Week 1 Blog – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 1 Blog

Hi Future-Chloe,

You have just about completed your first week of work for Soulardarity. You are adjusting to the new norms that come with the COVID-19 Pandemic. This week you have also attended protests, wrote letters and watched as the people of the United States fought back against systemic racism and the brutal murders of black people. I hope at the end of this summer, real change is being implemented and that you see progress and radical measures being taken in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

With all of the changes in our communities today, it feels as though my definition of community is constantly changing. Now, it seems less like a physical place, when most contact has become virtual during stay at home orders. I think of community as a concept that happens when people feel interconnected and involved in the future of a larger group. While writing that sentence, I am thinking of Highland Park, the city that I have been researching this week in hopes of having an increased understanding of its history and context when moving forward to interview its residents. Highland Park was once one of the fastest growing cities in the world with the countries’ best schools. Today, the city is experiencing a fiscal crisis, due to Ford and Chrysler moving their HQs out of the city. Soulardarity is hoping to help restore the interconnectedness in Highland Park so the community can become a hub of innovation once more and have a say in what their future will be.

I have also been reading about various Co-ops in the United States that adopt energy democracy, sustainable infrastructure and equitable development. These communities exist within themselves, without outsourcing jobs or contracting with different cities outside of their own people. This allows these places to make decisions based on the votes of their workers and members without becoming dependent on corporations that put profit over people.

So far, the experience with DECERP and Soulardarity has been what I hoped. I am really enjoying the work, being involved in a mission I am passionate about and getting to know the members. It is sad to be learning mostly about the community through reading, with limited engagement with community members. However, I am hoping that will change once I can attend meetings (virtually) with community members. I hope you get everything out of it that I believe you will.

At the end of this, I hope you are pleased with your contribution to the mission of Soulardarity and feel as though you took advantage of this amazing opportunity.


1 thought on “Week 1 Blog”

  1. Hi Chloe! I liked what you said about co-ops. I’m passionate about food justice and recently read a book all about the history of Black agricultural co-ops and how they targeted issues among Black communities including food insecurity and hunger, joblessness and homelessness.The cooperative communities grew food, shared labor and resources, and were a space for political autonomy, too. Like you, I found it powerful to read about ways in which co-ops navigated out of a broken system and built their own that served them meaningfully and positively.

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