Cityscape

Video: Provocative Flyer on 'White Integration' Promotes Talk About Race in Detroit Neighborhood


November 13, 2019, 2:06 PM

Here's a counterpoint to the issue of white flight in Detroit: A west-side neighborhood forum this week was promoted with a flyer headlined "White Integration in Russell Woods-Sullivan Area."

It promoted a Tuesday night meeting at Dexter Grinds coffeehouse on Dexter Avenue to talk about "whites moving into a black neighborhood," Jim Kiertzner of WXYZ reports.

Rhonda J. Smith, a resident who organized the community meeting, says she worded the flyer starkly to draw attention. "I was tired of hearing the same story about the white gentrifiers and the black victims," Smith said. "I wanted to see if there is another angle I can approach."

She moderated a four-member panel discussion that lasted two hours.


Rhonda J. Smith: "Too often we shy away from talking about race relations, ignoring our issues and letting them fester."

At her Facebook page, Smith follows up Wednesday: "The community conversation was a success. We had a great turnout."

WXYZ provides background:

Smith says some of her black neighbors have complained to her about new white residents walking their dogs and messing up their yards. And another neighbor said they are coming in and taking over but they didn't exactly say what that means.

Before the event, Smith posted on social media: "Too often we shy away from talking about race relations, ignoring our issues and letting them fester until they are big and out of control. I don't want this to happen in my neighborhood. I want us to live well together."

A lifelong Detroiter, she has served on her neighborhood association board and is an "emerging voices" writer for Detour Detroit, a twice-weekly newletter. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in communication, and has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years.



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