News Stories, Developments, and Issues to Watch in 2024

Ringing in the New Year means that over the ensuing 12 months, there will be thousands of news stories, developments, and issues to watch and follow.  There will be stories – good and bad – about issues and developments in education, business/entrepreneurship, the economy, communities, politics, government, science, sports and entertainment, social and human rights, faith-based, crime, and world conflicts that will touch broad sectors of African Americans living in Detroit, the region, state, and across the nation.

The following are stories, developments, and issues to watch this year.

A federal court ruled in late December 2023 that the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission must redraw 13 metro Detroit-area legislative district maps because the current ones are illegal and dilute the voices of Black voters, a violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act and U.S. Constitution.  With the upcoming primary and general elections in Michigan, which include the 2024 Presidential election, time is of the essence to get the new maps in place.  In addition, Gov. Whitmer has called a special election to fill two vacant seats in the Michigan House of Representatives. The special primary is on January 30, 2024, and the special general is on April 16, 2024. A hearing in early January will be scheduled to determine a viable process and timetable to complete the redrawn maps that will be fair to African American voters in Detroit and surrounding metro cities.

In what looks to be a rematch between Republican and former President Donald Trump and incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden this year, Michigan again will play a pivotal role in who gets elected.  Much is at stake to convince voters that either Biden’s or Trump’s vision is better for Michiganians and all Americans and at addressing key issues such as job creation, the economy, civil and human rights, abortion rights, immigration reform, strengthening America’s borders, and the wars between Russia and Ukraine, and Israel and Hamas.  The Israel and Hamas War has the potential to exponentially escalate and draw other adversary countries deeper into the conflict.

Several races in Detroit and surrounding suburbs will be closely watched during the primary and general elections by African Americans to see if the 13th Congressional District, with its heavy Black population (Majority-Minority), votes for a Black representative to represent the 13th on Capitol Hill, or will voters re-elect Indian American Shri Thanedar for a second term.

Detroit City Council plans to finalize redrawn City Council districts in January.  With the results of the 2020 U.S. Census showing large differences in population across the seven council districts, the city is moving to redraw the district map for a greater population balance.  Many city residents have voiced concern that neighborhoods and communities would be altered to impact community groups, associations, and other community-specific entities.  It is believed that Detroiters will have the opportunity to give public comments about the new maps when the Council reconvenes on January 9.  The Council is expected to decide on the maps later in the month.

After multiple decades of losing and being called SOL (Same Old Lions), the Detroit Lions have changed the narrative of how they want to be identified.  By clinching the NFC North Division for the first time in 30 years, the Lions are guaranteed to host at least one Playoff Game at Ford Field in January.  Many faithful fans and NFL pundits believe this football team could make a deep playoff run.  Could the run mean a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time to play for all the marbles on February 11?  Stay tuned!

The eyes of the NFL and its fans will be on Detroit when the 2024 NFL Draft is held in the Motor City on April 25 – 27.  The three-day event is expected to attract between 300,000 and 400,000 people to converge in downtown Detroit.  The Draft in Detroit is projected to have a giant economic impact on the City’s local businesses that could exceed $200 million.  Mayor Duggan said the economic impact could even exceed Super Bowl XL played in Detroit in 2006.

In 2024, four significant laws will be implemented to increase gun safety in Michigan, which will require such steps as safe storage, universal background checks, and gun bans for anyone convicted of domestic violence.  The Red Flag Law, which goes into effect in February, will be one of the most comprehensive measures ever passed in Michigan to address gun safety, making the state a national leader in firearms safety measures.

Many will be watching the progression of the Multimedia Jobs Act, a two-bill package that bipartisan lawmakers in Lansing are working on.  If passed, the Act would create attractive tax credits to incentivize and promote Michigan-produced films, television projects, corporate videos, digital streaming productions, and commercials.  Lawmakers and industry stakeholders believe the passage of the Act will give Michigan a much-needed economic shot in the arm.  Local filmmakers see Detroit becoming a huge benefactor and major film and television production hub that will bring jobs and monetary windfalls to Motor City.

Throughout 2024, expect more progress in the early development of the $1.5 billion District Detroit.  The mammoth construction project is expected to “build or renovate” residential buildings, commercial offices, two hotels, open public and green spaces, and numerous entertainment venues.  District Detroit is estimated to be completed in 2028 or 2029, with the designated 50 blocks bordered by John C. Lodge Expressway (west), I-75 (east), Mack Ave/Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (north), and Grand Circus Park (south).  District Detroit is expected to be a premier destination for urban living, working, and playing when completed.  Vast employment opportunities and education & training via Detroit at Work are expected to be a hallmark of District Detroit.



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