By: Sara Khan, Wayne State University
Living in Detroit, how many of us actually know the history behind our wonderful city? The name “Detroit” originated from the French word le détroit du Lac Erie meaning “the strait of Lake Érié”. In 1701, Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit. To attract people to come to Detroit, France offered people free land. By 1765, the city grew tremendously becoming one of largest cities of the time. In 1760 the fort was surrendered to the British, who shortened the name of the city to “Detroit.” Detroit was passed over to the United States under the Jay Treaty between the United States and Britain.
In 1805, a devastating fire swept through the city and destroyed everything but a stone warehouse. Ten years later, after the development of the steamboat and the opening of the Erie Canal, Detroit was incorporated as a city. It served as Michigan’s capital from 1805 to 1847. Detroit was a frequently used station for the Underground Railroad, which was used to help slaves escape slavery. The city was also the site of President Andrew Jackson’s funeral in 1845.
The Ford Motor company was founded in 1903. Because of Ford and other automotive leaders, Detroit’s status as the world’s automotive capital was reinforced. Detroit continued to be a prosperous city, making headline news with stories such as those of the opening of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and the Ambassador Bridge. Detroit was definitely known for its successful sports teams. Even at the time that the Great Depression affected the business industry, the sports teams were still going strong.
By: Engr. Masood Farooqi - Detroit
Dr. Qamar, a cardiologist by profession, from Florida recently visited the Metro Detroit area. Dr. Asad is a candidate for the position of the next APPNA president. APPNA is a Pakistani Physicians Association and has its chapters in all major cities of North America. The soft spoken candidate highlighted his program and why he is running for the highest position of the Pakistani professional organization. Among the prominent community members that attended the lunch meeting in a Dearborn restaurant were Dr. Ghaus Malik, Dr. Mohammad Hamad Tahir, Dr. Arshad Pervaiz, Waqhar Ali Khan of Safeer-E- Pakistan/GEO TV, Engr.Masood Farooqi of Urdu Times &EWL News, Mohammad Zahid, Akhlaq Shah, Engr. Sohail Rana, Faiz Khan, and Dr. Naushad Pervaiz. The candidate, Dr. Asad Qamar, briefly talked about his ambitions to bring a change in APPNA to be more effective and connected with the membership in North America and to support projects back home to assist new doctors and medical students to further their education in North America. Despite a short notice, the organizers, Mr. and Mrs. Mohammad Zahid and Naeema Zahid, were able to invite many physicians and other community members from diverse backgrounds.
By: Sara Khan Wayne State University
On January 25th in Metro Detroit, a protest was held, entitled “March in Solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution.” Wayne State Alumni, Occupy Detroit, and members of the Arab community got together to organize this event. With a turnout of almost 100 people, the march began at Grand Circus Parkand ended at McNamara Federal Building where several speakers gave a small talk. The purpose of the protest was to stand up against the United States providing military aid to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), the Egyptian military dictatorship. As many of us know, Egypthas been in the hands of its military ever since the fall of Hosni Mubarak last February. The way SCAF treats their people is very inhumane and violent. A protest in Tahrir Squarefor a civilian-led government resulted in 30 to 40 protestors dead and thousands injured. Many protestors ended up blind due to the rubber bullets that were purposely aimed at their eyes by soldiers. The United State srecognized SCAF’s actions as out of line, and recently called for restraint. However, the S.military continues to provide aid to SCAF. They justify their actions by claiming that the U.S.is an important ally for Middle East’s economic growth and political stability. General Dynamics Land Systems is a factory here in our very own city of Detroit that produces parts of tanks that are sent to the Egyptian military. One of the major concerns of the protestors was the large amount of money that goes to General Dynamics Land Systems to support the Egyptian military when that money could instead be used for the betterment of Detroit. The question basically boils down to whether the money should go towards helping an army to suppress its people or towards providing a needy city with the necessary sources it needs to rise out of poverty. This was all mentioned during the speeches at McNamara Federal Building. Some notable speakers that attended are the president of the Arab Student Union from Wayne State University, members of Occupy Detroit, and others of the Arab community. The organizers of the protest made videos and took pictures to send to Egypt to show Egyptians that we are supporting them. This was a very unique and bold move that showed how much these people are dedicated. Hania Ghazi, a student of Wayne State University who attended the protest, said, “I think it’s important that, as Muslims, we should show solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters in Egypt because we have the opportunity to do so.”With that, I encourage everyone to open up their eyes and acknowledge the horrors happening all around the globe to our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. Families, women, and children are needlessly being killed and are in desperate need of help. The least we can do is spread awareness. Protests like these are what can start change, and protests will only be successful when people boldly step forward to join the fight.Photo Credit: Hania Ghazi
By: Sara Khan Wayne State University
Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglas, Rosa Parks, and Harriett Tubman – these are some of the greatest and most influential leaders in the African American community. They took giant leaps towards helping our nation rise out of the extreme racism that existed many decades ago. In honor of February’s Black History Month, let’s explore how far our nation has gotten in regards to ending discrimination against our Black brothers and sisters.
