Greetings from the Motor City! We’ve been keeping busy over here as we prepare to train our summer staff and welcome groups to serve with us in Detroit this season.
One thing we’re excited about is a new aspect of programming we’ve been working on this year, that our groups will get to experience for the first time this summer! We developed this “Hamtramck Immersion” experience as a way for our groups to better understand immigrants in our country, many of whom have sought refuge here as they fled from war, persecution, famine, or economic disparity.
Hamtramck (pronounced “ham-tram-ick”), is a tiny city covering only two square miles of land, completely surrounded on all sides by the city of Detroit. Hamtramck is a vibrant city of immigrants. In 1914, the Dodge brothers opened up an auto assembly plant here which started the beginning of mass migration to the area, predominantly by Polish immigrants. In the last 30 years however, the city has become a place of refuge for immigrants from the middle east and now the city has a lot of influence from countries such as Yemen, Bangladesh, and Bosnia. The motto of Hamtramck is “A league of nations” which is fitting for a city where a total of 26 languages are spoken by children attending schools in Hamtramck.
Groups will be able to walk in the shoes of an immigrant by searching for resources, engaging residents and business owners in conversation, and finding answers to questions such as: Where can you continue to learn English to advance your fluency? Where will you find housing for you and your family? Where could you find a job that you don’t need to be fluent in English to work at?
We understand that we will never fully comprehend what it’s like to live in another person’s shoes unless we are actually that person. But our goal is to be humble learners, able to empathize with people in deeper ways, and to strive for justice in ways we did not consider beforehand. We’re excited for our groups to dive in and grow in these ways this summer!
Blessings,Emily + EricaCSM Detroit