New Year, New Resolve, New Detroit

Play nice, lose weight, exercise more. Bah. You know you won’t complete any of those New Year’s resolutions.

But you know what really needs changing? Detroit. More specifically, how we all act, feel, treat, take care of, respect DETROIT. So what are you going to do in 2011 to make this city a better place?

Check out what these famous, infamous and all-around good people had to say. They are in no particular order, so enjoy them all. (My resolution? It’s at the end.)


We plan on becoming a significant plank on the bridge out of poverty by exploring how we can better serve the needs of our local schoolchildren.  One way for Operation: Kid Equip to do this over the next year will be to start pilot programs in select Detroit Public Schools. – Menachem Kniespeck, founder, Operation: Kid Equip.

In 2011, I plan to equip Detroit music acts with the tools they need to become a stronger community voice in the city as I believe the arts are going to be integral to its resurgence. My biggest resource will be a music and new media conference in the city. I hope to see a passionate effort to encourage recent Michigan college graduates to stay in Detroit. – Hubert “GAM” Sawyers III, Thinker, Doer, Connector

My resolution for Detroit is to step up the efforts to consolidate the city and continue to tear down abandoned homes, to make the streets safer and city services more efficient. – Norman Witte III aka DJ Meph.

I would encourage meaningful and ongoing dialogue between all of the cities in this region. We need to work together to eliminate blight, enhance public safety and where possible join together to cut costs. – Jules Olsman, Huntington Woods City Commissioner.

I plan to spend this near year focusing on relationships with people. Everyone has a story, a gift to share and a purpose in this life. I don’t want to be so consumed with myself or my little world that I miss out on them. – Melissa Golpe, Marketing/PR Director, Covenant House Michigan.

I resolve to to cross-connect with political, business and creative leaders to put the power and energy of Detroit in action. I also resolve to express the spirit of Detroit through my poetry and prose in effort to share the brilliance of this region within and outside of the city. – Joseph F. Bastian, author, of the Detroit trilogy, The Nain Rouge.

As a member of our FOX team, I put together TV news reports on environmental concerns. My resolution would be to highlight and encourage others to participate in green initiatives like Urban Farming that are good for the planet and truly make the city a better place. – Robin Schwartz, anchor/reporter at Fox 2 News in Detroit.

Now that I am working downtown I need to live near my work. I just relocated back to the area after an extended stint in D.C. and just can’t get used to commuting. Living and working near my office benefits the city as well as the environment and just makes sense. My lease is up September 1 and I hope to be in Detroit by then. – Jennifer Richmond, Quicken Loans

I would love for the city to encourage and challenge artists to create  public art work that engages the community and activates neglected spaces. – Mike Han, Community Director and co-publisher, I Am Young Detroit.

My New Year’s Resolution is to make high end clothing right here in Detroit that make a statement nationwide and put Detroit on the map in the fashion arena. – Joe Faris, Founder of Motor City Denim and Project Runway finalist.

I want to come to Detroit and get involved in arts related projects, including doing something with and for the students at Mumford, my alma mater. I love Detroit and want to see it rapidly grow into the city of the future I know it can be. – Allee Willis, Grammy-winning songwriter and Detroit Mumford grad.

I wish EVERYONE in the state of Michigan would make a New Year’s resolution to quit bashing Detroit and our great mitten state, particularly when talking to people who don’t live here. Yes, we have our problems, but there are countless reasons why Detroit and Michigan are amazing. Change starts with us. The negative public perception will never dissipate if our own citizens talk poorly about where we live. – Nikki Stephan, social media strategist at Identity Marketing & PR and public relations specialist.

I plan to show our community and the nation the amazing positive change that is happening in Detroit right now. There are so many Detroit stories that don’t get the coverage that they deserve. I hope that Mayor Bing can keep the Woodward Avenue Light Rail Project on track and that it is the start of a real regional transportation system. – Becks Davis, Detroit Moxie.

My New Years’s resolution will be to continue to try and find a way to move to the beautiful City of Detroit. Some people don’t understand my love for this fair City and its people but to me it’s all that I and my family need and we will work on what the city might be lacking… hope 2011 will bring us the opportunity to do so! – Mascha Poppenk, Dutch filmmaker “Grown in Detroit.”