Today, racism isn’t as blatant as it was back in the beginning of the 19thcentury, but reality shows that racism still exists and many African Americans continue to
suffer because of the events from the past.
As racism slowly declined, some things became too engraved in society to the extent that it has become hard to change. For example, we see a continuous cycle of poverty and the lack of education.
There is a reason that many African Americans reside in low income areas and we can date that reason back to the time racism was at its peak. During that time many African Americans were denied proper education. This lack of education led to them being financially deprived and unable to pass on proper education to their children. This cycle continued and eventually led the area into poverty.
Our very own city of Detroit portrays this reality. A drive through Detroit will show you many abandoned buildings and neglected schools due to lack of funding. With the citizens not being able to pay higher taxes, the government hasn’t maintained the city properly.
Not only is the past a major determinant of today’s circumstances, some facts show that our nation still hasn’t fully overcome racism. One such eye-opening fact is that the United States has incarcerated more African Americans than South Africa. Statistics show that South Africa, under apartheid (a system of racial discrimination), locked up 851 out of 100,000 Black males in 1993. The United States, under George Bush, locked up 4,789 out of 100,000 Black males in 2006. How exactly is it that a “free nation” has a higher rate of incarcerated black men than an openly racist country? This statistic screams out that the United States might not be as “free” as it claims to be.
As Muslims, we should have a greater understanding and know not to discriminate against any race, but unfortunately many Muslims ignorantly continue to do so anyway. This past month, I was at an Islamic convention where Professor Tariq Ramadan gave a lecture. He asked the non-African American audience to consider the possibility of their son or daughter wanting to marry an African American. The tension in the room made it clear that some Muslims still haven’t fully accepted some of their own brothers and sisters.
February is the month to explore the roots of African Americans, the struggles they went through, the struggles they continue to go through today, and their accomplishments. What can we do? We can raise awareness to others. We can educate ourselves by attending events in honor of Black History Month. We can lend a hand to the African Americans in need.
We can also teach our own Muslim community to be open-minded and not judge simply on the basis of color. No one race is superior to another as is stated in the Quran: “O mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” (Quran, 49: 13).
By: Anas Alkatib Davenport University
Leadership comes in many ways and forms. One of many definitions could be summarized as “Good leaders are made
not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience (Jago, 1982).”
"I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream...a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
These were the words of Martin Luther King Jr. a great man that had a dream, a vision for the entire nation. I have just finished celebrating his day of remembrance this past week by becoming an activist in the area by helping the community through volunteering, and I appreciate the fact that if it wasn’t for the civil rights movement that was sparked and led by MLK, many people would still be segregates and/or considered second class citizens, or worse.
Although I pride myself that I’m an active volunteer within the community, this past week, and precisely on Jan 16th 2012, it was the first time that I volunteered on MLK day. As much as I was excited to do something positive on that day, I was even more excited to see as many as four hundred volunteers, if not more, in one location from all walks of life, from religious beliefs, different races, colors, to background, all gathered to do something good this day. This was truly an event where people really wanted to be part of something positive and have an impact outside their community.
