Today, we did some photo and video journaling, and we met with Pastor Brian Willingham of Charity United Methodist Church. Pastor Willingham is also an active officer in the City of Flint Police Department, and author of Soul of a Black Cop.
Before Tuesday, one our dancers, Amy, had never been to Flint. In our travels throughout the city, she shared that everything seems to fall on one far end of a spectrum; Flint is a city of contrasts. She noted the tension created when considering large mansions in the same city as so many empty lots and boarded up homes and buildings; the abundance of old liquor stores with boards over doors and windows, only blocks from our beautiful Farmers Market; the dramatic closing of so many Flint schools in contrast with the wealth of culture on the Cultural Center campus—including the buzz of activity at the Flint School of Performing Arts on a Wednesday evening. In Flint, there seems to be very little “in-between.”
This makes me think of how an urban landscape is man-made. I think about the men and women who have projected their hopes and dreams into the buildings where they’ve lived, worked, and studied, and wonder if those buildings become a reflection of how our society treats their dreams.