More than 200 native Detroiters made their way back to the city last week for Detroit Homecoming V. The three-day event invites Detroit expats to help create opportunities for the city through commercial and philanthropic efforts. The event gives former Detroiters the chance to build and help grow the city they love and grew up in.

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This year’s focus is on celebrating the legacy and analyzing the future of Detroit becoming a hub for technology, design, manufacturing and innovation.

At Little Caesar’s Area, Bill Ford Jr. talked to “homecomers” about a new facility in Corktown and the plans to renovate Michigan Central Station. Ford says he wants to reinvent mobility in the city and not in Silicon Valley.



Other guest speakers included, Kelley Carter, journalist, The Undefeated; Jemele Hill, journalist; Derrick Johnson, NAACP; Darren Walker, CEO, Ford Foundation and Ryan Kadro, executive producer, CBS This Morning.

Ron Bartell, native Detroiter, former Detroit Lions cornerback and owner of Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles on Livernois, attended to discuss plans of opening a second Kuzzo’s location.

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“We see all this development in Downtown and midtown, but we need to get into the heart of the neighborhoods,” Bartell says, during an interview with WJBK, channel 2. “We have to help the people and schools. The business community needs to be lock, step and arm with the city. As entrepreneurs we need to be willing to invest in these areas and provide jobs and opportunities, which is what we are trying to do.

New York native, now Detroit resident, Jim Hayes, founded Detroit Homecoming five years ago, when Detroit went into a financial downward spiral, forcing the city to file bankruptcy in 2013, which resulted in many people losing their jobs and benefits. Hayes and other city leaders brainstormed ways to help the city. After much thought, Detroit Homecoming was born. Former natives don’t have to move back to Detroit, the goal is to do good work for the city wherever they are.

                                             Photo: Crain’s Detroit Business

In order to be invited back the next year, former Detroiters have to show how they have contributed to the city through investments or participation. Hayes says, expats also receive a progress report of what is happening with the city when they come home.

Since its inception, former natives have raised more than $300 million for the city they used to call home.

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Kyla Heat

Kyla’s family and friends describe her as a walking Encyclopedia when it comes to everything pop culture, beauty, fitness and fashion. Kyla knew she wanted to be a writer when she began writing short stories and poems for her family. A true Michigander at heart, Kyla graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in journalism and attended Specs Howard School of Media Arts. Along the way, she has interviewed everyone from, Idris Elba, Kerry Washington, Jack Kevorkian, Robert Kennedy Jr., Joel Osteen, Russell Simmons and Wiz Khalifa. After a stint working at a psychic shop and producing shows for an all talk radio station on iHeartRadio, Kyla landed at The Detroit News, working as an editorial assistant and reporter. She worked at PBS Detroit, as a social media manager before joining the Urban Content Studios team. When she is not writing, Kyla likes to spend time with family, shop and compete in fitness bikini competitions.

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