I have felt like I have been sitting in this gossip circle for over two months now. The person in the crossfire is Detroit. Friends, relatives, family, have all told me to be careful because Detroit is an "extremely dangerous city". Many people have told me to not get shot. Of course, this statement makes sense. They somehow think I am planning to go somewhere specifically to provoke someone to shoot me. That isn't how things work, but I do understand they are concerned for my safety.
Online reports and blogs use actual facts to validate my inner circle's opinions. 24/7 Wall Street this month even ranked Detroit as the worst city to live in. The level of analysis seemed credible since researchers collected data in nine major categories- crime, demography, economy, education, environment, health, housing, infrastructure, and leisure- to determine the ranking. From these reports and people's opinions, I prepared myself to be as cautious as possible in Detroit.
However, after being in Downtown Detroit for just a month, it disappoints me to think about how I judged a city and its people without actually physically being in the space. Detroit is one of the most vibrant, cohesive, and happening cities I have ever visited. The speed at which it has grown since declaring bankruptcy not even a decade ago has been astounding. Detroit ranked 4th as a city where downtown is making a comeback, 1st as a top unexpected city for food lovers in North America, eighth as the best sports city, and much more. It is obvious that the locals and newcomers are working together to raise the city out of its own ashes. Of course, Detroit needs to make many improvements in housing, income, and education, but the city can't solve every problem at one time. Efforts are being directed towards those issues now and will be the focal point in the mere future. The renewal and growth of jobs and opportunity have started in Downtown and will spread to the suburbs in time.
I have visited almost every sector of Detroit so far. There is a stark difference in wealth, development, and people when comparing downtown to 8mile. However, the city is regrowing and has a plan to revitalize neighborhoods in the next 15 years. Therefore, the reputation it has acquired is understandable but not legitimate. People's viewpoints are based on facts or hearsay. Unfortunately, facts can not quantify the current energy and togetherness of the town. Hearsay is outdated. Time will tell if people's view will change of Detroit. I know it will, but I don't know how fast. The only advice I have for people is to stop gossiping. Like my mom always said "Don't judge a person by what other people say. Judge a person by the way they make you feel and the experiences you have had with em". I have had a great experience in Detroit and falling more in love with it every single day.