This summer, Tottianna, Manar, and I were placed with the Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV). The organization aims to help to improve both the economy and environment through partnerships with other individuals, groups, or organizations. They mainly focus on 3 categories: Healthy Land; Healthy Water; and Healthy Air. Within these 3 broad groups, they work to fight air pollution through decreasing the number of trucks that pass by, decrease water pollution through legislation, and aim to build community gardens. They are super community-centric, and work with lateral leadership, meaning that there is no real leader of the organization, people simply step up to utilize their strengths and step back when there is work they feel unable to do.
This has made figuring out where I fit in to be an interesting process because instead of being given an assignment, I have been attending meetings to figure out what projects interest me and what I would like to participate in. Although I am still figuring it out, I think my research will center around data collection of truck emissions that will be used to push legislation to add more environmental protections in South-West Detroit.
Getting to know my other fellows so far has been amazing – they’re all so cool! It’s really incredible to be in a group of students my age that hold the same values for social justice, and I think I may make some really close friends this summer. My smaller group is interested in exploring community organizing and we may even go see a poetry slam! More updates to come 🙂