There is a strange mix of emotions caught in the people of Detroit. Hope, anger, abandonment, love...
On Monday I had the privilege of speaking with Miss Brey, one of the main workers in the Detroit Rescue Missions Ministry. She works closely with girls aged 14-19 who are either pregnant or have children with absolutely nothing. She helps get them out of their situations as much as she can by providing them with the necessary resources. I asked her what she thought of Detroit and her eyes immediately lit up. She said that if she was asked that five years ago she would say to stay away from Detroit. Get out, it's bad news. But now we are making a comeback, she said. Detroit has hope. There are programs for the homeless. There are businesses opening. We can help Detroit.
Then yesterday I spoke with another worker of Detroit Rescue. He has been staying in one of the men's shelters for a few months and seemed so happy when our crew of volunteers came in to help out. He was vibrant talking to us. I asked him the same question, his opinion about Detroit, and it was a 180 from Miss Brey. "I'm getting out of here," he said. He told us he needs to move to start over where it's better. He's a happy guy, but he thinks Detroit is going nowhere.
Two completely different perspectives. At first I didn't quite know how to process the information. How can these people have lived in the same place, experienced similar things, yet think completely different thoughts. I asked myself... so is Detroit making a comeback? Or will it never get better?
After a lot of reflection, and processing the information not only that I've received but that the other people in ASB have received, I've realized that everyone has a different perspective. And the point is Detroit isn't good or bad. Like anything, there is so much more going on.
Obviously, there still is a problem which warrants some people to think that there will always be a problem. But then there is hope too. People want to help the city.
I've quickly realized how difficult coming home will be. During our meetings throughout the year we've talked about how this trip may be emotionally draining and we may experience culture shock. We learned about the troubles in Detroit. Basically, all of us knew what we were getting ourselves into.
However, it wasn't until I was here that I truly understood what was happening. It wasn't until I experienced this trip that I could understand the purpose.
I can go back home and tell people all I want about what I've experienced in Detroit. But the only way that change will be made is if they experience it, too. They need to come here and help out. I want to help the city. I will encourage others to help the city. Hopefully they will then encourage others to help the city. It's a chain of change and experience. That is the only way I see a true change will be made in Detroit. People need a complete understanding and they will only get that through experience. I do see a bright future for Detroit, but I can't be the only one to see that bright future in order for change to happen.
Class of 2018