Blog

The CHALLENGE DETROIT Blog


Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /home/challorg/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/challengedetroit2013/functions.php on line 660 and defined in /home/challorg/public_html/blog/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1147

Recycle Here!

New Recycling Station at Hospice of Michigan

New Recycling Station at Hospice of Michigan

I was recently tasked with creating a Green Team at my host company, Hospice of Michigan.  Our first task was to implement a recycling program which launched January 20th.  Recycling has been on my mind a lot the past couple months which I guess is why this post is dedicated to the topic.

Some facts to emphasize the importance and impact of recycling:

Waste Disposal in Great Lakes Region

  • Over 75% of the world’s waste is recyclable but only 30% of it is actually recycled
  • $500,000,000 worth of recyclable materials are buried in Michigan landfills each year
  • Each ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water
  • Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours —equivalent of a ½ gallon of gasoline
  • Recycling plastic saves 2x as much energy as burning it in an incinerator
  • Energy saved from recycling 1 glass bottle can run a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours
  • Each year over 375 million empty ink and toner cartridges are thrown away with most ending up in landfills or incinerators

Recycling is a real issue in Detroit.  Most businesses don’t have a recycling program.  A 2012 study by NextEnergy found that 402,000 tons of waste is generated by Detroiters every year — 34% goes into a landfill, 65% is incinerated, and only 0.5% is recycled!  Some good news is the City of Detroit recently announced the start of a curbside recycling program.  Residents will need to purchase a 64-gallon recycling cart for $25 in order to participate. For many Detroit residents, this is cost prohibited.  If you’d like to help, please click here.

If you’re at a business in the metro Detroit area that currently doesn’t have a recycling program, PLEASE reach out to my friends at Green Living Science and join their Bee Green! Business education and certification program.  Implementing a recycling program was a bit more challenging than I had originally anticipated but the staff at Green Living Science has been extremely helpful and provided me with numerous resources from signage to recycling service providers.  Plus being certified as a Bee Green! Business is great PR.

If you’re interested in implementing a recycling program at your company (which after reading all these compelling facts, I know you are) feel free to contact me at Jennifer.Ehrhardt@challengedetroit.org.  I leave you with this fun table showing what can be made from recycled materials verses how long these items take to decompose in a landfill.

Recycle Fact

Use What You’ve Got

Earlier this month, the matriarch of my family passed away. My great-grandmother taught me so many lessons. Ironically, one of the poems she wrote applies to the work that still must be done in Detroit. Detroit is a city full of potential, all we have to do is use the people and resources that we already have. Much like my grandmother described in this poem… I hope she knows just how much her logic will inspire me and my work…

 

 

When Moses went down in Egypt to free the Israelites

He headed for the promise land, but saw some curious sights.

When he got down to that Red Sea he gave up on the spot

The Lord said “What’s that in your hand? Use what you’ve got.”

 

The wilderness was on each side, Ole Pharaoh’s horses behind,

The big Red Sea spread out in front, no bridge of any kind.

His faith got weak, he prayed for help, “Lord must I fail or not?”

The Lord said, “Smite that sea apart, and use what you’ve got.”

 

He long had lugged that heavy rod as shepherds often do,

But never had he figured out it would open waters too.

To kill a snake or walk along it helped him out a lot,

But save six hundred thousand men? Just use what you’ve got.

 

Now look here folk, it’s a fact… believe it if you please.

Some of us at times in life get between gun and seas,

But if you bear this thought in mind, it works out on the dot:

Don’t pray for things right in your hand, USE what you’ve got.

 

Don’t say fate got in your way and that’s why you are black,

God made all the colors, and loves them all alike.

So stand for something, hold your own if times be cold or hot.

You have the talent in your brain just use what you’ve got.

Slowing down in Detroit

As I maneuver through adulthood, I learn the importance of self-care more and more. In my search to deal with anxiety and stress, I have found some concrete tools (some of which are Detroit-specific) that have improved my overall emotional well-being.

citylife

I love living in an active, energized city like Detroit, but sometimes it is nice to use these tools to slow down and relax:

  • Pick a slogan or mantra for the day. A commonly used phrase is “Just for Today…” You can fill in the blank with whatever is weighing on you at the time. For example, “Just for today, I will not be afraid” or “Just for today, I will not second guess myself”. And then really hold yourself accountable to the slogan that you create for yourself.

