Intergroup Relations

Kids painting a mural

In the nation's most segregated metropolitan area, young people are open to discussion of race and ethnicity, but have few opportunities to communicate with people who are different from themselves. Youth Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity (informally known as SYD within IGR) in Metropolitan Detroit brings together high school age youth from different racial and ethnic backgrounds and from different neighborhoods and suburbs for intergroup dialogues during the summer.

During the course of the program, students engage in thought-provoking and sometimes hard conversations about race and ethnicity, within the context of Detroit and its suburbs. The facilitators use dialogue to help students challenge discrimination and create change.

This past summer, over 50 students within five Detroit-area communities, participated in the program. The summer program culminated in late July with a three-day, two-night retreat in Ann Arbor for all student participants. There, the students attended workshops on leadership development and community engagement. Then, each dialogue group developed an action plan for it's community and presented it after the retreat in order to receive funding from adult allies in the community.

Says Roger Fisher, Co-Associate Director of IGR:

"IGR is very proud to have been a partner in Summer Youth Dialogues for our 9th consecutive summer! IGR seeks to bring about social justice through education, not only to U-M students, but to the communities in which we live and interact. I am very proud of the U-M students who have coordinated, managed and facilitated various aspects of this program and have enjoyed seeing the impacts SYD has had on their lives as well as the lives of the high school students with whom they work."

The photo on this page represents one group's work together this summer. The students painted murals in their community that challenge passerbys to fight back against stereotypes and discrimination.

SYD is a collaboration of U-M and several school districts and community organizations in metropolitan Detroit. IGR is pleased to participate as one of the partners in the project.