We started off our day with an action project workshop that I found very helpful. Our program coordinator Sylwia Vargas walked us through different brainstorming activities to refine our problem and solutions. Through small groups of three, we discussed our ideas and asked one another thought provoking and clarifying questions. I appreciated being broken up into smaller groups because it allowed for more collaboration and it gave my group members and I time to fully discuss our projects.
Later on in the afternoon, we visited Motown Movement. This movement consisted of three women from the Netherlands who are working to rebuild a house in Detroit into a shared community space. I found their initiative promising and their model well put together. However a big theme among our discussion was the white savior complex and how to effectively engage a community you do not come from. I found the conversation among my fellows vulnerable and authentic, and I think it allowed space for us all to really look at what the white savior complex is and how it manifests in all of us no matter our race.
My favorite part of the day was a visit from the people involved in the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project . These individuals were from the Century Forward non-profit and Live6 . The three women who spoke to us showed us how proper community engagement and connection paired with a great idea backed up by stakeholders and private entities can create something life altering and innovative for individuals in a community. I was inspired by the work of these three woman and after their talk I was energized, motivated, and so happy that people like them are working hard in the city to help bring positive change to Detroiters. The most inspiring part is that they’re working WITH the individuals that live in the neighborhood rather than working ABOVE them. They are truly meeting these people where they are and showing that it’s possible to create something that doesn’t displace the already present individuals in the area.