It just didn't make sense. Not for those who don't know Detroit.
In fact, as I knew even as an international student from Brazil, Detroit is one of the cities with the highest crime rates in the United States, and it even declared bankruptcy in 2013. Even though it was the birthplace of the auto industry, where Henry Ford opened the first car factory in 1903, and the wealthiest city in the world for much of the 20th century, today, all we should find are dozens of completely destroyed blocks in the entire city. After all, due to the financial crisis of 2009, among other crisis, Detroit became a war scenario in the heart of the United States. I mean, that's what (almost) everyone knows, and what's in the media.
One week into DukeEngage Detroit, however, I can honestly and whole-heartedly say that what we know of Detroit doesn't represent this city I learned to love and admire.
Well, I definitely did not find the Detroit we see in the television and newspapers. I found a dynamic city always trying to improve itself, a convenient and brand-new train system, a game-changing bike sharing service that allow Detroiters to travel from one point to another in their own pace. I've found people who are incredibly proud of being part of such an eclectic city, family restaurants in Corktown, the area where Build is located, with incredibly low prices and genuine, quality food, museums of modern art that offer brunch with a DJ. I've found art, breathtaking murals, and popular markets who bring the entire community together.
More important than all of this, I have found a city that is completely rebuilding itself though innovation and entrepreneurship, where on each corner you can find someone planning on starting a small business that here can definitely redefine realities. And, during my time here, I hope to be part of this change, way beyond my work at Build – through visiting art galleries, supporting local businesses, talking to the passionate Detroiters I meet everyday, and showing the world what Detroit is really about through photography.
To all the why's I got, I say that here, in Detroit, is where the true innovation is – made by people like us, who have the courage to imagine a better future, and the dedication and creativity to take it out of the paper. And I believe there's no better place to be.