Week One: Starting New – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week One: Starting New

Hello hello! I’m Aminata Ndiaye, a rising sophomore in Environmental Engineering at UM. I seek to work in the intersections of climate, food, water, energy, and justice.

A formal definition of community discusses people who have a specific characteristic in common. This definition removes a lot of the real meaning and strength of community. To me, community is a word that encompasses peace, storytelling, understanding, trust, and tenacity.

After taking the Community Organizing in Detroit Class my first semester at UM, I learned about Detroit’s challenges and strengths through the lens of social justice. As I learned about the community gardens teaching food sovereignty and the fights against the old incinerator plaguing the areas with high asthma rates during our visits to Detroit, I was reminded of why I want to work on a grassroots level. I seek to take these lessons I have learned and work towards tangible change to ensure communities are no longer deemed disposable.

Through the DCERP program, I hope to learn more about Detroit beyond what tourists see. I want to deepen my understanding of the city, the people, and the environment. My adaptability and communication skills will hopefully help me through my project. I hope to further develop my leadership skills, ability to be vulnerable, and passion for building relationships to become a better and innovative community leader.

2 thoughts on “Week One: Starting New”

  1. Hi Aminata,
    I really enjoyed reading about what community is to you and especially love the idea of tenacity. The community that I am working in is one that was once forgotten/abandoned by the city of Detroit and if it wasn’t for the tenacity of the community to keep on fighting and improve the block, the neighborhood would not have been in the position it is today.
    I am excited to see where your work brings you and hope that you are able to develop all of the skills that you outlined in your blog!

  2. Hey Aminata,

    I really enjoyed your definition and understanding of what a community is. I think it is really cool that you are going into this project with an understanding of food sovereignty and the city of Detroit to help you adjust to this summer’s fellowship. Hopefully, all goes well and you enjoy your time there ! Can’t wait to see all that you accomplish and to achieve the goals you set out for yourself :))

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