The Phoenix is a mythical beast which lives and dies by burning itself into a heap of ashes. From the ashes rises the next generation Phoenix. I look around at the Detroit Metropolitan area and realize that we have become a heap of ashes.
The fire began to blaze in 1968 with the riots. From that moment on the death spiral had begun. The fire is out. We are but a pile of ash. The question now becomes what will happen with this pile of ash? Will we be blown away by the wind never again to breathe the breath of life? Or, just maybe, will we rise like a Phoenix from the ashes?
I have hope that we will rise.
In the last 24 hours I have been a part of two significant events in our city. On Wednesday, September 29 I participated in TEDxDetroit and on Thursday, September 30 I participated in EACH. These two gatherings were very different and very much the same. Both of them are seeking to transform a city which has become an icon of failure.
TEDxDetroit is a gathering of innovators, thinkers, doers, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and catalysts. EACH is a gathering of pastors. TED is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-everything; EACH crossed racial, economic, urban, and suburban. TED made a call to the people of this city to act and do and be creative to transform this place. EACH made a call to the people of this city to act and do and be creative to transform this place.
This may be a historic time that is coming to the city of Detroit.
From both I left with the same question: Will anyone really act?
I heard fine speeches and great visions and big dreams. I prayed. I worshipped. I thought. I reflected. I was challenged.
But will I act?
A Phoenix may rise but it will require us to act.