The experience that has stuck out the most to me while I’ve been in Detroit this summer has definitely been the ability to have frank and honest discussions surrounding our feelings on race, gender, and the things we observe every day. The first such talk I had while in this program was a couple weeks ago with Nick, Marjai, and Charlie. We were chilling with Mitzy at around 10 PM and we started talking about whether change is more effective from the ground level through community action or from the bottom down through policy or whether it’s a mixture of both. Eventually it was like 1:30 and we’d talked about everything from U.S. foreign policy to why some people still think GMOs are wack. We had a somewhat similar conversation in a larger group after some of us had a protest at Campus Martius a couple fridays ago.
I always felt like talking about experiences wouldn’t really do much to help me personally come to grips with certain things that I see in person or I hear about on the news but these talks have helped me realize I was really wrong. The narrative that talking about your problems will help you solve them (or at least feel better about them) was one I’d heard a lot yet I thought didn’t apply to me as it pertained to who I am. I thought that because my experiences were very different from those of most of my peers, talking about them would do nothing for myself or others. I’ve realized that even though people might not have the same experiences as me it still feels good to talk as well as to listen.