Rebuild Urban America
By Luqman Abdul Haqq
In the past 100 years of American history, urban America has never been in such an economically and socially distressed state. With more than two-thirds of the American population living within our urban communities, the United States appears to be in great trouble. America is one of the greatest civilizations that man has created and we cannot allow this deterioration to continue unchecked. Many have likened America to that of a shiny apple that has the appearance of grandeur and splendor. When the apple is bitten into, there is suddenly the realization that it has a worm in it. If the worm is not removed and continues uncontested, it will grow to destroy the beautiful apple. Americans cannot allow this to happen to America. In our urban regions, we are developing separate and unequal societies.
This disparity between the wealthy and the poor has become disastrous. We see centers of affluence and centers of poverty, centers of excellence and centers of despair. Urban America has become a “vacant community” inhabited by America’s poorest citizens who are mostly African Americans. It is my belief that the individuals who make up these communities with help from society at large must address these inequities. I have been fortunate to meet with many of society’s leaders, and I always ask the question, “Who has the revitalization plan for our cities?” The question has become a rhetorical one because I have never received an adequate answer. I believe that America is too great a country to allow this festering of poverty to go unrestrained. The downward spiral will only worsen, given the current welfare legislation and the lack of proper supports (e.g. jobs, skill training) to help bridge the transition from welfare to work. The clock is ticking toward an unknown devastation for many impoverished Americans.
I believe American can do better. I believe America must do better. An answer must be developed and implemented immediately. I founded the Universal Community Homes as an attempt to help answer America’s problem. For over 30 years, I have been writing music with a message of social change, songs like “Wake Up Everybody,” “Family Reunion,” “Give the People What They Want,” and “Love Train” are a few examples. During that same time period, I have worked on a number of projects that made the music real. Universal Community Homes represents one of the preeminent opportunities that I have observed that has developed a working model for the rebuilding of our cities. With the proper support, this effort could effect real social change.
Universal Community Homes has begun a revitalization process within the South Philadelphia area with the hope of building a workable model. A model that not only rebuilds the physical environment, but also, more importantly, rebuilds the confidence, hope and spirit of its people. I ask that you support this effort in anyway you are able, and that you help us build the momentum needed to create a winning team. America will be a better place to live when this model is complete. America is too great a country to allow this to go on. The challenge before us all is to rebuild urban America.