This was written by Emily Grace and Joseph Michael Sawicki-Barone, who live in Grosse Pointe Park.
Grosse Pointe Park is my home. I have chosen it to be my child’s source of education and interaction with the world, to be my safe place as I wed, to be my family’s respite in in-climate weather and in waning joy. I live on its border, and I choose this place for the wellspring of opportunity that it provides. In a single morning’s commute, I see the history of the city coast past my window.
This opportunity has been halted by the decisions made, behind closed doors, by the Grosse Pointe Park City Council and its selected contractors. For profit, my child’s chance to see her world as interactive and empathetic has been stunted. The choices to further divide Grosse Pointe Park from Detroit at Kercheval have hindered the economic, civil, and social interactions which the thoroughfare had provided. Friends regard my locality as hostile, and with good reason based on the local law enforcement’s track record. Neighbors in a growing community no longer look upon my house as a place of personhood, but of privilege.
No one asked me if my streets needed a blockade. No one informed me that a choice to create the “Farmer’s Market” area would be put to a vote in a public forum. No one gave me the chance to voice my disenfranchisement at the misrepresentation of my affections, both political and cordial, via this circumnavigation of a suburb from the city which once made it affluent and desirable. No one asked me if I wanted my child to wonder whether this was a safety precaution. I did not want those things, and I do not want those things, and the actions of my City Council do not represent me.
I stand on the economic and geographic margins of my area, and anyone who would like to join me on the margins may do so. I will not have myself, my family, or my community misrepresented in the short term economic interests of those in power. In protest of my government’s recent choices, those who agree and choose to resend this email may do so.
In the meantime, and in the immortal words of the departed Pete Seeger, “if I had a hammer, […] I’d hammer out danger, I’d hammer out a warning, I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land.”