Detroit Man Charged In Deaths Of Gay Men, Transgender Woman

DETROIT (AP) — A man charged with fatally shooting three people and wounding two others at a Detroit home had targeted them because they were part of the LGBTQ community, prosecutors said Friday.

Devon Robinson, 18, of Detroit, was charged Thursday with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of assault and weapons charges in the May 25 shooting on the city’s east side, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office said. He was due in court Friday. Records don’t list a lawyer for him.

“We must remain ever vigilant in our fight to eradicate hate,” prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement.

Police have said the shooting happened about 5 a.m. during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The shooting killed 21-year-old Alunte Davis, 20-year-old Paris Cameron and 20-year-old Timothy Blancher, all of Detroit. Davis and Blancher were gay men and Cameron was a transgender woman, the prosecutor’s office said.

Prosecutor’s spokeswoman Maria Miller provided the alleged motive in an email Friday but declined to release additional details, saying those would come out later in court.

The Fair Michigan Justice Project, which assists authorities investigating serious crimes against LGBTQ people, worked with prosecutors on the case. Fair Michigan President Alanna Maguire said “This case illustrates the mortal danger faced by members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community.”

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ENTERTAINMENT UPDATE:

Detroit Couple Builds Chitlin’-Cleaning Empire

Bruce and Cynthia Tucker built a successful business around one of the oldest and most fundamental components of soul food: chitterlings, or chitlins as they are more commonly called.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Tuckers are the owners and operators of Gourmet Food Center in Detroit which specializes in hand-cleaned chitterlings.

Cynthia got the idea as she prepared to cook dinner for her family. “I was getting ready to have the family over for dinner, so I was going to be cleaning 40 pounds of chitlins, and while I was cleaning these chitlins I thought to myself, boy, this is a lot of work. I need to be getting paid for this,” she told The Detroit Free Press. 

chitlin

The Tuckers (chitterlingcleaners.com)

The Gourmet Food Center is a 5,000-square-foot facility in the Eastern Market district, where “well trained, experienced and health-conscious food handlers clean the Chitterlings under strict Gourmet Food Center guidelines, preparing packaged, fresh and ready to cook Chitterlings,” as posted on its website.

chitlin

(Facebook)

Chitterlings, which are pig intestines, are notoriously difficult to clean and are known for their rather pungent odor when cooked, even after cleaning. A true American staple, chitterlings were consumed by black people during slavery, although many cultures around the world eat the intestines and other internal organs of animals. What’s Cooking America provides some insightful history on chitterlings:

In colonial times, hogs were slaughtered in December, and hog maws or ears, pigs feet, and neck bones were given to the slaves. Until emancipation, African-American food choices were restricted by the dictates of their owners, and slave owners often fed their slaves little more than the scraps of animal meat that the owners deemed unacceptable for themselves. Because of the West African tradition of cooking all edible parts of plants and animals, these foods helped the slaves survive in the United States.

The site also states that the business has been in operation for 29 years. There are three locations on both the East and West sides of Detroit. The couple says they clean more than 100 tons of chitterlings a year, and that their facility is the “largest Hand Cleaned Chitlin Cleaning Facility in the United States.”

The store’s motto, as per the website, is, ‘We clean the s**t out of chitlins!”

In addition to the stores, the business offers online ordering where customers can purchase cleaned chitterlings, hog maws, honey-glazed ham, and other soul food staples.

 

The post Detroit Couple Builds Chitlin’-Cleaning Empire appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

EMPLOYMENT SEARCH UPDATE:

JPMorgan Kicks In Another $15 Million to Advance Economic Growth in Detroit

JPMorgan Chase has committed $ 15 million in Detroit to help more black residents benefit from the continued economic recovery in the Motor City. The new investment is geared to expand economic opportunity across some Detroit neighborhoods.

The nation’s largest bank will combine a $ 10 million, long-term low-cost loan and $ 5 million in philanthropy to enable the Strategic Neighborhood Fund to finance critical neighborhood projects, lacking access to conventional financing. The bank claims funding will help attract extra capital, and eventually provide local residents further access to affordable housing, grocery stores, schools, and commercial space.

The bank’s investment is part of its $ 150 million five-year commitment in Detroit’s economic recovery, which includes helping women, minority, and veteran entrepreneurs.

