I wrote this in my journal earlier before meeting Rob from Cass:
Today we picked up paper for Green Industries to shred from a Catholic school in Grosse Point, MI, right outside of Detroit. The community was clearly very wealthy with beautiful homes lining Lake St. Claire. The grass and streets were trash-free and it seemed not one bush has over-grown. However, when we drove ten minutes down the road, we were back amongst abandoned, crumbling homes and buildings, liquor stores and filth. It made me so angry and so confused. How can one end of a street house some of the nation's richest, while the other end of the same street is home to some of the poorest? How can those living in the well-off area ignore their neighbors? Are the even ignoring them or have they all just adjusted to this being the way life is? How does this happen?
On our first day of breakfast, Sue came to the table and asked, "Why Detroit?" I honestly did not know how to answer. In my mind I knew I came to Detroit because I wanted to spend my break making a difference but, ultimately, I would have gone anywhere. Now I have figured out why Detroit matters. While Detroit's own neighbors are happily living their lives, and the rest of the nation talks down upon this amazing city with so much potential, we are here. We are acknowledging that this city can overcome these battles and we believe in the potential that is within it.
When we got back to Cass, Rob immediately proved me right. He proved that there is hope in Detroit and the programs we are helping do make a difference. Rob has gone through the two year program with Cass and is no longer living on the street, but in permanent housing. He has a job and has gotten clean and sober. His smile and joy will forever be engrained in my mind.
I'm going to close this entry with a poem that I think embodies a theme I've noticed recurring this week. Detroit has been down for a long, long time, but I see it slowly coming back to life.
The Rose That Grew From The Concrete
By Tupac Shakur
Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned how to walk without having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from the concrete
when no one else cared.
Class of '16