Being able to come to Detroit and experience it has been amazing, and I have learned so much. There has been self-learning, I've gotten to know the members of our group better and develop relationships with them, and I've learned about the city and the different communities that have been and are still being built here.
Detroit gets a bad reputation in the media; this definitely played a huge part in the stereotypes I had coming into this trip. In all honesty I pictured a broken city. Not just related to the infrastructure, but the people as well. I was wrong, and I feel it is important to address this. On his trip we have all had the opportunity to meet some of the most genuine people there are in this world. For instance, all the people who run and work the various non-profits we have volunteered with. These people have passions that run far-and-deep. There are two passions that have really stuck out though: love for this city and love for people in general. This is true of the residents I have the opportunity to meet as well. In reality we have been here for a very short time, but I feel as though we've made genuine connections.
It is important to address this because coming in it is not what I expected. I had a conversation with a man at the Earthworks Organization that we volunteered at and he really opened my eyes. It's hard to trust the news. It's a business; they have the goal of making money. That being said, they'll say and do what they need to to get views and clicks because that equates to more dollars. This isn't a broken city, but that is often times how the media portrays it in my eyes. The media fails to address the reality that there are people working hard everyday to make changes. This is a city that is working on its foundation so as to build itself back up. But a lot of work does still need to be put into this city to construct this solid foundation. There needs to be conversations held. Not just to address the money disparities, but about other disparities that are at work including race, sex, education, and many, many more.
I can't stress enough how eye-opening this trip has been been. The things I've seen, the people I have met, and the people I have gotten to know much better, who have all taught me so much, will stick with me. I'm eager to see what the rest of the trip has to offer.
Peace and love,