Duggan, Gilchrist, Benson are among Detroit Policy Conference speakers today

July 13, 2021, 6:09 AM

Here's a fresh sign of post-Covid normalcy: Dozens of corporate executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, politicians and journalists gather at a Detroit event today for six hours of face-to-face discussion and networking.

And here's a reminder that things still aren't entirely normal: The Detroit Policy Conference takes place outside, under the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater canopy where Atwater Street meets RiverWalk. The last conference in February 2019 was at MotorCity Casino & Hotel.  

Dennis Archer Jr., conference chair, at the site Monday. (Photo: Detroit Regional Chamber)

The Detroit Regional Chamber event, which starts with an 11 a.m. barbecue lunch, includes these topics:

  • Local economic outlook
  • Workplace reopenings and changes
  • The continuing Covid fight
  • Voting rights 
  • Racial justice and social equity
  • Detroit's city charter ballot proposal, plus and elections for mayor and council
  • Hospitality industry comeback efforts
  • Downtown projects
  • Neighborhood investment and equitable development
  • Workplace diversity and inclusion

Mayor Mike Duggan, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are among main speakers. The governor delivers video remarks.

The lieutenant governor tweets:

"One of the primary tenets of the Detroit Regional Chamber is that progress is best made -- in fact, maybe only made -- when people with disparate views come together for a conversation, a civil conversation," chamber chief executive Sandy Baruah said Monday on WDET's "Detroit Today" program.

He touts the program as Detroit's first sizable gathering of business and political leaders in person since Covid hit in March 2020.

Struggles and changes in the restaurant industry, slammed hard by Covid, will be discussed by three panelists: Stephanie Byrd, co-owner of The Block, Garden Theatre, and Flood’s Bar and Grille; Jeremy Sasson, owner of Heirloom Hospitality (Townhouse, Prime and Proper); and Bea Wolnerman, owner of Bea’s and Bea’s Squeeze.

At a closing reception in late afternoon, attendees can meet eight Detroit City Council members and nine challengers on this year's ballots.

Promotional video:

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