originally posted 3/3/2015 at http://www.motheringjustice.org/mama-blog/seeking-homes-story-detroit-by-michelle-Martinez

Michelle Martinez with her daughter Zahra Luna (MotheringJustice.org)

Excerpts from the full article:

This is what community is: a web of lives, food, love, that ties us together even when there is no money, when capital flees, development stops.  These connections are a spirit that shows us a light in the darkness, and holds us when we are lost. It offers us a place to return to, even when we are not looking to arrive. …
Mexicantown is a place of cultural pride, it is a historic marker, and a nod that in this little corner of the world, the blood, sweat and tears it took to hold this space by generations of people, even for a moment, would be remembered.Today, heralded with pride on the website, a developer, a Mayor and the Governor has the power to erase that. The new Garment District, a lurid reminder of the maquiladoras left behind, would be where Mexicantown was. Without a public meeting, a questionnaire, a single effort to pretend Detroit has access to a democratic government, Canadians will arrive to the Garment District. Is it gentrification? Is it the invisible hand of the market? Should we be happy that “at least there is something happening”? Should we fight the rebranding and keep the company even though it’s not offering jobs and the necessary $15/hour living wage we’re fighting for? Will this name Mexicantown be even valid if there are no Mexicans living there in a few years, a decade?

So what is be done? I ask you who are interested in true democracy, to speak. What is the story I shall tell my daughter as we struggle to keep home? How shall we tell this story if this place has a different name? I ask you Detroit, who has endured so much, what does it mean to grow in a space that exists only in past tense? Detroit, how do we hold home eternal?