Updates and announcements

Recap: 8th Annual Holiday Mixer

This was the largest one yet.

First off, shout-out to the amazing team from the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA, Inc.), Detroit Chapter. They put in serious sweat equity from beginning to end. On behalf of both Black Young Professionals of Metro Detroit, as well as the entire collective of Detroit Black Professional Affinity Organizations (Herein referred to as the “Affinity”), we thank them sincerely.

This year’s event was held at the amazing Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in the Cultural Center of Detroit, MI. Well over 250 guests graced the beautiful Rotunda with their presence to fellowship together. This year was a departure from the routine of our past holiday parties, as the Affinity voted to change to a new beneficiary. The winning charity organization was the Midnight Golf Program. The mission of their program is to improve under-served young adults’ personal development, educational preparedness and appreciation of the game of golf. Currently the program meets twice a week with two groups of 125 students for life lessons, golf lessons and a sit-down dinner.

Food provided by by Jackson Five Star Catering did not disappoint as guests mingled and danced the night away.

This event serves as the official metro-area wide holiday get-together focused on Black professionals of all industries, education backgrounds,and career levels. As always, thanks to the generosity and support of our awesome community, the Affinity was able to present a donation of $5,000 to the Midnight Golf Program. We’d like to sincerely thank everyone who was able to attend the event this year or who donated online. Below are a few of the amazing pictures, along with information on the photographer of the evening.

Additional pictures can be found on our Facebook page here.

Photographer: Will Daniels of W.L. Daniels Photography

What we did with Noel Night 2018.

So, look. Noel Night is a Detroit tradition. We don’t even know when it started, but if you’re anywhere in Metro Detroit, you know about it. Noel Night is produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc., a non-profit community development organization that supports economic growth in Detroit’s Midtown district.

The original major attraction to Noel Night was free admission to the museums which normally charge for entry, such as the Michigan Science Center, or the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) only charges people who are not residents of Wayne, Macomb, or Oakland counties; But it’s still a big attraction, free or not. This year, 2018, things changed significantly. Midtown Detroit, Inc. decided to break up Noel Night into two halves, to increase safety and encourage more patronization of smaller midtown businesses, rather than the museums stealing the show every year.

This year the first half of the event was from 11AM-5PM and focused on the Cultural Center of Detroit; That is where all the museums are. Then the second half of the event spanned from 5PM until 10PM, and was essentially for everyone else. Black Young Professionals of Metro Detroit organized a “Noel Night Crawl” for the second half of Noel Night, visiting several local businesses in the midtown area. Check out our pictures below.

With close to thirty people braving the cold, rainy weather, everyone in attendance was elated by our discoveries. We were able to connect people with new businesses and discover existing ones they hadn’t known about. We were very grateful to all those business owners and representatives who accommodated our large group and engaged us on the mission and values of their businesses. To that end, we’d like to send a special thank you to these places in particular, all of which are Black-owned and operated:

Check out all these wonderful businesses, and check out our pictures below!

The Hate U Give

On November 18th Black Young Professionals of Detroit screened and discussed, The Hate U Give. We will try to give a summary without giving spoilers!

Based on the novel authored by Angie Thomas, by the same name, “The Hate U Give” tackles the topic of unarmed Black lives taken at the hands of police. We see tragedy unfold in front of Starr Carter, the main character, as she witnesses her friend, Khalil, being shot by a police officer, while sitting in the passenger seat of Khalil’s car. Almost immediately after the shooting, before Starr herself is able to grasp the weight of her friend’s death, she is thrust into multiple perspectives of the event she herself witnessed. One side wanted to find fault in Khalil for his actions leading up to his death, while the other side saw Khalil’s death as more of the same overzealous policing. While the main subject centers on Khalil’s death, the secondary but also prominent theme centers on Starr navigating two universes, the predominantly white, upper-class private school she attends and the black working-class neighborhood she lives in.

The movie gave attendees a lot of subject matter to discuss— starting with the title. The idea of “THUG LIFE” is artistically woven throughout the movie. Just to give you a two second Tupac primer; The rapper uses “THUG LIFE” as an acronym; which stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants F!@#$ Everybody.” Khalil explains the acronym to Starr, which later serves as a bit of foreshadowing when the mounting tensions and vitriol on both sides climaxes to Starr’s younger brother ultimately becoming a product and victim of THUG LIFE. Attendees discussed the ways in which THUG LIFE has contributed to society today. The discussion bore another question. “Does THUG LIFE truly F!@#$ everyone or is it just the Black community?” There was not a consensus on this question. We could agree that it may affect us as a community more but it also affects the country as a whole.

We later discussed how society fault finds as opposed to fact-find cases when a police officer kills an unarmed Black person, when parents should have the “talk” with their kids about what to do when stopped by the police and code-switching— a term used to describe the practice of alternating your language or how you express yourself while communicating in different social circles.

In all, the movie was an incredibly heartbreaking mirror of the current state of society. While it was a gut punch, to many of us, it also was a call to action to end the contributing factors to THUG LIFE.