Michigan and the city of Detroit have a long history as beacons of American ingenuity and innovation. After years of plant closings and shrinking populations, both have had significant challenges. However, the recent recovery of the auto industry and the ingenuity of faith and community leaders who are taking the lead in tackling community challenges are ensuring that this American state and city live on for decades to come.
Nearly 500 of these leaders from across Michigan and the city of Detroit joined me and other representatives from across government for our latest stop on our Connecting Communities for the Common Good conference series. Held at the Wayne County Community College District in downtown Detroit, leaders gathered to learn more about how government at all levels can partner with faith-based and neighborhood organizations to impact community needs.
The day’s conference brought together a powerful list of local officials and Administration representatives including, Congressman John Conyers, Congressman Hansen Clarke and Congressman Gary Peters.
The morning’s keynote address was given by senior Obama Administration official and Detroit native, Portia Roberson who is the Team Leader for Detroit’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative. Portia provided attendees with an overview of one of the Obama Administration’s signature initiatives, which is a great example of partnerships across federal, state and local lines enabling cities, including Detroit, to access federal resources more efficiently, cut down on red tape, and encourage greater collaboration within the federal government.
During our afternoon session we heard an impassioned speech from Jay Williams, who is the Executive Director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workerswho discussed the Administration’s efforts to keep America’s auto industry an innovator in car production, design and technology around the world.
Michigan and Detroit’s rich history and diverse faith and community leaders contributed to a number of spirited discussions. The energy in the room was strong and we thank those that were able to attend. We look forward to continuing our work with local leaders in the community.
Joshua DuBois serves as Special Assistant to President Obama and Executive Director of The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.