These Detroiters Will Stay If ...

"I Will Stay If ..." The GLUE organization -- aka the Great Lakes Urban Exchange -- asked people in Detroit to fill in the blank at a recent party kicking off its regional campaign.

To some, the question was off base. We're staying, they said, so there's no "if." But to "the young and the restless" -- that elusive group of skilled, creative, talented people who can take their shows on the road with ease -- there's a big "if." So GLUE challenges our city, state and regional leaders to listen up to what they say.

And they need to listen. To hear the Freep's Tom Walsh tell it, our leaders spent their time on Mackinac Island hating on each other, and pooh-poohing efforts to be a region that works together. To hear some of the really nasty spirited readers of his newspaper tell it, we shouldn't bother working together. It's over. Give up on the city. Go it alone.

Ah, but wait, to hear these people tell it -- the 90-some people who answered GLUE's question -- that mentality is going to get us nowhere. We'd better start acting like a region of grown-ups who can cooperate, or they're high-tailing it outta here.

What's going to make someone stay in metro Detroit, or the city, or the state? Maybe these aren't all the answers, but it's a start. Sure, we can continue on the course of bickering and working against each other. We can see the fruits of that plan all over. Let's keep our region vacant, run down, struggling or whatever adjective du jour the outside media likes to peg us with.

Or we can listen up, get our acts together, and do what 5-year-olds learn from one episode of Sesame Street: Cooperation makes it happen.

Or we can all try to DIY. But if that doesn't work, kiss these kids goodbye. Buy them a plane ticket. Then pray maybe the next generation has a reason to stay.

Watch and listen above to what the GLUE kids have to say. For more on the project or to view all the Detroit "I Will Stay If ..." photos, click here.

Words by Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey, managing editor of Model D. Photos by Model D managing photographer Marvin Shaouni. Audio by Michigan Now and Model D Radio's Chris McCarus. Send feedback here.
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