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Five steps that we can do right now to prepare

By Andrew Newton

So we are going to have all our elected leaders pushed aside because the city of Detroit is broke, yea? Did we ever ask how a city could be broke? Is a city a system of roads? Is a city the police that keep those streets safe? Is the city the people who show up to put out fires? Is a city a management system?

We know this is not the measure of a city. We know that a city is essentially a network of interdependent neighborhoods in which each citizen wakes and throws themselves into the systems necessary to make the city beautiful, successful and healthy. In this sense, Detroit is the most amazing place in the world because our people are beautiful and so is our city.

So, with this 10-day time limit on our rights, I would like to suggest that there are five steps to fixing everything:

1. Freak out. The voices pushing for this violation of our rights are saying stay calm and stop yelling. So, I sincerely suggest not doing either of those things. Go out on your porch right now and while staring at your block, think about it being leveled. Think about bulldozers running through it tearing down grandma’s house filling the air with lead paint fumes and memories of what once was. Think about not having a choice in what happens in your reality because your voice doesn’t reach the appointed ruler/king of your area. Now while thinking of that I suggest you yell really, really loud. Use profanity as these words are deeply rooted in the struggle. It’s not uncivilized to swear, no matter age or gender.

2. When your neighbors come out to see why you’re yelling, let them see you crying. Let them see your face red your eyes wet and your breath short. Let them see that you are upset and in need of assistance. Share with them the source of your outrage.

3. Take those who show up with you and walk up and down your street and recite memories. Invoke the dead by remembering who used to live with you and those who you all come from.

4. Become an artist. Allow yourself to look at your environment with eyes full of dreams. Realize that deep knowledge trumps the intelligence currently being used to dictate the development of your environment. Only you hold this wisdom. Only you, in the neighborhood, know what it will take to make the space better without the displacement of people who are actually what Detroit needs to survive.

5. Get a really, really big sheet of paper and write down all the memories on one side and solutions on the other. This is your neighborhood statement of success. Now that you and your neighbors have the list of solutions, prepare to take this to the front lines of the fight for Detroit freedom and democracy.

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