All roads lead to Detroit

Nearly two years ago, Angela Glover Blackwell, the president of PolicyLink, an organization that marries innovative local practices with stellar national policy, said "All roads lead to Detroit."

The intent behind her statement was simply that everyone in the country is looking to Detroit to better understand what is happening in urban centers, where there's been significant disinvestment. They are also looking to Detroit to discover what strategies and what investments can make a difference in turning around a city in the midst of generations of decline. Detroit serves as a moral calling and economic imperative to many in the country, including President Obama and his administration.

Essentially, Detroit is on the national and international stage; the world is looking at us. The lights on this stage are bright and unrelenting as they reveal our flaws publicly; the very worst about our city has been showcased for the world to see through the media. The stage also provides us an opportunity to spotlight our best assets: the work that inspires us and the people who never give up. The stage also serves as a place where our talents prevail and where the world will witness our comeback.

This week the stage is being set even more as Angela Glover Blackwell, true to her word, brings the world to see our very best. Her organization, PolicyLink, is hosting its Equity Summit in Detroit, bringing thousands of people to our fair city. As noted, the various and disparate roads bring them here, and now it is our responsibility to ensure that those roads lead to a better destination for the city of Detroit.

-- Tonya Allen is the Foundation's Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Program.