  • Breathing exercises. My fiancé recently sent me this video about a simple breathing technique. I have found it helpful in moments of stress. It is a really simple, tangible thing that you can do to feel better when you are overwhelmed. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/VDR00112/The-4-7-8-Breath-Benefits-and-Demonstration.html

  • We hear it over and over again, but stretching and/or Yoga does make a lot of us feel relaxed. However, Yoga can be pricy and therefore, unrealistic for many of us. I have found a couple of tools for this. One, the Yoga Shelter in Midtown has a deal that is 10 days of unlimited Yoga for $10. It is not a long time, but it does give you almost 2 weeks of access to guided Yoga, which I found to be really nice (and I learned some yoga poses that I can do on my own). Another is a Phone Application that my co-worker/friend introduced me to called “Daily Yoga”. It is free and has some really good practices of both Yoga and Meditation that you can do on your own.

(Note: DailyYoga does reserve some of their more intense routines for premium members that pay for a fee for premium membership – but the free courses are really great too – especially the de-stressor, which you can do in the office!)


  • Healthy drinks:  I have developed a new taste for drinking Vinegar. I first discovered this at Great Lakes Coffee Company, when my fiancé ordered one of their “root drinks”, which includes a flavor of the McClary Bros (Detroit made) Drinking Vinegar and sparkling water. Since then, I have tasted almost every flavor and always have a bottle of McClary Bros Drinking Vinegar and Sparkling water at home, so that I can make my own “root drinks”. I also really like Kombucha, specifically the Synergy brand that can be found at most Health/local Food Stores (the first place I ever had it was Honey Bee Market in Southwest Detroit) For me, I feel like I am taking care of myself when I drink these things. Maybe it is the placebo effect at work, but nonetheless, they help me feel healthier and more balanced.

  • Setting the atmosphere. I am a really big “atmosphere” person. I feel like the space I am in plays a big role in how I am feeling. When I’m feeling stressed out, I think it is nice to clean my apartment and light a candle.  It is also helpful to really observe the views I have access to – both on my drive home and from my apartment window – - Detroit has a lot of beautiful sunrises and sunsets that are worth stopping for.

detroitsky2

I have not done any real research on these strategies.  I am only speaking from personal experience – However, if you are one to feel anxious at times – they might be worth a try.

detroitsky

 

“Us” vs. “Them”

Since moving to Detroit, while although I’ve seen many efforts of collaboration and support from all kinds of folks, I’ve also begun to catch on to this “Detroit vs. Everyone” mentality. In some respects, I can see this attitude as a sign of resilience and determination, perseverance and pride – on the other hand this kind of segregated mindset can also act as an obstacle, and sometimes a literal blockade to future progress.

I’m not usually one to write about politics or extremely heated issues. Not because I am not passionate about certain topics, nor because I disregard them as unimportant, but simply because I feel as though the level on which I am equally educated about both sides of many hot political topics is rather low. My preference is usually to sit and observe and listen to others engage in these conversations. I find I learn much this way. However recently, I had an eye-opening experience that I think is worth reflecting (please bare with my rambling thoughts).

Recently, I was in the suburbs visiting family friends in the Grosse Pointe area, and we had brunch at Red Crown, an awesome local diner that had been reborn from an old auto shop on Kercheval Ave. Down the street at a nearby intersection, I noticed what looked like a rather inconvenient structure that acted quite literally as a blockade to what I later realized was the property line of the City of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park. After learning more about the history of this blockade, I learned that the mixture of sheds and slabs of concrete were placed in the middle of the road with intentions to close this historic east-west route for the summertime farmers market. However, critics view this blockage as an effort to keep mostly black Detroiters out of mostly white Grosse Pointe Park.

The good news is that shortly after I learned about the history of this blockade, I also learned that there are already plans in motion to break down this blockade and open up traffic on Kercheval Ave. between the two cities. But my mind was blown at how quite literally this line of black and white stood in front of me. Among many other things going through my mind as a reaction to learning about the blockade, the thought was reiterated about the “Detroit vs. Everyone” mentality. Although this blockade is a physical example of this segregational divide of the suburbs to city of Detroit, the segregation throughout the city is much more a psychological battle. If individuals are continually labeling “us” and “them”, how do we ever expect to see change?

Thanks for listening.

