens long-awaited 3.5-mile Uniroyal Promenade riverfront pathway

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s long-anticipated Uniroyal Promenade is now open. Gifted to the city of Detroit by the Conservancy, the promenade will bring residents and visitors closer to the city’s scenic riverfront. The grand unveiling on Oct. 21 marked the completion of a 3.5-mile, 20-year-old vision for the East Riverfront, signifying a pivotal milestone for the city’s rejuvenated waterfront. 

Stretching along the riverwalk, the promenade connects Gabriel Richard Park to Mt. Elliott Park while providing a secure pedestrian pathway to the iconic Belle Isle Bridge. The promenade also boasts an extra-wide pathway with separate lanes for both walkers and cyclists, as well as vibrant landscaping and a stately stone barrier known as “rip rap” along the water’s edge. 

One Detroit attended the Uniroyal Promenade grand opening for a look at the city’s new riverfront pathway. At the event, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Chief Financial Officer William Smith talked about how the new pathway opens a connection to the Detroit Riverwalk and extends the vision for the Conservancy’s Joe Louis Greenway, a 27.5-mile biking and walking trail that, when finished, will connect Detroit’s riverfront to parts of metro Detroit like Hamtramck, Highland Park and Dearborn. 

Detroit Public Theatre has opened its ninth season with the critically acclaimed 2019 play “Eight Nights” by Jennifer Maisel, running through Nov. 5. The powerful and timely play follows the life of a Holocaust survivor, across the eight nights of Hanukkah over eight decades, from her first night in America after having been liberated from Dachau through to 2016 as she witnesses the treatment of Syrian refugees and the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election.

Over these eight decades her story intersects with the lives of other marginalized people whose stories mirror and contrast her own: African Americans during the Civil Rights movement, Japanese Americans living with the legacy of the internment campsLGBTQ Americans, and Syrian refugees in the era of the Trump administration’s Muslim ban.

One Detroit’s Chris Jordan filmed the play and spoke to actress and DPT founder and producing artistic director Sarah Winkler, actor Henrí Franklin, and DPT founder and producing artistic director Courtney Burkett. The three spoke about how the play speaks to not only the Jewish experience but the experiences of refugees and marginalized communities of all types in a way that’s timelier than ever, showing people’s shared humanity despite their differences.

New law requires Michigan schools to teach consent, sexual assault awareness. One local organization already does that.

Teen dating violence is an alarming issue that affects millions of young lives across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 12 U.S. high school students who dated in the 12 months prior to a 2019 survey experienced physical or sexual dating violence. The rates were higher among female students and those who identified as LGBTQ+. In response to this pressing concern, Michigan has taken a significant step to raise awareness and prevent teen dating violence through a groundbreaking new law. 

Senate Bill 66, signed into law by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on July 11, mandates that all public school districts, charter schools, and intermediate school districts in the state provide age-appropriate material about what constitutes sexual assault and harassment to students in grades six through twelve. The materials will be ready for implementation in schools across the state by June 1, 2024. The law’s impact will extend beyond awareness materials. Beginning with the 2024-25 school year, school systems will be encouraged to train all educators and staff who interact with students on how to respond to disclosures of sexual violence. 

One Macomb County organization, Turning Point, is already doing that. The organization supports survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking, and it is also working with several schools in Macomb County to teach these lessons of consent and sexual conduct to their students. One Detroit senior producer Bill Kubota takes viewers into the classroom at Dakota High School to see the training in action. 

He talks with Patricia Davis, Prevention Educator at Turning Point, and Sara Dobbyn, senior program and education director at Turning Point, as well as Dakota High School Student Assistance Specialist Stephanie Lange about early prevention efforts and the long-lasting impact dating violence can have on teens as they age into adulthood. Plus, Kubota talks with three Dakota High School seniors Nehemiah Campbell, Krystyna Kijewski and McKenzie Koehn — about the impact Turning Point’s course has had on them and the need for more teen dating violence awareness classes in their curriculum. 

Historic Detroit jazz club, the Blue Bird Inn, set for grand revival by Detroit Sound Conservancy

A historic jazz club in Detroit is poised to make a remarkable comeback as the nonprofit organization Detroit Sound Conservancy embarks on a renovation of the Blue Bird Inn. The groundbreaking ceremony held at the Inn on the city’s west side celebrated the planned resurrection of the long-abandoned cultural gem and brought out renowned Detroit jazz musicians, bassist Marion Hayden and her son, drummer Tariq Gardner.   

Their presence underscored the profound significance of the Blue Bird Inn, which has played a pivotal role in shaping Detroit’s jazz heritage. The club, with its rich history dating back decades, has been a cradle of talent and creativity, hosting some of the most celebrated musicians in the genre. But it’s not just about music; community members think the rehabilitation of the Blue Bird Inn is poised to have a profound impact on the surrounding neighborhood.  

Contributor Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ was at the groundbreaking ceremony to talk with attendees about the musical and cultural legacy of the Blue Bird Inn and what its revitalization will mean for Detroit’s jazz scene. Plus, Sharpe talks with residents who share how they hope the jazz club will bring life back to the surrounding neighborhood. 

One Detroit Weekend: October 27, 2023 

It’s the weekend before Halloween – let’s check out how you can celebrate the holiday around metro Detroit. Celebrate Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, on the Detroit riverfront, make your own sugar skulls at the Detroit Institute of Arts, or take a stroll through Terror on Tillson Street in Romeo. Contributors Peter Whorf and Cecelia Sharpe of 90.9 WRCJ share what’s happening around town this weekend on “One Detroit Weekend.”  

List of Upcoming Events: 

  • Celebrate Dia de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, on the Detroit Riverfront with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. The family-friendly event will feature food, live music, ballet folklorico, shop vendors, children’s activities and more. 
  • Make and take home your own sugar skull while learning how they are used for Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexican and Mexican American communities at one of the Detroit Institute of Arts drop-in workshops Oct. 28-29.  
  • Join the Detroit Opera Orchestra onstage for its “Arias and Overtures” featuring soprano Christine Goerke, baritone Rod Gilfry, tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz, soprano Mané Galoyan, countertenor Key’mon Murrah, and Detroit Opera’s resident artists. 
  • Find your favorite Michigan beers on tap at the Detroit Fall Beer Festival, one of the largest all-Michigan beer tastings around, at Eastern Market. The festival will also feature live music and local Michigan food to pair with your suds. 
  • Learn about the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela at a new exhibit, “Mandela: The Official Exhibition,” at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. The exhibit is open through January 15, 2024. 
  • Explore the 11th installment of Ofrendas: Celebrating el Dia de Muertos at the Detroit Institute of Arts, an annual exhibit that features 13 ofrendas, or offerings, by local artists and community members. The exhibit will be open through Nov. 5.  
  • Have a frightfully fun time trick-or-treating at Terror on Tillson Street, a local homeowner-led community decoration display hosting over 2,000 trick-or-treaters each year. Trick or treating will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Halloween night.  
  • Catch a performance by Detroit jazz drummer Sean Dobbins at Cliff Bells Oct. 26-29; tickets are $25 per person. 

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