Detroit musician Ina Lis Pozon takes the stage at the 2018 Occupy the Corner kickoff event June 22 at Dueweke Park in Detroit.

Detroit musician Ina Lis Pozon takes the stage at the 2018 Occupy the Corner kickoff event June 22 at Dueweke Park in Detroit.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Occupy the Corner 2018 kicks off in Detroit

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published July 6, 2018

 Registered nurse Ella Underwood, of the Henry Ford Health System, checks Detroit resident James Humprey’s blood pressure at the Occupy the Corner kickoff June 22.

Registered nurse Ella Underwood, of the Henry Ford Health System, checks Detroit resident James Humprey’s blood pressure at the Occupy the Corner kickoff June 22.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

DETROIT — The 2018 Occupy the Corner program kicked off its summer schedule June 22 with a free concert at Dueweke Park, at Gratiot and East Warren avenues in Detroit.

Occupy the Corner began in 2014 with the aim of bringing resources to Detroit residents, fostering community pride in fighting or preventing crime, and creating a stronger relationship between citizens and law enforcement.

“Our mission is to energize, connect and empower our community,” said Detroit Police Capt. Kyra Joy Hope, of the 7th Precinct. “This is a very powerful program. The message is transparency and for the community — and kids especially — to see us as part of the community.”

The ultimate goal is to improve Detroit by decreasing poverty and to make it easier for young people to reject a life of crime.

“We help by providing a police presence and performing community outreach to show people we are on their side,” said Hope. “We want to resolve issues before they turn into something violent or criminal. … We want to be proactive in providing opportunities and talking to young people about their futures.”

Among the organizers of the Occupy the Corner program is Mary Sheffield, the president pro tem of the Detroit City Council and representative for the city’s 5th district. She said a key part of the program is educating people about what resources are out there and making those resources available in their communities.

“We’re providing critical resources to improve quality of life,” said Sheffield. “This includes foreclosure prevention, minor felony expungement and utility assistance. There are a lot of people in need, and you have to bring the resources to them that can help them.” 

To spread the word about available resources, representatives from groups such as the Henry Ford Health System were present at the event.

“We’re doing (body mass index) and blood pressure checks,” said Maria Moore, a registered nurse with the Henry Ford Health System. “A lot of times, we like to go out to events that attract a large number of the community. These checks are some of the most important you can get, and here, you can do it in about two minutes in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.”

Along with the resources were performances from local musicians and other artists. Games, haircuts and free food also were provided as part of the festivities.

“You have to meet people where they are and give them a reason to show up,” said Sheffield. “One of the best ways to get people’s attention is with something like a free concert.”

Several of the entertainers said they were happy to get involved.

“It’s a way of giving back,” said Calin Williams, the dance instructor for the Levey Middle School Dancing Dolls from Southfield. “We wanted to come down here to do our part. … It’s not always about you. Sometimes you have to be a blessing for someone else.”

More information on Occupy the Corner can be found on Mary Sheffield’s Facebook page.

“We need our communities to be involved,” Hope said. “Our message is a message of love, and we want to meet the people where they are and work with them to solve the problems they might have.”