Friday, February 26, 2010

Detroit Declaration

"I so love your heart that burns
That in your people’s body yearns
To perpetuate,
and permeate,
the lonely dream that does encapsulate,
Your spirit, that God insulates,
With courageous dream’s concern"

-Jack White

We know you’re out there. We know you love Detroit and want to see it not just survive, but thrive. This is our rallying cry. Welcome to a political movement for a brighter Detroit future.

Visitors are encouraged to sign the Declaration for Detroit, join the Facebook page, and spread the word. More detailed policy recommendations calling for sustainable arts funding, a comprehensive land-use strategy, and transit system modernization are drafted for three of 12 principlesin the Declaration, .

A recent article in USA today elaborates on this as a new form of grassroots online activism.

As of this writing, the Facebook page has 9,499 fans, and the site launched just over a month ago.

The Declaration is a manifesto drafted by 20 Detroit residents that outlines 12 principles for the community to follow to revive Detroit:

  • Be welcoming and embrace our diversity.
  • Preserve our authenticity
  • Cultivate creativity.
  • Diversify our economy.
  • Promote sustainability.
  • Enhance quality of place.
  • Demand transportation alternatives.
  • Prioritize education, pre-K through 12 and beyond.
  • Elevate our universities and research institutions.
  • Enhance the value of city living.
  • Demand government accountability.
  • Think regionally and leverage our geography.
I am excited about the content of the manifesto. These are all things I support wholeheartedly. And I think the language used in the declaration is eloquent and concise. To whomever is responsible: Bravo!

It is heartening to see this type of grass-roots activism building. It's heartening to see any type of positive energy regarding Detroit, especially in light of all of the negative press. It's also very easy to become a fan of a Facebook page and sign an online petition, but difficult to do the real work to make a dent in the tidal wave of forces that have conspired to destroy Detroit.

I have chosen to remain in the metro Detroit area primarily so my children can know their grandparents. My great-grandparents came here early in the century from Sicily, and built their lives here. I have extended family and friends all over the region. I have happy memories of the Eastern Market Saturdays and visits to Belle Isle with my dad, fishing on the Detroit River at Angell Park, Greektown lambchop family gatherings (Opa!), dinner at Lelli's and Larco's with my grandparents, Tiger Stadium, old and new. I have a strong sense of connection to this place, and I wonder whether it will ever improve within my lifetime. And I wonder what, if anything, I can do about it.

Because, of course, I live in the suburbs.

Like most Detroiters.

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