Week 8 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 8

I’ve decided to use this blog to reflect on our group meetings and activities generally. I’ve been to Detroit, taken tours of the city, and been to events meant to highlight the culture and history of the city. However, this summer has been unlike any other experience I’ve had in Detroit.

I’ve been given an amazing opportunity this summer to get to know long time Detroiters, talk to them about their city, and get tours of areas I would never visit or know about on my own. At nearly every single event we went to as a group, I felt that I was being pushed out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. I was learning about something I’m really interested in, and interacting more with people I haven’t gotten the chance to do so with before.

This summer has been fulfilling in so many ways, and at times, it’s been real. There have been many times, I must admit, that being in such close proximity to the profound structural changes happening in Detroit has been something hard to understand and rationalize. There are so many times I catch myself thinking- what other way does the city have to go than more and more gentrification? Corporations and government don’t care about Detroiters, their culture, their humanity, their right to exist in this space. History has shown us that time and again- take the destruction of Black Bottom, for example. However, everyday I am at work I am shown the resilience, strength, and power of community as Detroiters from Hope Village come together to work for what they believe in, and I am reminded that I am no more or less than a quick traveler, passing through, and I have the privilege of forgetting should I choose to do so. I hope to continue this newfound relationship with this beautiful city, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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