Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Welcome To Benton Harbor by Akindele Akinyemi

The Eagle has landed in the City of Benton Harbor.

Or should I say me.

Yes, there is work to do out here but first I just thank God for allowing me to leave Detroit. After that last August Primary I was ready to go.

However, Benton Harbor is nothing more than a small Detroit. Benton Harbor is 92% Black with a high school dropout rat of 50%. Only 4% of the population of 11,000 have a 4-year degree and 2% have a graduate degree. 50% of the population have never been married and when they do get married 15% marriages end up in divorce.

So why the City of Benton Harbor?

People here do not realize the buying power they possess in this city. Benton Harbor fits right into the free market system. Charter schools are moving into the city to give parents a choice.
They are building up the riverfront with new homes. People are slowly beginning to move back to Benton Harbor.

But the city's leadership must change if we want to move our city into another reality.

As usual, liberal policies have ravaged and decimated Benton Harbor turning it into a social wasteland. And when you add on the 2003 riots that brought the city to a screeching halt you would think things got worse.

Not to mention of how many Black people who live here are paranoid of companies like Whirlpool and other corporations. They are viewing these companies like the enemy.

My sales pitch to several people already has been personal responsibility. I did not move down here to repeat the same foolishness that is already going on in Detroit. We need to do better in this city.

Benton Harbor and St. Joseph sits on Lake Michigan. I said a while ago that Lake Michigan is a international waterway that we can tap into. While Benton Harbor is being transformed into a resort town people need to come together intelligently to create a free market plan to enhance revenue into the city.

A new leadership in Benton Harbor can pursue an export-driven model of economic development with the exportation of goods to new technology based companies that will move into the area. Leadership in Benton Harbor must be able to promote education as a means of improving productivity. This is why schools like the Dream Academy are necessary because this new charter high school will pave the way for the future in Benton Harbor. Our leadership must focus on improving the education system at all levels. Therefore, heavy emphasis should be placed on ensuring that all children attended elementary education and compulsory high school education.

The leadership in Benton Harbor must begin to focus on the following:
  • Sustained rate of double-digit growth for decades
  • Motivated and skilled workforces
  • Large investments in education and a high regional IQ
The city has been written off due to corruption, paranoia and complete lack of education that leads to a lack of skills to help residents compete for decent jobs.

The Michigan High Speed Authority could play a serious role in regional rail transportation by connecting the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area with Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland and South Bend, Indiana. It is something regional leaders need to think about.

But for right now, Benton Harbor needs to focus on becoming the educational hub of Southwestern Michigan. This can be done with an international focus on education, rebuilding strong families, personal responsibility and stop allowing the boogeyman to spook us into thinking that White people are always trying to suppress Black people. One out of three houses in Benton Harbor needs to be torn down and rebuilt. We should have a mix of charter, virtual and other forms of educational options for families.

It is my duty to serve and help rebuild our families in this city. People are going to have to realize that I am not a person who is making excuses or waiting for a handout. I am here ot give people a handup and a future.

The faith based community here is dead. It can be revitalized through young people who want to make a difference with their families. The old heads down here have been bought, paid for, and are keeping confusion in our community.

If we do not restore God back in Benton Harbor we will continue to lose another generation of men, women and children to the streets.


Sarita said...

Great comments on Benton Harbor. Also essential, is for Lansing to lower taxes and make this state competetive with low tax states. High taxes kills businesses. I love your idea to make Benton Harbor a part of an international waterway on Lake Michigan. But we now have 4-8 years of an Obama Socialist government and I fear this will put us back even more than Granholm has! Sarita (The Kalamazoo Objectivist).

Anonymous said...

Akindele, are you still in Benton Harbor?