Detroit has always had a schizophrenic quality, but these days the zooming from disgust to outrage to optimism is breathtaking even for a native Detroiter.
I have the privilege of hosting the region's only daily, locally-focused, non-partisan talk show. At one time or another, whether in studio or on the phone, everyone comes on the show. I hear it all. The people who are so fed up they've lost all belief in forward movement, the people who are so distressed by the corruption and incompetence they almost can't speak, and the optimistic change agents.
Candidly, I agree with a lot of what they say and, even though sometimes they all go too far, I can empathize, because I've been in all of these places at various times. I feel myself move across these different places as we watch our regions' fortunes ebb and flow.
The thing that keeps me from getting stuck is that every day I have to go into action and handcraft two hours of live radio. There's nothing like having tens of thousands of people watch you work to keep you moving and fend off the inertia.
Inertia is a killer. It tricks our minds. It causes us to think that our effort won't make a difference, so why try? Conversely, inertia tells us that the path we're on is good enough and we don't have to stretch beyond our comfort zone.
I say enough. Whether you count yourself as a member of Detroit's revival community or you are burnt out, disgusted and sitting on the sidelines, it's time for us to dig in and push ourselves to the next level.
The reason for this push is obvious: things are marginally better, but this city and the region are not out of the woods. We need to do more.
That's why WDET is organizing two events with Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh. We are organizing ourselves as a way to take charge and define our community through our service.
Imagine the difference your time and effort, combined with that of hundreds or even thousands of other people could make. Our goal is to help you connect with others that share similar goals and priorities, so you can maximize your impact. Imagine 10 thousand new volunteer hours for neighborhood based non-profits. We can do it, we just need to get it started.
"A Call To Action" will take place on Feb. 22, from 5-8 p.m., at the Community Arts Auditorium on Wayne State University's campus. The event will bring together members of Detroit's NGO, neighborhood activist and urban revitalization communities.
The goal of the event is to kick off a 30 day drive that will generate 10,000 new volunteer hours for neighborhood-based not-for-profits. The event will introduce a new, web-based data site that will help volunteers match themselves with not-for-profits. This tool, developed by Loveland, will build on the platform developed for "Why Don't We Own This?" The site will be the region's largest, web-based collection of volunteer opportunities -- and it'll be a work in progress. With such a robust grassroots network, we do not believe it's possible to construct an utterly all-inclusive resource but it will have more than 200 significant institutions and groups and we're going to expand the list as more groups come into view.
The second event on Feb. 23 will be equally ambitious and potentially game changing. WDET is packing up Pres. Pugh and his team, and heading for Birmingham where the President of the Detroit City Council (gasp! Shock!!) will engage in a listening session with the residents of Oakland County. We know one night won't wipe away decades of city-suburb discord and distrust, but now is the time to be bold and find ways to carry new ideas into the Detroit Council chambers.
Imagine the difference your time and effort, combined with that of hundreds or even thousands of other people could make when you connect with others that share similar goals and priorities.
Imagine 10 thousand new volunteer hours for neighborhood-based non-profits. We can do it, we just need to get it started.
At some point you have to stop worrying about what other people think and just focus on getting it done. It doesn't matter who you are, where you're from or what your motivations are for doing what you are doing -- you just have to get it done.
If it matters to you, it matters. Make a tangible, measurable difference -- today.
WDET Presents: A Call To Action, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 5-8 p.m., Wayne State University's Community Arts Auditorium
WDET/ Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh Listening Session, Thursday, Feb. 23, 5-8 p.m., The Community House, Birmingham