Week 1: Hitting the Books – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 1: Hitting the Books

Hello! My name is Rose Reilly and I am a Junior studying Public Policy. This summer, I will be working for the City of Detroit’s Office of Civil Rights, Inclusion, and Opportunity (CRIO). I was drawn to doing this kind of community work because I know that I want to have a long-term career that is in the service of others and learning from the communities we want to serve through direct engagement is the best way to understand how we may use our assets to serve them. This summer, I will be working on a project to research and create a mediation program for discrimination disputes that don’t meet the legal guidelines for official action, but nonetheless, deserve attention. While this requires a deep understanding of what the communities that will use this mediation program want to get out of it, it also requires a clear understanding of the existing processes, laws that govern this work, and city government as a whole. This has meant that this first week has been spent reading everything I can about anti-discrimination law on the federal, state, and local levels; the relevant parts of the city charter, and materials the public has received about existing programs. Thankfully, I thrive in this kind of scholarly environment. I have been able to closely read, annotate, and ask questions when necessary to develop a stronger understanding. While this skill set has served me well so far, I look forward to developing more outwardly-facing, scholarly skills. I will be really proud at the end of this experience if I am better able to approach townhalls, survey feedback, and any interaction with the community in the same way that I approach reading about a subject. I hope to become fully literate in the needs and attitudes of the community so that we can create a program that will serve them well and fit within the current legal and political landscape.

3 thoughts on “Week 1: Hitting the Books”

  1. Edisa Niyifasha

    Hi Rose,
    Your community site and focus sound so interesting! As an African-American-identifying woman, I have always been curious about the workplace discrimination laws based on hair. I know you did a lot of reading on it but if you know the laws that specifically relate to hair discrimination, I would love to know 😉

    1. Hi Edisa,
      That is an interesting case! In reading the city policies on discrimination, there was a clause about how it is illegal to discriminate based on traditional dress, make-up, or hairstyles. Though this is a start, I think that there can certainly be more to codify these protections specifically. It is also imperative to train people about biases that lead to discrimination based on these factors, sometimes without even realizing that they are being discriminatory.

  2. Rose, it sounds like you and CRIO are a great match! It’s such a valuable skill to be able to interact with community members, so I’m excited to see how you grow in that area throughout the summer!

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