Looking at the social, political, educational, economical and cultural landscape of Detroit, many outsiders fail to recognize the impact of the white social movement (better known as white flight) of white people abandoning Detroit. It was racism at its best, and it put Detroit in a headlock of segregation like America has never seen. Detroit became a city that is about 85 percent black and the surrounding cities became 85 percent white. Businesses left, a strong tax base left, those surrounding cities became stronger in their racist policies towards black Detroit and black people being killed by the police remained! These foul social, political and economical elements are a result of white flight and are the ingredients of the poverty, hopelessness and desperation that we see Detroit bathing in today. Sure in the mid '70s Coleman A. Young became the first black mayor of Detroit, which brought with him the first black police chief and ultimately the all-black city council that we have in 2012, but the reality is that all of them were elected to do a job with their hands tied behind their backs, because Detroit has never recovered from white flight and more importantly the surrounding white cities never saw a human need to be brotherly with Detroit.
When you look at the social decay of Detroit's neighborhoods, you see a city that is on life support. Many of the black politicians over the decades have sought to appease the surrounding white cities and wealthy white business owners in making downtown Detroit more appealing and attractive, while neglecting Detroit neighborhoods. This social and economical neglect of Detroit neighborhoods has begun to manufacture neglectful human beings who have served life sentences of surviving in poverty, desperation and hopelessness. The social mayhem of Detroit neighborhoods you see the media broadcasting is never portrayed with a proper explanation. Those negative social actions you see or read about are a reflection of Detroit neighborhoods that are like a dried up lake, and people have begun to turn on each other out of survival. The social, educational and economical resources are so far and in-between in making their way to Detroit neighborhoods, that the majority of Detroit citizens have given up hope and crossed over to desperation.
Detroit will never be a strong city without strong neighborhoods, and you begin to have strong neighborhoods when you provide the people in those neighborhoods with hope. The leadership of this city and outside this city has to take a stand on this, because this is what the America Constitution was found on -- that every American has a right to experience a high quality of life! Instead of waiting on somebody to do that, I have begun to do that with an annual school supply that I have organized in my neighborhood of Detroit. For the seventh time and fifth consecutive year in the neighborhood of Zone 8 in Detroit, CVS, Urban Network Bookstore, Helping Our Prisoners Elevate and I have hosted "Restoring the Neighbor back to the Hood Family Fun Day" on Ferry Park street at my mom's house. We invite people from all across Detroit to come out and provide free food, live entertainment games and plenty of fun for the children. Each year we have no less than 400 hundred people enjoying the block party, and it is one of the most diverse events attended in the state of Michigan. Over the last six years, we have provided over 3,000 Detroit children with backpacks filled with school supplies. This year we were fortunate enough to do two in one year!
My neighborhood is one of the most crime-infested neighborhoods in Detroit, but through our work we have been able to establish a peace zone through the works of restoring the neighbor back to the hood! Our efforts are sustained through a budget of love, care, dedication and commitment that bridges the gap between hope and desperation in Detroit! From our efforts you see the hope in the eyes of the parents and especially in the eyes of their children, and this puts them in a position to rise above poverty and desperation, and cross back over to hope.
This post is part of the HuffPost Shadow Conventions 2012, a series spotlighting three issues that are not being discussed at the national GOP and Democratic conventions: The Drug War, Poverty in America, and Money in Politics.
HuffPost Live will be taking a comprehensive look at the persistence of poverty in America August 29th and September 5th from 12-4 pm ET and 6-10 pm ET. Click here to check it out -- and join the conversation.
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