Column: Grosse Pointe Park couple speaks out against blockade at Detroit border

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.

Grosse PointeNo 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.”

  • No one asked me either. I’m tired of my community’s decisions being made in a vacuum.

  • maggiemay

    Why can’t this woman take Mack or Jefferson to work? She’d still see history “coast by her window”? As far as interaction between GP and Detroit, at that intersection there wasn’t any. The Detroit side is empty lots and abandoned houses. Nothing to interact with. GPP has turned what was a dying area into a vibrant walking community, used by residents of both cities. Her child’s opportunities will be broadened, not lessened.

    • Oberyn_Martell

      Their orientation is all wrong.

  • MindMeltingFun

    The thing is an eyesore as well. Who was the genius to make it look like a barn!? This is the suburb, not the country. I hope the city of Detroit makes them tear it down. Glad I dont live in the park, so I dont have to looked at this monstrosity

  • bebow

    No one asked us if we were willing to have the law enforcement services we paid to receive diverted into downtown and Midtown for years in order to provide newly arrived white renters and suburban visitors with an enhanced urban adventure. No one informed us we were expected to fight off narcotics-traffickers and associated criminals on our own and spend our free time landscaping the numerous abandoned, blighted, scrapped properties that were left when our good neighbors fled after services were diverted on the sneak. No one offered to compensate us for the financial losses we sustained in the wake of that immoral decision. Be grateful you are not one of us, and we’ll be grateful not to be copping a squat in Calcutta. See, on the bright side, human waste isn’t running through the gutters in Third World Detroit, at least not yet.

  • Oberyn_Martell

    It’s a shame you feel that way about your community. Maybe you should take a stand and move somewhere you feel is more in line with what you “believe” represents your ideals. There are plenty of homes available directly on the other side of Alter that would love to be filled by forward thinking people such as yourself. By the way the turnout last night at Keecheval After Six was awesome and people from Detroit and GP were having a great time. The strength and courage those Detroiters possess to find it all the way around the sheds to participate in the event was nothing short of miraculous.

    • “The strength and courage those Detroiters possess to find it all the way around the sheds to participate in the event was nothing short of miraculous.”

      How did they drive around the sheds? Or, dare I say it, did they walk on the sidewalks while narrowing avoiding the landscaping? Those plastic hanging flower pots in the right wind could take off a person’s head.

      By the way, when I talk about white guilt in future posts and anyone ever gets confused by what I mean, just come back to this piece. Pretty much embodies it.

      Personhood? WTF.

      • Oberyn_Martell

        Yeah that exact line rubbed me the wrong way too. Personhood. I could feel the bile burning the back of my throat on that one.

        • I think Steve should publish my rebuttal to this op-ed. A “pointe-counterpointe” segment, if you will.

          (Yes I hate puns, but I couldn’t resist.)

          • Bernie Frahnk

            You rock GP for life!