Building Social Cohesion

Global Detroit’s Social Cohesion project breaks down barriers between immigrants and long-term Detroit and Hamtramck neighbors.

Global Detroit's Social Cohesion Initiative brings together long-time African American residents and newer immigrant neighbors in Detroit and Hamtramck's Banglatown and East Davison Village neighborhoods to design and realize a community-improvement project. Working closely on a common goal, neighbors establish trust, solidarity, and meaningful friendships.

In 2022, the Social Cohesion Initiative focused on creating regular opportunities for neighbors to engage, including community canvassing efforts, resource fairs, and community meetings. Through these shared experiences, participants engaged with neighbors from different cultural backgrounds, got to know each other, and discovered things that they have in common.

Global Detroit hosted 15 events in 2022, and 150 people attended one or more of those events. Forty residents attended 2 or more events, while a core group of 20 joined up to 14 events throughout the year.

150 individuals from the community attended one or more of our events in 2022.

To promote our events and share information about our work, we worked with 16 community members to canvass more than 1,300 homes over the course of the year.

During events, community members discussed difficult experiences of discrimination and exclusion, and they revealed common interests. Community members even translated event fliers for Bangla and Yemeni communities and collaborated outside of the spaces created by Global Detroit.

Community Resource Fairs

The team hosted three resource fairs in 2022, focused on health, youth and housing, which were attended by over 130 community members in total.

The resource fairs provided a space for participants to gain access to community resources and stakeholders, highlight common threads as individuals, and network. 

These fairs were informative, fun-filled and interactive, with participants engaging in games and other activities. 

Building Bridges Resource Fair: Physical and Mental Health and Healthy Living Resources at the Lasky Recreation Center, November 5, 2022.  Video by Ritchie Harrison of Planning TES.

Community Conversations

We hosted 10 community conversations in 2022, atended by over 100 community members, which facilitated shared understanding of cultural differences and restrictions that community members experience. 

In these conversations, participants were encouraged to share their ideas and concerns and to propose ideas to solve community problems. They also created an opportunity for participants to take leadership roles.

During our community conversations, we identified our project goals and the individual and group barriers that may hinder our progress toward reaching them. By highlighting these barriers, we were able to better understand our neighbors' cultural restrictions, generational challenges, and immediate needs. We also identified community assets, threats and partnership opportunities with other organizations and stakeholders, whereby we can continue to grow our work without reinventing the wheel.

In its inaugural year, the Social Cohesion project has been successful in creating a sense of belonging and community among participants, and has laid the groundwork for a more inclusive and harmonious neighborhood.

Looking Ahead

Moving forward, the team is focused on identifying earned media and other opportunities to encourage participation and to build youth engagement. The team plans to involve more community members in the decision-making process and to create more opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration.
2022’s resource fairs provided great insight into the priorities of community members of EDV, Banglatown, and surrounding neighborhoods in Detroit and Hamtramck. Participants have been actively and honestly identifying barriers the communities face when collaborating, and managing expectations as they go. We expect these insights to drive decisions around the community Social Cohesion project, which will be designed in 2023.

Additionally in 2023, the team plans to reintroduce its dormant Oral History project, launch a partnership with the Hamtramck Library to broadcast community member interviews on local television stations, and publish monthly Social Cohesion calendars to serve as a resource to spotlight local businesses, community events and cultural holidays.

In the words of Emma Davis, Global Detroit’s Community Development Program Manager, “it’s only the beginning!”

© 2023 Global Detroit
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© 2023 Global Detroit