I am hoping to learn a lot from this program; from the history of Detroit, to working in a non-profit organization, to forming my own opinions about the city that aren’t influenced from outside voices. I want to take advantage of living in the city and be able to learn as much from the community as I can.
I am working for Voices for Earth Justice, which is an organization focused on bringing people of different faiths together over a common cause, environmental justice. The work of VEJ aligns very similarly to my passions and interests of spirituality, nature, healing, sustainability, and bettering the surrounding community. I hope to contribute new ideas on programming, or how to make things more efficient. But mostly, I hope to fill the gaps in the needs they have, since they have a small staff and they have a lot of community programs that occur over the summer months.
I’ve only been living in Detroit for less than a week, but it’s already been shocking to see the huge differences between the neighborhoods in the city. We’re living in the redeveloped Midtown, and there’s lots of restaurants and there’s public transportation, etc. But once you drive out of Midtown to Brightmoor, where I work, you can see that other neighborhoods were not as lucky as Midtown and Downtown Detroit, and that the redevelopment frenzy did not reach outside of the 7.2. I think it’ll be interesting learning firsthand about the wealth disparity between the area I’m living in and the area I’m working in.