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How to Find Common Ground

“Why?”—they ask. “Why Detroit!?” That’s the typical question I receive from Detroiters when they learn I am a newcomer. “Wow!” they add once they learned I moved from California. My friends from my former town had a heart-wrenching farewell for me also. At times, their “Wow” expression was followed by words of warning: “Sylvia, there […]

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What Child Abuse Looks Like in the Black Community

Since the release of our anthology, My Blue Suede Shoes, many people have asked me why I wanted to write a story about domestic violence. When a lot of people think about domestic violence, they think about male-female partners sparring and fighting with each other, a la Chris Brown and Rihanna. But that is really […]

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How to Bench Press Your City

…. if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. No, seriously, if you can make it in Detroit, a city that is painted as, well you’ve seen the picture, you’re Super Duper Man and Woman. Does that make our success stories belong in comic books, with action heroes and sheroes because they […]

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A Starving Artist Loves Her Life

Her stage name is Honeycomb, but the dazzling spoken word poet, Tawana Petty, wears her ‘real’ name and lives her ‘real’ life in rugged authenticity here in Detroit. She first appeared on my radar as the real life Tawana Petty, a poor working mom, who rocked the Occupy movement when she fired off a Dear […]

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Maya Angelou – Phenomenal Women

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What to Do When Life Isn’t Fair

My dad went into palliative care last week. My mom and I sat with him, waiting for the ambulance to transport us to the hospice. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe the sad resignation I saw in his eyes, while he tried to be positive and brave for us. There was more […]

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