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Flint, Michigan, is without question the most desperate and vulnerable city in America.
On September 16, a local Michigan newspaper reported that city officials had broken ground on building Genesee Valley Regional Center, a new detention center for children that will cost the brokest city in America $20 million.
The saddest part is most of the children are Black and most of the officials who worked to make the new juvenile prison come to fruition are white. John Gadola, Genesee Circuit Court Judge, spoke about the detention center with too much casual excitement for me to swallow. He told the local newspaper:
“I think it’s the first thing I’ve seen all the judges agree on. What you are going to see in two years is Genesee County go from using portions of a 100-year-old facility to (being on) the cutting edge and putting Genesee County at the forefront of juvenile justice.”
The forefront of juvenile justice sounds like a special type of torture that only the heartless would get pleasure out of executing.
The photos of the mostly white group of officials holding shovels over the new demolition site of the child lock-up is pitiful. It wreaks of bigotry and I can’t help but judge these men and women who are salivating over the idea of having a brand new building to incarcerate Black boys before they get a chance to mature into manhood.
The idea of accepting rulings from white judges to determine what’s best for Black American families is the reason why earlier this year there was outrage after a Black teenage girl was sentenced to a juvenile detention center in Michigan after she failed to do her online homework. The idea of locking up teenagers is the reason why in Seattle this summer the construction site of a new youth prison was burned to the ground by protesters. The idea of incarcerating America’s Black youth is the reason why we live in so much turmoil today. Why are Black parents expected to accept the demise of their children?
It terrifies me that the American city that helped to build this country during the Industrial Revolution is dying. The children are being poisoned by lead water and locked away for good and no one seems to care.
Today it’s Flint, what city will it be tomorrow?