Abandon Detroit, Abandon Black America

L’Heureux Lewis, Atlanta Post, June 2, 2010

Detroit: The city that represents the prospects and failures of American industry.The city that is the punch line of a million jokes. The city that is Blacker than nearly any other in this country. {snip}

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Detroit is a microcosm of Black America. I believe if you cannot love Detroit, you cannot fully love Black people. The Detroit Metropolitan area represents the best and the worst that Black folks in this country have to offer. The Black middle class was solidified in and around Detroit with steady unionized blue collar labor in the auto industry.

The middle class expanded as more Black folks with college educations occupied managerial positions. Detroiters experienced and vigilantly fought the racisms of housing redlining, riots, as well as White and Black flight. {snip} If there is a city that tells us about the promise and perils of Blackness, it’s Detroit. {snip}

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{snip} When I lived in Michigan, I hung out in Detroit and fell in love with the rich activism taking place. The strength of Detroiters and their voices are often missing from the reality shows and headlines. {snip}

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Detroit communities are addressing the consequences of poverty–like violence–and more importantly, the roots of poverty–like education. On the ground, Detroiters are fighting back by forming the vanguard that is rethinking education, the media, health and youth issues. During the close of June, Detroit will host the Allied Media Conference, the United States Social Forum and the National Hip Hop Congress Conference.

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{snip} It is time that we demand more of media, more of ourselves and help turn around the sullied gem of Black America.

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