Portia Roberson, CEO of the nonprofit Focus: HOPE, will be the keynote speaker on November 2 at the 10th annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Rising Summit at the downtown Detroit campus of Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD).

Focus: HOPE’s job training and community support programs have been a cornerstone for many Detroit residents for more than 50 years. The organization has been in the vanguard of efforts to promote racial justice and economic opportunity for all Detroiters.

“The work of Focus: HOPE is a perfect complement to what we are trying to do at ARISE Detroit! and the Neighborhoods Rising Summit,” said Luther Keith, ARISE Detroit! executive director. “Focus: HOPE is walking the walk, not just talking the talk. We are thrilled to have Portia Roberson bring a message of equity and economic opportunity to the neighborhoods summit.”

Prior to joining Focus: HOPE, Roberson was Group Executive of the City of Detroit’s Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department. She worked to ensure all major economic development projects within the city adhered to hiring Detroit-headquartered or Detroit-based businesses, allowing Detroit workers opportunities for employment. She also previously served as the city’s corporation counsel. Roberson will speak at 9:30 a.m.

This year’s summit theme is “ARISE-ification: Creating an Inclusive and Equitable Detroit.” The event focuses on removing barriers to economic opportunities and expanding efforts to include neighborhoods as part of Detroit’s revival efforts.

The summit is free and open to the public.  It takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the WCCCD campus, 1001 W. Fort Street, Detroit 48226.  A continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Residents can register for the summit at:

The Neighborhoods Rising Summit is designed to equip residents with strategies to improve their neighborhoods. The event features discussions on steering development to improve neighborhoods, as well as promoting inclusive and diverse opportunities for job training and neighborhood entrepreneurship.

The event includes 12 workshops and more than 50 community leaders offering expertise in neighborhood transformation, including:

  • Revitalizing commercial corridors and promoting small business entrepreneurship;
  • Home buying through the Detroit Land Bank and other programs;
  • Utilizing programs that promote early childhood development;
  • Neighborhood revitalization strategies;
  • Personal development for neighborhood change;
  • Finding jobs and overcoming barriers to employment;
  • Finding funding and strategic planning support for neighborhood projects;
  • Organizing the fight against blight and forming block clubs;
  • And learning how to appeal property tax assessments and qualify for exemptions.

Workshops will be held from 10:45 a.m. to noon and from 1:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The summit will also feature community organization exhibitors with information and resources to help neighborhood residents.

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