"In Dark Times" by Meredith Stern Sourced from JustSeeds.org

We are in a challenging period that is testing our ability to connect with one another. As a program focused on fostering close student cohorts and building community relationships in Detroit, we feel acutely the impacts and constraints of isolation within ourselves and our larger community. Moreover, we are keenly aware of the disproportionate number of Detroiters who are bearing the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state of Michigan. We understand that Detroit communities have been so severely impacted by this crisis due, in large part, to the continued legacies and impacts of structural racism and systemic economic disinvestment on the public health and well-being of city residents. 

Yet, we also know that Detroit remains one of the pre-eminent “movement-cities” on the planet, with treasured and tremendous legacies of, and contemporary struggles for, grassroots organizing for social justice. We encourage readers to provide support to these efforts and to stay informed about what is happening in Detroit and in other “hot-spots” around the country and world. (Additional resources below in our “What We are Reading” section.) We acknowledge and are inspired by this critical community work happening right now in the City, and stand in solidarity with these efforts, some of which include the following:

As we move through this difficult time together, we want to emphasize our availability to provide support and to connect with our community partners in whatever ways we can. Whether simply through reading this email, or by reaching out to us more directly, know that we are thinking of you and your critically important efforts. Currently, we are in conversation with colleagues and other allies within the U-M campus communities to organize longer-term and more substantive support for Detroit-based pandemic crisis response efforts. We are trying to stay focused in this moment to direct our energies and resources toward making our communities stronger and to uplift and draw support to the many valiant efforts by Detroiters to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. (See more about our spring semester classes below.) Despite the context, we continue to feel grateful to be partners with all of you. Love and solidarity to all - and please, with all sincerity, reach back to us so we can continue to explore how to grow together in these tough times.