My First Day – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

My First Day

Today was my first day of work and my first day of taking Mass transit in Detroit. Coming from Washington DC I have always used busses and mass transit to get around, yet there are some differences between the DC and Detroit busses. First the Detroit bus stops are not where they say they are on Google maps, so I had to wander around for a while to find a bus stop, it was not the bus that I had intended to take but it was heading downtown so I got on it. The bus ride was uneventful. I did have the interesting experience of being the only white person on the bus. I am usually not very aware of my whiteness, so when I am in a situation where I am the only white person in the room it is both an overwhelming and humbling experience. I also became aware of my socio-economic status. Detroit is the Motor City so no one rides a bus unless they half to whereas in DC many people use mass transit to get to work, regardless of if they a car. I am usually one of the only people on the bus wearing business casual clothing I am becoming very aware of the privilege I have in having a paid summer internship.

This summer I am working at ROC-MI (The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan) which works for social justice for restaurant workers. In addition ROC-MI also conducts restaurant trainings for its members so there is a working restaurant in the front of the space where the students are able to gain real restaurant experience. I arrived today and met my new supervisor, Michaela, and she sat me down and spent the entire day orienting me to the new space and discussing what my assignments are for the summer. My first major assignment is conducting a literature review on how the density of corner stores affects the diversity of business in the area. This research helps supports ROC-MI’s Good Jobs, Good Food Campaign. The Good Jobs, Good Food campaign wants a liquor license to treated as a privilege so corner stores with a liquor license can have their license taken away if they are selling bad food (i.e. food that has expired, gone moldy, or was not refrigerated when it was supposed to like milk, eggs, cheese, and meets). There is currently one other intern from The Semester In Detroit Program who is in the office Mondays and Wednesdays but she is leaving at the end of the summer. I am super excited for this summer and to be part of ROC-MI.

1 thought on “My First Day”

  1. Wow, it’s really interesting to see your experience with the buses because, being from Ann Arbor, I’m also used to many different people using public transit. That must be a really interesting experience!
    Also, your project looks like one of my favorites and seems like such a good opportunity! I work a lot on policy and I feel like these are really compatible; can’t wait to see where this goes.

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