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We visited Delray, a neighborhood (and former incorporated village) which resides along the Detroit River.Sackey informed us of the extreme environmental pollution which has afflicted Delray residents for decades.Residents say the city stopped caring about them long ago.
The city has allowed corporations to marginalize Delray’s minority population, with ongoing approved industrial pollution in the immediate area.
Delray is nearby what is considered the most polluted zip code in Michigan (48217) and one of the most polluted in the US.
Throughout a controversial and lengthy planning phase (which is still ongoing), the location of its main entryway was considered in several locations–an entryway no one wanted in their backyard.
Where did the city decide would cause the least uproar? This was just another development in a running series of city-approved projects in and surrounding Delray, leaving a community to wonder if any officials care about their predominantly-black, low-income neighborhoods.
Because of its role as a connector between Canada and the US, I-75 carries an extremely high volume of traffic, which results in exhaust-spewing semi-trucks sitting still up to an hour at a time, right next to residential neighborhoods, without shutting off their engines.
The I-75 expressway runs alongside minority communities in Detroit, straddling the neighborhoods of Delray, isolating residents from the reviving Mexican Town and Hubbard neighborhoods.
The high traffic, eight-lane expressway connects motorists to Canada via the Ambassador Bridge just outside of Delray.
However, due to a poorly engineered entry point to Canada (among other design flaws), a new bridge was proposed in 2004 to connect Detroit and the Windsor area, now dubbed the Gordie Howe International Crossing, led by Canadian entity Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.
It wasn’t until they improved their communication strategies that the right people began to pay attention and listen to their calls for political action.
In addition to this focus on effective communication, I also heard accounts from the leaders of these organizations of the value of collaboration with others in their community.