The Detroit community committed to the city’s revitalization, whether they live in the region or are ex-patriates, has lost one of its biggest boosters today.
Rachel Jacobs, 39, founder of the popular group Detroit Nation which helps connect Detroiters with their home city, has died in the massive train derailment of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 in Philadelphia last night, according to the New York Times.
“This is an unthinkable tragedy,” said her family in a statement. “Rachel was a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend.”
“She was devoted to her family, her community and the pursuit of social justice. We cannot imagine life without her. We respectfully ask for privacy so that we can begin the process of grieving.”
Multiple people are reported dead and more than 200 injured in the incident that happened at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night. Reports are the train was going more than 100 miles an hour.
Detroit Nation has local chapters around the country, aiming to unite Detroit expatriates and encourage them to be part of the revitalization efforts in Detroit. Jacobs had strong roots in Detroit and was the daughter of Gilda Jacobs, who is currently the president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy as well as has served in the Michigan State Senate and State House of Representatives.
The Michigan League for Public Policy released this statement on their Facebook page:
“The staff and board of the Michigan League for Public Policy send its deepest condolences to President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs and her family as they grieve the death of daughter Rachel Jacobs, who was on board the train that derailed Tuesday evening in Philadelphia. Rachel was loved and cherished by her entire family, her husband, her two-year-old son, friends and co-workers. The Jacobs family is requesting privacy at this time.”
Outside of what she was known for locally, Rachel Jacobs was the CEO of Pennsylvania-based ApprenNet LLC and a graduate of Berkley High School. She graduated from Swarthmore and Columbia Business School.