“The road to social justice will be paved on neighborhood streets.”
Why Black Cities Matter
In October of last year, The Brookings Institute released a report on research by David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Andre M. Perry. The research focuses in on 1200 majority-black cities in the US and looks at the connection between the treatment of black and brown individuals and the policies that impact majority-black cities. The report asserts that “if black lives matter, then black cities must matter too”.
Majority-black Detroit, like most majority black cities and towns in the US, has been shaped by racist policies and economic practices. Since the creation of the Detroit People’s Platform in 2013 Detroit has been subject to a number of policies that have set the stage for revitalization and “rebirth” in one hand, while displacing black people and diverting black political and economic power with the other.
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“Benevolent gentrification as a means to improve neighborhoods whether called revitalization, renaissance and revival, only shift neighborhood neglect to other places”
Detroiters have been subject to Consent Agreement, Emergency Management, Bankruptcy, Illegal Foreclosures, Water Shutoffs and other racist policies that were enacted to “save” or “turn around” the city. Many of these policies have resulted in the removal and replacement of certain segments of Detroit’s black population.
“Improvement by replacement is not real. It’s hard to seek improvement for a city when it’s residents aren’t authentically respected. Black leadership, labor, intellectualism and culture that have been used to combat racism are assets worth preserving. If not valued “solutions” will inevitably end up making the city less black. A community’s right to existence is what the discourse around equity and social justice for cities can learn from Black Lives Matter movement.”
The report also centers the importance of anti-racist organizing in the face of these policies and the values of these efforts. Detroiters have been on the front lines, not only fighting racist policy, but also building movement around policies that engender racial and economic justice. The issues and struggles touched upon in this issue of the Detroit People’s Platform NEWS document these efforts. Our work for REAL Community Benefit Agreements, advocacy for truly affordable housing and public transit that responds to the needs of Detroiters strives to protect, maintain and empower majority-black Detroit in the face of the city and corporate power brokers relentless effort to re-engineer the nation’s largest Black city.
Detroit Diverted Diversion of public funds into private projects has become an organized and managed process in Detroit that is now being replicated throughout the city.
- Federal Hardest Hit funds diverted from keeping Detroiter in homes to home demolition.
- Public Transit funds diverted to the Qline, see Transit Gentrification.
- Public education funds diverted through tax capture to fund private projects.
- City owned, public land and resources diverted to private projects/ownership.
From Detroit People’s Platform NEWS #12, MLK Day edition, January 15, 2018. Download the Detroit People’s Platform NEWS at http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org and learn more about our work in REAL Community Benefits, truly affordable housing and transit that meets the needs of everyday Detroiters. Join the conversation #DetroitPeoples