Cities For Our Future

The Abdul for Michigan Urban Agenda


I rebuilt Detroit’s Health Department. When I took the helm, I walked into a department that had been the victim of Governor Snyder’s emergency managers, a shell of the 185-year-old health department Detroiters had relied upon for so long.

During my third week at the job, I met a three year old boy. He was the fourth child of a 21-year-old mother. He’d met his father only four times in his life because his father was in jail. I thought about the circumstances of this boy’s life. He didn’t have access to the basic set of goods and services that so many take for granted — that he as a citizen of the richest, most powerful country in the world deserved. He was born into a city where a baby is more likely to die before its first birthday than in my father’s native Egypt. His risk of asthma is three times higher than the state average, and he has a one in ten chance of being lead-poisoned. And even if he made it through his decaying schools, he was still more likely to go to prison than to college.

The circumstances of this boy’s life are a call to action. We cannot stand by while Michigan cities — the engines of our state’s economic growth — fall into decay and disrepair. Every family deserves access to good jobs that pay a living wage, a good roof over their heads, clean air and water, law enforcement that empowers communities, access to basic goods and services like car insurance and public transit, and the belief that their children can have a better life than their parents had.

Here, we share the results of hundreds of conversations we shared with citizens in cities across Michigan — a set of transformative solutions for our cities. We aim to transform the lives of children and their families across Michigan through a comprehensive, people-oriented, rigorous, and ambitious program of change.

In 2018, we have an opportunity to make that happen. I’m standing up for our communities. I hope you will stand with me.


  • Fight for affordable housing for all Michiganders and end predatory foreclosures
  • Responsibly redevelop vacant properties for communities — not real estate moguls
  • Invest in small businesses — not just corporations
  • Fight for comprehensive criminal justice reform
  • Recharge our workforce through adult education
  • Ensure that every Michigander has the water they need to cook, clean, bathe and drink
  • Support the renewable energy technology that will power the future
  • Prevent insurers from jacking up auto insurance costs and end red-lining
  • Invest in transit that works for commuters and our planet

Here, we share the results of hundreds of conversations we shared with citizens in cities across Michigan — a set of transformative solutions for our cities.

— Abdul El-Sayed

It's going to take all of us to get this done.