Generation of HOPE

The metro Detroit area remains one of the most racially, ethnically, and culturally segregated areas in the entire nation. Metro Detroiters, in general, rarely have regular, meaningful interactions with people who do not share similar racial and cultural backgrounds. A 2002 Detroit News study confirmed that students in metropolitan Detroit attend schools where nearly 90% of their classmates belong to the same racial or ethnic group. This kind of cultural divide hinders students who will soon be immersed into a multi-cultural university or workplace setting and inhibits the empathy, communication skills, and rich experiences that diversity can offer.

Recognizing the limitations that metro Detroit students face as a result of their polarized home, school and worship environments, Generation of Promise has partnered with Focus: HOPE to launch an innovative diversity program that will incorporate photography and leadership training into its curriculum. This program, Generation of HOPE (GOH), will provide the opportunity for high school students from the tri-county area to explore inter-cultural relations; overcome misinformed stereotypes; build relationships incorporating a wider sense of community; and explore photography as a creative outlet to make connections with communities outside of their own.

GOH plans to partner with several community members and institutions that will make the program especially enriching for its youth participants. To conduct and guide the in-depth discussion, presentation, and sessions, GOH will leverage its current connections to community leaders and innovators in various communities, including: the Charles H. Wright Museum, New Detroit, El Nacimeiento, Detroit Asian Youth Project, Cesar Chavez High School, Arab American National Museum, and others.

The program’s primary goals are to: challenge students to reconsider the various boundaries that divide them and explore the diversity of life experiences present in different racial, ethnic, socio economic and neighborhood groups; teach students the basics of point-and-shoot photography that will allow them to explore and photograph different communities; and graduate a cohort of students who will be able communicate in, thrive in, and promote multi-cultural spaces in the city and its suburbs.

GOH proposes to meet these goals by exposing participants to diverse realities through cultural immersion; diversity workshops; regular interaction between students; and scheduled photo shoot sessions that will allow students to creatively explore the communities of focus.


Malik Ellis – Excel Photography Student

Dear Unity,

You’ve helped a lot of people unite even in the hardest of times. You brought people together all over the world. Being united is important, an example is an army. An army unites in many ways. When an army fights they unite to win and protect who they love. A family is another example of unity. The way a family unites is when a problem happens the family unites to wipe that problem away. A family is one of the strongest examples of unity.

Unity, I now thank you for the help you gave me through life. You brought me closer to what I’m supposed to be doing for college. What I now hope is that you stay for as long as you can by my side. All the stories I wrote and read gave me new ideas and options for movie directing, you are my source of success through life. Thank you for the unity in my life. This is my thanks to you. Read more »


Michael Brooks – Excel Photography Student


Hope is the light in the darkness,

It stays with you throughout your life.

Hope is there when nothing else is.

Hope is you. Read more »


Kendra Mitchell – Excel Photography Student


Hope, Hope you come and you go

You leave sometimes to where I don’t know

I wish for your presence but you’re never around

Super hushed and quiet, not a sound

But I know you’ll come to save the day

To show your goodness, to show you care

To show you are hope, the new hope

We are not afraid

Show yourself we need you this day

You are hope, HOPE Read more »


Imani Gaines – Excel Photography Student

Dear Pride,

Pride is within people. Without pride the world wouldn’t be the way it is today. Pride completes people as a whole. Without pride people wouldn’t run for president, run schools, or create a path to success inside themselves.

Pride is something that is beautiful in an individual. Pride is what makes people do the craziest and weirdest things ever. Pride!! You are the most amazing thing ever. Everyone has pride in themselves and loves pride. Without you, dear pride, there wouldn’t be the good things we have today. Read more »


Imani Embry – Excel Photography Student


Unity is when a group of friends or family get together, and have a good time. I experience unity all the time when I’m with my friends and family. Unity makes me feel happy, makes me feel fantastic. I don’t feel alone when I’m with my friends and family. I know that my family and my friends have always supported me.

Example: My sister/best friend is Christina. When I go over to her house we have a good time and just have fun. Sometimes I have to work with some girls or boys I don’t like. After, I just ignore the people that I don’t like, but I experience unity a lot like when I go to Christina’s house every day. If I go to Christina’s and she’s not there, then I go over to my best friend, Jahla’s house. Read more »


Emmanuel Brown – Excel Photography Student


If I was old I would want to be young. I would play football again, and run someone over. So I could also play at the park with my best friend again. Now that I’m old I watch my kids play at the park and I wish that was me playing and laughing. My friends were funny in my youth so we laughed a lot. Read more »


Edmond Brown – Excel Photography Student


If I was HOPE

I would fix

All the problems in the world.

I would fix all of the houses.

And I would go to all of the cities and

Fix all of their problems.

I would make Detroit a crime free city by

Making something to make everybody good.

This brings HOPE to Detroit. Read more »


Eulisha Sanders – Excel Photography Student

Dear Hope,

You’ve been a wonderful friend to many now and in the future. You help many people change in many aspects of life. You also show people life has a purpose, people have reason to live, and that the future beholds us all. Remember those times when I was struggling in life, you were my best friend in times of need. Many people look up to you. Think about those kids struggling with starvation, those drug addicts, those criminals, and all those who’ve you changed. You’re a life helper, and inspiration. You will forever live on through many generations. Read more »


Cierra Murphy – Excel Photography Student


It’s in all of us.

It’s the child that plays in the winter snow

or the tulip that is ready to bloom for the spring.

Youth is everywhere – In our so called happy lives,

our children, and in our hearts.

The youth are our future.

Without youth the Earth would be nothing.

No one to drive the bus.

No one to tell you its time to get up.

Not a plant in sight.

As you can imagine the world would

  be as dead as the brown dirt

you step on every day.

Without youth life would be dull and lonely.

It wouldn’t be joyful or comfortable

but gloomy and scary.

Youth is everything and always will be. Read more »


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