It feels like just yesterday I was panic texting Serena and Totti thinking our mentor forgot about us. This summer really flew by, and although I am so grateful for everything that has happened, I am so sad that this is the end of DCERP. I feel like I just got to know the fellows and the SDEV team even though I have spent NINE WEEKS with them.
I went in with high hopes for Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, and to say they exceeded my expectations is an understatement. I imagined myself working remotely for these nine weeks and doing plenty of truck logging and textbook research. Instead, I found myself in the office twice a week and working with organizations all around Detroit with all different missions. I worked with the DEA to make a voter guide, I joined the Erb Family Foundation meetings to discuss grants, I watched Climate Reality Project webinars and became a Climate Reality Leader, and that’s not even half of it. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to be involved with a variety of projects at SDEV. I feel like the work freedom my mentor and SDEV gave me allowed me to have a relaxed yet still productive summer.
In my first week’s blog post I talked about gentrification. I went in thinking it’s something horrible that you could spot from a mile away. After reading the book, I do still that it is awful, but I now know that it’s not as obvious as it sounds. I learned that gentrification is slow but also extremely fast-paced. It can go from a random guy buying a cheap apartment complex to 20 families kicked out of their homes and forced to leave their hometowns less than a year after. Gentrification is awful in the sense that it only benefits the gentrifiers. It benefits those inside the 7.2, it sabotages everyone else. I don’t think we can stop gentrification once it gains momentum. I believe the only way to stop gentrification is by making sure it never starts. Although easier said than done, I think we should focus on saving the declining communities around us. If we don’t stand up for them, then who will?
I still cannot believe that this is my last post. I just wanted to say thank you to Ray and the whole cohort for making this experience wonderful. You have all shown me nothing but kindness and I really hope to stay in touch. Good luck everyone on your future endeavors and congrats on posting your last blog. You did it!!!