Reporting Vickie Thomas
DETROIT (WWJ) – In an amazing display of community spirit in a city viewed by some as down and out, more than 100 events involving hundreds of community organizations and thousands of people will come together Saturday Aug. 6 for the 5th Annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day.
Thousands of volunteers will build new homes, clean up neighborhoods, hold education events and health fairs, sign up students for college scholarships, plant community gardens and more. Activities will take place all over the city, stretching from the Detroit Riverfront to 8 Mile Road.
At the Belmont Shopping Center at 8 Mile and Dequindre, there will be a backpack giveaway, a pig roast and “Detroit’s Got Talent.”
WWJ’s City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas spoke with Shirley Birch, founder of Community United For Progress, about the festivities they have planned.
“We have a tap dancer, we have a keyboard player from Lathrup Village, we have these five good-looking men called ‘The Unstoppables,’ and then we’re going to have the tug-o-war. The Fire Department is coming to do the tug-o-war and we’re going to fill the boot.”
There will also be a grand parade, led by the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club. Bill Amis, founder of the group’s Michigan chapter, said he and his men have a busy day ahead of them.
“We’re going to be cleaning up, we’ve got computers and we’re going to be teaching the kids on computers. There’s so many things that we’re doing, and then we’re going to go and lead the parade and then we got to go over here. We’ll be really busy. We’re going around and making our community strong. And it takes street by street, it takes time.”
Events will begin at dawn and conclude in the evening at the ARISE Detroit! Renewing the Village Celebration in Hart Plaza, which will feature music and poetry from young people, followed by a Motown music concert.
Neighborhoods Day activities will include:
- Construction of a new home by volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Detroit
- Detroit public housing events, inviting residents to participate and volunteer at activities to promote the neighborhood spirit at 14 public housing complexes covering 4,000 residents
- The Gratiot Splash, featuring horseback rides, health screenings and entertainment
- Garden planting and the boarding up of vacant housing
- Renovation of an entire city block of as many as 16 homes
- Special tours of the world famous Heidelberg Project, created by urban landscape artist Tyree Guyton
- Art and music projects, including a music exhibition involving young people building instruments from metal and glass
- Back to school fairs with neighborhoods groups distributing thousands of back packs and other school supplies to students
- A number of major festivals throughout the city, including events at Focus:Hope, the Arts League of Michigan, Goodwill Industries of Detroit and Historic Fort Wayne
For a complete list of all Neighborhoods Day events and activities, visit www.arisedetroit.org.