Message from Tonya Allen
Time for Our Detroit to come together to move graduation rate to 90 percent
Aarion Vinson graces our cover this year in her black leotard. She’s 7 years old, and dances nearly every day at the Brightmoor Community Center through an excellent youth development program called D.A.N.C.E. Aarion loves to dance. She says that dancing makes her feel happy, makes her forget her problems.
Like too many children in Detroit, the problems in Aarion’s life are real. She has lost two siblings to tragic deaths. She sometimes hears gunshots in her neighborhood. And in the last year, her father, Aaron Vinson, was shot five times trying to break up a fight. He survived, but scars remain, under his bandages and on his daughters, who talk fearfully about how it happened. It’s the kind of knowledge no 7-year-old should have.
When you ask Aarion what she dreams for Detroit, she describes a carnival. But in her next breath, she speaks beyond her years, saying she hopes for more jobs and safer streets.
I want Aarion to feel safe in her neighborhood. I want her to feel like she has great education options right in her neighborhood as well as across the city. I want her to feel happy and carefree all the time, not just when she’s dancing.