‘I Dream Detroit’ Study Seeks to Uplift Women of Color in Economic Revitalization

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Detroit Vegan Soul Owners Erika Boyd and Kirsten Ussery-Boyd, Photo Courtesy of the Institute for Policy Studies

The Black Worker Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies seeks to uplift the voices of Detroit’s largest, and most marginalized, demographic as the city moves towards economic revitalization.

“I Dream Detroit: The Voice and Vision of Women of Color on Detroit’s Future” is a report that sheds a light on the women of color that have contributed to Detroit’s economic development, but are often left out of the conversation for such development in the future.

Major findings of the study showed that, of the 500 women of color who participated in the study, 71 percent said they do not feel included in Detroit’s economic development plans.

Many of these women include entrepreneurs that still strive to support their community. Nineteen percent of respondents included business owners and nonprofit leaders, 52 percent of whom stated that they employ individuals from disadvantaged communities.

In an interview with The Root Kimberly Freeman Brown, “I Dream Detroit” lead author, voiced her sentiments about the lack of representation for women of color in the city’s plans for economic revitalization.

“How is it that the images I see about Detroit’s revival don’t often include these women?” Brown said.

“Imagining and building a new Detroit without their meaningful participation will prevent Detroit from fully coming into its potential and promise.”

The study doesn’t leave off without offering viable suggestions for how these women of color, named by the study as “solutionaries,” can be included as more prominent voices. Some of the solutions included investing in these women’s businesses and nonprofits, involving them in conversations about Detroit’s economic future, and implementing a “pipeline for recruitment into key leadership positions.

Women of color make up 91 percent of all women in Detroit. The “I Dream Detroit” Project launched in spring 2016 and included the perspectives of 500 women citywide, through focus groups and a survey. Learn more about the study here.

Kesi Felton

Communications Intern

Kési Felton is a sophomore Journalism major from Atlanta, Georgia. This year she serves as the Senior Editor for Her Campus Howard Chapter. She also works with the Cathy Hughes School of Communications Student Council as the Assistant Director of the Freshman Mentoring Program. In addition to writing her own personal blog, she has written articles for Walker's Legacy and Pretty Girls Sweat, LLC. Through writing and journalism, Kési hopes to share the stories of underrepresented groups, starting with Black women.

 

Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.

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