The Passing of a Great Champion
On February 3, the State of Michigan, Metro Detroit, the city, and Global Detroit lost a great friend and champion of diversity. Dan Krichbaum, the long-time director of what is now the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity Inclusion (formerly NCCJ), former chief of staff to Governor Jennifer Granholm, and former director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights died at age 72.
Dan’s career of public service in the nonprofit and public sectors was exemplary. He not only led significant organizations and helped them achieve great things, but he always conducted his affairs with compassion, respect, and kindness. He modeled the more just and civil society he preached in his daily interactions and work.
Dan was a tremendous friend to Global Detroit. As the Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Dan was asked to help his department join in leading Governor Snyder’s Global Michigan efforts. MDCR has an unparalleled history on addressing the traditional civil rights issues, but had not approached immigration as an economic issue and was asked to do so in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Dan was quick to take to this new work and quickly became an important ally to Global Detroit and our partners, as well as friend to Governor Snyder’s immigration work.
I will miss Dan as a friend. I will never forget the look on his face when we had our first “Lansing meeting” together (me as State House Majority Floor Leader, Dan as the Governor’s Chief of Staff). It was is if Dan was saying, “Is this really how things run here in Lansing? Can it be this crass?” It was a look that let me know that we shared a bond, having both labored in Detroit neighborhoods for justice causes. And it was a look of reassurance that we were both in the work for the long arm of justice together.
I will miss Dan and I hope that we at Global Detroit can make him proud of the future we are building in his beloved Metro Detroit.
A memorial service is to be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 14, Saturday, at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, 1589 West Maple Road, Birmingham, followed by a 3 to 5 p.m. reception. Funeral arrangements are being handled by A.J. Desmond and Sons.
Photo: Dale G. Young, The Detroit News