In my current role as President and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, I often think of those neighbors and everyday citizens who held their kids on their laps during City Council meetings and then went back home, working side-by-side to make their neighborhoods safer, cleaner and more playful.
In the eyes of some, such as CBS's 60 Minutes, we are led to believe Detroit is akin to "Mogadishu.'' But I am proud that our work, and that of so many other committed Detroiters, paints a truer picture.
Every child can succeed regardless of their race, ethnicity or socioeconomic background. The cycle of poverty in which many American families live is breakable; low-income families need to be viewed as assets, not barriers, to their children's success.
Our ability to compete in the global economy demands that we prepare students from every background for success in college and careers. Our nation's long struggle for equality demands that our campuses come to look more like our communities.
This is not just about -- or even mostly about -- overt racists who explicitly see people of color as something less than human. Such people are still out there, of course. But the belief in racial hierarchy also persists in much more subtle ways.
Matt Leighninger of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium has written "Creating Spaces for Change: Working Toward A 'Story of Now' In Civic Engagement" focusing on community organizing and deliberative democracy.