Finding Some Good in Detroit
Kudos to Stephen Henderson of The Detroit Free Press for finding nirvana in – of all places – a little ol' city called Detroit.
Henderson's column was an unexpected treat in Sunday's newspaper…like a cool breeze on a hot, sticky summer day. It reminded me that there is room for so-called good news in the modern-day newspaper. Then, I stumbled upon an interview with Detroit icon Grace Lee Boggs, and I realized just how good some good news can feel.
Not to say that all columnists, newspapers or news people who write about Detroit look for the bad; it's just there is so much to find. Boggs and Henderson do not sugarcoat the situation; they are realists who live in the city proper, after all. But they see, feel and believe in hope.
Here is how Henderson describes it:
I grew up a stone's throw from where we live now, but the river was a non-entity for me. It was dirty and industrial. If you wanted to play, it was the last place you thought of. Now the river is a park from one side of the RenCen to the other, and east almost to Belle Isle. For my kids, it will be the root from which a sprawling, vibrant view of Detroit grows. ... As a dad, I get to see this city through much more optimistic eyes, to appreciate the treasures, to see the Detroit of possibilities and fun.I get to feel a little of the nirvana.
If you need another dose of reasonable optimism, take this from legendary activist Grace Lee Boggs:
Detroit, which was once the symbol of miracles of industrialization and then became the symbol of the devastation of deindustrialization, is now the symbol of a new kind of society, of people who grow their own food, of people who try and help each other, to how we begin to think, not so much of getting jobs and advancing our own fortunes, but how we depend on each other. I mean, it's another world that we're creating here in Detroit. And we had to. I mean, we didn't do so because we are better people than anybody else, but when you look out and all you see is vacant lots, when all you see is devastation, when all you see—do you look at it as a curse, or do you look at it as a possibility, as having potential? And we here in Detroit had to begin doing that for our own humanity.
Good God, I cannot add to those words. Hasn't she said it all? When you're surrounded by dirt and devastation, how can you not hunger for fresh green trees, kind people and a better day ahead?
Here we are, blog readers. It is almost July…The blog has three more months (probably) of life left in it. Are we – and I mean that collectively, so that I'm included too – learning anything about Detroit? What else is there to tell in this story? Suggestions, please.