Is Detroit on the verge of another uprising?

By Steve Neavling, Editor

The grumblings of revolution and civil disobedience in Detroit are hard to dismiss as hyperbole.

“Before long, I think there’s going to be a class or race riot,” Councilman Kwame Kenyatta told me over the phone. “People are angry.”

No doubt.

Police and firefighters are losing jobs. Bus routes are less frequent. And many neighborhoods look more like war zones than a place to live.

And this is just the beginning of very painful cuts to come as the state continues its intervention, which council approved in April.

“You’re going to pay for this,” one resident shouted at city council today.

Another declared: “It’s time for resistance.”

To be sure, Detroiters have a history of defiance.

And it’s no wonder. City leaders in the early and middle 20th century have supported segregated housing and huge pay disparities.

Many historians now consider the race riots in 1943 and 1967 as virtually inevitable uprisings following decades of abuse and favoritism.

As a pastor friend of mine said, “People are panicking. They don’t know what to do. They’re scared.”

As a city and region, we need to come together and create a better city. That means feeding the poor and helping the forgotten.

It means providing a functional bus service that can take people to work or a doctor’s appointment. It means providing health services to the poor and homeless.

That’s going to take some state and federal assistance.

It’s a long-overdue investment in people.

Steve Neavling lives in Midtown and is a former reporter at the Detroit Free Press. 

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.