Marchers move through Detroit neighborhoods to highlight gentrification

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Protesters were back on the streets of Detroit on Sunday, pushing against gentrification in the city as well as police brutality.

Marchers began at Pingree Park on East Canfield Street and continued through the surrounding neighborhoods where organizers said residents have seen mass displacements due to gentrification, evictions and foreclosures in a post-bankruptcy period. 

Organizers on Instagram also encouraged residents to join the Detroit City Council's Zoom meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday to speak out against facial recognition software used in policing as well as to protest a tax break for a development that the Islandview community "overwhelmingly opposes."

Islandview is bound by Jefferson on the south, Mack to the north, Mt. Elliott to the west and Baldwin Street on the east. Developers have proposed a multi-unit development that residents said would make rents so unaffordable that they’d rather the property remain empty.

Leaders of the march opened comments to community members to speak out about gentrification, though no one stepped up to speak.

"We really want to encourage more people to come out everyday ... we're stronger in masses," said Allen Dennard, one of the organizers with Detroit Will Breathe. 

One woman and her friends traveled from New Mexico to join in the city's 59th day of protesting policing methods and systemic racism. 

Cherri Foytlin, 47, said she saw Facebook videos of a Detroit Will Breathe protest and decided she wanted to help. Foytlin and her friends have been to protests in St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; and Louisville, Kentucky. 

"We're right in the middle of a civil rights movement and we want to support everywhere in anyway we can ... we call it the good trouble tour," Foytlin said. 

Whitney Ottenhoff and her son, Elias, 1 month old, at the Detroit Will Breathe march in Detroit on Sunday.

Energy remained high during the 2 1/2-hour march, which moved through several residential blocks on the city's east side with participants chanting, "Come out of your houses and into the streets; no justice, no peace."

Residents came out on their porches as the march passed and showed support by chanting along, dancing and cheering. The protesters stopped at one point to chant with a family that had stopped their baby shower to join in. 

Other protesters who are a part of By Any Means Necessary, another activist organization, said another demonstration will be held 7 a.m. Monday at Renaissance High School on Outer Drive.