At its peak around 1950, Detroit housed two million people within its city limits. Today, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population is around 714,000.
Seventy-two thousand homes, or nearly a quarter of the city’s housing, is vacant. It is the poorest large city in the country; more than 35 percent of the city’s population lived in poverty in 2009. Given those statistics, one might expect the Occupy movement would thrive here.
I met with a couple of Occupy Detroit organizers (Kevin and Sarah) while I was on a tour of occupations in the Great Lakes region of the United States. They spoke to me about how Occupy Detroit started, what it was like to maintain an encampment, when they ended their encampment, and what plans they had for Detroit now.
On October 11, Occupy Detroit members marched from the city hall “Spirit of Detroit” statue to Grand Circus Park. The march followed a large General Assembly, held in a church parking lot because there were too many people to fit in the pews.
At the Occupy Detroit camp, they set up tents and, like other Occupy sites, reorganized the camp multiple times adding medical, comfort, and media tents, and making the kitchen more functional.