WHO

CONTEXT

SOUTHWEST DETROIT

Although the mission and work of Young Nation is not exclusive to any specific geographic location, we were formed as a response to the unique social and physical climates present in the southwestern neighborhoods of 1990's-2000's Detroit. We are currently located and carrying out our mission in this same community.

Southwest Detroit is a community of contrast. It contains both the most inspiring and most challenging social and physical climates that the City of Detroit has to offer. Progress and struggle hold hands as the community is constantly redefining itself through creative responses to the same stubborn urban issues that plague communities across the country.

Consistently regarded as Detroit's most diverse area and comprised of several distinct neighborhoods, it is boisterous and prayerful, religious and sporting, a late-night party and an early-morning tree planting all at once. Its Anglo, Latino, African-American and Middle Eastern mix make its high school halls look like none other in the city.

While maintaining a healthy level of diversity and a thriving commercial district, the neighborhood is ripe with exploitive opportunities for its young. Among them there is an intense culture of drug dealing and gang activity that flourishes by presenting opportunities early and often to the youth in the community. Highly visible drug traffic, frequent incidents of vandalism including gang graffiti, traumatic acts of violence, and other illegal activities have plagued the community for generations.

Despite its issues, it is also politically active and growing – it was the only area of Detroit to grow in population between the 1990 and 2000 census. That growth has continued through present day as the 2010 census indicates. And that growth brings with it hope and a reason to continue to strive for a new Southwest Detroit that exists in solidarity with the old.

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