Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III, Defends Detroit with Dateline & Chris Hansen

Apr 20, 2010, 15:00 ET from Detroit Association of Black Organizations

DETROIT, April 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III, executive director of the Detroit Association of Black Organization (DABO), has called on Chris Hansen, Dateline Producers, and executives from NBC and demanded that they meet with him and several leaders and residents from the City of Detroit to defend Detroit and to discuss their reactions and responses to Dateline's "America Now: City of Heartbreak..." which aired on NBC Sunday April 18, 2010. Rev. Sheffield has been urged by many Detroiters and lovers of Detroit to find an appropriate and productive way to address their disgust.

Rev. Sheffield, and DABO, has for the last year been promoting a "We're Loving, Not Leaving Detroit" Campaign which among its statements suggests that "we're not leaving the city that made us - even though the way they talk about us is outrageous."

Please find the entire text of that letter attached.  For more information please contact Ms. Dorn Simpson, Executive Assistant to Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III.

April 20, 2010

Dear Mr. Hansen:

I am writing on behalf of myself, the organization I work for, several leaders of various Detroit community based organizations, and numerous infuriated Detroit citizens and lovers who have ask me to organize some form of response to your Dateline story, a segment which many feel is a gross and unbalanced misrepresentation of a city we love so dearly and work so tirelessly to improve.

Unlike many who have begun to call for a major protest next Monday in front of WDIV, Detroit's local NBC affiliate, for both the contents of the Detroit story on Dateline as well as some attempt to defend it by a WDIV anchor on the Mitch Albom show, I would rather have you meet with me, and some who have asked, to hear our insights and the reasons for our dismay over another example of Detroit bashing.

And without going too far into explaining all of our sentiments before we meet, I can say that the sum of concern is best characterized by our finding fault with the absence of any indication as to the cause of the Detroit's plight nor the addressing of the historic and on-going social and racial contributions toward our city's decline. Let me clearly state that we, those of us who decided to remain in Detroit despite its decline, fully and certainly accept our responsibility to organize and antagonize the further amelioration of our urban agony.

However, we also believe that the systemic contribution of other causes of its neglect and decline in the form of past restrictive covenants, facilitated and orchestrated white flight, insurance and retail redlining, and the deliberate sabotage of a regional transportation system linking city residents with suburban jobs,  among other inherited and perpetuated problems, have as much to do with this city's decline as does the apparent impotence, and not apathy,  of those who now reside in its neighborhoods and who now possess the reigns of political leadership.

The current conditions and apparent plight of Detroit, a city which afforded almost every ethnic immigrant the means to transition from poverty to middle class, has as much to do with those who have left, abandoned, and ignored Detroit as it has to do with those who have stayed and while endeavoring to turn things around have not succeeded overcoming the overwhelming flood of failings, false and incomplete representations, and disinvestment.

Consequently, quite frankly, we see this recent story as once again solely making Detroiters and Detroit responsible for these conditions when this region, this state, and this nation must also respond. Therefore, we welcome an opportunity to have this discussion and more with you, the producers, and the executive of Dateline, here or in New York, at your earliest convenience.

I will be calling and emailing you soon to ascertain your response and to secure a time and a date for the requested meeting.


Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III

Executive Director

Detroit Association of Black Organization

SOURCE Detroit Association of Black Organizations