Week 3 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 3

As I’ve been getting used to “living” here, I’ve just observed is just people going about living their lives. I don’t know a lot about nonprofits in general, so everything is learning. We use a lot of platforms that I don’t have experience with and think are confusing. I’ve noticed some tension in my organization around funding. It’s brought up that, with non-profits, there’s almost always a funding issue, which is so frustrating given the nature of the work. In general, my workplace is really collaborative. For example, before every workshop we do with students, we set “norms” as a group: making sure that everyone is on the same page about how we will act during the workshop to respect each other.

I’ve met some great people at my internship and DCBRP, but not really anyone outside of those bubbles. And that’s fine, but I want to get out and explore more, to take advantage of the summer. I feel like many of my cohort-mates feel the same way, like we look for fun things to do and we know it’s out there, but we don’t really know where and end up doing the same things every weekend. It’s also an issue of transportation if I want to go somewhere last minute or want to go alone. It’s hard to get outside of the Midtown (cough *Cass Corridor*)/ Downtown bubble. Still, we’ve had fun getting to know each other. For example, last Friday we went to Belle Isle (pictured below). There’s a nice view of the city, and it’s very relaxing.

I’ve realized, through what I’ve heard and read, and especially with the film we watched on Tuesday (“The End of Chinatown”) that most of what we’re experiencing in Detroit is manufactured. The film discussed the destruction of neighborhoods in Detroit, and how everything is changing right now for a certain kind of upper-class person. Everything is being torn down and rebuilt. As I get to know the area, things like the Little Caesars Arena are part of the landscape of Detroit that I have saved in my head, and that’s brand new, an arena that took out the apartment buildings and stores and the neighborhood that once occupied that area. So that’s something that I really should stay mindful of.

3 thoughts on “Week 3”

  1. Josephine Graham

    Sarah, you hit the nail right on the head when you wrote “…most of what we’re experiencing in Detroit is manufactured.” The Detroit we are getting to know is far removed from the “original” Detroit.

  2. Kenneth Ray Washpon

    Hey Sarah,
    I too think most of the change happening in Detroit is manufactured and does not consider the residents that reside in those neighborhoods that are rapidly changing. With that said, the non-profit work that’s going on in the city is extremely vital in including those that have been left out for years. I hope your work inspires you to act on the change you would like to see.

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