Day 209: A City’s Motors

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July 27, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

It’s official, I’m on my way out of Michigan. My next week will be filled with preparation, planning and packing up the pieces of my life I want to bring with me to Boston. It’s a strange feeling – an exciting one – but one made all the more earnest because this is a fundamentally different move than I’ve ever made before. This time, it’s for real. Not just for the summer, not just for kicks – Boston is a whole new chapter, unwritten and without any definite last page.

As I turn the page on Michigan, I don’t feel like I’m leaving it behind – I’ll never forget it; it will always be a part of me, and no matter where I go, I’ll carry it with me. Those of you not from Michigan might not believe me, but there’s a lot to carry. (My mom recalls her first thoughts when considering moving from New York to Michigan: “There’s life in Michigan?”) I think everyone carries a little piece of their hometown with them throughout their life, for better or worse. For me, it’s for the better. I like Michigan – it’s been pretty good to me and I’ll continue to root for it in good times and bad. Detroit has seen some bad times. Detroit is living some bad times still. But Detroit is pulling hard on its bootstraps and I’m proud to have been even a small part of that pull – a pull for progress and positivity. I regret not pulling harder or more often in the 22 years I spent living relatively close to the Motor City, but today’s project gives me a little more reason to be proud of the strength and resilience of Detroit.

Detroit je t’aime is a unique look at the Motor City’s invincible DIY spirit. Capturing three stories of Detroiters building their lives, their businesses, their communities and their city, the accounts are rendered as a unique interactive documentary that allows the audience (you and I) not just to follow these integrated narratives, but to share in and contribute to an evolving story.

Once coined the “Motor City,” Detroit’s industrial era is still hanging in its still-running factories as well as in its ruins. Yet today, there’s a renaissance happening. Thanks to the consistent hard work that long-time Detroiters have been doing by staying in the city, by learning how to stick together and developing a stront DIY spirit, Detroiters have turned their city into a unique place, off-the-grid, that’s attractive for creative people. The generation Y is moving to Detroit from all over, looking to make a difference. We came to the city for the same reason, in a quest for new values.

Detroit, I wish I knew you better. Perhaps as distance separates us, we’ll do a better job of keeping in touch. I’m going to keep my eye on you, motown, so don’t disappoint me. I’ll do my best never to let you down, either. I hope we can one day brag about each other. I hope that day comes soon and lasts forever. Keep going, keep struggling, keep fighting, keep believing in yourself and in a better tomorrow. Stay in gear.

Don’t turn your back on Detroit. Watch it. Listen to it. Embrace it. Learn from it. Encourage it. Past, present, and future, this unique look at Detroit deserves your support and mine, and I hope you’ll join me in backing it before July 30.


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