In 2017, I ran for mayor of Detroit. Above are images from the campaign. Below is the plan of action co-created through a series of sessions with Detroiters held at the campaign office. The logo was designed by Ithan Payne and the artwork was designed by Dogon Krigga.
Now, more than ever, we have a chance to lead the way forward by re-imagining the way government works so that it protects its citizens, creates educational and economic systems that serve all communities, and lays the groundwork for the future of Detroit by investing in our youth. It’s time to work together to ensure that every Detroiter is provided for, that no one feels they should turn to crime to survive, or leave the city because there aren’t enough jobs. Detroit as a vibrant 21st century city for all is our destiny.
PLAN OF ACTION
Our current economy is based on exploitation and extraction of talent, skills, and labor. Detroit is in need of a new economy that uplifts a new value system. The current economic and government systems are outdated ways of operating and uphold beliefs and values misaligned with the citizens of Detroit. We are in need of true democratic governance and community ownership. By focusing on the root cause of systematic oppression we can end the cycle of poverty, create a future where wealth creation is a tool of the people. A new system—a new economy—that meets human needs, enhances the quality of life and allows us to live in balance with nature. The responsibility of the mayor is to protect and serve Detroit citizens and this is what this plan of action aims to do.
Vision: Detroit as a global leader operating as an efficient human-centered ecosystem.
Reinstill trust in city government
Empower Detroit citizens
Innovate the future
Strengthen local economy
City revitalization requires the following elements:
-an efficient government with full transparency and accountability
-eradication of poverty at the root
-proactive participation in emerging industries and innovative proficiency in future technologies
-a strong local economy that grows small businesses
-a quality of life that encourages and supports the personal and communal pursuit of happiness
-active civic engagement by its residents
In order to manifest true revitalization, we must consider the histories and oppressions of the majority Black American population of Detroit. The foundation of every institution--government, police, education, the museum-- was built to silence, disallow, displace, and render powerless Black Americans. These institutions were never created for Black Americans to truly prosper. It’s time for a new plan and new systems that are healthy and prosperous for Black Americans, and as a result for all Detroiters. It is for this reason I propose a universal basic income. This will help alleviate poverty, increase financial stability and inspire innovation.
In order to get on a new path, Detroit must become a digital society. By using blockchain technology city government can dramatically increase transparency, efficiency, and accountability. A blockchain is a ledger of transactions that is secure and can never be manipulated. The use of blockchain technology can eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy. Contracts (between citizen and government; government and corporations) created using blockchain technology can reduce the time necessary to process administrative work, increase efficiency and accuracy of applications and documents, and allow for anyone to access the contract in real time. By securely creating a citizen ID using blockchain technology it would allow for instant transactions such as in the case of procurement of licenses, ability to vote online, accessibility to medical records, parking payments, development of land contracts and more.
Blockchain technology is also the foundation of cryptocurrency, a digital currency. The local economy can further be strengthened by creating Detroit’s own local cryptocurrency called the D-coin.
Universal Basic Income (UBI)
In 15 years 38% of jobs will be lost to automation and it will only increase. To mitigate this loss Detroit must:
- Create a universal basic income structure where every citizen receives the equivalent of $2000 a month, age 18 and older.
- One-half of the currency received for the UBI would be in D-coin and can only be used inside of Detroit for goods and services provided by local businesses.
- Detroit would process, or mine, each transaction of the D-coin. A portion of the generated revenue would go back into the UBI and the rest would be invested in youth education.
- The other half would be $1000 in fiat currency
- E-residency would allow for a visitor to enter the system and buy up to $1000 of D-coins.
- D-coins would be accepted for city services such as transportation and taxes.
- D-coins can be converted into larger cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum
- Detroit residents include those that are incarcerated. The UBI funds would accrue while being incarcerated and released once the citizen is released.
- A Detroit resident must have lived in Detroit for at least three years before receiving UBI
- Additional D-coins can be received for volunteering time at a Detroit organization or program in need of assistance. A municipal time banking system.