Thursday, March 24, 2016

Some thoughts on Detroit before Flint tomorrow

I am amazed that it is already Thursday and that we have finished all of our services and visits to orgs in Detroit. This week has went by extremely fast and it brings to my attention how crucial and important time is in regards to just about anything, whether it is an alternative spring break trip, or your everyday life. I'm a philosophy major and have a conflict studies certificate, which attributes to why things like this are on my mind. My time in Detroit has made me think about the construct of time and the fact that this may be one thing that is vastly needed in the community to adjust to the city downsizing greatly in population. I have heard from some of our service partners that building community is all about taking the time to work together to create positive change in the community.
In the numerous orgs that we have visited and our community partners we have had service with, nothing has made sense to me more that the idea of how important a garden is to building community. In Earthworks, there were numerous programs that were available to members of the community allowing them to connect with one another, while providing a way to become more educated about the importance of accessible, healthy food; with the presence of numerous food deserts thoughout Detroit.
Another takeaway I have while reflecting on these last couple days is the fact that we have seen so many aspects of community development. We have seen evidence of how Art for Social Change is instrumental to building community. At Neighbor's Building Brightmoor, Arts and Scraps and the Heidelberg project, art is used as a medium to connect the community. At Arts and Scraps, educators go out in the Scrapmobile to schools so they can have students work on projects made from materials that originally would be disgarded. At Brightmoor, tbeir Artisans are working to create a community center and make a space where youth can paint, a place where creation is a possibility, in addition to growing gardens where abandoned houses were once standing. Heidelberg is essentially the same concept as Arts and Scraps, in terms of using things that were disgarded to create art.
I am grateful that I was able to co-lead this trip, because it has provided an opportunity to see how Detroit is innovating and evolving as a city in addition to allowing me to see eleven humans bond and grow closer together through an educational and fun experience. Until next time, Austin Jensen signing off.
-Austin Jensen

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