Saying ‘I-do’ in Detroit

DISCLAIMER: I did not get married. However I was recently in my cousin’s wedding, which took place right here in the Motor City. When I heard that they were going to have a Detroit wedding, almost a year and a half ago, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Of course this was also before I had moved to Detroit, where I have now been submerged into the city’s vibrant culture and beautiful historic architecture. Looking back, having the familiarity and love for the city that I do now, I think I would have reacted with much more enthusiasm and excitement.

Regardless, moving forward with planning and execution of the Rehearsal Dinner, Wedding Ceremony and following Wedding Reception, and the after-after receptions for both, there are a couple of places I wanted to highlight:

 

1.  Rehearsal Dinner at Vince’s

I felt like I was in a scene from the Godfather, and at any moment Michael Corleone was going to come running from the bathroom with a gun to assassinate a family enemy. This place was beautifully authentic, with paintings and old traditional wallpaper dating back into the early 1900s, met with singing mandolin melodies, wrapping around the entire restaurant. And the food was delicious too! Coming from a large Italian family myself, this was a perfect fit. You could tell the pasta was made with an old family recipe, with a taste and consistency similar to my own Nana’s. I highly recommend their angel hair pesto pasta.

 


 

2.  Night-Cap Cocktails at Firebird Tavern

I was thrilled to hear that Firebird made it on the itinerary, mainly because I knew it would have the end of the Red Wings game playing on multiple large screens, and because they served my new-found favorite stout on tap (if you haven’t tried the Neapolitan Milk Stout by Saugatuck Brewing Co., you’re truly missing out on an alcoholic delicacy). The handcrafted woodwork and exposed brick interior creates a real homey environment for a family celebration such as ours. First constructed back in the 1880′s, this 100+ year old building has made quite the comeback and fails to show any dramatic decay – the mix of architectural restoration and modernization really lives up to it’s “true American Tavern” claim. As expected, it quickly turned into a great night with a huge victory for the Red Wings and needless to say several rounds of drinks and shared laughter with the bridal party and the rest of the family.

 


 

3. Wedding Ceremony at Annunciation Greek Orthodox CathedralThis Orthodox Cathedral is absolutely breathtaking on the inside. It’s deceiving dulled brick exterior is tucked between Greektown Casino and a towering parking structure on the corner of Lafayette and the I-375 Service Drive. The uncomfortable old wooden benches and marble floors definitely show it’s historic age, dating back to 1910 when it was first resurrected. The acoustics allow for a beautiful humming ambiance of Greek chanting throughout any ceremony, with domed ceilings and high lit chandeliers. However, a tip to anyone standing in a Greek Orthodox wedding: be sure to hydrate, eat a full meal prior, and never ever lock your knees, during the 45 minute ceremony (yes, 45 minutes without a break to rest those poor feet from the dreaded heeled shoes every bridesmaid fakes a smile to squeeze into to walk down to aisle for the bride on her special day… you’re welcome, Maria). If you do not, you will become light-headed, and in some cases pass out; we almost lost a groomsman.

 


 

4. Wedding Reception at the Colony Club

IMG_6938Be prepared to take a trip back to the 1940s, complete with beautifully detailed trim along ceiling high windows, ambiance lighting, and in this particular occasion, Frank Sinatra and a 15 piece orchestra serenading the party and flooding the dance floor until midnight. A shout-out to the Rhythm Society Orchestra (RSO) who did an incredible job making the party a one-of-a-kind swing-dancing experience. This venue is absolutely extraordinary, and a perfect setting for 300+ guests of the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” of 2014. Starting on the first floor with a light bar, room for cocktails and mingling, leading to the second floor – the main floor – with hardwood floors and beautiful windows, and led to the top mezzanine via a spiral staircase to overlook the rest of the main floor (complete with a bridal and groom suite on either end of the mezzanine for pre-reception cocktails and hors d’oeuvres). I felt like an elegant princess, and I wasn’t even the bride.

 

As I mentioned above, these are some of the main highlights from the extravaganza. These are not including the iconic places around the city such as the Guardian Building, Campus Martius Ice Rink, The Fox Theatre, etc. where the pre-wedding photos were taken. All-in-all it was a true honor to be a part of my cousin’s wedding and a real bonus that it all took place in this incredible city I’ve soon learned to call home.

Cheers to the newlywed couple, and cheers to the Motor City!