A city project backed by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the Strategic Neighborhood Fund, recently was expanded to 10 neighborhoods from three. The new commitment will revitalize commercial areas in the 10 neighborhoods, allowing residents to gain new jobs, start businesses, and have access to business services.

JPMorgan Chase invested $ 5 million into the Strategic Neighborhood Fund in 2016. Commenting on the latest commitment, Duggan stated in a news release, “With the help of partners like JPMorgan Chase, we are taking the successful strategies that worked in our Downtown and Midtown areas, and scaling it to bring physical improvements and development to neighborhoods across our city.”

Duggan continued: “We’ve got a lot more work to do, and together we’ll expand the good work being done to ensure more Detroiters are participating in the comeback.”

Peter Scher, head of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase, added, “There are so many clear signs of recovery across Detroit. The leadership of the Mayor and the strategic focus of so many partners has truly been the key to this progress. “We want this growth to benefit all Detroiters, especially those who have lived here their whole lives. That’s why we continue to invest our long-term capital in more neighborhoods.”

In 2014, the bank says it helped launch two community development loan funds in the city; the Detroit Neighborhoods Fund and Chase Invest Detroit Fund. Both were set up through Capital Impact Partners and Invest Detroit, two community development financial institutions.

These funds, including a $ 40 million in low-cost debt from JPMorgan Chase, helped finance the construction of mixed-use real estate development, affordable multifamily housing, and high quality residential, commercial, and retail developments as well as provided flexible capital for small and medium-sized businesses in Detroit.

All told, the funds have leveraged over $ 230 million in additional funding from outside sources to support residential and commercial development.

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The post JPMorgan Kicks In Another $ 15 Million to Advance Economic Growth in Detroit appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

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Detroit Auto Show Focuses On SUV’s, Electric Cars

DETROIT (AP) — SUVs and a big pickup truck will get top billing at Detroit’s auto show this year, but there are some surprise sports cars and electric vehicles on the agenda.

Press days for the show begin Monday, although there are a couple of unveils set for before the show starts

The most popular vehicle of the bunch is the Ford Explorer, revealed ahead of the show Wednesday night at Ford Field, the home of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions.

Cadillac will show off its XT6, a smaller-than-a-truck, three-row family hauler at an event Sunday night. Toyota brings back the high-performance Supra on Monday. The sports car developed a cult following when it was on the market from 1978 to 2002. Nissan and its Infiniti luxury brand plan to show two concept electric vehicles on Monday as well.

This year’s North American International Auto Show will take place in January for the final time. In 2020, it switches to June to escape the cold weather and show off more products outside, including autonomous vehicles.

Here are the big unveils coming up for the show, which opens to the public from Jan. 19 through 27:

CADILLAC XT6

The marketing folks at General Motors’ Cadillac brand are hoping the new XT6 big SUV will carve out a niche in the crowded market for utilities with three rows of seats but aren’t so huge they’re considered trucks. The six- to seven-passenger XT6 has a chiseled Caddy look and unique premium luxury materials to set it apart, but it’s going against well-appointed luxury versions of the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, as well as entries from BMW, Audi and other automakers. It’s also got the same engine as the other brands, a 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 310 horsepower, and a nine-speed automatic transmission. The XT6 has a suite of standard safety features including automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. It goes on sale in the summer as a 2020 model in the U.S. Price and gas mileage weren’t announced.

FORD EXPLORER

Ford’s aging Explorer big SUV is getting a major revamp as it faces growing competition in the market for family haulers with three rows of seats. The company unveiled the new version last week at Ford Field, and will display it again at the auto show. The Explorer, last reworked for the 2011 model year, gets a top-to-bottom update that includes a switch from front- to rear-wheel-drive, as well as updated engines and transmissions, some nice standard safety features and even high-performance and gas-electric hybrid versions. The SUV’s appearance doesn’t change much, but the roof line does slope more from front to back. Ford also added more interior space and second-row seats that tip and slide forward with the touch of a button. The base engine is an updated turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder with 300 horsepower. There’s also a 365 horsepower 3-liter turbocharged V6. The base price will rise $ 400 from the current $ 32,365 excluding shipping. Fuel economy wasn’t announced. The Chicago-built Explorer goes on sale in the summer.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT

Rather than exiting the sinking U.S. midsize sedan business like two of its Detroit competitors, Volkswagen is staying in by updating the Passat for 2020. But it’s not spending huge dollars developing a new chassis or replacing engines and transmissions. VW did give the car new sheet metal (except for the roof) to make it look sportier and tweaked the existing 174-horsepower 2-Liter turbocharged engine. It also revamped the electrical system to handle more advanced driver assist features such as now-standard automatic emergency braking and blind spot detection. Passat U.S. sales were down 32 percent last year but could get a boost because Fiat Chrysler got out of the midsize car market and Ford will exit soon. The new Passat arrives in dealerships in mid- to late-summer. Price wasn’t announced, but VW is trying to keep it close to the current base of $ 25,295 excluding shipping.

