Michigan Muslim, Arab Americans’ share their population growth strategies with the Growing Michigan Together Council

Amidst a broader backdrop of population stagnation in Michigan, an American Muslims Town Hall at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, organized by the Growing Michigan Together Council (GMTC) and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), brought together council workgroup members, policymakers, advocates, and community leaders to delve into the critical issues shaping Michigan’s future. Led by Michigan’s first Chief Growth Officer Hilary Doe, GMTC council and workgroup members were there to gather ideas and develop recommendations for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on how to grow Michigan’s population.


The town hall not only served as a platform to address the specific needs of the Arab American and Muslim American communities in Southeast Michigan but also facilitated an exchange of ideas on how to maintain and expand the growth that has made Dearborn a recent standout success in Michigan’s population landscape. While over half of the state’s 83 counties witnessed a decline in their population since the last census in 2020, Dearborn stood tall as one of the few cities that experienced substantial growth. In contrast, Detroit’s population continued to dwindle, marking its seventh consecutive decade of decline.

Growing Michigan Together Higher Education Workgroup member Fatima Salman, Michigan State Rep. Alabas Farhat, Michigan Chief Growth Officer Hilary Doe, and others Growing Michigan Together Council members listen to Dearborn residents’ thoughts on how to grow the population and make Michigan better to work and live in. | Photo by One Detroit

The GMTC, a brainchild of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that is comprised of four workgroups, seeks to address preK-12 education, higher education, infrastructure, and workforce development, as well as gather expert opinions and lived experiences of what is fueling Michigan’s vision for the 21st century. With a goal to present their findings to Gov. Whitmer, the Michigan House of Representatives, and the Michigan Senate in December, the council is focused on charting a course for Michigan’s future.

The One Detroit team sat in on the town hall to hear what more than 50 community stakeholders attending had to say about the kinds of neighborhoods tech workers need, transportation and public transit, mental health and other underfunded services, and preparing our workforce for jobs of the future. Plus, One Detroit’s Jonathan Shead spoke with Michigan State Rep. Alabas Farhat, D-3, a GMTC member, and GMTC higher education workgroup member Fatima Salman about what policymakers may do with the council’s upcoming recommendations.

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