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There is no possible way that I can sum up and capture all that Marlowe Stoudamire has done for Detroit. Marlowe, who we lost to COVID-19 in March 2020, sowed into the lives of all kinds of Detroiters. His impact was felt in corporate suites, cultural institutions, sports teams, neighborhood organizations and philanthropies in Detroit – all in meaningful and lasting ways. His vision and leadership instrumental in launching the Detroit Historical Museum's exhibit "Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward," a multi-year project that won national and international awards for its brave, sensitive exploration of the 1967 civil unrest that forever changed Detroit. Like Marlowe, the exhibit challenged assumptions and sought to heal and uplift .
Marlowe called himself a serial social entrepreneur and that title fits. He leveraged his unique abilities to draw the best out of people, building partnerships and recruiting champions for social change. He was a proud product of Detroit's east side, and so he chose an east side neighborhood that has experienced tremendous disinvestment to locate Mash Detroit, a 6,000-foot venue with elements that included a popup retail space, co-working hub, community gathering events space, and local artist gallery.
I am highlighting Marlowe's dedication to education, social justice, economic opportunity and mentoring. Like few people I have known, Marlowe was able to synthesize disparate, innovative strategies for social change into wholly original campaigns. I know that Marlowe was a mentor because even though I was nearly a decade older than him, he felt like a mentor to me. I am far from alone. His tragic death at the age of 43 has left a huge hole in the heart of Detroit.