Dear Detroit,

I felt it was time to write this letter to you & let you know how I truly feel. I’ve been in love with you since the 1st day I learned to spell your name. Replacing the recorded lyrics of a song to include Detroit has always brought me great joy. There’s no place like you! Weekends burning gas riding around Belle isle, bus rides downtown & the countless winter nights we shared painting the town. You raised me to never be afraid of any corner in the world I should ever feel lost on. I believed in you when it became fashionable to doubt your relevance. Traveling the world I found great humor & honor in being a true representative of your boundaries. Nothing tickled me more than people saying “Oh you from Detroit- yeah they don’t play!” It seems that I dedicated my life to being a Detroiter. The last of a dying breed! It’s been one of my goals to be here for the rest of my life. However, as we have aged and things changed, so have my desires.

We’ve had our share of downs. You not being readily available for action due to your 2 am curfew. The lack of quality shopping and entertainment in close proximity. I’m still mad about the Mercury theater. An almost acknowledging transition to the inferior place they painted you out to be. The lack of grandeur I’d seen & heard about in pictures from only decades ago. Your complete dependence on factory workers should’ve prepared me for what was next. The abandoned building that still stands that I was raped in while the 1st school I ever attended was crumbled like a melting iceberg. The alleys that I played in as a child have become open graveyards to lost souls no one cares to find. Your put on act for the 2006 Super Bowl was epic but I saw the real you & showed a few guests how we really get down. The way you’ve numbed us is almost narcotic, mystical & hypnotic. At some point, someone has to snap their fingers for us to awake.

I’m up! I thought I could hang in for the long fight but you have officially crossed the line this year. This has absolutely nothing to do with me. It holds roots in the DNA of my son. A son who has not taken to your streets maliciously. Neither has he created any defamatory ideas of the young men you produce. He’s our miracle child. Not afraid to stand up in your honor. You have failed him because twice this year your other children have threatened his life through violence. This will not be tolerated! I’ve never messed with yours let you do whatever you see fit from casinos to shutting off the lights when you want. It’s this type of respect I require as a parent to work, live & rest properly. You’ve taken too many of our sons already. Yes, mine is no more special but I feel you owe it to us to make sure that the ones that want better have a fair chance at it. Coincidentally, I see you don’t care. And it’s with this realization that I’ve come to the conclusion to throw in the towel. I refuse for you to garnish my son as you’ve done with so many others.

I refuse to be on the other side of the door for the “we’re sorry to tell you this” visit. Now that I see you don’t care about mine I can’t harbor you anymore. The time has come for us to relocate to explore the opportunity of a better life.

Do I still love you? Yes! Will I still call myself a Detroit girl? Yes! Will I still pay city taxes? No! Will we be back after you’ve had some time to think? There’s a good chance I might! As for the kid, I’m not to sure. I’ve been urging him to free himself from your grasp. This plan has been in the works for a while now. I want you to succeed & be the phoenix I know you have the strength to be. Show the world how you emerged from the man made grave they buried you in. You’re beautifully misunderstood. Moreover as a mother to her young my job is to protect him from harm. Please don’t be mad about my decision. Moving forward is moving on and it’s time.

With all my heart,

Marlea Z. Wilson