The event was hosted by United Way and took place at the University of Michigan –Dearborn. There were several projects that had been posted prior to the event, or you could pick a project if you were a walk-in. I had signed up for the Belle Isle Botanical Society project. Volunteers had to assist in identifying and removing invasive plants from the forest on Belle Isle. While this was an outdoor project, there were other projects that were indoors, but where is the fun in that?
At the end of the day, we literally piled up a ton worth of these plants. Though we were
tired, it was a sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction that kept us motivated and empowered. I was also very happy to see one of my colleagues from AmeriCorps that came all the way from Lansing for this event; it was just too good to be true.
On a different note, in a previous article
, I encouraged people, especially youth, to be part of non-profit organizations, a society or even a club within their college, university, and/or their community. Since I talk the talk, I have to walk the walk too, because as they say “Practice what you preach,” and it’s not ethical in my opinion to preach what you don’t practice. Therefore, below, I’ll share some of my recent activities. Be Part of Something Good
To be more active in other areas, I have joined a society at my university called the National Society of Leadership and Success. I’ve been in it since September of 2011. Members get to be part of a Success Networking Team (SNT) in which a team of people comes together in an encouraging atmosphere to network, share goals/obstacles, offer advice and commit to actions to achieve desired results. The purpose of the SNT is to:
- Access more useful information in the form of ideas, connections and possible actions to take.
- Assemble a personal team dedicated to supporting and holding one another accountable to commitments
- Find time to focus on what you want in your life and create a strategy for achieving those results.
To make it more approachable, there has been a system in place called S.M.A.R.T. which is five steps to best practice managing your time starting with:Specific
Avoid generalities! Your goal should have specific details so you know what you are achieving.
Make sure you have solid criteria for establishing your progress toward your goal. Achievable
It doesn’t have to be simple or easy, but it should be within your realm of reality.
Your goal must be something that is meaningful.
Having specific dates for beginning and finishing goals keeps you on track.
Since I have been a member of the society, I never missed one SNT meeting because we always worked around and made sure that we as a whole can attend those meetings to make
best use of them.
Lately I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting at Davenport University’s main campus located in Grand Rapids. There, we decided to form a formal organization that would be recognized by the university. Since the National Society of Leadership and Success doesn’t have a formal organization, we held elections in which we elected a president, vice-president and the rest of the board. I was elected for the IT Coordinator and Publicity Chair for the East Region. Thus, an executive board was nominated and the first step of becoming a formal organization within Davenport University was taken. Next step will be submitting an application to university administration for approval.
The main point is that each one of us can’t stand still, even if you are working, there are many events and opportunities that you could participate in and be a positive and effective person within your family, community, and even the society as a whole. Images courtesy of:
By: Mariam Raheem International Academy
The 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at the COBO Center in Detroit has been a successful event throughout its course this year. It exploited new creative technologies through concept cars such as the Toyota Fun-Vii, as well as eco-friendly alternatives such as the electric Chevy Volt. These technologies brought auto-enthusiasts from all over the country to the Motor City.
There is something for the entire family at the NAIAS from racing video games for the kids to test driving electric cars for the adults. Perhaps the most promising attraction is the many cars that were on display at each exhibit for viewers to experience. Each exhibit offered a different set of activities in addition to their display, such as button making with Chevy or the Cloud Ride by Ford.
Not only did the Auto Show succeed in entertaining its viewers, it was also successful in raising millions of dollars for local children’s charities. Prior to the public viewing, the NAIAS hosts a charity preview through which 33 million dollars were raised in the past 7 years alone. Known as Detroit’s Prom Night, this event attracts many influential figures, including the Mayor of Detroit and the Governor of Michigan.
The North American International Auto Show is a successful event that highlights the successes of many automakers in the automotive capital of the world.
By: Nabila Ikram Detroit, MI
When many people hear “Detroit” a number of negative images and
concepts are conjured, such as the economic crisis and high crime rates. However, there are several organizations in Detroit who are challenging those perceptions; one of such organizations is LiveWorkDetroit (LWD). The purpose of LWD is to encourage, especially graduates and young professionals, to move into the city of Detroit, rather than elsewhere. LWD organizes events to expose people to Detroit and all it has to offer.
