Michigan Municipal League May/June 2023 Review Magazine

Ypsi Residents Celebrate City ’ s Bicentennial by Writing

Love Letters to Ypsilanti

YPSILANTI pop. 20,648

By Sarah Rigg

T he nonprofit YpsiWrites is distributing postcards for residents to write about why they love their city, and the resulting love letters will be displayed during bicentennial celebrations next year. Referencing everything from their favorite local shops to the welcoming feel of their city, Ypsilanti community members are writing Love Letters to Ypsilanti in anticipation of the city's bicentennial next year. Caroline Sanders , associate director for community relations and engagement at Eastern Michigan University's (EMU) Engage@EMU office and a Washtenaw County commissioner representing District 4, originated the idea earlier this year. "I have heard many stories about

Sanders mentioned the idea at a meeting attended by Ann Blakeslee , another EMU employee and co-founder of nonprofit community writing center YpsiWrites, and Blakeslee asked how YpsiWrites could help.

"When she asked if YpsiWrites could play a role in this bicentennial initiative, my answer was a resounding yes," Sanders says. What Makes Ypsi Feel Like Home to You? An YpsiWrites team took on the project, deciding that postcards would be a good format for most people to write their love letters. YpsiWrites volunteer Brent Miller says postcards are "sturdy, visual, and a pretty accessible format most people have engaged with." YpsiWrites volunteer Carissa Mares developed a postcard prototype, and volunteers piloted postcards at various events this summer. The team gathered feedback, revised the look of the postcards, and added a logo. The first of what will be a variety of love letter prompts is, "What makes Ypsi feel like home to you?"

people and their positive experiences in the city, and I thought [writing love letters] would be a lovely way to capture these experiences," she says. "It would encourage current and former residents to pen some loving

words about their time in Ypsilanti that would allow for the creation of a collective archive of love letters that help celebrate the city's 200th birthday."


MAY / JUNE 2023

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