These Streets were made for Walking

I’ve got a BIG soft spot in my heart for a little guy who goes by the name Dexter.  Dexter, our 7 year old terrier mix, has been a big part of Nellie & my adult lives.  He’s dealt amazingly well with transitions, including his home base being moved 4+ times.  One factor keeping him balanced is our prioritization of a consistent walk schedule.  But he’s not the only one benefitting from these walks – I truly believe they have also nourished my body, mind, relationships, & communities.

BODY – I’m a relatively active individual, but like everyone I’ll have one of those long days where Nellie’s cooking + the appeal of a great craft beer (Founder’s Backwoods Bastard, anyone?)= there is no way my butt is going to the gym.  It might not be as intense, but at a minimum I’ll get a good 15 minutes of walking in.

Mind –A nice long walk with Dexter is sometimes the best “me” time possible.  In the mornings I can organize my daily activities, and at night I can debrief my accomplishments.  Some say the best ideas happen in the shower, but I hash more personal things out by pounding the pavement with my canine.

Relationships – Not all of my walks with Dexter are solo.  In fact, an ideal walk is spent with Nellie, or other loved ones.  Some of my best “life” conversations occur with a poop bag in my hand.

Community – A great way to acquaint yourself with a neighborhood is to travel it by foot.  I can feel my love and affinity for Ferry St (our new neighborhood) grow with every jaunt I take with Dexter.  By reading the historic signs, I’m becoming inspired to learn more and spread the rich history of the buildings located just down the street -

Omega Psi Phi building                 Col. Frank Hecker House                               Detroit Institute of Arts

I get to experience, firsthand and in detail, some of the best architecture, gardens, and community art that the city has to offer –

The Inn on Ferry Street                 Art Center Community Garden                  CCS Sculpture Garden

 

But the essence of a community isn’t great architecture or landscapes, rather the people and their interconnected relationships.

Thus, we can’t honestly say we belong to the Ferry Street neighborhood until we actually know and interact with our neighbors.  So as a 2015 New Year’s resolution, I pledge to leverage my walks with Dexter to:

-          Establish a presence in our community through constant smiles & hellos on our walks – It’s easier to feel kinship and willingness to approach a familiar person.

-          Be another set of eyes to look for things out of the ordinary – inform neighbors if we notice something, & call & nag the city about broken street lights.

-          Plan a neighborhood BBQ in Peck Park, similar to what my parents hosted in my boyhood neighborhood.

5 Things

 

My favorite singer/songwriter Stephen Kellogg recently wrote about the things he learned (or re-learned) in 2014. In an ode to him, and to deliver a bit of self- reflection, here’s the top 5 things I have learned or re-learned this year.

1) Take Leaps

• I moved from Chicago to Detroit after two years in the Windy City. My fiancé lives there and some of the greatest people I have ever met call that city home. It was tough to leave a city I loved so much for a new adventure. However in my brief time in Detroit I have learned so much more about myself than I would have in my comfort zone of Chicago. I have grown professionally and personally, and have met other Detroiters that have too made leaps of faith for a city they truly care about.

 
2) Surround Yourself With Good People

• This one is taken directly from Kellogg himself. I have learned through some of my own personal relationships, and those of my friends, that as you get older the people you surround yourself very much determine who you are and your future. A supportive group of friends that aren’t afraid to challenge you is extremely important. I’ve noticed its also important to surround yourself with people that inspire you and push you to become a better person. Many people in Challenge Detroit, and in the city itself do this, and I am thankful for it.

3) The Detroit Tigers Will Always Break My Heart

• I live just blocks from Comerica Park, and before I moved to Detroit I envisioned myself celebrating a Tigers’ World Series down Woodward Avenue. As you may know this did not happen, and am tormented with another year without my beloved Tigers getting a championship ring.

4) Detroit is Still Misunderstood

• It was funny talking to people over the holidays about Detroit. Whether it was family, friends, people that once lived in Detroit, or people that live in other states, everyone had an opinion and wanted to share it. Some thought Detroit was back and cited the recent additions of HopCat and Punch Bowl Social, others still look at the abandoned buildings and the term bankruptcy as something the city truly never will overcome. The truth is that it’s in the middle. It’s coming back, but it has a long way to go. The progress made in the last 5 years shows that it’s possible, but it’s going to take time.

