A drive around Detroit
I sat next to Elizabeth, Phoenix’s LSCO secretary. The parent of three children at Phoenix, Elizabeth is from Texas and only speaks Spanish. Our language barrier definitely stilt our communication- but for some strange reason, I think we’ve formed a friendship. We spend a lot of time laughing together – despite the fact that we’re probably laughing at two separate things.
Elizabeth and I drove around Phoenix’s surrounding neighborhoods to take pictures of the abandoned houses, empty lots, garbage dumps, and alleys. We were collecting graphics to combine with our text list of all of the houses that need to be demolishes/boarded as well as the lots/alleys/streets that need to be cleaned.
It was the first time I had deliberately driven around the neighborhood and I felt an odd connection to it while sitting next to someone who actually lived there. It was heartbreaking to see huge empty lots full of garbage, tires, car parts, rotting furniture, while knowing that my friends and co-workers live right next door – and that they have to send their children past these devastating realities each day as they go to school.
We took good pictures.
They were hung and displayed at the monthly LSCO meeting yesterday. The deputy mayor came, as well as other council members and about forty neighborhood residents. They all saw the captured glimpses of my car ride with Elizabeth, and I’m pretty sure that all of the LSCO felt accomplished with the presentation. I anticipated conflicting reactions to the pictures what highlighted the filth and visual negativity of the neighborhood- but in stead, each person that mentioned the photos was glad that we were bringing the issues to attention.