BLACK VOICES
06/28/2017 03:02 pm ET Updated Jun 28, 2017

This Millennial Is Quietly Promoting Detroit's Resurgence Behind The Scenes

Amber Lewis is making waves in her hometown.
Amber Lewis heads the digital and social media department for the City of Detroit and Mayor Mike Duggan.
Cyrus Tetteh
Amber Lewis heads the digital and social media department for the City of Detroit and Mayor Mike Duggan.

There has been much buzz about Detroit’s resurgence, but few know about the millennials that are quietly pushing the Motor City’s comeback. Amber Lewis is one of those helping to bring about that change. 

Lewis, 25, heads the digital and social media department for the City of Detroit and its mayor, Mike Duggan. In that role, the Detroit native manages the social channels for various offices and produces content including videos, official statements and announcements. 

Lewis hadn’t always eyed a career in Detroit — she planned on working in New York City after graduating with a degree in advertising from Michigan State University in 2015.

“The press I read about Detroit wasn’t reflective of what I saw in my hometown,” Lewis said, thinking about her decision to reject an opportunity to study fashion marketing at LIM College in Manhattan. “My intuition told me to stay in Detroit and be an agent to change the narrative. My intuition was right.”

Lewis was hired by Duggan’s chief of staff, Alexis Wiley, in 2016 after she participated in the Marcus Graham Project, an organization that helps people of color enter the marketing and advertising industries.

Since then, Lewis said she has brought much-needed awareness to the administration’s efforts to help invigorate the city and its residents.

“The biggest part about these opportunities is creating awareness around them, and that’s why my role is so important,” Lewis told HuffPost. “It’s getting information about programs and initiatives out to the public by telling the story of Detroiters who have benefitted from them, opposed to just saying that these programs are available.”

“There are so many programs and initiatives designed to improve the quality of life for Detroit residents happening in
Myron Watkins
“There are so many programs and initiatives designed to improve the quality of life for Detroit residents happening in the neighborhoods that really make what I do meaningful,” Lewis said.

Programs like Motor City Match, which provides funding to entrepreneurs for businesses throughout the city, or Motor City Restore, which assists local business owners who need to make improvements, are some that have benefited from Lewis’ social media campaigns.

“There are so many programs and initiatives designed to improve the quality of life for Detroit residents happening in the neighborhoods that really make what I do meaningful,” Lewis said.

But the young Detroiter can have fun with the social media channels, too.

Engaging social media campaigns like #DetroitLoveLetter and #DetroitCommandments have caught the attention of residents and local businesses active on Twitter and Facebook.

“I’m proud to make the city’s social channels more fun and engaging through our campaigns and content,” Lewis said.

In 2013, the Motor City filed the largest-ever municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history. The city is still recovering from that setback, but Lewis is hopeful.

“I think Detroit is an interesting but good and exciting space. We are building, expanding and creating new opportunities that all Detroiters can benefit from,” she said. 

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