Seat Taken


From this rookie tiger's window, It wasn’t long until I saw the Detroit you expect to see from the news. A straight shot northeast from the airport and your jaw softens, eyes flex, and ‘wow’ becomes the only words spoken as you drive past the cold brittle reminders of abandonment. An attraction of decay porn.  From the outside, the buildings looks hungry baring the fragile bone structure of a starving old man. But if you imply the Detroit people are broken - get ready to hear why you're wrong. well, because you are. The people here aren't afraid to tell you how they feel about their city. Like any sort of true love, the imperfections hold no negative value. They are proud and stubborn as all hell and I love them.  


Without any doubt, the last few years have been difficult for the people here - but not too much to handle. Most people I met are at least a little pissed off about the worlds view on them and maybe they have every right to be. While parts of the city like Corktown and midtown are getting all 'turnt-up' with trendy hipster bars and restaurants, neighborhoods near 8-mile still don’t have street lights. 'At night, we don't leave the house. But if you really have to, you gotta plan and know your route’ a 28 year old father of four informed as we stood in front of a house burned down across the street from his. It can also take over an hour for cops to show up, if they even show up at all. Safety is a basic human right every American should have by now - Including the police. Some say that police are outgunned and don’t show up for that very reason. Cities like detroit and across the country (including the one I'm originally from) are squeezing sports arenas in economically poor and urban areas. Gentrification, deforestation, deportation - our culture is obsessed withtelling other breathing beings they are not worthwhile, not rich enough, intelligent enough, not thin enough and not good enough so please look elsewhere. The US is starting to sound a lot like the kids riding on Forrest’s bus. At the end of the day, its the obsession to be in control that hurt Detroit. 


With all that said, I unexpectedly fell in love with the city. I love the people here. I love the American grit entity that stills bubbles over this city. Detroit has become a hybrid of old and new. It is young in its rebirth. Personally, I believe the solution is right here in front of me. The kids I spent time with are channeling a new american way. Most have given over 100 hours of voluntary community service. One girl has volunteered over 300 hours before completing her senior year of high school. These kids believe they are the future, looking inward, and giving outward. Its clearly infectious.  More and more kids are motivated by service projects. Thats how it spreads and energizes the sky like a golden Phoenix - this is the power love. There’s a new generation taking that seat and an American city is reborn. 

Scott Simock