January 1, 2010

Roland Leggett's Version

Roland Leggett is the field organizer for the Michigan chapter of the ACLU. He got that sweet jacket at Value World.


Did you see correlation between your experience of Detroit and the media's depiction in 2009?

I did see a correlation in the sense that there was an obvious degree of change in the air here. I think the media did an adequate job of capturing some of that energy. However, I think the specifics were lost on a lot of people. A lot of people were excited about the elections of Dave Bing and Charles Pugh, for example. But the specifics on their policies seemed to be missing from the conversation. I think the same can be said of the city on a broader level. The energy is here but we as a community have to get more engaged to see true change.

What'll be different about 2010- for the city? For you personally?

Well, the gubernatorial election has a lot of potential impact. The US Social Forum this June will be a great event too. I’m also excited to see community nutrition and alternative energy increasingly becoming a part of the local conversation. I know I plan on logging a lot more time on my bike when the weather changes.

Why do you live in Detroit? How's it different from other places?

Life for me wouldn’t work anywhere else in Michigan. The energy, creativity and resolve that people have here is incredible and inspiring. Most of the things we’d like to see happen here in the city, we have to work together to accomplish. So we exchange ideas with our neighbors and have conversations about what we can do as individuals to effect change here in the city. That’s one thing I never experienced growing up in the suburbs.

What kind of things do you get into in Detroit? Do you have a job? What is it? Why not do it in Royal Oak? in Chicago? NYC?

I love music and I love to eat and there’s an abundance of great restaurants and great music here. I also have a passion for social justice and politics. I’m the field organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. While we’re a national organization, the issues and the challenges we have here in Michigan are particularly unique. Additionally, I feel a particular connection to our office and Michigan in general because I’m from here.

What's your favorite thing that happened here in 2009?

It’s a self serving answer but my favorite things that have happened here were getting a job that I love in the city and finding a great apartment. They’ve enabled me to get the more engaged in the community that I’ve ever been. As much as I love the city it isn’t lost on me how fortunate I am to live here while not having the struggles so many of my neighbors face.


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