Noise – Week 1 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Noise – Week 1


We came home different than we had expected, grieving for a world amidst a pandemic. Our body imprinted the mattress, as we hid from our own isolation. We missed feeling bigger than what we were. Our dorm, our learning community, our volunteer network, and our research riddled us with holes in who we thought we were. Now, we sit in our childhood home, the walls feeling unfamiliar, and us, feeling distant. How do we fit into this larger picture of what the world is, and what it will be? Aspects of “us,” our identity, felt so transient. All that remained felt like all there will ever be. Our existence felt as though it had been quieted.

100,000 deaths. We wondered why this day still felt normal. We poured our cereal, ate breakfast, while the news bore our grief bare. Yet, it didn’t feel like we were in a country in mourning. 100,000 people who won’t get to pick out their favorite cereal anymore, and we couldn’t feel it. We tried. The 100,000 people who won’t feel themselves melt into the palm of their mother’s hand, the 100,000 whose memories will now be quelled in the past tense, the 100,000 who passed in this “in-between.” So many of these moments escaped us, as we tried to escape them. 100,000 deaths for one person to process – how? No one talked about it outside of the news headlines on TV. This silence felt loud.

George Floyd. We remembered this feeling so keenly from February 26th, 2012. This desensitization to the world, to feeling, to loss, quickly dissipated. We grappled with pain again. Black Lives Matter reminded us of what it meant to be in a community. We felt the pain, discomfort, and sadness of community, all which quarantine seemed to have isolated us from. We felt privilege acutely, as we witnessed others’ advocacy. We saw what it’s like to scream against silence.

As you work with DCERP, in a remote setting, I hope you learn how to not shutdown, and live with this silence which seems to slowly yet surely permeate our work lives, social lives, and personal lives. I want you to find routine again. Don’t forget your identity, as it is shaped by who you are in relation to your community. Within DCERP, I hope you brave vulnerability, and feel the fear that comes with it. Learn what it means to depend, to need, to ask. Similarly, I hope you become what other’s need. “Do good recklessly.” We are working for Deadline Detroit, and writing about COVID19 related inequities within the Detroit Community. While grappling and processing the community’s pain and sadness, I hope you reconcile with the losses the Detroit community and our world at large has faced. Chip away at the silence that accompanies injustice through giving individuals’ a medium by which they reclaim their narrative. For healing can only be accomplished through acknowledgement.

Forever “you”,

Ruchita Coomar.

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