Positive About CDCs
To the Editor:
I am writing in response to "Show Me the Money" (December 5th issue) concerning Memphis-area community development corporations and CHDO funding. In my opinion, the reporter missed the real news about Memphis-area CDCs and the tremendous strides we and our partners have made in achieving our goal of community development, block by block, in this city.
I wish your article could have focused on the number of houses that CDCs in this city have built and rehabilitated over the past few years and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits projects that have been built over the past four years by CDCs to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for residents of this community.
I wish your article could have focused on the leadership and knowledge base that currently exist among staffs at Memphis CDCs and how this leadership has positioned some Memphis CDCs into the national spotlight, with their use of innovative approaches to community development.
I wish your article could have discussed the positive relationships that currently exist between other organizations in our community, such as Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, local and national banks, Memphis Community Development Partnership, the city of Memphis, Fannie Mae Foundation, the Hyde Family Foundation, Shelby County government, the federal government, and other local and national partners that have come together to create community and economic development for this city's neighborhoods.
Memphis CDCs, through the CD Council of Greater Memphis, our trade association, has, over the past three years, attempted to create a positive image in how this community views CDCs. Currently, there are efforts under way that will change the CDC industry in our community. The CD Council, through its Peer-To-Peer Mentoring Programs, is helping new and emerging CDCs find their way through the maze of programs and activities involved in community development. The CD Council and its members are changing the way this community views community and economic development. CDCs and our partnership networks are focusing a great deal of attention on this city, and we will continue to be strong advocates for rebuilding center-city neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, your article missed a great opportunity to tell a story of progress, achievement, and leadership, which Memphis CDCs and their partners are providing to this community.
Jeffrey T. Higgs
Executive Director, LeMoyne-Owen College CDC
The Wrath of God
To the Editor:
Because religious faith is defined as "belief in the absence of proof," debating the existence of God is pointless. Those who believe will act as if God exists. Those who don't, won't. The problem comes when people of faith begin to argue among themselves over whose version of the fairy tale is the right one. That's when people start dying.
Despite the insistence of Muslims, Jews, and Christians that theirs are religions of peace and tolerance, cemeteries from Nigeria to Jerusalem to Ulster to Waco to New York City are filled with victims of faith. Mass murders in the name of God are not aberrations; they are as common as thunderstorms.
It doesn't matter that President Bush defines Islam as a religion of peace (Editorial, December 5th issue). What matters is that he defines himself as a born-again, evangelical Christian. This means that he welcomes Armageddon, that he actively prays for the end of the world. That is more frightening to me than the wrath of anyone's God.
Michael B. Conway
To the Editor:
To combat President Bush's scripted warmongering, it isn't enough to read dissenting voices like Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky. It also helps to listen to Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothin'."
We are amazed but not amused/By all the things you say that you'll do./Though much concerned but not involved/With decisions that are made by you./But we are sick and tired of hearing your song/Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong/'Cause if you really want to hear our views/You haven't done nothin'!
Sometimes, listening to some funk is the only way to get out of a funk.
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