The season 10 premiere of The Heart of Detroit features Darryl Woods, who spearheads Better Together at SAY Detroit.
Darryl: At the age of 18 I was sentenced and condemned to life without the possibility of parole for a crime I did not commit.
Mitch: Did you think your life was done at that point?
Darryl: Initially I did.
But even while behind bars, hopelessness soon turned to purpose for Darryl Woods.
Darryl: I started a program called The Youth Deterrent program. They would send these young men and women into our program and we was able to help change their lives.
Life change continued for Darryl. In 2019, after serving 29 years, his conviction was overturned and he was released from prison. Today Darryl leads SAY Detroit’s Better Together initiative that seeks to change the void between at-risk citizens and local police.
Darryl: We bring law enforcement officials in plain clothes together with the community gang members, high school students, people with substance use disorders and they will grill meals together sit down and break bread without any labels. Human beings connecting with other human beings.
The anonymity provides a space for individuals to talk, listen and work with one another with no judgement.
Mitch: The moment when you break the news oh by the way you are sitting next to a police officer.
Darryl: Everyone always has that hesitant look some of them would get up and say I am outta here (Both: Laughing).
Mitch: Better Together really (Darryl: Better Together) is its not just a title its kind of philosophy isn’t it?
Darryl: No doubt about it.
Once wrongly labeled as the “problem” and now part of the “solution”, Darryl Woods proves that we are Better Together right here in the heart of Detroit.