To Hell and Back

While in this placement I have seen bits and pieces of the surrounding culture. I have heard stories of how vibrant and diverse it once was, and how connected people were to one another. With whites and blacks living next door to each other, kids meeting up for their after-school adventures, and adults standing on their porches discussing the current events among other things. This neighborhood was filled with life and did not lack opportunity. Now after the “riots”, the white and black flight/the middle-class flight, the fall of the public school system, and other things have led to the decay of this and other neighborhoods.

Remnants of the past community still exist but have twisted into a new form. A form that no longer has whites and blacks living next door to each other, but miles apart. One where kids still meet up for after-school adventures, but now explore the abandoned houses and schools. Where adults are still sitting on their porches, but there are a few with neighbors directly next door to discuss how much things have changed. This is a community with a dormant culture but is also on the road to revitalization. A revival that will influence a stronger and more connected culture.

Walking in the streets, anyone especially the natives here can feel a pain for what has been forgotten and lost, but if you look past those things one can also see the potential. There is another stronger and optimistic culture rising in this community, that has been for a while. One that is ready to fight against the currents of gentrification, housing discrimination, school to prison pipelines, overpriced water bills for poisoned water, and many other attacks against their community. This is a culture that is rising from the ashes and knows what it means to go to Hell and back.

One thought on “To Hell and Back

  • July 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Shay. You so passionately lay out all of the factors that have contributed to the decline of many Detroit neighborhoods; but also you see the light at the end of the tunnel if the hard work of Detroiters and advocates comes to fruition. Too often the narrative of Detroit’s resurgence ignores long-standing issues (housing discrimination, out migration) that have plagued the city’s longest standing neighborhoods and residents. Your advocacy through Focus: HOPE is critical to creating a narrative of Detroit that gives voice to all of its residents. I wonder how the opportunities provided within this internship compare to your expectations. In any case, I look forward to learning more about the challenges and successes ahead. Keep up the great work and thanks again for sharing! – Jake


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