What started as concern over the growing racial divide in our region six years ago inspired Publisher Sam Logan to do what he has been doing for decades with the support of his Michigan Chronicle family.
He dived into the heart of the matter.
He wanted to inspire dialogue with leaders into prickly islues and have open, honest conversation. Mr. Logan worked with Hiram Jackson at Real Times Media and .came up with an event that would feature leaders talking about key issues and "Pancakes and Politics" was born.
That inaugural event featured two political heavyweights, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson who talked about race relations and problems associated with the notorious Eight Mile divide between city and suburbs.
The conversation lit up the standing room crowd of influential people from business and government gathered at the Detroit Athletic Club where most "Pancakes" events have been held.
"Pancakes and Politics" has grown into a signature event for the Michigan Chronicle as the four star-studded breakfast events held each spring feature a who's who of leaders from politics, education, business and media before an audience to delve into issues and inspire thought-provoking conversation.
I was honored to have been asked by Sam Logan and Hiram Jackson to help with that first "Pancakes" and have been involved with all the others. So too other journalists like Michigan Chronicle Senior Editor Bankole Thompson.
WWJ-TV CBS Detroit which has aired "Pancakes" as "Michigan Matters" specials for viewers anxious to hear what the packed audience at each of the events heard.
"With so many issues and concerns simmering across our region, there's more need than ever for Tancakes and Politics,'" said Trey Fabacher, vice president and general manager at WWJ-TV CBS Detroit and CW50 WKBD. "We're honored to be involved with Hiram Jackson and Sam Logan in this endeavor."
Dozens of Michigan's most famous and infamous political, business and educational leaders have appeared on stage before an audience to address tough issues and face probing questions from media members and the audience which is now part of the "Pancakes" ritual.
From Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Detroit Mayors Kwame Kilpatrick and Dave Bing, DTE CEO Tony Earley, Strategic Staffing Solution CEO Cindy Pasky, Henry Ford Health System President and CEO Nancy Schlichting, to Skillman Foundation President and CEO Carol Goss, dozens have graced the "Pancakes" stage.
"As long as people are talking and debating issues, there's a chance you can find solutions," Mr. Logan said at that first "Pancakes."
It has been Mr. Logan's mantra ever since.
And leaders and audience members have not been disappointed as attendees have left the events inspired, uplifted and knowing more about key issues than before they arrived.
What's up next for "Pancakes and Politics" as the Michigan Chronicle prepares to kicks off its sixth season in 2011?
Sam Logan and Hiram Jackson are keeping it under wraps for now.
But one thing you can be sure of - it will broach issues as few other events in Michigan. And it will likely raise a few eyebrows and make us think.
And that's exactly how they envisioned it.