By gsantiromero http://instagr.am/p/TYc-VrL3mH/
By insidesouthwest / in Featured, Original Content, Community / September 14, 2012
Starting yesterday Danto's Furniture, located on Vernor and Central, began to board all the open properties on Carson from Dix to Vernor. For the past several months residents, businesses, and organizations have been working to discover and prioritize the overwhelming issue that has resulted from the concentration of open, vacant properties on Carson.
This week when several residents spoke plainly about their concerns and the potential of losing more buildings on a block already plagued by arson and a dwindling housing stock they were heard. The urgency of the matter helped to connect several community resources to each other in a way that allowed action to follow their input. As a result, Southwest Solutions was able to purchase materials and Danto's Furniture provided the labor so that the residents of Carson are able to enjoy less open structures
The corners on Elsmere from Avis to Mandale have been at varying stages of disrepair for some time. For the last 3 years open, empty, and burning structures have contributed to the blight and seem to have helped fuel illegal and even violent activity in the area. Multiple requests have been made to the City of Detroit over the course of this time. During the last 5 weeks in particular the area within 2 square blocks of Lane and Elsmere has suffered 2 shootings and 8 fires. But this week changes are coming.
This Thursday the City of Detroit will be hosting a press conference at 1808 Elsmere to spearhead demolition efforts in the neighborhoods around Springwells in Southwest Detroit. The press conference will be at 9:00 am and Mayor Bing will be in attendance. There will be four properties demolished at that site on this day. We are asking everyone to come out and show their support around these much needed demolition efforts in our neighborhood! Translation will be provided at this event. Please share this information with others. If you have any questions or need additional information, please call me at 313.451.8380
If you had the microphone for 30 seconds during this press conference, what would you say or ask your audience?
Written by Gionni Crawford
A tradition that started as a way to bring together young people in Southwest Detroit can be touted as "Dream Cruise: Southwest Detroit Style"
Hundreds of people gathered to see the showcased lowriders at the annual Blessing of the Lowriders event in Southwest Detroit, one of Detroit's most vibrant communities, along West Vernor Highway May 5, 2012.
The first Blessing of the Lowriders event took place 14 years ago in 1998 at Ste Anne's Catholic Church in Detroit.
Victor Villalobos is the founder of the Blessing of the Lowriders event and is passionate about telling stories about how lowriders were established. He believes this event ties the community together and dispels myths about youth, gangs, lowriders, and the Southwest Detroit community in general.
"When people think of lowriders immediately they think of old American made cars, but lowriders are also bicycles. Old Schwinn "Krates" and "Stingrays" are the two most popular bicycle styles used to convert to lowriders," said Villalobos, "By accepting bicycles to be blessed it brings families together to build, paint, and display their works... young men and women love to show off what they labored over."
To keep the community-binding tradition going, Victor and Young Nation partnered in 2010 in hopes to attract more young people.
Young Nation promotes youth and community development through cultural and educational initiatives.
Young Nation is helping break stereotypes about Southwest Detroit (the community) and lowriders (the people) and using lowriders (the cars) as mentoring tools.
"We're excited that Young Nation has a big enough roof for us all to live under with our passion-based projects and want to have that be part of what gets out with this event." said Erik Howard, founder of Young Nation.
Villalobos realizes that there are a lot of unconfronted myths about Southwest, but he believes that this event has effectively combated those myths.
"Over the years I think that it has been very effective because the day that we had the first blessing the community and congregation at the church was accepting to the lowriders. These young men and women went back to their communities to tell other lowriders how accepting and uplifting it was to participate in mass."
Lowriders were not the only thing spectators could enjoy, Southwest Detroit is known for its surplus of ethnic restaurants and businesses.
"Southwest Detroit is a community built on pride. Even after a neighbor leaves they always find their way back for at least a visit or a bite to eat. I have always said once you have "bounced" down W. Vernor Hwy, you are hooked...you'll be back."
If you're looking for a history lesson about the Blessing of the Lowriders tradition and customized cars, contact Victor Villalobos via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Erik Howard at email@example.com
Detroit Synergy, a volunteer based organization in Detroit, hosted Motor City Muralism 2 on Saturday, May 13th. The event is a bicycle tour that has two primary purposes "to introduce people to artwork around the city and, in doing so, to also introduce them to neighborhoods and businesses around the city" said Joanna Porvin, the coordinator of this year's ride with 100+ riders. The tour began at the Detroit Institute of Arts and included views of Yamasaki's mural of Grace Lee Boggs, street art at Recycle Here and the Lincoln Street Art Park, murals in Corktown, Juan Carlos Hearn's mural on Gigante Mercado on Michigan Avenue at Wesson, Dasic Fernandez' murals on Hacienda Foods on Vernor at Cavalry, and The Alley Project (TAP) near Avis and Woodmere.
At TAP they were greeted by youth leaders, Gabriela Santiago-Romero and Nyasia Valdez. The two gave them a brief introduction and tour of The Alley Project and its walking gallery along the 750 foot alley between Woodmere and Elsmere before the riders headed back down Vernor toward Cafe con Leche where they were able to enjoy the sites and sounds of Southwest Detroit before ending for the day.
Cafe con Leche on Vernor and Scotten hosted the opening for Lisa Luevanos' photography exhibit 'Reflexiones' on Friday, May 4, 2012. Lisa has sought to celebrate and preserve Latino heritage in her work over the past three decades. Born and raised in southwest Detroit, her photographs document various aspects of the history of the neighborhood. For a night the coffee shop was transformed into a venue in overt celebration of and community. Several generations of artists from the community came together to enjoy coffee, view the exhibit, and even work on costumes and other props for the Cinco de Mayo parade. Lisa's exhibit will remain on display at Cafe con Leche, now open 7 days a week, through the end of June.
Via Crucis is a long standing tradition of the Catholic Church. Each year on Easter weekend St. Gabriel's parish in Southwest Detroit hosts an elaborate presentation of the stations of the cross acted out by members of the church. Hundreds of parishioners and local residents gather to view Via Crucis as it travels outside the church and through the community around Vernor and Springwells for the 2 hour event.
Photography by Gabriela Santiago-Romero
This year's Cinco de Mayo Parade was filled with youth, families, instruments, horses, fashion, and rides! This year the parade again traveled its traditional route from Patton Park to Clark Park. Lasting for just over an hour it pleased visitors with a diverse arrangement of floats and performances. Marching bands filled the streets with familiar sounds. Horses pranced by. Candy flew from cars and floats. And young people from the community sported everything from signs with messages to the latest fashions from local shops.
What was YOUR experience? Leave a comment below to let us know. What did you see, hear, taste, touch, and/or smell out in the neighborhood this weekend for the Cinco de Mayo festivities?
This year's Cinco de Mayo Parade information and application is now available! The 48th Annual Cinco de Mayo Parade will begin at 12p on Sunday, May 6, 2012 and will travel down Vernor from Patton Park at Woodmere to Clark Park at Scotten.
If you are interested in participating in this year's parade you may click the link below to download the application. Registrants are required to provide a completed application and a $40 registration fee which includes up to two automobiles. But hurry!! Early registration ends on April 20, 2012 after which the registration fee will rise. You may drop off your application at Cafe con Leche on Vernor and Scotten, Xochi's Gift Shop on Bagley at 25th, or LASED also located on Vernor at Scotten. No parade registrations will be accepted on May 6th, the day of the parade, nor will any registration refunds be provided. Feel free to call the parade committee at (313)452-7355 with any questions. Hope to see you all there!!