Just Say Hi – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Just Say Hi

As some of us in the program have biked around the city, we have all commented on how friendly many people are, often going out of their way to say hi, wish us a good day, or ask us how we’re doing. Given that we are the ones exploring and entering communities, it seems as though we should be the ones greeting people. But for whatever reason, at the moment, it often isn’t that way. My dad told me about a talk that he went to with a woman who talked about the sudden wave of people moving into the city and told them to “just say hi.” It seems as though such a simple thing wouldn’t go that far, but after these experiences I truly do think that it could.

New people to the city, and people who have lived here for years, cannot forget about the people, places, or businesses that were here before them. Without acknowledging them, or “just saying hi,” is like ignoring the fact that there were already people here. Saying hi recognizes that people have been, and will always be, present in all parts of the city. It might seem like a weird thing to many, since the city often gets a gritty image. And don’t get me wrong, it is not misplaced; Detroit might hustle harder and Detroit might be versus everybody. However, that does not mean that through all of the struggles that residents have faced, they have not maintained the positive energy, friendliness, friendship, and passion that makes the city as great as it is.

2 thoughts on “Just Say Hi”

  1. It’s ironic that something as simple as just saying hi is so often forgotten. I really appreciated your comments about not forgetting about the people and places that have inhabited Detroit throughout history. Detroit is not a “blank slate”, as the media seems to report so often. There are very active and lively communities all over the city whose voices should not be ignored or neglected as we explore the city and its witness its “revitalization”.

  2. Saying hi and simply acknowledging the presence of an individual can make all the difference in the world. Being a Detroit Native, I sometimes took for granted the fact that everywhere I go in my hometown a greeting as simple as “HI” will take you a long way. When I got to Ann Arbor and realized that not everyone will speak even if you speak first it made me like AA a lot less because of how cold the people appear to be.

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