Arise Detroit will celebrate its 15th annual Neighborhoods Day Aug. 7. Across the city, more than 150 community groups, block clubs and improvement projects will host a wide range of events for residents. Festivities will adhere to federal safety protocols regarding COVID-19 for the second year in a row. All events will take place outdoors.
Luther Keith, the executive director and founder of Arise Detroit, says it will be a special day for residents throughout the city. The organizations that participate are are engaged in many facets of community life aimed at making a difference in the city.
“One thing I’d like to emphasize that Neighborhoods Day, though it’s one day, it really reflects what people in the neighborhoods do throughout the year,” he says.
“We have some neighborhoods of Detroit that are really challenged in a lot of ways, economically with blight. We need a resurgence of this city economically, jobs for people, education … generally, looking at the quality of life, a safer city.” –Luther Keith, Arise Detroit
These organizations and projects have always been there but haven’t been showcased, Keith says. In founding Arise Detroit, Keith, a journalist, says he was intentional about the organization being “a vehicle to lift up and showcase the work of these community groups.”
“What I found out back when I was a columnist is that a lot of people don’t know what [these groups are] doing, or they don’t get the publicity. And we needed a vehicle to lift up and showcase.”
People also weren’t aware of all of the organizations and activities in the city, and by highlighting the work these groups are doing, it might inspire others to do the same in their communities.
“We’ve been able to simply tap into that. If more people learn about it, more people say, ‘well, why can’t we do this in our neighborhood? Why don’t we have a Black Friday? Why don’t we have a neighborhood cleanup? Why don’t we have a school supply giveaway?’ And so by seeing that, it inspires other people … and that’s how [Neighborhoods Day] has grown.”
Looking ahead at where Neighborhoods Day will be in 5-10 years, Keith says it’s not just about Neighborhoods Day but the city as a whole. “We have some neighborhoods of Detroit that are really challenged in a lot of ways, economically with blight,” he says. “We need a resurgence of this city economically, jobs for people, education … generally, looking at the quality of life, a safer city.”