As if we need to list more reasons to love our city … but why not? Here are a few places, faces, items and events that make Detroiters all happy and tingly inside.
Carli Goltowski once worked for Shinola, the luxury brand and manufacturer based in Detroit. Today, she is the owner of her own Detroit-based clothing shop called Good Neighbor, which is coincidentally — or maybe not so much — located on the first floor of Detroit’s Shinola Hotel. But that’s not the best part of this story. Good Neighbor, which carries men’s and women’s apparel along with custom city-themed items, is actually a good neighbor. With every sale, the shop donates dollars to Humble Design, a nonprofit in Pontiac that helps families transitioning from homelessness furnish their new residence.
Queen of Soul Gets R-E-S-P-E-C-T
We can’t deny it: It’s an honor that Aretha Franklin, who died in 2018, was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. Even so, the city of Detroit won’t be denied its due when it comes to showing R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the late Queen of Soul, a lover and resident of The D. Right away, we decided to rename Chene Park the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre. Next, we started lobbying Congress to have a stretch of M-10 (aka the Lodge) named after her. It became the Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway this past summer. And just to throw it out there: In 2017, long before that Pulitzer thing, a section of Madison Street in Detroit was baptized Aretha Franklin Way.
Motor City Street Dance Academy
The ingenuity of Detroiters looking to pay it forward appears endless these days. We’ve got amateur horticulturists planting trees and gardens to beautify neighborhoods. Undergrad students empowering homeless women by giving them jobs making sleeping bag coats for the homeless. And we’ve got b-boy Benito “Mav-One” Vasquez, who is channeling his love of hip-hop culture and street dancing to teach kids in southwest Detroit, where he grew up, how to be entrepreneurs and artists as well as accountable, responsible human beings. Vasquez runs Motor City Street Dance Academy, a safe space where anyone with a creative drive in music, dance and art can express themselves and their talents through the same culture he did as a teen. All the while, they are also cultivating the skills they possess to become productive people in their communities.