PHOTO: AP


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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

How Detroit Became a Model for Urban Renewal

Imagine a bustling downtown filled with inviting shops, restaurants, and happy patrons. Just a few blocks away sit neighborhoods with dilapidated houses, buildings, and vacant lots, high unemployment and high poverty rates.

This isn’t the story of any one city. In fact, we see this playing out in far too many urban areas across the U.S. and around the world. Some of the wealthiest cities with vibrant and growing economies have neighborhoods that are struggling from lack of investment, jobs, education, and training.

This situation is urgent, but thankfully there is hope: American cities are excellent laboratories for innovation. And no city better reflects this than Detroit.

Since 2014, we have been working closely with Mayor Mike Duggan and community leaders to solve some of Detroit’s most pressing issues. All of our work–from creating a trained workforce to revitalizing neighborhoods to boosting small business expansion–follows a strategy of inclusive growth that strengthens the economy by helping existing residents.

Thanks to the cooperation and engagement of local leaders, significant progress has been made on these challenges. Take neighborhood revitalization, for example. We recognized early on that Detroit would not fully come back if we did not invest in areas beyond downtown and busy commercial corridors. The neighborhoods–communities surrounding downtown and Midtown Detroit that have been hardest hit by the city’s downturn–needed significant help.

In 2016, public, private, and philanthropic partners jointly developed the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF), an initiative that brings together community developers and private, philanthropic, and public capital to help distressed neighborhoods.

Over the past two years, the SNF has been using funds to build commercial and residential real estate, preserve and add more affordable housing, and enhance community infrastructure and services such as pedestrian lighting, safer street crossings, park improvements, bike-share lanes, and the removal of blighted homes. The Coe–the first new mixed-use development in West Village in decades–is an example of one such project developed by the SNF. Now, drawing from philanthropic contributions and public subsidies, the SNF is working on raising an additional $ 130 million to revitalize seven more neighborhoods in Detroit, on top of the three it already oversees.

Through partnerships like the SNF, the city has been working to create “20-minute neighborhoods”: areas where residents are a 20-minute walk or a short bike ride away from basic needs and services, including grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools, parks, and public transit. The goal behind this is to remove barriers to opportunity by enhancing convenience and quality of life for residents and creating the conditions for which people at all income levels can and want to live.

Boosting growth of small businesses, particularly those owned by minority entrepreneurs, has also been a critical part of our approach to neighborhood revitalization.

Detroit has the highest percentage of black-owned businesses, 77%, out of America’s 50 most populous cities. Meeting the needs of these entrepreneurs has been vital in unleashing their power as drivers of opportunity and local economic growth. The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund–facilitated by the Detroit Development Fund, with funding from JPMorgan Chase and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation–provides low-cost loans and access to technical assistance to people who can’t obtain traditional forms of capital. This fund has been so successful that in 2018 it attracted new investors, tripling in size to $ 18 million and recently expanding to San Francisco, Chicago, and the South Bronx.

While much work remains to be done, these comprehensive efforts on the ground have yielded a blueprint for addressing the most vexing issues faced by cities around the world.

Recently, JPMorgan took this model to France, announcing a $ 30 million investment across Greater Paris with a particular focus on the region’s neighborhoods with the highest poverty and unemployment rates. The investment will target distressed neighborhoods with the goal of boosting small business growth and providing people the skills training needed to climb the economic ladder.

Our urban renewal model works because it helps provide people with opportunities to improve their lives. The residents I’ve met want civic, business, and community leaders to set aside their parochial interests and work together to solve community problems.

My hope is that more cities will look to our work in Detroit for solutions to stubborn economic challenges. We all have a stake in restoring struggling cities, and we can only get there through meaningful collaboration.

Peter L. Scher is the head of corporate responsibility and chairman of the mid-Atlantic region for JPMorgan Chase.

Fortune

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