The Motor City filed for bankruptcy today, after decades of decay, mismanagement and poverty that left its people with 78,000 abandoned buildings and $18 billion in city debt. The legal fights have already begun, and the political recriminations from people who've never been there fill the Internet's common spaces, but tonight I'd like to spare a thought for 700,000 people of Detroit who will have to bear yet another burden and another round of unflattering headlines.
For paying the highest city income taxes of any municipality in the nation, Detroit residents get to wait an hour for someone to respond to 911 calls. Their schools have been woefully underfunded for years; as have most basic municipal services. And while plenty of those who've departed Motown — including some of its corporate offspring — like to boast of having Detroit spirit and heritage when fashionable, only its residents have to face the reality of life in the city, which many do with an enviable reserve of grace. We can debate the cause, the politics, the finances and the implications of Detroit and its bankruptcy, but as this collection of portraits by Mike/The G Forcers illustrates, we should never root against its people. They deserve better.