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Image of John George

© Gilles Perrin http://www.gilles-perrin.com/

John George
Founder and Director, Motor City Blight Busters

This is our twenty-fourth year of bringing folks together from both the city and the suburbs in an effort to re-create Detroit—to stabilize it, to revitalize it, and to beautify it.

There was an abandoned house behind our home that turned into a crack house, a drug house. One Friday night it got out of hand, and I boarded it up the following morning. A couple neighbors joined me. We spent about eight hours out there cleaning, and painting, and boarding, and fixing, and raking, and you name it. When the drug dealers came back, they couldn’t get in and they left. And that’s how the organization started in the summer of ’88. And we’ve been at it ever since.

We create ownership, and we create value, and we build community assets.

Blight is like a cancer: if you don’t nip it, it spreads. I mean look, it just killed this whole block. If you look, if you stand here and look this way, and use your imagination, and just imagine green grass and a path and fencing and again just what you saw on the other side. It’s going to be beautiful.

Failure is not an option.

From June 6, 2012, interview