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Detroit Prognosis

By Mike D. Whitty, PhD and Futurist

I love Detroit. I believe we are all Detroiters at heart. That is why I call myself Dr. Detroit, for a city which is proud, joyful, and creative.

I am an Optimist. My Gray Panther friend etherl Schwartz said, “Don’t tell me what’s wrong, I already know that. Tell me what’s right, how we can make things better.”

My activism and contact with this beautiful and noble community last year gives me hope for Detroit and the world.

Detroit has soul and great music. Labor and civil rights are important to us. So is family and our love of life.

Detroit’s progressives must remember that our vision is of a loving community where we feel safe and supported. We need less blameology and victimology, more hope for the future and the possible human, to save ourselves is to save the world., inner peace and outer peace, evolving global justice and a politics of love.

Now is the time for us to complete our life legacy. We are creating our future as we think, speak and act. Our visionary hopes for the future require all of us to show respect to each other. To embrace tolerance and decency, unity in diversity. And to continue to build a win-win world. All we need is guts, brains and compassion. We need a good-news network (The Detroit Standard) where our positive visions will create a tipping point in human consciousness, allowing a paradigm shift from the creed of greed to one of peace and justice.

Remember all that you are grateful for. Gratitude will give you more strength and love to live the rest of your life. A little bit of solitude, a whole lot of gratitude and a loving attitude.

  • University of Detroit Mercy professor Mike D. Whitty is currently researching the future of work.
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Detroit Mayor Orders Columbus Statue removed

Detroit mayor orders removal of Christopher Columbus bust

DETROIT – Detroit’s Christopher Columbus bust was removed from its pedestal on Monday as protests against racism and police brutality continue in the city.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan ordered the bust to be removed. It will be placed in storage as the city decides what to do with the monument long-term.

The Columbus bust has been a target of vandalism in the city for years. Columbus monuments around the country have been removed in recent weeks.

In fact, Detroit no longer even celebrates Columbus Day, but instead, Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Speaking at a press conference Monday Duggan said there will be a conversation with the community about the statue.

“When I looked at some of the violence around the country, and in particular you got people with arms gathering around a Columbus statue in Philadelphia arguing with people. I thought we don’t need this. We should have a conversation as a community as to what is an appropriate place for such a statue,” said Duggan.

He also talked about the name of the city’s convention center being changed due to race related issues.

Duggan pushed very hard to change the convention center’s name. It was previously named Cobo Hall after former Detroit Mayor, Albert Cobo, who was known as a racist for policies he put in place. The convention center was renamed TCF Center in 2019.

“I just didn’t think our convention center a national symbol of the city should be named after someone who really did a lot to make the lives of African Americans worse in the city of Detroit,” he said.

Statues and monuments have long been a controversial topic in the U.S., especially Confederate monuments in the South. In recent weeks, protests against racism have resulted in the toppling or removal of several monuments around the world.

In Bristol, England, demonstrators toppled a statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston and threw it in the harbor. City authorities said it will be put in a museum.

The New Zealand city of Hamilton removed a bronze statue of the British naval officer for whom it is named — a man who is accused of killing indigenous Maori people in the 1860s.

In the U.S., the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck, has led to an all-out effort to remove symbols of the Confederacy and slavery. Several statues of Confederate army leaders have been removed or vandalized, including that of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee. Around the world, historical figures are being re-examined.

So what did Columbus really do? He wasn’t the first to discover the New World, the term generally used to refer to the modern-day Americas. Indigenous people had been living there for centuries by the time Columbus arrived in 1492.

He wasn’t the first European in the New World, either. Leif Eriksson and the Vikings beat him to it five centuries earlier. While many schoolchildren learn about the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, less appealing details of Columbus’ journeys include the enslavement of Native Americans and the spread of deadly diseases.

The indigenous societies of the Americas “were decimated by exposure to Old World diseases, crumbling under the weight of epidemic,” historian David M. Perry wrote.

“Columbus didn’t know that his voyage would spread diseases across the continents, of course, but disease wasn’t the only problem. … He also took slaves for display back home and to work in his conquered lands.”

But there’s no doubt that Columbus’ voyages “had an undeniable historical impact, sparking the great age of Atlantic exploration, trade and eventually colonization by Europeans,” Perry wrote.


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City of Detroit removes Christopher Columbus statue from downtown as black lives matter protests continue

Posted By Steve Neavling on Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 1:04 PM

  • Steve Neavling
  • Protesters draped a black cloth over the Christopher Columbus statue in downtown Detroit in August 2017.

The City of Detroit removed its 110-year-old Christopher Columbus statue on Monday.

Mayor Mike Duggan ordered the removal of the statue, which has been standing at Jefferson Avenue and Randolph downtown since the late 1980s.

“The mayor decided it ought to be placed in storage to give us time to reevaluate the appropriate long-term disposition of the statue,” mayoral spokesman John Roach tells Metro Times.

In recent weeks, protesters nationwide have torn down, destroyed, and defaced statues memorializing racists amid the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

The statue was dedicated to the city of Detroit on Oct. 12, 1910, and originally sat at the north end of Washington Boulevard at Grand Circus Park.

A local activist group called for the statue to be removed in August 2017, saying Columbus represents violence and genocide, and his statue symbolizes mass slaughter.

Columbus advocated fighting and enslaving native groups because he perceived them as cannibals. Those who weren’t killed often were forced to mine gold under brutal conditions. Columbus and his crew also sold nearly 1,500 enslaved islanders to Europe.

Last week, a cardboard sign was placed on the bust, reading, “Looter. Rapist. Slave Trader.”

On Columbus Day in 2015, someone vandalized Detroit’s Columbus statue, making it look like a bloody hatchet blow to the statue’s head.

Earlier this month, a statue of former Dearborn Mayor Orville Hubbard, a staunch segregationist, was put into storage after someone put a Black Lives Matter T-shirt on it.

In recent years, Duggan called for Cobo Center to be renamed because it was named after former Mayor Albert Cobo, a racist who ran on a platform of “Negro removal.” It’s now called TCF Center.