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October 22, 1993 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-22

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5 7 54/OCTOBER 22, 1993

Group Shifts From
Words Into Action

Concerned Southfield, Lathrup citizens
decide on plans of attack.


outhfield resident
Tobi Fox is taking a
message back to
Congregation Beth
Achim, which is con-
sidering plans to re-
"I think we should
try very hard to stay
in Southfield be-
cause it's a viable
community and
many of our mem-
bers live here," she said.
Ms. Fox was among more than 200
citizens who gathered last Thursday
at Southfield-Lathrup High School
to say: Southfield has been given a bad
rap. Let's do something about it.
The forum was sponsored by the
Southfield-Lathrup Multicultural
Coalition, a group of citizens concerned
about their cities. Established in 1991
by the Jewish Community Council and
the Neighborhood Project, the coali-
tion includes members of more than
20 area secular and religious organi-
Its mission is to "create a common
sense of community among the diverse
elements that make up the cities of
Southfield and Lathrup Village."
Members have grappled with such is-
sues as racial tensions at the schools,
crime and bad press, which many say
is either totally unmerited or exag-
At last week's forum, the Rev.
James Lyons of the Ecumenical
Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies
said coalition members already have
defined the problems facing them.
Now they must look on the bright side
and take action, he said.
"Let's deal with some of the posi-
tives while we're dealing with the prob-
lems," he said. "I hope that when we're


An exclusive interview with Louis Farrakhan.

Story on page 46

Sharkey Haddad and the Rev. James Lyons
of the S-L Multicultural Coalition.

done with this, people will go out with
a commitment to do one thing: visit
a local school, go to a synagogue, or a
church. Get acquainted with 'the oth-
er.' The fact of the matter is, you've got
to understand why people are the way
they are."
After the Rev. Lyons' keynote ad-
dress, participants in the forum
formed small groups to create plans of
attack — actions they can take to help
solve some of the cities' problems.
In one room, an ethnically diverse
group gathered to discuss solutions to
problems facing Southfield and
Lathrup's public school system.
Participants were nearly unanimous
in agreeing that the problem is more
about perception than reality.
"I don't even understand why the
schools have the bad rap," said Susan
Hollenberg, the mother of an S-L
freshman and recent grad. "I could
pick up and leave but I haven't. The
school has met all my kids' needs."
Group members decided they would
strive to talk highly of Southfield
schools, thus improving an image they
consider unjustly tarnished.

ACTION page 10



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