Blackworthy News

News pertinent to the young black community of Detroit

Our Juneteenth Message

Today is #Juneteenth 2020. This day is in observation of June 19, 1865, the date on which the last enclave of enslaved Africans, located in Galveston, Texas, learned the US Government had abolished formal chattel slavery nationwide. Aside from various pockets of Africans who continued to be enslaved by rogue slave owners, everyone in the country was now free of formal bondage.

Keyword: formal.

What would ensue after 1865 and well into 2020 would be an informal myriad of continued human rights violations in the form of cons, intimidation, killings, theft, and countless injustices which would form an accrued disadvantage against our people into today. While many of these were informal in their mass coordination, they were nevertheless very systematic and persistent in nature, and hardly ever rebuffed by the government if not outright perpetrated by government.

Today’s most visible elements of that include an ever-growing racial wealth gap, police brutality, and disparate health outcomes, just to name a few. We were brought into this country as the bottom caste in 1619 and are still the bottom caste in 2020, with numerous immigrant groups having arrived and ascended past us. However, that is not our entire story.

Today, what we also have is an undefeatable history of ancestors who are the gold standard for resilience, vision, and love all over the world. It is because of their blood, sweat, and tears that we stand before you today with the ability to post to Facebook, or possibly even create our own Facebook. It is because of them we have the strength to march in the face of militarized police, strive for Black excellence in predominantly white workplaces, and still wake up every day to do it all over again.

So today, on this very critical Juneteenth 2020, we ask all Black Young Professionals to appreciate both the gifts and the wins of our history, and to reflect on what has been tried and what hasn’t. Leverage your creativity and intellect now and going forward to dedicate yourselves to volunteering in the Black community (#Community), connecting with other Black folks (#Social), and learning about Black politics (#Personal).

Community, #Social, and #Personal are the three pillars Black Young Professionals of Metro Detroit was founded on and this is the most important time to keep those in front of us.

With Power and Love,
BYP Detroit

Black Agenda Recap

Activation & Exposure

As part of our Black History Month activities, we held our first ever Black Agenda panel discussion on February 19th, 2020 at the University of Detroit Mercy.

It is even more important this year, being the presidential election year following years of Black millennial awakening around our socio-economic status, that we have candid conversations about our community. This event served as a forum where young, local activists and political aides were able to field questions from their young professional contemporaries on what we can do now.

The panel included:

Lasting for nearly two hours, the panelists accepted questions from both the audience and our moderator, Kevin Jackon, Director for Black Young Professionals of Metro Detroit. They were asked questions pertaining specifically to the current state of affairs in Detroit, as well as national Black issues. Topics were selected by Black Young Professionals’ planning team and included the following:

  • Top 3 issues for Detroit’s Black population right now
  • Economic inclusion for Black businesses and community members
  • The connection between insurance rates and politics
  • Black household wealth under Obama versus under Trump
  • Criminal justice system disparities
  • Unity within the Black community
  • The electoral college and how to find the motivation to still vote
  • Local hands-on opportunities to get involved, and recommendations to make an impact

Each of the panelists represented different strategies but discovered they have the same end-game: Enable the economic independence of the Black community. The three major strategies discussed included:

  • Grass-roots work to support the immediate needs of our communities,
  • Political work within campaigns to promote allies as candidates and create policy which addresses our community specifically,
  • And organizing direct action to lobby existing politicians

The overriding intention of this event was to expose young professionals to different ways they could be more engaged in the uplift of our community and to know what those uplift priorities are. Although we are not a political organization and our hosting of this event or these panelists is neither an endorsement nor an association, we as Black Young Professionals in 2020 are now at the forefront of making progress for our community. Therefore this event was held to active and expose potential leaders.

We will continue to hold other activation and exposure activities this year and into the future.

If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to reach out to us.

COVID-19 Event Changes

In response to recent local developments of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the BYP Detroit Executive Board has authorized an immediate postponement of all upcoming BYP public events and activities. This decision was based on recommendations from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, input from our partner organizations, and expected turnouts. We are taking this measure for the safety of our members, followers, and friends who would otherwise attend these activities.

Postponed Events

  • Men’s Night – March 14th 
  • Detroit College Day 2020 – March 20th
  • Charles H. Wright Guided Group Tour – March 28th
  • Pistons vs. Heat Basketball Game – April 3rd
    Refunds will be given to those who have already purchased seat reservations. These refunds will be processed the week of March 16th. Purchasers will receive an email when their refund has been processed.
  • Detroit Institute of Arts Guided Group Tour – April 11th 
  • Mentorship Programs Will Also Be Affected
    Look for separate communications with additional information.

The BYP Detroit Planning Team will be continually monitoring the situation and rescheduling all of these events for a later time. They could potentially be moved to late April or May, based on recommendations from public health officials and Executive Board approval.

In the meantime, we will be releasing digital content to our website, Facebook, and YouTube pages to keep you engaged in our mission and vision of a unified young Black professional community. Other new experience enhancements will be fast-tracked during this time to provide you with more opportunities to learn about the organization and connect with others outside of our events.

Protect Yourself

We strongly encourage everyone to engage with their employers about the opportunity to work from home/telecommute, to lower your chances of exposure. Additionally, please read the official recommendations from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at the link below.

COVID-19 Information & Recommendations

The majority of our Black community is in a position to be among the hardest hit by school and business closings due to the pandemic. Please check-in on loved ones, especially those in the high-risk groups (Asthma, Immunocompromised, Over Age 60, Obese, and more) as these are the groups with the highest fatality rates from contracting the infection.

Lastly, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has set up a COVID-19 Hotline. Public health and other experts will answer health-related questions about COVID-19. The team can also direct residents, providers and more to the right resources in their local communities and in other state government departments. The hotline will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136.