June 14, 2014
So much in the world seems to be going wrong, and there is so much anger and division in our society that it can be difficult sometimes to focus on what is going right.
Even I can get caught up in defending victims to the point where I despair unless I can be reminded that not everything is an angry battle. Sometimes, there are joyous battles. Take for example, the Detroit Capuchins.
The Capuchin Order was founded on the ideals of St. Francis and in 1883 they took root in Detroit. Since then they have been living up to their ideals of happy service to the poorest and least wanted of Detroit.
Every day they help treat drug addicts, reintegrate former prisoners, feed hundreds of the poorest, and generally spend time and conversation with people we tend to avoid when walking on the streets. Their Monastery was built on the East Side at Mt. Elliott, which even in the 1920s was known as a very rough neighborhood.
They go to places and help people we never see who are in desperate circumstances that would shock most Americans to know it existed within miles of their homes.
The amazing thing that one learns when working with them, is that they actually enjoy the work. And after volunteering time at the Soup Kitchen or other services, and they help you to realize that the people you have helped have actually helped you far more. It will put the madness in perspective.
If you would like to support them or volunteer, contact them at:
The Capuchin Service Center
6333 Medbury St.
Detroit MI 48211
July 7, 2009
The economic suffering of working families is nationwide, but I hope that it is not nearly as severe as in my home state of Michigan. It breaks my heart to drive across the Detroit area and see foreclosure signs popping up like weeds in the summer heat.
In 3 of the 4 zip codes in the area, the foreclosure rate exceeds 25% according to government statistics! The City of Detroit is already an urban Prairie with whole neighborhoods of deserted homes and empty lots. Coyotes have been seen within the City limits, along with other wildlife. But coyotes are not the only predators Detroit has seen. The City Fire Department’s pension fund is nearly bankrupt after being duped into investments by a slick Wall Street firm. City business has been up for sale to the highest briber of City Council members and other utility department heads.
It’s not only desperate in Detroit. Near Detroit’s Wayne County is Oakland County, one of the 10 wealthiest counties in the Country. Even in Oakland County the foreclosure rate is skyrocketing and challenges to property tax assessments are creating huge backlogs. Michigan is in a depression and I have to wonder how long before civil unrest begins. Hundreds of thousands of people are jobless, homeless and getting desperate – and who could blame them for being angry about yet another jobless recovery where the same multibillion dollar banking and investment firms who have ripped us all off are now being underwritten by our own tax dollars?
Citibank, which charges the people of Wayne County more in interest rates than some loan sharks, is increasing the salaries of managers 50% and giving out bonuses greater than those given before the recent bust – AFTER receiving billions of dollars of tax money for a bailout! Meanwhile, Detroit is becoming the reincarnation of Batista Cuba where poverty and desperation surrounds a few oases of Casinos and yacht clubs.
I get angry just being a witness to this social injustice which is only tempered by compassion for the people who are jobless, homeless and hopeless.
Are bankers the new slave owners and is a new style of plantation emerging in the U.S.?