It feels so weird reading where I was with that first blog post. It feels like ages ago. Coronavirus was still novel, rather than an everyday reality we’ve shifted around. Black Lives Matter had started mobilizing. And I was stagnant even amidst all this change! I am so thankful for DCERP for teaching me what it means to invest in a community. This program has spurred a major amount of self-reflection in who I am, what I want to do, and how I will do it. Being in a program about Detroit made me re-think the perception of my own hometown. I readily realized that Detroit was good. But, I wasn’t willing to see that in my own community. Finally, 3 months later, after being home and working on research for articles in and about Detroit, I realized what home meant. Detroit, beautiful, resilient, adaptable, and dynamic, will never be home for me. Yet, the city has inspired me to re-think my perceptions, including the way I view my hometown. For the longest time, I thought I just wanted to leave. I wanted to give up on my conservative, white home town, because I thought it was incapable of change. People thought that about Detroit too! Now, I understand mobilization and investment is important, even here. I’m thankful for this program, because without DCERP, I never would have learned one of the biggest take aways of my life. I feel really sad, knowing this experience is over. Yet, I feel empowered. I feel renewed. To Ruchita from blog 1: thanks for learning how to scream against the silence, even in an echo-chamber like Monroe. I know you were nervous, but we’re trying now!
I’m really going to miss DCERP. Ray’s meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, where my feet fell asleep, and my back hurt from sitting for two hours. I’m gonna miss that the most! Coronavirus makes the world feel a lot more lonely than it actually is. Thanks for being my community and my family for the summer, even if it was virtually!