Gratiot Avenue cleanup inspired by a drive to break the cycle of negativity about Detroit

“The first step to becoming more positive is to first surround ourselves with a positive atmosphere and a positive environment,” says Clifford Kennedy, founder of Empire 151 and organizer for this weekend’s Clean Gratiot event in Detroit. 

Clifford, a Detroit native, is organizing Clean Gratiot because of his passion to make a difference in his city. Growing up in the city forced him to live with the many flaws Detroit has in comparison to the surrounding suburbs. This led him to the idea that negative areas result negative thinking, which is part of the reason why Detroit residents are generally viewed as negative. The ultimate goal of the Clean Gratiot event is to bring life and jobs back to the city of Detroit. 

The idea for Clean Gratiot came to Clifford as he was waiting for a bus at 7 Mile and Gratiot.  During that wait, he felt an overwhelming urge to make the city beautiful again. Clifford began pooling his resources to start the Clean Gratiot event. One of the major contributors to this event is Better Detroit Youth Movement (BDYM).  With everything seeming to be working in Clifford’s favor, “Clean Gratiot” should be a huge success. 

For more info about The Clean Gratiot event, please contact Clifford Kennedy at

(586) 738-4119 or

Photo credit: MacQ



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