Letters to the Editor 

Spirit of service

Jack Lessenberry's article "Getting off the street" (Metro Times, April 23) impressed me. It is good to know that there is a place like Covenant House for young people at risk. I am a Human Service student at Baker College and have a great interest in serving people. I agree with Melissa Golpe's comment, "This really seems much more meaningful, gives me much more satisfaction, telling their stories." It is sad that our society has pretty much given up on these young people. I believe that there is still hope and so does Covenant House.

Even though money is important, people tend to see their self-worth in the paycheck they bring home. It is inspiring that these employees and volunteers are willing to spend time with these at-risk folks.

It is refreshing to learn that the two clients mentioned are entering college and getting their lives back on track. I am a longtime reader of Metro Times and have never been moved to write a response about an article. Thank you for bringing this into the light; hopefully our great city of Detroit will move in the right direction. —Jill Hemme, Auburn Hills

House rules

I am very glad Jack Lessenberry used his journalistic influence to shed light on an organization that offers a much-needed service in the community, Covenant House. Covenant House not only assists young people with shelter, they offer hope. Many of the residents never consider "the future" as their present survival is uncertain. God bless the countless volunteers, employees, and donors of Covenant House.

The only adjustment I would like to make to your article is to shout out WSU's PR Campaign class (of which I am a student). We participated in a service-learning project that consisted of drafting a campaign plan to bring awareness to various nonprofit organizations in Detroit. Covenant House was one of our clients, and I'd like to personally thank my classmates for doing a wonderful job in exposing the epidemic of adolescent homelessness.

Kudos to Dr. Donyale Griffin and my entire class for their efforts. —Akilah Paramore, Detroit

Wrong on Wright

Come on Jack — really? Are you really trying to defend Rev. Jeremiah Wright ("Wright and the truth," Metro Times, April 30)? While I don't doubt that he is an educated, intelligent, intellectual man, how can you defend that fact that he is a racist anti-American? Did you really think that you were going down to Cobo and that he was going to preach like he had in the past? Of course he wasn't. He's in the public eye now, he'll never do that again. If a white man had said those things about blacks, they would never ever live it down, but just because Wright came off as he did (and sang to you) you're just going to forgive what he said? He's never even apologized for saying it.

Get real, Jack, and start writing like you have an education, because you just seem to spew out garbage every week. (Yet it is entertaining to read). —Mike Conte, Roseville

J'accuse, hipster

Much fun has been had at the expense of Detroit's mayor. As a citizen of Detroit, I'm used to my neighbors to the north ridiculing Kwame — long before the text messaging scandal "blew up."

What does surprise me is the response of my neighbors here in the city. Suddenly, public opinion has shifted regarding a man who had a laundry list of wrongdoings we all knew about before the 2005 election. Where were you on Nov 8, 2005? A legitimate alternative was available.

Where were the yuppies, DINKS, empty-nesters, hipsters, scenesters and the rest of the "sters" and acronyms that the city craves so dearly? Maybe you were here. Maybe you just didn't vote.

I am the first to admit, it's not easy living in Detroit. Here automobile insurance rates are the highest in the nation. Our infrastructure leaves much to be desired. We have city taxes to pay. In spite of all this, in the last few years many people have moved to Detroit, perhaps to be part of a community trying to revitalize itself. How many have sought our urban experience but felt that the financial burden was too great to bear?

History teaches that an informed and engaged citizenry is democracy's first line of defense. So I say to all of you who enjoy what Detroit has to offer but fail to participate in its affairs, "You are the reason that villains like Kwame Kilpatrick are not held accountable." If you really want a meaningful change in leadership and a true Detroit renaissance, lend a hand instead of pointing a finger. Show Detroit your love on a deeper level; declare your residency and next time there's an election, make time on Tuesday to show up. —Matthew Roling, Detroit

You dirty ape!

Re: "R.I.P., Chuck," Metro Times, April 16) A very nice obit of Charlton Heston, although I think that the word "fascist" is a little unfair, and easily tossed around.

But that part about "slapping the taste out of a gorilla's mouth" made me smile. —Sean M. Stone, Washington, D.C.

Class acts

I'm writing regarding "Dumb and dumber," (Letters to the Editor, Metro Times, May 7) by Michael Jain of Boston, Mass. He ridiculed Metro Times over a review in which a South Asian was referred to as Native American. I now feel compelled to point out a few of Mr. Jain's errors.

First, when he ridiculed public education in Michigan, it reeked of classism. Apparently, Mr. Jain is unaware that only the well-heeled can generally afford private schools. Secondly, he gleefully spread an intellectually sloppy stereotype when he stated "people outside Michigan" think Michiganders aren't well-educated. Based on Mr. Jain's reasoning, should we assume people in Boston embrace classism and spread crude stereotypes?

By the way, I am a product of Michigan's public schools. This includes the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where I earned two degrees and was invited to join Phi Beta Kappa. I would encourage Mr. Jain to spend some time at U-M. He would learn a great deal, from world-class scholars, about class inequities, logical reasoning, and the psychological roots of prejudiced thinking. Apparently, he hasn't gained that knowledge in Boston.
—Nancy Erickson, Hamtramck

Kudos on arts writing

About three years ago you wrote an excellent article on John Werden, aka Uncle Russ ("Man of steel," Metro Times, April 6, 2005). I always meant to thank you for that and I know how much it meant to Uncle Russ. As one of my father's best friends, I've known him for all 29 years of my life. It took a trip to Detroit (I live in Chicago) as an adult for me to find out that I wasn't the only one who called him "uncle."

I got a call from Uncle Russ this morning to let me know that Matt Blake, one of the artists you featured in your article, passed away the other day from a massive heart attack. I had the pleasure of meeting Matt, along with Enis Sefersah, another artist featured in your article, at Uncle Russ' shop about a year before you wrote about them. The Detroit art community has lost an invaluable asset in Matt, and my Uncle Russ has lost a dear friend. I was very happy to see that you paid tribute to Matt, and I hope you continue writing about the obscure but compelling people who make the city of Detroit interesting. —Mike Wetmore, Chicago, Ill.

In "Wagstaff Wins," (Metro Times, May 14) we incorrectly identified W. Hawkins Ferry. He was the chairman of Friends of Modern Art. The DIA director at the time was Willis Woods.

Send letters to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226; faxes to 313-961-6598; e-mails to letters@metrotimes.com. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.

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