This past weekend, on January 21st, LWD organized an all day
and all-inclusive event for college students and young job seekers to introduce them to local employers, attractions, and growing residential areas in Detroit. Registered students and professionals were bussed from all parts of Michigan, including Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, to attend the event, which concluded with access to the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall.
Throughout the day, employers and current Detroit residents shared several facts, all attesting to the potential and current growth of the city. One fact that was
emphasized was the current demand for housing in Detroit. Austin Black II of City Living Detroit works with real estate and housing development in the city and affirmed that demand for housing has increased and this is a sign of growth.
Perhaps even more telling is the fact that a wide range of income levels are represented by the people who are interested in moving into the city. For example, many people from Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham, which are known to be cities with
high-income levels, have been showing an interest in moving to Detroit. Black stated that a common scenario is that students decide to move to Detroit, to much of their parents’ apprehension, and then once they move and as the parents become more familiar with the city, they too decide to move. Such effects are visible as many abandoned buildings in Detroitare now being renovated into lofts, condos, and apartments, and historic homes into bed-&-breakfasts, to accommodate the growing residential and tourist demands.
Another sign of growth is the fact that the major grocery chain, Whole Foods, will be establishing a store in Detroit. While normally this is not good news for small food businesses, Whole Foods has committed to work with Eastern Market, which is a highlight of Detroit as the largest open-air produce market in the U.S., and also plans to collaborate with Eastern Market to start a community kitchen. The fact that a major retailer has an eye on Detroit is an indicator that the city’s potential is becoming more visible.
Many organizations are also offering perks and incentives for tourists and residents. For example, residents get special discounts to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts. Free passes are also given out on the last Friday of each month for people to ride the People Mover, which is a transit system that moves people from various significant locations throughout Detroit. Inside Detroit, a non-profit organization, recently opened a Welcome Center to introduce people to the city and provides a variety of tours.
The tour at the LiveWorkDetroit! event was provided by Inside Detroit, which took participants on a drive through the Downtown and Midtown sections of the city. As the tour guide explained, Detroitis split into sections, each of which starts after passing a highway. For example, I-75 marks the boundary between Downtown and Midtown and I-94 is the boundary between Midtown and NewCenter.
The tour drove past several landmarks and symbols of Detroit, such as the Joe Louis Monument, the Spirit of Detroit statue, Riverwalk, and more. A stop was also made at the Guardian Building, which was originally a banking hall built in the late 1920s and is now an office building that houses several businesses and organizations. The building represents some of the greatest architecture in Detroitand the U.S., and from some references, even the world. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of it and do not witness the grandeur of the 40-story building which incorporates a variety of artistic and architectural styles, inside and out. On the back wall of the lobby, a six-story mural is present, which portrays a map of Michiganand the various industries and resources that make Michigan a special and unique place.
Upon reflecting on the day’s activities, the most common thought expressed amongst participants was, “[We] volunteer in other parts of Detroit that are run down and different than the parts we visited today. How can we work on rebuilding those areas as well?” The speakers admitted to not having a solid answer to this but stated that raising awareness and simply increasing interaction between the different parts of the city is vital. One speaker mentioned how one initiative is that soccer and other sports leagues have been formed where residents of the different parts of Detroit compete against each other every season. This very simple and fun activity has in itself increased a sense of community amongst Detroiters.
After hearing positive aspects and testimonials about Detroit and learning the history behind the landmarks in the city, it becomes obvious that Detroit was built on a foundation of perseverance, strength, and vision. The city has gone through several hard times throughout its history, but it has also seen several prosperous ones as well after each ordeal. And this is what many residents and organizations are now focusing on-bringing about the next peak in Detroit’s history.
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By: Nabila Ikram Detroit
Some of the greatest concerns in today’s society revolve around youth and the educational system. On one hand, one can hear arguments about the quality of schools, lack of funding, and on the other, about the students not having the values that children once
used to have years ago.