5) That Detroit Is Truly Unlike Any Other City In America

• People want to compare Detroit to other cities all the time. Most of the time it’s Chicago, and most of the time Chicago casts a long shadow over the Motor City. But it’s unfair. While both are rust belt cities and both have somewhat similar histories, Detroit and Chicago are very different places. And that’s a good thing. Detroit needs to be different to blossom, and that’s what it’s doing. From the diversity of people and food, to the spirit of entrepreneurship that is truly organic, to the idea that you can matter in Detroit if Detroit matters to you. Even the little things that Detroit offers, like simply the hellos and simple nods from residents you get every day walking to work, make this city different.

“I’m Afraid You Have Humans”: The Environment in 2014

Humans’ impact on the environment has important social, political, and economic implications that aren’t always discussed in depth on the news. Here are a few environmental stories from 2014 that you may have missed.

“I’m afraid you have humans.” New Yorker Cartoon By: Eric Lewis

**Click on each headline below for the full story

January

Australia permits dredge dumping near Great Barrier Reef for major coal port (Reuters)

Extreme air pollution in Asia is affecting the world’s weather and climate patterns, according to a study by Texas A&M University and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers (TamuTimes)

Nobel Peace Prize winner connects civil rights to climate change. He warned that it is the poor and minorities who will suffer the most in each case, because they often lack the power to get their ideas known and needs addressed. (Northwestern University)

February 

We broke the jet stream: Study- global warming likely has destabilized the jet stream causing severe weather across the globe and ‘stuck’ weather patterns that last for weeks. (BBC)

Stanford scientists unveil plan to transform U.S. to renewable energy. They’ve created a 50-state roadmap for replacing coal, oil and natural gas with wind, water and solar energy. (Stanford University)

March

Great Barrier Reef damage is ‘irreversible’ unless radical action taken. Researchers say unless temperature rise is kept below 2C, reef will cease to be coral ecosystem (The Guardian)

April

The manager of the Fukushima nuclear power plant admits to embarrassment that repeated efforts have failed to bring under control the problem of radioactive water, eight months after Japan’s prime minister told the world the matter was resolved  (NYTimes)

EPA drastically underestimates methane released at drilling sites. Drilling operations at several natural gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania released methane into the atmosphere at rates that were 100 to 1,000 times greater than federal regulators had estimated, new research shows.  (LATimes)

Search for Malaysian Airline Flight 370 Reveals World’s Oceans Are Full of Trash (National Geographic)

May

The collapse of the ice sheets in West Antarctica have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable. A rise in global sea level of at least 10 feet may now be inevitable. (NYTimes)

The super rich are buying property in Vancouver because the city is resistant to climate change (The New Yorker)

Bees crucial to many crops are still dying at worrisome rate: USDA  (Reuters)

June

Americans by 2 to 1 Would Pay More to Curb Climate Change. 62 percent to 33 percent, Americans say they would pay more for energy if it would mean a reduction in pollution from carbon emissions. (Bloomberg)

July

“If every American stopped eating beef tomorrow and ate chicken instead, that would be the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road.”  (The Atlantic)

August

Wal-Mart, IBM and Coke Among Companies Addressing Climate Change – Nearly every large multinational corporation (even big oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, and BP) now accepts climate change science on its face. (US News)

September

6th Mass Extinction? Humans Kill Species Faster Than They’re Created (Live Science)

Over the next 100 years, as the severe weather patterns (droughts, floods, and hurricanes) associated with climate intensify, Detroit will become one of the safest cities to live in. (NYTimes)

October

Pentagon Declares Immediate Risk to National Security Posed by Global Warming (The Scientific American)

Colombian farmers sue BP for $29M over alleged land degradation (Aljazeera)

The oceans absorb about a third of the CO2 that’s being produced by industrial society, and this is changing the chemistry of seawater. If we carry on emitting CO2 at the same rate, ocean acidification will create substantial risks to complex marine food webs and ecosystems.”  (BBC)

November 

Dark Ice’ Speeds Up Melting in Greenland (Live Science)

December

Rapidly Warming Oceans Set to Release Heat into the Atmosphere: The seas have stored most of the excess heat generated by greenhouse gases since 2000, but they are due to send it back skyward  (The Guardian)

Brazil’s ‘Chainsaw Queen’ Appointed New Agriculture Minister – Kátia Abreu is a leading figure in “ruralista” lobby. She’s called for more roads through the Amazon, government control over demarcation of indigenous reserves, & the approval of genetically modified “terminator seeds”. (The Guardian)

 

The Build Institute

During our last leadership Friday, we had a panel about social entrepreneurship in the city of Detroit with speakers representing several organizations.

