“This is an exciting time to be in Detroit,” said Grace Lee Boggs, a 94-year-old activist. “We’re engaged in creating something new.”
As I sat in the dimly-lit upstairs of the Boggs Center, where many social justice activists had sat before me, I looked to the other participants of Semester in Detroit and saw women who were as deeply moved and inspired by Grace’s words as I was.
This was April, and we had all spent the past four months living, working and taking classes in the city. Many of us had been challenged by the harsh reality that Detroiters live with daily, but beyond that, we had spent the past four months having our preconceptions of Detroit shattered.
For this self-selecting group of liberal arts students (and one arts student), the opportunity to live in Detroit meant a variety of things. For me, it was a way to connect with a city that I was interested in on both an academic and human level. After the program had finished, we had collectively spent 3,000 hours volunteering for social service agencies, community development corporations and community arts organizations.