I want to comment on a recent article about Flint that was posted today on the PolicyMic website. Obviously, I didn’t write it. The author interviewed me for 45 minutes about Flint. I told her about my book — Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City — and my experiences growing up in Flint. As I always do, I emphasized that despite its well-documented problems, there are positive, hopeful things happening in the city where four generations of my family lived. I pointed out that there are a lot of talented people working very hard to make it a better place. I suggested she talk to people like Michael Freeman and Perry Compton, who restored their home in Carriage Town, and Pastor Sherman McCathern of Joy Tabernacle Church, who is doing great things in Civic Park. I feel they represent the real essence of the city.
I also gave permission to use any photos I took from the Flint Expatriates website, but I didn’t choose the photos. Of course, I had no control whatsoever over the finished article, the angle, the content, or the headline. That’s a choice that’s left to the reporters and editors who interview me. But in this particular case, I wish the author would have devoted less space to all the negative statistics and old news about Flint’s decline, and more to the inspiring residents of my hometown who are using innovative approaches to improve the city.