Detroit Mayor David Bing
Former NBA star now civil leader, businessman
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is a star of the basketball court and boardroom. He is also one of about 650 African-American mayors in the United States who are celebrating Black History Month this February.
"Black History Month is a time to reflect on where we have been as African-Americans and the many possibilities which still are before us," Bing told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps in a recent interview.
Celebrating Black History Month is about more than acknowledging the accomplishments of African-Americans, Bing said. It is also about inspiring the next generation of leaders.
"Black History Month is also a time to reflect on the challenges African-Americans have faced and overcome," he said. "It is also an opportunity to celebrate those whose leadership and sacrifice helped to create a more equal America."
The 65-year-old former Detroit Pistons all-star has been mayor since May 2009. He won a special election to replace the former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who resigned and is currently in jail. Bing will run for election this year to serve a full four-year term. The African-American Democrat says his job as the city's top official has nothing to do with race.
"We have a number of issues that know no color—jobs, crime, budget deficits, education—that cross all racial and economic lines," Bing said.
The biggest issue in Detroit these days is the economy. Michigan currently has one of the worst economies of any state in the nation. Bing is dedicated to helping his city, known for its automobile industry. As the founder of the steel manufacturer The Bing Group, he certainly understands how an economic downturn can affect his city.
"My hopes for Detroit's economic future are that the City of Detroit retains the companies and businesses which are currently operating in the city, and to attract new investors in the life sciences, construction, and medical fields," he said. "Detroit cannot continue to support an infrastructure for a city of 2 million when the actual population is less than half of that amount, but we can still be a great city."
Detroit is slowly recovering, Bing says.
"There is a tremendous amount of optimism about our future," he said. " We are beginning to work together not just in the city, but regionally, statewide, and nationally."
To learn more about the Mayor and the City of Detroit, visit the city's website.
CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH
For more on the achievements and contributions of African Americans to U.S. History, return to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps' Black History Month Special Report.
NEWS FOR KIDS, BY KIDS
Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.