When you see Detroit and Ypsilanti in the news at all, it’s usually for something negative. People who don’t live here only see these cities as the media portrays them—violent, impoverished, and ruined. This narrative is what the world has come to expect from my city. The smaller presences are easily lost when no one takes the time to notice them. I suspect part of why we often walk right past places that embody tenderness in “bad” cities/neighborhoods is because our bias holds us back. We don’t expect beauty from such destinations, so we are blind to it. I felt the need to capture all the places you’ll never see on a screen. The unconventional wonders I see everywhere when I walk around. I want to elevate these spaces to the status of monument. Monuments are usually thought of as state sanctioned statues of “heroes” or war scenes. Stone structures that seem to speak down to you. My monuments reflect the collective mind of the people living here. They embrace juxtaposition where the natural parts of the city meet its industrial side. This overlap creates some of my favorite new monuments.
Juna Hume Clark is a sophomore at Washtenaw International High School in Michigan. She is a passionate artist and activist who has had art and writing published by Black Ink, Root & Star, Pank Books, and Stone Soup. She is currently working with Claudia Rankine on a Young Person’s Citizen.