Just like that, the DCERP program is over and our time at our placements is finished! I’ve had an insightful and empowering summer at HOPE Village Revitalization, just as I predicted in my Week 1 blog. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we’ll be leaving our partner communities tomorrow. It’s a bittersweet ending: I am sad to be leaving my mentors and community members from the HOPE Village, but I am happy to take a short break from daily Zoom meetings and work before classes pick up again.
Reading my Week 1 blog, the biggest thing I wanted to take away from this experience was a better understanding of Detroit. In my blog, I was picturing a newly found, broad perspective about the various neighborhoods and all the aspects of Detroit that brought the city to where it stands today. Looking back, this was an ambitious task. Yet, I believe that I was able to get an almost complete understanding of Detroit through one specific neighborhood: the HOPE Village. Through them, I saw firsthand the strength and unity that gives Detroit its unique flair. I saw Detroit’s successes and shortcomings through the eyes of residents who have lived there their entire lives. This, accompanied by our lessons from learning groups, speaker presentations, and How to Kill a City, gave me a foundational understanding of Detroit and ignited a spark to continue learning about this city. The one thing I want to do to bring this experience full-circle is to visit the HOPE Village Farmers Market and Community Gardens that I have been overseeing this summer. I plan to visit the market a few times next month before school starts and finally meet the residents and leaders I have gotten to know! My summer strengthened my perceptions of Detroit: like any city, Detroit is complicated and filled with its ups and downs. However, Detroit has a resiliency that no city can ever match.
Moving forward, I’ve evolved to truly understand what community-led, grassroots organizing looks like. I have seen a side of this while volunteering with my student org, GlobeMed, on campus prior to this summer, but now I am confident that I can lead my student org as co-president this year using the experiences that the HOPE Village has given me. With these and a refreshed social justice mindset, I know that I can provide person-centered, equitable, and sustainable care as a future physician.
I am excited to see how our futures build off our DCERP experiences, as well as meeting all of you in-person soon!