Week One: The Beginning! – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week One: The Beginning!

Hey everyone! My name is Zainab, and I’m a rising junior planning on majoring in Political Science, possibly minoring in Law, Social Change, and Justice. I am currently working with the Community Development Advocates of Detroit(CDAD for short), primarily on the Right to Counsel Project. It’s nice to meet everyone!

Community, to me, is a group of people who come together due to common or shared interests, goals, ideologies, or values. There is no clear uniting form that acts as a dictator of what can be considered a community or not. While most commonly we see them in the shape of shared living areas such as neighborhoods, it extends beyond physical boundaries. Instead, it may also include a shared religion or even a shared end goal. A community can merely be united because they want to accomplish a certain goal or have a common obstacle they want to overcome. 

During my (brief)time working with CDAD, I have come to understand the ways that a community can unite politically and socially in order to garner positive results and improve their quality of life. For instance, the passage of the right to counsel ordinance and resolution could not have been achieved alone or in a setting fueled with animosity. Instead, it required a community of people who came together to accomplish this. Thus it becomes apparent that through community work, Detroit has hope for enacting transformative structural and social change. 

A skill that will help me this summer includes both my analytic and organizational skills.  I have been able to harness and build on these skills through previous experiences being part of research and organizations that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Hopefully, over this summer I am able to work on networking, public speaking, and community engagement skills. My mentor has already discussed these areas that I wish to build on and a way to accomplish them. Additionally, I want to become more knowledgeable on the structure of governmental systems and nonprofit organizations as well as how policies get written and passed. 

Can’t wait to work together with everyone and I hope your summer goes well :))

2 thoughts on “Week One: The Beginning!”

  1. Hi Zainab!
    That’s so cool that you are already seeing how community organizing has made a difference in the work your organization is doing. I like what you said about how the work is not fueled by animosity, and think that trying to make room for joy in challenging fields of work can make it easier to do it for the long-term. I’m starting to understand how important city ordinances are, so I’d love to learn more about the one you are researching! It sounds like you are off to an awesome start and are going to develop a lot of different skills!


  2. Hi Zainab, I really like your point about how amorphous communities can be. What unites a community can vary so drastically. It would seem that people enjoy finding ways that they are like the people around them.

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