One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

A Rant, and a Call to Rally

Hello, my name is Karen. And I'm a Facebook addict.

That being said, I am amazed at how much can be communicated in just a few words on this social-networking site. (As an aside, can we remove those two words – social networking – from the English language?) Even status updates are a kind of poetry when in the right hands.

An awesome former co-worker's conversation string about the Michigan Central Station created an interesting comment I wanted to share. Her friend noted: “How sad the state of the building & the state of Detroit. Wish it would rally!!!!”

The part I like, and you can tell it is because I'm a lover of words, is the idea of rallying around the city. Get out your dictionaries, kiddies:

Rally: verb. To bring into order again; gather and organize or inspire anew: The general rallied his scattered army. 2. to draw or call (persons) together for a common action or effort: He rallied his friends to help him. 3. to concentrate or revive, as one's strength, spirits, etc.: They rallied their energies for the counterattack.

Damn straight. Let's rally.

It's like when some 5,200 people get together to support the Detroit Public Schools through the Reading Corps. (Yeah, that's how high the volunteer count is now.) Or when more than 10,000 people “friend” the Detroit Declaration on Facebook. Or even when a single person picks up a piece of trash off of Belle Isle, chooses to eat at a downtown restaurant or keeps watch over the homes in their neighborhood as part of an Angel's Night activity.

Enough whining. Enough despair over things past. Enough pessimism. End the conversations about city versus surburbs. Rally. Don't you feel the grass-roots movements gaining momentum? Don't you see the younger generations taking interest in Detroit? Anyone taken note of the small-businesses popping up everywhere? Has anyone noticed the outcroppings of people walking around downtown, taking over the neighborhoods? Just a few years ago, you could shoot a cannon down Woodward, Jefferson, Lafayette and not hit a thing. Not now.

It's not about giant leaps; it's about baby steps. It's about an attitude. As Mayor Bing says: “If you are here at 8 a.m., you are late.”

So, Detroit, for all of our sakes, rally.

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  • 1

    Well said, Karen.

  • 2

    I hope a lot of people read this post. There are so many people putting an effort into making Detroit and Michigan a great place to work and live again. We may have a ways to go but there is great pleasure in being part of the ralley to make it happen. It sure beats sitting around "p----- and moaning." For those that think we can't make it and are sitting on the side lines, it is your loss because the journey itself brings personal rewards, win or loose. I have met some wonderful people on this journey. Good Job, Karen

  • 3


    Why is it that your entries are the only ones that I bother reading anymore?

    Steven flies in once a week or so a drops a blurb, usually boring as hell. Darrell spits something controversial out about once or twice a week that hasn't already been kicked around other forums.

    But only you seem to be embracing the project and writing something new and interesting about Detroit almost daily, and sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Thank you.

    The rally you're talking about seemed to start around the time Detroit had the MLB All-Star game and the Super Bowl.

    As I waited at bus stops or just walked around downtown I could feel something different in the air. Everyone I met seemed to be optimistic.

    I remember reading an article in the Freep about the first WinterFest where someone was quoted as saying almost the same thing. She felt something in the air. That confirmed I wasn't alone in what I was feeling.

    Around the same time, my aunt visited from Texas. She hadn't been downtown since she left eastside Detoit for Texas about 15 years prior. I took her downtown to show her around.

    We went to the RenCen, Campus Martius, Belle Isle, The Scarab Club, The African-American Museum (we saw the lynching exhibit - holy crap!). But the one thing that stood out for her was that everyone we met was friendly.

    When she had left Detroit nobody would say 'Hello' to a stranger -- particularly if one was black and the other white -- yet we experienced it everywhere we went. She was shocked. I just told her that's the way it is now. Most of the time it's still that way.

    Many of my friends, aquaintances, and coworkers think I'm crazy, but I love Detroit. I work there, I play there, and eventually I'll move back there.

    I think the people who care about Detroit are rallying. Detroit Declaration is an excellent example.

    And so are you. Keep up the good work!

  • 4


    COMPLETELY agree with Jerry. You're the one person on this beat that's making this project come alive - you're doing what I thought this blog was about!

    For years Detroit has turned on itself, finding a million ways to kill anything that would work. There's a different spirit here now.

    "Enough whining. Enough despair over things past. Enough pessimism. End the conversations about city versus suburbs." AMEN!

    Keep it going!

  • 6


    Good things are happening not only in Detroit but throughout the entire region and state. Thanks for showing that.

    I'm organizing a local networking event for next Thursday that promotes using our local history to draw tourists to our region. The goal of the SE MI Heritage Tourism Networking Event isn't just to attract out-of-state tourists, but local tourists as well. We need local folks to rediscover what a rich and vibrant history we have and what an important role our region has played in the American story.

    As I said in a recent news article:

    “Perhaps the solution for Michigan's survival and revival is not so much in reinventing our state, but rather in our rediscovering it.”

    Travel Michigan's David Lorenz is one of several impressive speakers who will present. You'll find more details at the link below.

    Will you please join us and be my guest at this event? My contact information can be accessed via the link. I hope you can make it, I think you'll enjoy the event and learn tons about our region and Detroit.

    Karin Risko, Founder/Director
    Hometown History Tours

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