Because of his success, I had confidence that all of Detroit’s citizens would begin to realize a better life. My hopes were quickly dashed when following the pattern that has become the political norm, Duggan shared his intentions to have those living in tent city removed to just in time to line up with an event designed to showcase Detroit in its best light.
This is the predicament that homeless communities find themselves, not only in Detroit, but throughout the nation. That is, denying people the right to be seen and heard. This practice bears an eerie resemblance to times in our nations past when those who were different did not matter and were hid from public view.
For example, it was not so long ago that people with disabilities were once considered eyesores not to be seen by the so -called respecting public. Once considered retarded, they were hidden away by families, were deemed useless by education and brought general shame to communities.
Surely Mayor Duggan is intelligent enough to know that hiding a problem does not make it go away. He must realize that any group of people who would brave the frigid Michigan temperatures to camp outside is making a powerful statement about the ineffectiveness of the City’s homeless shelters.
It would be wise for Duggan to prioritize the needs of the forgotten homeless community rather than joining into the charade that says they we don’t exist. This is an opportunity for Duggan to distinguish himself among his predecessors and his counterparts throughout the nation. While Detroit is in the spotlight he has the opportunity to set a new precedent --- one of showing the world that the homeless community matters. To recognize that the ugliness is not in the tent city, but in a system that perpetuates the dehumanizing practices that allow homelessness to exist.