History of CitizenDetroit

Beginning in 2012, more than 10 groups of citizens from across the city of Detroit have come together to engage in discussions on a variety of subjects related to the economic recovery of the city of Detroit. They have varied in size from 25 to 110 and the topics have been as varied as setting budget priorities, debating the potential role and devising a critical path of resolving issues by the emergency manager, issues that could be addressed as the city emerged from bankruptcy. More than 800 citizens of the city as diverse as high frequency voters and teenagers who were at best at an embryonic stage of participating in civic engagement. The purpose was always the same: Providing an opportunity and challenge for Detroiters to engage in meaningful dialogue about civic issues and enhance participation in their own democracy. 

Established as CitizenDetroit by Dr. Irvin D. Reid, former president of the University, and holder of the Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement and his collaborative partner, Sheila Cockrel, former City of Detroit Councilwoman, and adjunct faculty at Wayne State University, the program became an initiative of the WSU’s Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society (FOCIS).