Where is it happening?
I want to thank Jack Lessenberry for his column "But what would they do?" (Metro Times, Aug. 8-14). As a resident and community activist in Southwest Detroit, I appreciate his kind words about the Bagley Housing Association (BHA). Throughout Southwest Detroit there exist visionaries such as Dr. Vince Murray who are attempting to bring respect and dignity to a formerly gang-infested area that had little hope.
My involvement with the Empowerment Zone's Southwest Detroit Neighborhood Review Panel (NRP) has seen nine agencies began programs that will increase the quality of life for residents in the southwest sector. Assisted through the innovative fund, Freedom House (employment training), Matrix Theater Company (intergenerational community art), Hubbard-Richard Community Council (computer training), Latino Family Services (domestic violence), Western Family YMCA (teen activity center), Webster Elementary School (enhanced school playground), LA SED (health care for seniors), Trinity St. Marks and Alzheimer’s Association (Alzheimer’s care services) and the Southwest Family Support Team (youth activities and leadership) all have received $100,000 grants to work with residents in the zone. It is the NRP's hope that the innovative fund programs, will have a similar effect as the BHA has had on local residents. —Larry C. Arreguin, firstname.lastname@example.org, Detroit
Who is oppressed?
I enjoy Liz Langley’s take on religious topics, which I don’t often see in mainstream publications. I thank the Metro Times for publishing what is truly an alternative point of view.
Regarding her column about Christians claiming to be the rebellious element in our society ("Swept by Religion," Metro Times, Aug. 1-7), I’ve been on both sides (Christian and non-Christian) and each sees itself as being oppressed. Many Christians believe the world is minimizing God’s role in our lives. They cite as examples the opposition to public display of the Ten Commandments and the controversy over teaching evolution vs. teaching creationism. Meanwhile, there are people of other faiths (or no faith at all) who see Christianity as imposing its views on them by offering prayers at public events, placing Bibles in hotel rooms, etc. Neither side is totally right, of course. After all, we no longer feed people to the lions or burn them at the stake because of their views. I guess it’s human nature to react defensively when such personal beliefs are involved. —Julie Blevins, Sterling Heights
What is racism?
Keith A. Owens has written a good column and brought a lot of legitimate points ("Strained relations," Metro Times, Aug. 8-14). As an Arab-American I have seen the way some of the more ignorant in my community have talked to and about African-Americans; I believe it is wrong and I agree with you it is not all of us.
Still, I believe Sharpton’s call for a boycott is a racist thing. Combating racism with even more racism just separates the two groups (who actually should be close because of where we come from and what we have had to face). It also paints a picture that this person is the "enemy" just by looking at them.
During the ’60s civil rights protests, people didn't do a sit-in at every restaurant owned by a white, they did sit-ins at restaurants that didn't serve African-Americans. This way the people who were wrong were punished, not the people who have done nothing.
When we all are educated we can all rise up and overthrow our oppressors who shackle a vast number of African-Americans to a life of poverty and who have the mass media spread word that my people are only "uncivilized terrorists" —Mohammed Elghoul, email@example.com, Dearborn
Why do we worry?
I wanted to commend Rebecca Mazzei on such a "hit the nail on the head" article ("Desperately seeking something," Metro Times, Aug. 8-14). I swear this is a mirror image for so many people in their 20s. Personally, I feel as though I experienced the so-called "quarterlife crisis" in my early 20s. I think that it seriously can be a depressing ride through life. I certainly was able to identify with many of her remarks. Sometimes it is nice to just hear that others feel the same way. For myself, it took paying off loans, going back to school and finding a decent job that I could appreciate (for now) for me to realize that you really need to find in life the things that make you want to get up in the morning. Keep up the great writing. —Michele Mazgai, firstname.lastname@example.org, Warren