Week 3: Love for Detroit – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 3: Love for Detroit

One thing I’ve learned from NSO and from listening to the other fellows, is just how much love Detroiter’s have for their community. I’m really glad that so many of the fellows grew up in or around Detroit, because it has been really interesting to hear their first-hand accounts of what it is like to see all of that change happening around you. I feel like it would be easy to want to leave Detroit after it looks almost unrecognizable to those who grew up there, but I have noticed the exact opposite. Everyone that I have spoken to seems to really love their Detroit community, and truly want to see it improve. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely impacted how NSO operates, especially concerning my project regarding food insecurity. Prior to 2020, I would say that food insecurity was not a main focus of the organization. NSO’s Homeless Recovery Services was operating as a walk-in clinic, where the staff could provide snacks to the consumers. However, due to social distancing requirements, they have had to completely shift the way they provide services. Now, the clinic more closely resembles an emergency shelter, and instead of giving out snacks, NSO must provide 3 meals a day for the 61 individuals in the shelter. In turn, this change has brought the issue of food insecurity to the forefront of Homeless Recovery Services which may not have happened without the pandemic.

So far, there has not been an opportunity to talk to community members, and as of right now, it does not seem I will have an opportunity to do so. However, almost all of the leadership at NSO has grown up in Detroit or lived there for many years, and it has been extremely insightful to hear their stories and personal connection to the cause.

5 thoughts on “Week 3: Love for Detroit”

  1. I have felt the same in noticing the love our organizations and other fellows have for Detroit. Since Detroit is not my hometown, I don’t have the same connection to the city, so I think it is important to amplify the voices of others.
    NSO is definitely an important organization for the community, and it is interesting to learn about the changes these places have had to make as a result of the pandemic and food + housing insecurities it has enhanced.

  2. I have also noticed the commitment and pride that the people I interact with each day have for their neighborhood. Something I hear a lot when I am at my site is my co-workers or customers at the farmers market saying “That’s my neighbor,” or “Hi neighbor!” To me, those are words of love and acceptance, like saying “This person belongs here!”

  3. Brooklynne Bates

    In my experience, I have also been able to see the love Detroiters have for their city. My organization, Dream of Detroit, is based in Detroit. As such, I have gotten the chance to meet plenty of proud Detroiters. The common sentiment among the people I have met is that even though there may be other opportunities outside of the city, Detroiters have a sense of loyalty to the city in which they were born and raised.

  4. Tottionna Bushell

    Hello birman,

    I would have to agree with you when you said that Detroiters have a lot of love for their communities. From the outside, many people may not understand or even know about this. Although, I think it’s so beautiful to listen to other people’s stories. At SDEV, I have the opportunity to learn from my community.

  5. I’ve grown up in Detroit all my life and there is definitely a lot of love in the city for the city. Despite having a massive decrease in population, the people who are still here want to stay here want Detroit to be it’s best self. Also, I’m glad to hear that NSO has shifted its focus to provide meals to people in need. No one should ever go hungry.

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