It’s 1967 again in Detroit
America’s tumultuous relationship with race is once again at the forefront of national discussion as the country is divided in opinion, yet bonded together in a constant state of affliction and despair. People from all walks of life are struggling to understand how year after year our nation continues to face the same issues stemming from racial injustice, and while we all recognize that important progress has been made over the last 50 years, there is still so much more to be done.
As an African-American man, I’m grasping for clarity and earnestly hoping for answers to the same questions my grandfather and father once asked: How many more people with skin of a darker hue will die before something changes?
I am reminded of a time where my city was at the center of all that was wrong with America. Forty-nine years ago this month, Detroit endured one of the largest civil uprisings in modern American history, and I am burdened with the knowledge that many of the contributing factors of the 1967 uprising in Detroit still exist today.
As an African-American father, I write this letter with the heaviest of hearts. I am petrified for the safety and well-being of my children and the world they will grow up in. I recall and reflect on a time when I was only worried about the stigma and judgment they would endure for being black in America. I now worry for their lives—and if they don’t matter to anyone else, my kids matter to me!
I have the strongest of expectations one day everyone will share the same basic human right to life as those with the privilege of never having to worry about it. We should look beyond any prejudices we may have and notions of who is right or wrong or at fault and to agree to do our part in addressing the issue. You don’t have to march, protest or distribute petitions, it can be something as small as venturing outside of your comfort zone to make a difference. It is only when we all collectively agree to take a step toward impacting positive change that can we expect to reach our desired destinations.
Marlowe Stoudamire, project director
owner and chief engagement strategist