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October 17, 2013 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-10-17

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• NM

Benny NapoleonitalksgratY

with:Peopl/ in Detroit , •
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Mayoral c

Duggan shak
member of Det

Detroit from page 8

literacy projects in the Detroit metro-
politan area.
"DJCL's roster of
volunteer tutors has
increased from 300 to
800 Jewish community
members serving in
almost 60 schools in
Detroit and Oakland
County," said Robert
Robert Cohen
Cohen, JCRC execu-
tive director. "DJCL
partners with Repair the World, Beyond
Basics and other pro-literacy organiza-
tions, expanding one another's reach and
effectiveness and sharing expertise."

JVS Involvement
There are other ways the Jewish commu-
nity can reconnect with the city.
"Truly transforming our city requires
working in our neighborhoods and heal-
ing our communities:' Napoleon said.
However, a lack of transportation
options limits Detroiters' access to need-
ed services.
"Because our regional transit system
is inadequate, we need to bring services
to those who need it, but volunteers and
workers from JVS and other services
need to feel safe in our city," Napoleon
said. "I would integrate organizations
like JVS into my One Square Mile
Initiative, where they become a neigh-
borhood asset and work closely within
that structure.
"My initiative places a police officer in
each square mile of the city to partner
with residents, businesses, community
groups, places of worship and others
to address crime and
quality-of-life issues
in that square mile. It
truly looks at our city
from the micro level in
transforming the neigh-
borhoods," he added.
Leah Rosenbaum,
JVS interim president
and CEO, said, "JVS has
maintained a presence

10 October 17 • 2013

in the city of Detroit since opening our
doors in 1941, and we are committed to
assist in its revitalization. By develop-
ing a partnership with business, schools
and job seekers, JVS is preparing the
workforce to meet the needs of Detroit's
economic development. As evidenced
throughout the Metro Detroit region,
transportation remains a significant
challenge in matching our workforce
with business:'

Building Bridges To Suburbs
"The African American community
and the Jewish people have a unique
understanding of one another and deep
respect for our respective faiths," said
Napoleon, who added he would serve as
a trusted link between Detroit's grass-
roots community and Detroit's Jewish
However, Napoleon said that despite
a shared history of oppression and dis-
crimination, many children living in
Detroit have never met nor know any
Jewish children, or "know much about
the rich traditions and deep faith of the
Jewish people:'
"From the lessons of oppression, dis-
crimination and contemporary issues
like self-governance and determina-
tion," Napoleon said, "our children are
the future to a more just world. I can
envision working closely with the Anti-
Defamation League to build bridges
and relationships in our respective civil
rights communities as well as, perhaps,
a more robust youth exchange program:'
While there are many Jews who long
for the days of riding the bus or trolley
to Hudson's along Woodward, or even
summer nights along the shores of Lake
Francis in Palmer Park, many fear trav-
eling into Detroit, albeit for a guided
tour from an air-conditioned bus taking
us to old Jewish Detroit or going to a
sporting event or the symphony.
Both Duggan and Napoleon want all
in the region not only to feel safe in the
city, but also for others in the region to
know who Detroiters are.

"Detroiters are very loving, passion-
ate and compassionate people who
have largely been ignored by previous
[mayoral] administrations as it relates
to their neighborhoods," Napoleon said.
"They want the same things out of life as
anyone else: safe and livable communi-
ties, quality education for their children
and economic opportunities."

Emerging From Bankruptcy
Many companies have emerged from
bankruptcy stronger and more efficient.
This bankruptcy may be Detroit's oppor-
tunity to transform itself.
With new life in Downtown, a world-
class cultural scene and a new entre-
preneurial culture now occupying the
city, Detroit is back. In fact, each of the
candidates expressed messages of hope,
optimism and the ability to seek help
from those wanting to lend a hand.
Mary Sheffield, a minister and candi-
date for Detroit City Council in District
5, including areas
between Midtown and
Belle Isle, wants the
Jewish community to
stay committed to the
rebuilding of Detroit
and use its influence to
convince others to do
Mary Sheffield the same, whether it is
through synagogues,
businesses or personal
"Detroit's Jewish community is an
integral part of the future of the city, in
my opinion," she said, "and as such, in
an effort to achieve our vision, it would
require this community to continue
to embrace Detroit and choose to live,
work, own businesses and enjoy all that
Detroit has to offer:'
Detroit City Council candidate
Richard Bowers, an attorney who has
worked for a number of city council
members and former mayor Kenneth V.
Cockrel Jr., wants to represent District
2, including Palmer Woods, Sherwood
Forest and the University District.

"I would like to work
with ADL to make
sure we have the most
up-to-date ordinances
and laws in the city of
Detroit to protect citi-
zens from bigotry," he
"The vast, vast
majority of Detroiters
want the same thing
— clean, safe, well-kept neighborhoods
where everyone lives in harmony no
matter what religion, race or back-
ground, and they are able to have a
good-paying job and top-of-the-line
retail. In other words, the majority of
Detroiters want Detroit back, and they
need the help of Jewish people to share
it with them:'
Although most Detroit Jews cannot
help elect a new generation of leadership
to move Detroit forward, the commu-
nity has the opportunity to develop new
relationships, build coalitions and create
bridges with the city.
"Jewish people have
always had a sense of
social action and phi-
lanthropy:' said Gabe
Leland, the only Jewish
candidate in city council
race in District 7, which
includes Dexter/Davison
Gabe Leland
and Russell Woods.
"It's apparent with
the many contributions to educational
and civic institutions that we are small
in numbers yet strong in philanthropy,"
he said. "It's hidden in the remembrance
of where we came from and what this
city meant to our families. It's apparent
that keeping this connection to our roots
is so important to the Jewish commu-
nity, no matter the state of the city."

Daniel Cherrin is the founder of North Coast

Strategies, a public relations and affairs firm

in Royal Oak. He was former communications

director for the city of Detroit and press sec-

retary to former Detroit mayor Ken Cockrel Jr.

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