One was Detroit Soup, a monthly dinner that takes place city wide, and also in several neighborhoods to fund creative projects in the city.

Another was Rebel Nell, an organization that works with homeless shelters to provide jobs for disadvantaged women making jewelry from unique local materials.

Greg Szczesny spoke with us about his non-profit Wheels for Workers, which incubates volunteer mechanics and Detroit youth to teach valuable mechanic and auto body repair skills, while supporting personal growth and professional development.

Over the course of the fellowship, I keep encountering and hearing from people who have started several successful local businesses and non-profits. After hearing all these examples and more, my natural reaction is to think what am I going to create or lead. This “what” is always followed by a “how”, and so I decided focus this blog on the Detroit Build Institute, an organization with several programs dedicated to helping entrepreneurs in Michigan get started.

The institute has several programs, but I want to highlight two of them.

BUILD BASICS:

A 8-week business and project planning class is designed for aspiring and established entrepreneurs. Classes are taught by local experts and cover all the basics of starting a business – from licensing to financial literacy, market research to cash flow and more. You’ll leave the class with a completed business plan, a cohort of fellow entrepreneurs in Detroit, and the knowledge and confidence to take your idea to the next level.

Topics Include: Money Management & Life Skills, Legal Structures, Licensing & Personal Budget, Personal Credit, Start-up Costs & Overhead, Sales Unit & Break Even Point, Sales and Profit Goals & Cash Flow,Target Markets, Market Research & Mission, Research, Competition, Pricing & Goals, Financing Sources & Loan Process

Even with two degrees in business related fields, this seems like a great opportunity because you can enter the program with your idea, and have real time feedback to develop it. Also many of these skills you won’t found taught in a class room from the perspective of a start-up, or small organization.

BUILD SOCIAL:

This program trains, develops, and coaches social entrepreneurs in Detroit’s small business community. By empowering local entrepreneurs to affect real change in their communities, Build Social helps bolster the growing social entrepreneurship movement in Detroit. The class follows a 9-week timeline and offers a curriculum with a strong focus on double and triple bottom line business practices.

Social entrepreneurship is always difficult because you are balancing the financial and social returns, and there are a million ways to increase and evaluate social return. This is a good opportunity to learn from people are have experience with their own ventures, and learn about the best way to structure your organization.

Don’t just take my word for it, read about some of the alumni of the Build Institute and their success stories.

Transportation is more than getting from one place to another.

The holiday season is meant to bring friends, family and many times people of no affiliation together, and it’s done in a relatively intuitive way – by taking advantage of what I like to call  ‘universal human unifiers.’ Food, music, surprise materialism (gifts); these are understood by everyone, primarily because they can be enjoyed by everyone, and so our holidays are centered around turkeys, carols and new toys.

But not all unifiers need to be enjoyable in order to bring people together. In fact, it’s often the most unfortunate events which create an environment of comradery; certainly we’ve all been exposed to stories of war bringing soldiers closer together than otherwise possible.

Often overlooked, however, are the mundane conditions of day-to-day life for any individual in a given community. Moments of utmost joy or pressing hardships are simply the most obvious of unifiers, and that’s because it’s easy to understand the feelings of those exposed to a heartfelt family reunion or a life-altering disaster.

Being in Detroit, it’s become more apparent that what I’d previously thought of as an extraneous part of a functioning society, is actually one of the greatest unifiers to exist – public transportation.

Public transportation has always been primarily about getting from point A, to a distant and potentially fruitful point B, but in its long and advancing history has also been a unifier of purpose. Being in such close quarters with individuals whose reasons for traveling, regardless of distance, are so varied yet so literally near is a vessel for mixing, sharing and creating purpose. Transportation is a common ground that should be shared by individuals and not compartmentalized into a task that falls squarely on the shoulders of each person. We all need to get somewhere, and often we all need to do it every single day.

Public transportation doesn’t only benefit the community by allowing people to get to where they need to be, but it allows those people to meet and share the weight of one of people’s most basic burdens – getting to where they need to be.

 


Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /home/challorg/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/challengedetroit2013/functions.php on line 660 and defined in /home/challorg/public_html/blog/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1147