Mercy Alum Explores Detroit in New Documentary

Mercy Alum Explores Detroit in New Documentary

The name Detroit is synonymous with abandoned, crumbling buildings. Its name has been featured in newspaper headlines and uttered on national news stations with talk of debt, budget cuts and falling educational standards.

These one-sided stories display the downfall of Detroit but disregard the other side of hope, change, and faith in the possibility of rebuilding a failing city.

Heidi Ewing, a Mercy graduate (’89), and her business partner Rachel Grady, feature both sides of Detroit in their new documentary Detropia.

The documentary features a distinctive points of view style where citizens express their opinions. This adds authenticity to the film that other descriptions of Detroit seemingly lack. Both sides of the city’s intense struggle are documented.

“It showed the realities of the difficulties of Detroit,” said Mercy principal Carolyn Witte who saw the film in September. “But [it] shows that people are not giving up on the city.”

One point the film makes is that Detroit’s story of decline is not unique. The documentary shows what the future might hold for many cities if they don’t act now.

“What happened in Detroit is true of many cities,” said Mrs. Witte. “There’s still so much we have to do.”

For Mrs. Witte, a former English teacher, the great pleasure of watching the film came from the fact that Ewing was one of her past students. While at Mercy Ewing swam on the swim team, participated in Model United Nations and was the senior class president.

“[Ewing] was not a one trick pony,” said Mrs. Witte.

Ewing has won the Peabody Award, a NAACP Award and has been nominated for an Emmy and an Academy Award.