by Jessica Carreras
Rachel Lutz may be a minority in her thinking, but she’s thrilled to tell people she’s from Detroit. The 29-year-old ally (who currently lives in Bloomfield Hills, but is looking to move back downtown) serves on the boards of Preservation Wayne and the organization formed by the merger between the Triangle Foundation and Michigan Equality. She hopes to spread awareness not just about LGBT equality, but about the need for all Michiganders to be proud of where they live.
1) Why are you a proud Detroiter?
Because we have so much to be proud of! Detroit has fantastic restaurants, theaters, music venues, museums, unique shops, neighborhoods and educational institutions.
My ideal Saturday would be breakfast at Avalon Bakery, services at the Downtown Synagogue, an afternoon at Eastern Market, a picnic lunch on Belle Isle, taking in an exhibit at the DIA, shopping in Midtown and a play at the Hilberry followed by dinner at Atlas Global Bistro. Whew! Where else can you pack that much activity into one part of town?
2) Why do you think it’s important for others to be equally supportive of our city?
Detroit doesn’t exist in a vacuum. A strong Detroit means a strong southeast Michigan.
There is so much negativity spread about Detroit, even by people who live in our very own region. It needs to stop. Say nice things about Detroit! Not just because we should, but because they’re true.
We need to turn the negativity around by promoting all of the positive things that don’t get as much attention. For example, Detroit’s diversity is incredible. More urban gardens are taking root. Voters declared that the old way of doing business is over. New shops are sprouting up everywhere. Light rail is coming. These are things to celebrate, not keep quiet about.
3) How do you support the LGBT community as an ally?
I think it’s important for straight allies to promote LGBT equality because an injustice to one person is an injustice to all. Why should any group of people be barred from the same privileges and rights others enjoy, simply because of an assigned label?
I currently serve on the Board of Trustees of the organization formerly known as the Triangle Foundation. I volunteered for Triangle for 14 years, and am thrilled about our merger with Michigan Equality. I feel that our new organization will be twice as powerful and effective. It’s a historic time for Michigan’s LGBT community and I’m honored to be a part of it!
4) What part should the artistic community play in the rebuilding of southeast Michigan?
Beautiful buildings and public art create desirable spaces where people want to live, work and play. We need to embrace the arts community if we are going to rebuild southeast Michigan. No one wants to live in a community with no character or beauty. Our innovative musical heritage has also been a draw to outsiders, from Motown to techno.
5) How do you use your own passions to make a difference in your community?
My passion for history, art and architecture led me to serve on Preservation Wayne’s Board of Directors. We are Detroit’s largest and oldest historic preservation organization. I was hooked after taking some of our awesome walking tours.
I am currently training as a Preservation Wayne tour guide, which makes a difference because it enables me to share the fabulous “stories” that make up our unique identity. It’s so gratifying to share Detroit’s rich history while protecting its future.
To learn more about Preservation Wayne, visit http://www.preservationwayne.org.