My New Year’s resolution is focusing my efforts on launching a new venture that will focus on a metro-Detroit clothing brand with a portion of all sales donated back to metro Detroit charities. – Tom Sesti, President of Bandals/Boot Hugs and Founder of M1 brand.

My 2011 resolution is to remind the community and its leadership that we in the Detroit metropolitan area possess some of the best architectural firms in the world. Keep the jobs in Michigan! – Joe Veryser, AIA, President of AIA Detroit for 2011.

My New Year’s resolution is to help more Wayne Law Students give back to the Detroit community. They possess the talent, energy and enthusiasm to make a difference in the city and the opportunities to address Detroit’s problems are numerous. If you are not helping others in need, what is life all about? – John E. Mogk, Wayne State University professor.

In the new year I am going to get involved with an organization to help entrepreneurs open up for business in Detroit. – Bill Dunn, AIA Detroit Board of Directors.

My New Year’s resolution is to make a better case for the benefits of city living — one conversation, one panel discussion, one blog post at a time. If it doesn’t make sense for you, that’s totally fine. But if you’re intrigued by Detroit, and you want to be a part of a really cool community of people, then I want you to consider it. In exchange, I want the city to be more open to new ideas and responsive to the needs of its residents. I want this to be a place where people LOVE to live. – Claire Nelson, Bureau of Urban Living.

I pledge to rediscover my city from a different perspective. Having been born and raised here, I’ve had the privilege of a wealth of social and professional connections. While this can be comforting, in some ways in inhibits your ability to see the city from the point of view of a newcomer or someone not as well connected. I’m plan to challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone, go new places, climb new ladders, forge new bonds. Some people think you have to move away to have  that kind of experience, but there’s enough Detroit here for me to get all that without leaving. – James Feagin IV, Marketing Consultant, Feagin Media Group

Work to forge a relationship between the city and preservationists to form a network to facilitate and educate about saving our city’s architectural and cultural history. – Dann Austin, author, “Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City’s Majestic Ruins.”

As Board Chair and a volunteer at the Clark Park Coalition, the region’s only regulation outdoor ice rink and one of two Detroit programs recognized by the NHL’s Diversity Task Force, I resolve to restorce the intramural ice hockey league for disadvantaged youth in Southwest Detroit that has allowed nearly 100 kids enjoy the game of hockey for free, providing mcuh-needed structured recreational opportunity and competitive sports to children who rarely get an opportunity to participate. – Steve Tobocman, Board chair, Clark Park Coalition.

January 1st marks the one year anniversary of launching I Am Young Detroit. I resolve to take it to the next level by partnering with the City of Detroit and like-minded organizations to really provide resources and opportunities to grow the number of young talent living in the city. I believe it’s going to be the young creatives, leaders, and innovators who are going to help to revive the city. 2011 is going to be the year that young Detroit doers really make things happen! – Margarita Barry, founding Publisher, I am Young Detroit.

I resolve to stand with my fellow Detroiters who know we have to do better.  I resolve to do what I can to challenge the old thinking and failed assumptions that got us here. – Vince Keenan, Executive Director,

I’d like to see Detroit make the movie business a permanent fixture so I could work in my home state and be closer to my family!  Either that – or Detroit needs to pick up and relocate closer to LA! – Megan Grano, comedian.

My resolution is to get Hostel Detroit open in April 2011 and utilize it as a tool to showcase this wonderful city of ours to visitors from near and far. – Emily Doerr, founder, Hostel Detroit

I plan on launching some new DETROIT LIVES! projects/products. Things like encouraging young blood to stay in the region, bringing new folks in and just generally helping shift public perception of the city. Or like developing DL!’s product offering and working towards the creation of a vertically integrated creative factory to handle all production. And having fun through the whole process. That’s pretty important. – Philip Lauri, Founder/Director DETROIT LIVES!

As editor of StyleLine magazine, I resolve to keep showcasing examples of the city’s beautiful architecture, people and style so the message is clear that you don’t have to leave the area to look fashionable and have a great time. – Karen Buscemi, magazine editor and author of the upcoming “I Do, Part 2”


I resolve to write shorter blog posts. And to make sure my kids know Detroit is their home town.

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