To be the new Chief Storyteller of the Marygrove College Conservancy is a full-circle moment for me.
I grew up just blocks away from the campus. My mother graduated from Marygrove. Two of my aunts, many of my cousins, and dozens of family friends. My grandmother always encouraged me to go to “that cute little school around the corner.”
I was 27 years old when I decided to enroll at Marygrove College. I was early into my freelance journalism career which was prompted by my innate writing talent, and passion for Detroit hip-hop.
As a writer for Real Detroit Weekly, I covered local stories of interest for the popular alternative weekly newspaper. And I loved my job.
One day, I was riding in the car with my mom and spotted a Marygrove College catalog on her backseat. Casually flipping through the catalog, I saw a page that detailed a program called a Certificate in Detroit Studies.
My response was immediate laughter. “Detroit Studies!” I said, “What are they gonna teach me? Where to find the best Coney Island?” But, I was intrigued and I thought it would at least make a good article for the paper. I scheduled an interview to discuss it with Thomas Klug who was the head of the history department at the time.
By the end of the interview, I was convinced. I had to have that certificate. I had to go to Marygrove. I started school the next semester.
I excelled at Marygrove. I was well-liked among my professors and peers. I decided to major in History with a minor in Philosophy. I was the first student to graduate from the college with a minor in that new program. I was an active part of the Detroit Studies program, graduating just short of earning the full certification. While at Marygrove, I also joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated fulfilling a lifelong dream.
I found my community and my voice.
Over a decade later, after leaving Detroit and living in Atlanta, GA, and Harlem, New York City. I returned to my hometown in 2017 determined to do more than just live here, but to be a real contribution to my city.
My journalism career had grown tremendously and my skills had sharpened. I immediately got dozens of writing opportunities with Model D Media, the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, and many more local and national outlets.
As a writer, I specialized in solutions-oriented journalism and cultural retrospective pieces. My history degree came in handy as I learned to look at Detroit’s past to understand where we were headed.
The compassion and care for community that was embedded in me as a student at Marygrove College helped me be a better writer, educator, and mentor.
I can honestly say that my experiences at Marygrove changed my life for the better.
I am excited to bring my voice and my pen to the Marygrove Conservancy. I look forward to sharing the stories of how these relationships are breathing new life into the beautiful 53-acre campus.
Established in 2018, the Marygrove Conservancy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve the legacy of the historic institution through equitable stewardship, and with their relationship with these five partner organizations, this is more than possible.
In my work, I will share with you the stories of the journeys and impacts of the member organizations of the Community Impact Incubator. I am excited to celebrate the reinvigoration of this historic landmark institution and all who love it and benefit from it.
All of these organizations will utilize Marygrove’s beautiful campus to serve Northwest Detroit and the city overall. I am overjoyed to be a part of that and to be the person bringing these stories to you.
Becoming a part of the Marygrove Conservancy is even more significant in 2020. My mother and grandmother both recently passed away due to complications of COVID-19. I imagine that they are looking down on me from Heaven, and smiling in pride as I once again become a part of “that cute little college around the corner.”
I hope that as my participation in this program progresses and deepens, that I gain a new love for my alma mater and am able to share that love with each of you.