The Wonderful Presentations from my Fellow Fellows- Week 8 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

The Wonderful Presentations from my Fellow Fellows- Week 8

Before I get into anything I can just say how shook I am that it’s week 8?! I felt like as the internship went on, the faster it became, and now I’m already here. I’m about to complete my first UM internship; that’s so exciting!! Hopefully meeting with the rest of the fellows doesn’t end here. I hope I get to see them while back at campus, in a public safety guideline approved sort of way.

Speaking of the fellows, I really enjoyed learning about the what they found in their learning groups.

From the Arts and cultural heritage group, I learned that the Motown Records was one of the keys to breaking down racial prejudice, and was a symbol of black capitalism and self expression via music. And the tangible arts, such as paintings and sculptures, media such as movies, and writing such as poetry all have the power to tell stories about social issues and Detroit’s history.

From the COVID 19 and Health Inequity Group (my group lol), I was able to learn all about the social determinants of health and how they are connected to COVID and health inequity. Having a lower socioeconomic status makes it harder to afford healthy food and safe, clean housing. And because of the COVID 19 stay at home orders, people are losing their jobs, worsening their SES status. Being in a disinvented neighborhood means the people lack resources help them live a quality life, such as adequate healthcare, a strong education system, and quality grocery stores and farmers markets. (It’s even worse if the neighborhood is subject to pollution, such as the zip code 48217). And depending on the neighborhood, it can lead to the enhanced spread of COVID 19 (i.e. if the neighborhood contains smaller, more crowded housing). Being in an underfunded school system makes it harder for kids to graduate, which bars them from well paying jobs, and thus a stable future. For COVID, schools are closing, and the schools that are underfunded may or may not be able to provide laptops for their children, and what if some families don’t have internet access? Lastly, having poor access to affordable, nutritious food leads to having a poor diet, which can cause adverse health outcomes, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, all of which are the underlying conditions for severe cases of COVID. Unfortunately, the people who are struggling with the above problems are BIPOC, thanks to segregation and systemic racism, and those in lower SES statuses, thanks to disinvestment and low pay.

From immigrant rights, I learned about how refugees are more like an umbrella term. Within the term refugees, there’s asylum seekers, and even that has more than one meaning- either affirmative asylum (proactively applying for asylum) or defensive asylum (defending against removal back to their original country). I actually volunteered at Freedom House last year (when it was safe), so it was nice (and scary) to hear from the guest speaker and learn about the processes that the asylum seekers are going through, which is LONG timeline-wise and HUGE paperwork wise.

From the food justice group, it was great to relate what they were teaching us to what I learned via my DCERP group and my internship. I loved how they applied it to Detroit, and I agreed with many points such as the poor have to pay more for less quality food. And the fact that there’s over 400 liquor stores in Detroit, when there’s only 63 supermarkets (the number decreases every year, btw) is also disturbing.

And lastly, the Police Reform group really caught me by surprise on how the police literally turned into the military right in front of our eyes. It never really clicked for me until now, and now I can’t unsee it. This is all thanks to the 1033 Program that let the local and regional police use military left overs, especially after the (Iraq?) war. And apparently for Detroit the funding for police is 200-300 million, while for public health it’s 9 million. Like at this point, I’m waiting for the defunding of police. It’s just more equitable.

So to which ever fellow is reading this, thanks for putting on great presentations (or thanks for working with me on making one). I know you’ll all do amazing once school starts again! ☺️

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