Activists New Era Detroit host Coleman Young II at social justice rally

- One day ago we heard from the incumbent Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, on Friday FOX 2 caught up with his opponent Coleman Young, Jr. at a New Era Detroit event.

Zeek the president of community activist group New Era Detroit said he has talked to grieving mothers after they have lost a child. Crime, poverty and education are all intertwined and to Zeek, that is why he and his group are looking for solutions.

New Era Detroit has been in the fight to stop violence in the city for a while on the front lines.

"It is heartbreaking," Zeek said. "I talk to a lot of mothers, a lot of families and I am tired of having the same conversations over and over."

"Forty-six percent of our black men and black women aren't working," said Karol Hamm, Tangies' Ride Coordinator. "That is staggering and quite frankly embarrassing."

On Friday they invited mayoral candidate Coleman Young II the second to kick off their "Meet in the Streetz" series this fall. They want to keep the conversation going on the gargantuan challenges of our time.

Young was at a poverty meeting earlier this week and like today, continued to push for more progress on what has been described as a dismal poverty rating.

Figures released last week by the census bureau show a 35.7 percent poverty rate in Detroit for 2016, a drop from longer term figures which indicate a 40.3 percent poverty rate between 2011 and 2015 in Detroit. The national average is 12.7 percent.

(Editors Note: While longer term posted poverty numbers still used by the census show a 40.3 percent rate between 2011 and 2015, FOX 2 has updated the figure to 35.7 to reflect the latest figure.)

"I think that is a shame before God," Young said. "There is no reason with all this money we have flowing through downtown, (that) we can't put more people to work, why we don't have recreational centers in our neighborhoods, there is no reason why we have this suffering and we have the people living in squalor.

"Detroit is 80 percent black, but black folks only represent 33 percent of all the jobs here. It's apartheid."

Transportation is top of mind for folks who turned out Friday.  Many who have ridden Detroit busses, sometimes feel like the ride to improving the system is taking them nowhere.

"It is deplorable," said Carmel Cathy. "How can commerce happen if we can't move. It is impossible to get to your jobs at 4:30 in the morning, if you got kids in daycare."

"SMART (busses) is able to come into the city and go outside the city," Young said. "And DDOT is not able to do the same. I think that has to change. Not in terms of merging the systems together, but I think we need to start allowing DDOT to go outside more regionally within these areas as well. So people can get on the bus and get to work, so we can have more options."

The community conversations today were about mobilizing and moving Detroit forward. Organizers say this is a proactive approach to tackling these larger problems.

It was the first of six sessions in which they will have community members and politicians discuss about how to deal with challenges those in the community are facing.

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