One of the highlights of being a DELP scholar is our annual reunion. For most of us, it’s the only opportunity we have to see each other and immerse ourselves in all things DELP. No matter how large our group gets or how unique our experiences are, there’s been one constant in my seven (!) years as a DELPer: Detroit.
The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau supports ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program. Every summer, we travel to Detroit for a weekend filled with learning and fun. It’s become one of my favorite annual trips. Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Detroit?” The same city that filed for bankruptcy? The same place with the high crime and unemployment rates? Yes, but if that’s all you know about this Midwestern city in Michigan, then you’re missing the big picture.
Yes, Detroit has its challenges. However, look beyond the bankruptcy and abandoned buildings and you’ll see beautiful hotels, parks and public art displays. You’ll see a great new convention center. You’ll see people dedicating their time and talent to rebuild this city. When I see Detroit, I see progress. I’m a native Washingtonian. I remember the years when the downtown area was desolate. Stores closed. Businesses moved to the suburbs or other parts of the city. Buildings laid vacant. And then, you saw the resurgence. The Verizon Center. New restaurants, hotels and stores. Businesses moving back to the area. What I saw in DC is what’s happening now in Detroit. With nurturing, guidance, and investments, I believe in the comeback that is The D.
So, thank you Detroit for not only being a gracious host to DELP every year, but also showing us what a bright future looks like.