As all Detroiters know, there is a special kind of grit that this city gifts its residents; A confident resilience that chugs on like an old Ford engine, stands proud like the Fischer Building, and gracefully endures adversity like the old Michigan Central Station. Detroiters seek a light at the end of the darkest tunnels, even after the street lights go out.
On Saturday, January 21st, I was moved when I walked out of my door to find a rainbow flag planted on not only my lawn, but lining every lawn down the street.
I was in awe as I approached to join thousands of Detroiters in the Women’s March at Wayne State University; from babies in strollers to great-grandparents in wheelchairs.
Just an hour later, I was energized when attending the “Design for Social Justice” workshop hosted by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3). Here, strangers became friends as we discussed how to be active citizens in the current political climate. Sharing our personal and intimate fears, we designed ways to promote social justice in small teams over several hours of discussion and collaboration.
And finally, in response to the executive order on immigration signed in the final hours of the work week last Friday, I received an email containing wise words of opposition from the Mayor of Detroit:
FOR RELEASE: January 30, 2017
Statement by Mayor Duggan on President’s Executive Order
on Immigrants and Refugees
“The City of Detroit is proud of our status as a Welcoming City, where immigrants from all countries are embraced. When President Obama was attacked for his decision to increase acceptance of Syrian refugees, Detroit became a national leader in publicly offering a home for these families.
I’ve had a chance to visit some of our refugees as they’ve moved into their new homes in Detroit. Their stories are deeply moving: fleeing with young children from the horrors of war, barely subsisting in overcrowded refugee camps in Turkey or Jordan, often for years, until the lengthy U.S. vetting process finally clears them.
When you hear the pride and excitement in their voices for their chance to start a new life in this country, you realize what America means to so many in the world. Our country won’t be made safer by telling victims of oppression that America’s doors are closed to them or by telling them they’re unwelcome because of their religion.
That’s just not who we are as Americans.”
Even in these dark times, the lights are on in Detroit.