For years, Detroit was one of the lowest economic ranking cities in the U.S. Now, it's on the rise and it's giving many Americans hope for growth in the community.

      Many of the once empty lots and abandoned buildings that used to make up Detroit are now tall apartments and modern restaurants that attract crowds of people down-river. In the past few years, Detroit has begun to make its way out of the list of the lowest economic ranking cities in the U.S. This has provided joy to many Detroiters who moved away due to the condition of the city. The rebuilding of Detroit will give these people hope of getting their homes back or to see their old neighborhoods thriving once again, including my family and many others. The fall of Detroit beginning in the 1960s and its rebuilding efforts in more recent years are a huge part of who my family and my community are today.

     The original motto of Detroit from the year 1827 was, “Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus,” which translates from Latin to, “We hope for better days; it shall rise from the ashes.” I found this information on a weekly news magazine called The Week. This motto alone supports the idea that maintaining hope in one’s community will enable it to rise as if it never fell. Since this motto is from so long ago, that shows that if Detroit was able to rebuild itself once, it is more than capable of doing it again. This motto was created out of the Great Fire of 1805 that Detroit was obviously able to rebuild itself from, no matter how difficult it was at the time. Continuing through today, being part of a community is very important to many Americans and their families, as tightly-knit communities prove to accomplish many things individuals could not just on their own, especially in places like Detroit. Being a part of a community also means that trust will develop between one another so that the hope that’s left will be able to fuel its community’s reconstruction. This hope is able to change every individual's perspective on America and everyone's own experience within their neighborhood has the potential to shape their story whether they realize it or not.

     Despite just the construction and remodeling of buildings, houses, and even parks, there are positive economic results to show for these recent projects. After 3 years of being under state budgetary oversight, Detroit was released from it early last year. In addition to this, there has been an increase in positive economic indicators. Many Detroiters who once left the city are now returning. Taken from an interview on The New York Times is a quote that shows how these economic indicators are affecting the population of Detroit. “What brought me back?” said John Davis, a Detroiter who moved away, then returned. “Economic indicators.” With the population decline steadily decreasing, this will allow for even more of an economic boost. This is huge for people who lost their homes. It gives them an opportunity to move back and regain what they once had to give away. The feeling of the community coming together to fund new projects and actually do something about Detroit’s poor condition is part of what fuels a positive American experience. For my family, seeing Detroit’s comeback instills a sense of nostalgia and helps them to remember what life was like during the golden age.

     When I would go out to eat with my family in Detroit as a kid, admittedly, I would get nervous. Stories of violence and theft were rooted within the city, and thinking about it made my stomach flip. But as time went on, I didn’t feel as nervous to go there. I started to feel safe going downtown and I enjoyed walking around. According to a survey conducted by the Downtown Detroit Partnership in 2016, 81.6% of the people surveyed agreed that downtown Detroit is a safe place. This is very different from the 26% of Americans who agreed that Detroit was a safe city to live in or visit in a similar survey from 2006. People starting to feel safe in their hometown again is valuable to a lot of Americans. In American movies and TV shows, there is often a lot of emphasis on a character’s hometown. They show how important it is to them and a lot of people are able to relate to that. Going back to a place where good memories came from is ruined when your safety is at risk. But, with the new increase in Americans who agree that downtown is a safe place, Detroit is able to maintain that happy nostalgia feeling for many who call it their hometown. Along with the feeling of increased safety, Detroiters are developing a greater sense of pride for their city with the building of huge projects, such as Little Caesar’s Arena or the new QLine tram route that will transport you all the way from Midtown to Wayne State.

     With the rebuilding efforts in Detroit, this gives many families who once lived there hope for a new community for them to join in the near future. People coming together, despite their differences, to rebuild something very important to them, is a huge part of my American creed. This sense of community and growth are closely linked. Growth wouldn’t be present without a community, and a community wouldn't be present without growth. To me, this part of my American story is the most important and the most everlasting. 




Royal Oak High School AP Lang 2019

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