We hope for better things; It will rise from the ashes
Before I came to Michigan, Detroit never really entered my mind. I was from New York, and Manhattan was my city. It never would have occured to me that I would become so involved in Detroit and so personally tied to it. Through volunteering in the schools, to working at Focus: HOPE, to literally digging my fingers into the dirt, Detroit has become my city. I’ve never felt before that I could actually do something and make such an impact by becoming part of a city. Compared to Manhattan, where I was an ant in the large scheme of things, I feel like Detroit really provides an opportunity to invoke change.
Because of this, I don’t think I can end my relationship with Detroit after the Semester concludes. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing here, but I know it will be something. It may not be for the rest of my life, but I know that part of me does belong in Detroit. I know there is potential. I see it in every business owner who opens their doors day after day, in every colleague of mine at Focus: HOPE, in the hands of the people who tirelessly put back together these “ruined” neighborhoods again and again. I see it every Saturday at Eastern Market, and walking down Willis and Canfield. I see it in the faces of the kids I used to teach, who still love to learn, despite the obstacles. I see it in the Detroit Center, in all of us, in everyone who still cares about this city.
In the next five years, I don’t think Detroit will be Manhattan. But I do think it will continue to rise. I see more Goodwells and D’Mungos, and Slows. More Eastern Markets, and community gardens, and everything else that makes Detroit unique. I also believe that when people outside begin to realize that there is still support for the city, and that it continues to grow, that others will become more invested in Detroit. Perhaps Whole Foods sparks a chain reaction. Other businesses may see the success (hopefully) of it and decide to invest as well. Perhaps people attracted by low housing costs will decide to make Detroit their home. Perhaps through condensing the great aspects of the city by rightsizing, it will garner a wider appeal. It is difficult to say how quickly this will occur, but I think that through new perspectives of Detroit, and through collaborative efforts, Detroit will continue to climb back to its feet. Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus.