Saturday, December 27, 2008

Supreme Faith

"Supreme Faith" is Mary Wilson's second autobiography. Wilson mentions participating in many "celebrity charity events". One of the causes she supported was "the homeless". In 1989 she joined Rita Coolidge "in a march on behalf of the homeless in Washington, D.C.".

Wilson covers her childhood years in her first biography, "Dreamgirl". In "Supreme Faith" she says says even though she grew up "in the Brewster Projects" they did not consider themselves to be poor even though her "family just got by financially." She adds: "I also know that if Diane, Flor and I were growing up today instead of back in the fifties, our families might very well be homeless."

I wrote somewhere and may or may not have published the post a few weeks ago about the strange appearance of the words "Bishop Towers" popping to mind. Bishop Towers in my hometown might be likened to Detroit's "Brewster Projects". There were two similar high rise apartment complexes and since I was seldom allowed far from home, they were just buildings my father drove past enroute to visit relatives or shopping in a nearby town. I knew people from school who lived in "the projects", but never sure which set of buildings was low-income housing.

Because of my sheltered childhood, I could not say that my hometown had much of a homeless problem. My last visits home I noticed those projects were torn down and an expensive new condo or homes development was built in the downtown area. Those places were populated by wealthy people from New York city, though earning decent wages, the homes cost less than City dwellings. One of the reasons I left the East Coast was lack of affordable rentals. I understand than what Mary says about the Brewster Projects families she knew and grew up around in the fifties, in similar circumstances today, being homeless.

I see the same thing happening today in Long Beach as affordable apartment complexes are being torn down, or vacant space being rebuilt with expensive Condos. As an adult, back home, I noticed my town's homeless people and often chatted with some of them. Other lifetime residents of the city felt they were unable to find jobs and were being pushed out of their hometown because they did not speak Spanish.

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