In the St. Clair Shores community, “diversity” has become a dirty word. While some use the word in a positive light, others believe diversity is “ruining” St. Clair Shores and blame other races for a decrease in safety. This blame game goes on on all sides. Based on responses from focus groups we know that many older residents are reacting negatively to the changes they perceive in their community. They respond to this feeling of fear by blaming the “Other”—and in this case the “Other’s” are people of color new to the area.
That may be an accurate description of perception in the community, but the reality of St. Clair Shores is that it is already diverse, especially in the schools. And we know the transplants to the area take pride in their new community; they have ideas and hopes about how their community can improve, and they are here to stay and committed to making a change.
We know that a community is only as strong as its active members. We also know that inclusive communities are safer, more prosperous and more desirable to live in than segregated ones. How a community faces the facts of its changing demography can often determine its survival.
With this is mind, we have produced a series of short videos that address the St. Clair Shores community and the way it sees itself. The goal of these video is to engage residents to get involved in this issue, to become more aware of the demographic changes going on and to hear about the misconceptions that misinformation has created.
Supported by the Michigan Roundtable Community Initiative, in collaboration with St. Clair Shores Youth, Schools, and Community Residents. For more information, please visit at www.miroundtable.org or call the Michigan Roundtable at (313-870-1500)