Week #1 – There Are Birds Here – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week #1 – There Are Birds Here

Dear Sahil,

When you look back at this blog post in nine weeks, I hope that you have accomplished all of your goals. After meeting the people in the program and starting work, I am optimistic and enthusiastic about my future in Detroit. First, I hope that you have truly become acquainted and friendly with your coworkers at Develop Detroit. Their knowledge of the industry as well as their connections could be instrumental to furthering your career and opening opportunities. Specifically, Sonya Mays’ political and economic expertise is invaluable, and I hope that you have made the most of working only a few feet from such an industry giant. Furthermore, I hope you gained important skills in data and investment analysis as tangible skills you can take away from this program. The opportunities that Develop Detroit is offering is endless, and what you take out all depends on whether you are willing to take those opportunities.

Also, I hope that you make Detroit your city. Explore what the city has to offer and what you can offer to the city; make it a home that you could come back to after you graduate. Coming in to a new city that you know almost nothing about is exciting. Being able to compare it to another big city like Atlanta is interesting and should have drove you to explore many aspects of the city. I hope that the DCBRP aided you in this process. I hope you made the most of the Tuesday and Thursday meetings as a means to connect to the city.

Today, we talked about how only having one story can be dangerous and misleading, and I hope to gain more stories about Detroit as I live here. My perception of Detroit is based on my limited experience with the city and with its residents. As an outsider, I was solely taught about Detroit’s violence and failure as a city. However, even now I understand that this view is wrong. Detroit is not just this catastrophically poverty- stricken city. There are and always have been vibrant communities of people here. While the situation in the city could obviously be better, the city does not need a savior, only allies. This very idea is summed up by the poem “There are Birds Here” by Jamaal May, a Detroit Native (and my favorite poem). I hope you find the birds and the confetti he talks about all around the city. Don’t disappoint me.

1 thought on “Week #1 – There Are Birds Here”

  1. Erin Elizabeth Provagna

    Hi Sahil,

    Great post! I can really relate to your point about having limited experience with Detroit and only have one story to describe the city. I agree that even in the short time we’ve been here I have come to understand that Detroit is not the scary poverty-stricken place I hear about on the news. I’m so excited to live with you and the others and be able to explore the city together!

    -Erin P

    PS: Thanks again for driving me to work Saturday! You’re a life saver

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