The post-industrial dystopia emerging on the streets of Detroit may be shocking, but it is not surprising. The crisis results from the convergent forces of fiscal austerity and structural racism in a region defined by its extreme segregation of race, wealth and opportunity.
On the brink of a new, post-bankruptcy beginning, Detroit is really two cities. One is comprised of wealthy enclaves linked to a compact, rapidly redeveloping downtown. The other is made up of the rest of the 139-square-mile urban expanse, populated by longtime residents who have fought for decades to survive in an environment that has become increasingly uninhabitable.
Detroit has been at the heart of America since its founding in 1701. Over the years, Detroit has always been the center of America. Located geographically to connect America with Canada via the natural water systems, it is the way in to America's heart.
Even as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame makes its home in the city of Cleveland, the measure before the board may literally cut the musical heart out of Ohio's public schools.
The bizarre tale of Democratic self-immolation knows no precedent in American political history. The explanation, though, is readily apparent for those willing to look at the record. The formula did not require anything as exotic as hemlock; rather the more prosaic ingredients were imbibed gradually.
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When was the last time you had a landlord you truly loved? If you're like most people, the answer is never. But here's the dirty little secret for anyone who's ever had a big list of complaints about their landlord: Your landlord probably had an equally long list of complaints about you.
In total, he looked up all of two times throughout his set, and the shame that seemed to hold his eyes to the floor was both unsettling and captivating.
Detroit is admittedly a tough place. Those who choose to be here grasp life at its deepest level. And the energy Detroit has isn't something you can pinpoint. If you go around looking for it, you won't find it because you can't really see it.
Lousy. Pathetic. Boring. Typical. These are adjectives that can be used to describe the Detroit Lions in recent years. Balanced. Efficient. Defensive-minded. Composed. These are adjectives that can be used to describe this year's 5-2 Lions squad.
Detroit's history and is rich and complex. Learn it. Understand it. Embed it in the way you conceptualize change in the city and how to join in the struggle.
But what if there's also a cost to living in our own bubble? What if this disconnection also sows the seeds for violence and prejudice in our cities and communities? If you don't know the people around you, is it easier to misunderstand, hurt and be hurt, fight and fear one another?
To dole out fines for wall art, or sell the Detroit Institute of Arts' assets to satisfy creditors in the city bankruptcy, would be to destroy the core of what sustains this city and will continue to make it stronger.
The best work any artist can muster is the kind that comes from a place where career is never the driving force, age is just a number and one's relevance means little, except to himself. And though Crenshaw is apt to file away the chapter of his earlier life of a rock and roller, it's possible that many exciting chapters lay ahead.
It's long past time for the United States to recognize the human right to water domestically and devise national, state, and local policy solutions that both guarantee sufficient financing for affordable public water infrastructure and service.
When children and adults are deprived of the basics to sustain life, their health suffers, which greatly impacts their educational and overall life opportunities. On issues of poverty and for the sake of humanity, we all must work on the same side.