Daily VideoAugust 13, 2013
Detroit Residents Resilient in the Face of Bankruptcy
On July 18, Detroit, Mich., became the largest U.S. city to ever file for bankruptcy. Because of the city’s budget woes, Detroit residents have been left without basic social services; 40 percent of the city’s street lights don’t work, police take on average 58 minutes to respond to a call and buses are always late if they come at all.
Part of the problem is the city’s declining population. While 1.8 million people lived in Detroit at its peak, that number is now down to 700,000 people, meaning that a much smaller tax base is still trying to pay for the same services.
Those hit hardest by the bankruptcy are retired city workers, whose pensions and health care benefits will likely sustain cuts as the city seeks to make up an estimated $18 billion in debt.
“I feel very let down,” said Rick Piornack, a Detroit resident who spent 30 years fighting fires in the city. “My father was a police officer in the city. I have been a fireman in the city. My son is a fireman in the city. I feel like I have really been let down.”
However, residents are not willing to give up yet. Some see the bankruptcy as a way for the city to start over again.
“I’m just seeing this as just a start. If we can get this done while going through bankruptcy, what can we get done when we’re financially stable? A whole lot more than this,” said resident Terrance Gore.
Warm up questions
1. What does the word bankruptcy mean?
2. What kinds of services and jobs do local governments usually provide?
3. What are pensions, and why are they important to people who have retired?
1. The population of Detroit has gone from 1.8 million to just 700,000 residents. How does this affect the city’s ability to collect taxes and provide services to the community?
2. Which part of the population do you think has been hit the hardest by Detroit’s bankruptcy?
3. What are the possible benefits of bankruptcy for Detroit and its residents?
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Schools in Baltimore, Maryland are experimenting with meditation as a way to help students deal with stress and trauma. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
February 19, 2017, marked the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s controversial executive order, which allowed the government to incarcerate Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
Dozens of cities throughout the United States have been deemed “sanctuary cities,” where local governments resist cooperating with federal immigration officials, including handing over undocumented immigrants who have may committed very minor offenses. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
In order to address the homelessness problem facing students, a school district in Kansas City, Kansas, with over 1,000 homeless students, partnered with Avenue of Life, a nonprofit organization that brings students out of homelessness by supporting the entire family. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
In places where violent conflict makes it difficult for human rights investigators to observe, social media platforms now make it possible to document abuses.Arts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld