Tenacity is an admirable trait. When an individual is tenacious, you can witness their drive toward their goals and see their accomplishments along the way. But can a community be tenacious? What happens when you’re born into a city a riddled with trouble for decades? A city that regularly tops the national violent crime rate statistics, children moving from school to school as each year more are closing than being kept up. A city where nearly half of its residents have to pick up two to three jobs to make ends meet, and that’s they are lucky to be hired and hold onto a job. And vigils are held regularly to mourn and honor the deaths of our loved ones. This is Flint, Michigan. Well, this is the Flint, Michigan you have heard about, and how it is seemingly portrayed on a regional and national scale. Yes, Flint had 48 homicides in 2015 in a city of nearly 100,000. Yes, arsons were set and the city didn’t have full control of its government with oversight from the state. Yes, people say living past the age of 25 is a milestone because they’re past many of the persuasions of criminal involvement or getting shot.
But the arrests and criminal activity do not convict our city or its residents. They do not and will never define us. These are the dual realities of Flint. Yes, we have crime, but every city does. Yes, we’ve hit a string of misfortune for years, but that will not defeat us. It makes us stronger. That’s true tenacity. We choose life, just like any other community. We stand united in an effort to provide services and love throughout the community. Children are adopted regularly and greenhouses and gardens are being built in area’s where blight once stood to bring neighborhoods together. Church fundraiser, fairs and annual events – big or small -- bring life, beautiful life, and a true sense of community to Flint. Anyone who lives in Flint wears it like a badge on honor. We are all tougher for continuing through a beaten down infrastructure and though we are seemingly characterized by crime statistics, we do not falter. We do not tremble. We stand steady with heavy hearts and our heads held high. We will move forward. What do you know about Flint, Michigan? If nothing else, know we’re a community that cares, that builds one another. A mighty city. A tenacious city. Flint.