#4: Discussing Change…

After going over a week without meal prepping, I was craving a real homemade meal so I set out to make a big pasta dinner on Tuesday night right after our group meeting where we were reflecting on “How to Kill a City.” I rode back from the cohort meeting with Nina and mentioned that I would not be going to Life group as I usually did on Tuesday nights, but would instead be making dinner with some groceries i’d bought but hadn’t come to use yet. I then thought to myself, “why not make a whole affair of this?” and decided to invite Nina to cook with me. Food, especially good food, is known for it’s power to bring people together and spur meaningful conversation between people among other beautiful things such as joy and laughter. On the menu that evening was  salsa verde-flavored rotini pasta, garlic flavored groundnut soup, and saucy pinto beans with a nutritious mix of cabbage, carrots, green bell pepper, onions, and tomatoes.

Shortly after getting back to the apartments, I received a text message from Anna that read: “wanna sushi?” to which I replied: “I’m actually making a big dinner tonight :(” and as you would know it, Anna was going to be joining us for dinner as well. Nina and I, with a guest appearance from Sierra (my wonderful roommate), got to cutting, chopping, blending, stirring, and chatting and two short hours later, Dinner was served. We put out some plates and had the privilege of Chloe joining us as well! We all made a plate and the five of us settled around the living room table and as food often makes people do, we somehow got to reflecting about the many conversations about gentrification and capitalism we had in the duration of the program.

This time the conversation did not center around understanding gentrification and its relationship with capitalism, or about the effects of it. This time, we started a conversation about what solutions to gentrification could look like. Coming into this program, I knew about as much as a definition when it came to gentrification, but by living here in Detroit and going around the city, reading about it in “How Kill a City,” and listening to Detroiters share stories of their realities of gentrification, my understanding of it began to grow. Every new discussion bred a shared desire to find out about solutions to this problem and how we could all be involved in the solutions, even beyond the end of our internships and time in Detroit.

Our dinner that span two hours into that Tuesday night, long after all our plates were empty and stomachs satisfied proved productive as we all got to share and ask questions about the roles that our various identities afforded us in the fight to combat the many ills of our society today. Having learned as much as we had during these several weeks, what could we do with that knowledge to respond to the injustice, misinformation, and inequality that existed in the world around all of us, wherever we come from? This experience stood out to me because it demonstrated how this program is inspiring and equipping all of us to illicit positive change through the process of learning from and listening to each other, a practice that seems to be scarce in the process of gentrification.

3 thoughts on “#4: Discussing Change…

  • July 23, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Roselyn,

    Thank you for sharing your amazing posts! I am DeMario Bell, the Information Services Coordinator at the Opportunity Hub. I will be following your blog posts for the summer. I want to first say, I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading your posts. I am a Detroit native so it was really nice to read your experiences living and working in Detroit. I actually attended high school (Detroit School of Arts) not too far from where you’re interning. The community is full of so much arts and culture! It’s sounds like you are having an enriching experience which seems transformative. The Concert of Colors is great! Lots of great thought-provoking and meaningful conversations! I’ve been a couple of times in the past. I am so happy you are getting all of this experience!

    I love that you created clear goals and expectations for yourself before you started your internship. To me, that is commendable and I’ve never seen too many do it besides myself. It’s great to do because not only are you holding yourself accountable, you’re holding the organization accountable as well. You’re a leader and best! I’ve never heard of FoodLab. However, reading your posts have me very interested in their work. I’m also a social justice advocate similar to their work.

    I’d love to hear more about your summer project. It sounds amazing and that you’ll enjoy it! What are your next steps with it? Is it something you could potentially continue once your internship is over? Thank you for posting! Looking forward to your response.

    • July 30, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Right now, I am in the final week of my program and preparing for my final presentation during the student showcase. At work, besides working on our overarching summer project (creating a guide on putting on a sustainable event), I am working on coordinating catering requests from different social justice groups hosting events all over Detroit. As the program wraps up, It has influenced the way in which I think about what I want to have done in the next 15 years. It has illuminated how I can tailor my career choices to serve communities and fight injustice by showing us examples of many different people in different work fields that all work on social justice issues in the city.

      • August 16, 2018 at 11:41 am

        Great response! Similar to you, I love doing social justice work and I always find ways to infiltrate it in my daily work.


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