After years in the business realm, Lauren Hood sought work that had more meaning. While studying for her Masters in Community Development at the University of Detroit Mercy, she developed a passion for engagement strategies, recognizing that long time city residents, like herself, are often left out of the planning process. She advocates for inclusion in planning and development and equity in all aspects of life. She conducts immersion experiences around equity issues for her LLC, Deep Dive Detroit and is on the board of directors for Preservation Detroit. This is Lauren’s first appearance at Michigannow.org.
My dad has a new friend. It’s his first neighbor friend at the Farmington Hills town home he and my mother have lived in for the past year.
For those that don’t know, my parents were held up at gunpoint in the home they owned for 45 years on the Northwest side, they had stayed beyond several waves of “flight” and by choice, as they always had the means and the capacity to leave.
Dad’s new friend had a similar story. He too had been a Detroiter for several decades and only fled to the burbs once he was held up at gunpoint, in the middle of the day, at a gas station near his home. What are the odds that two black male senior citizens would find themselves in the same Farmington Hills housing complex, both victims of the same unique “circumstance”? What if the circumstances weren’t that unique? How many other urban refugees are recent residents of outer ring suburbs? I know of at least one other senior couple on my parents old street that fled to the burbs for the same reason, also residents of the same home since the late 60’s.
This most recent round of “flight”, long time residents, black, middle class, stable, civically engaged, good stewards, etc. is probably the most damaging. The city is now losing those that stood by its side for the longest, those that toughed it out in the neighborhoods until the last possible second, the second a gun was pointed at their heads! I become enraged when I hear people say the way to improve the city is to increase the tax base…Detroit is hemorrhaging tax base every time a family like mine, and that of dad’s new friend, flees, traumatized to a “safer” suburb.
Detroit to me, now, feels like a shuffling Sambo doing it’s best soft shoe to attract all the fine young professionals from other places, meanwhile the loyal OG’s, Detroit’s ride or dies are forgotten about, overlooked, left to fend for themselves in the place they believed against all odds would give back to them in the way they had so selflessly given to it for so many years…Dance Bo Jangles, Dance!