Nobody I know in Detroit is happy about such headlines. I mentioned Requiem for Detroit? to several different groups of people I work, organise and am friends with, and got universal disgust.Is Detroit that bad? Well, the city's collection of once grand, now abandoned houses, documented at David Thompson's blog, tells the tale.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no shortage of organising for change in Detroit. Even Requiem recognised this by pointing to the urban gardening system that Detroit is growing famous for. These gardens came about as a community-driven response to the lack of grocery stores in Detroit (there is not one major grocery chain, although a regional grocery chain recently announced that it would begin construction soon) and an overwhelming number of burned-out, abandoned lots in the city.Hmmm, burned out lots, grocery stores unwilling to come to the city, sounds awful. Who is to blame for this, then?
After the city refused to clean up or maintain them, local people took them over and built garden plots on them.Oh. Of course. It's 'the city'.
Not the people, although Susana wants to claim credit for the other people doing something to alleviate it.
What people does she blame, anyway?
More and more, however, these garden systems are no longer being built by local community members out of necessity, but by middle-class white folks that are actively gentrifying the city, going on record claiming not to understand why their working-class black neighbours aren't helping. What started as a community-driven response to a very basic need is fast becoming an ideology that is in many places being imposed on a city population that just doesn't have the time or resources to help implement it.It's not fair! Those awful white middle-classes, cleaning up the city! *stamps feet*
Pay no attention to the fact that Susana is a little melanin-challenged herself. And as for her work...
Well, let's let Susana tell us in her own words what she's doing to make Detroit a better place for its benighted, hapless citizens:
I work at a small community-driven acupuncture clinic that offers affordable treatments in an attempt to specifically reach working-class communities./facepalm