In regards to Michigan specifically, in 2009 Detroitwas ranked as second of the top five worst cities for urban youth because of its crime statistics. However, studies show that youth crime activity in Michigan is not limited to urban areas. Overall, the trend can often be seen, that as economic conditions worsen, so does the state of well being, which can lead to an increase in crime.
In a discussion with Judge Mark Slavens of the Third Circuit Court of Wayne County, who primarily works with juvenile justice, we asked what he believes are the causes for youth to become involved in crime. He had one answer: “Parents”. Judge Slavens said that based on his experience, the most issues come from single parent homes. He also mentioned that it is incredibly important for parents to be involved in their children’s lives and education.
Over the years, the amount of parental involvement in Detroit Public Schools, for example, has decreased. Judge Slavens said that when there isn’t a single book or magazine, or any positive role models, reading and other educational habits diminish. The children also do not value education. Parent education levels are also a factor. When a child comes home and the parent does not know how to help him/her with homework, this also causes a problem.
In regards to the educational system, Judge Slavens mentioned that many of the youth who come to court have low IQs, meaning they need extra educational assistance, at school
and at home. Generally, the situation is that a child is in need of some help, but does not get any, increasing his frustration, and results in him seeking attention and a sense of achievement elsewhere.
Where does the child go to get the attention he needs? What is the effect of the situation he is in? Oftentimes, gangs will extend the opportunity for a child to receive the attention he seeks on the condition that tasks are completed, such as robbery, drugs, etc. According to Judge Slavens, gang activity/violence is the primary reason youth come to court.
Since the cause and effects are known, now as individuals, families, and societies, solutions have to be derived, as the youth will be the leaders of society. The health of the youth indicates the health of the future.
According to a report by the State of Michigan, most programs focus on adolescents and children who have already had run-ins with the law and disruptive behavior. Although, these programs are important and should stay in place, the report recommended that preventative interventions be available for children as young as age 7. This is because children will often start developing traits around this age that indicate possible criminal behavior when they reach adolescence.
The interventions and programs called for are ones that deal with family education, mentoring, after-school programming, curriculum emphasis on conflict resolution, and violence prevention. The programs that are most effective are the ones that seek
to strengthen the family unit, father-mother relations, as well as, parent-child relations. In addition, preventative and reactive programs are recommended to be gender-specific as males and females have different developmental processes that influence their decisions.
On the individual level, as Judge Slavens, whose both parents were librarians, said, the one thing he often tells the youth he works with, “You have to read.” Judge Slavens underlined the importance of education and instilling the value of it in a child.
In addition, considering that the reason many youth find themselves in negative situations is because of the lack of attention and support they receive elsewhere, which makes mentoring all the more important. Judge Slavens had mentioned the need of male mentors, as many of the boys and young men do not have any positive male role models in their lives.
There are several social services agencies and institutions in Michigan through which people can become mentors of young people in need. Big Brothers and Big Sisters is one such agency. There are other private institutions as well, such as Vista Maria. With my own mother being a mentor once for a young girl, I can attest to the importance and impact mentoring a child can have, not only on the child, but also on the mentor.
By Faiz Ahmed, Oakland University
Monday, October 10th was the first Meeting of the Occupy Detroit Solidarity Movement. The Meeting was held at the Spirit of Hope Statue in Detroit. The meeting was attended by over 300 people who came out to meet for the first time and to decide how and when to launch a rally and the Occupation. The movement is heavily decentralized and is a form of direct democracy. Due to shortage of space and due to overflow, the meeting had to relocate to the Church’s grounds outside.
The organizers were those who started the group originally on Facebook and Twitter.
The organizational structure was also decided that it would consist of 12 sub committees, which would be comprised of volunteer activists who would take up specific functions, so as to ensure the smooth functioning of the Rally and the Subsequent occupation of the Grand Circus Park by those who wish to stay. It was decided by show of hands that the Rally will commence on Friday the 14th of October, 4 pm at the Spirit of Hope Statue. The participants would march from the Statue to the Grand Circus Park.