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Wes Moore: Inclusive, Broad and Transparent Conversations Matter

Taking Michigan’s Center Stage, renowned social advocate Wes Moore, CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation and best-selling author of “The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters,” shared his personal journey from poverty to dedicating his life to improving the lives of underprivileged youth and veterans. Moore explained that inclusion is the first step to shrink the opportunity gap and enhance quality of life in communities that feel left behind.

Key Takeaways:

  • With various instances of public discourse between police and minority youth in the country, it is important to acknowledge and understand the state of the neighborhoods these instances are taking place in. If the context in which this discourse exists in is not understood, then the real changes that are needed will not be made.
  • Innovation and change is happening faster than we can realize, but for an individual that lives in underserved communities in Michigan or the country, he or she cannot tell.
  • It is important to never forget about who it is that we need to fight for and who it is we need to be remembering because there will never be inclusive conversations if only a sliver of the population’s voices are heard.
  • When decisions are made for the future of Michigan’s neighborhoods–inclusive, broad and transparent conversations matter.
  • Communities should feel a sense of inclusion and that they are part of important conversations.
  • Poverty is a function of systemic action and choice. It was not one action that led to it, therefore it will not take one action to solve it. A collection of entities is needed to address these issues and if government and philanthropy come together, solutions can be found.
  • When looking at education in impoverished communities, the quality of kids’ education and access to opportunity must be first and foremost when decisions are made.

“There is not a single issue that the folks in this room could not make something happen on. There’s that level of influence, power and significance here,” Moore told Conference attendees. “The future of Michigan will not be bright unless we are being very deliberate about what it means for areas like Flint, and areas like Saginaw and the Upper Peninsula and Detroit.”

Following Moore’s keynote address, Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press, joined him on stage for a one-on-one conversation. This session was sponsored by PNC Bank and falls under the Conference pillar of increasing economic opportunity.