WBEZ | diversity tolerance http://www.wbez.org/tags/diversity-tolerance Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? http://www.wbez.org/news/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-same-god-114232 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_201512162312040000-009a30b459e4abc66b658ff3e2078a2e048b2f46-s1200.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res460486751" previewtitle="Pope Francis said Christians and Muslims worship the same God — but not everyone agrees."><div><div>Larycia Hawkins, a professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-17/wheaton-professor-suspended-over-stance-islam-114200" target="_blank">decided to wear a head scarf during the Advent season</a> as a gesture of solidarity with Muslims. In doing so,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/larycia/posts/10153326773658481">Hawkins quoted Pope Francis</a>, saying that Christians and Muslims &quot;worship the same God.&quot;</div></div></div><p>But some evangelical Christians disagree &mdash; and Wheaton, a Christian school,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/18/460312256/evangelical-college-suspends-professor-for-showing-solidarity-with-muslims">responded by putting</a>&nbsp;the political science professor on paid administrative leave. The college says it needs time to review whether her statement puts her at odds with the faith perspective required of those who work there.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/460312256/460312257" title="NPR embedded audio player" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The case also raises some big questions of theology.</p><div>Most mainstream Muslims would generally agree they worship the same God that Christians &mdash; or Jews &mdash; worship. Zeki Saritoprak, a professor of Islamic Studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, points out that in the Quran there&#39;s the Biblical story of Jacob asking his sons whom they&#39;ll worship after his death.</div><p>&quot;Jacob&#39;s sons replied, &#39;We will worship the God of your fathers&#39; &mdash; Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac. He is the God,&quot; Saritoprak says. &quot;So this God that Jacob worshipped, this God that Abraham, Isaac worshipped, is the same God that Muslims worship today.&quot;</p><p>Christians, however, believe in a triune God: God the father, God the son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. And many evangelicals will say that means Muslims and Jews do not worship the same god as as Christians.</p><p>&quot;The question basically comes down to whether one can reject Jesus Christ as the Son and truly know God the Father,&quot; says Albert Mohler, president of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjRwsiHluvJAhUJWT4KHWBCCdAQFggdMAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sbts.edu%2F&amp;usg=AFQjCNH5ZdIbGewSHcNrvqURKzZyc2VA4g&amp;sig2=z71sPLUIBCt5So-2DfjYYw&amp;bvm=bv.110151844,d.cWw">Southern Baptist Theological Seminary</a>. &quot;And it&#39;s Christ himself who answered that question, most classically in the Gospel of John, and he said that to reject the Son means that one does not know the Father.&quot;</p><p>But Christians themselves differ on this question.&nbsp;</p><div><img alt="Pope Francis said Christians and Muslims worship the same God — but not everyone agrees." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/20/istock_000003109511_large_wide-fe00e9894f52538af036aa0ffab55fd1a6113493-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Pope Francis said Christians and Muslims worship the same God — but not everyone agrees. (iStockphoto)" /></div><p>The Second Vatican Council, speaking to Catholics back in 1964, affirmed that Muslims &quot;together with us adore the one, merciful God.&quot; And Amy Plantinga Pauw, a professor of Christian theology at Louisville Seminary, says Christians can have their own definition of God while still seeing commonality with Muslims and Jews.</p><p>&quot;To say that we worship the same God is not the same as insisting that we have an agreed and shared understanding of God,&quot; Pauw says.</p><p>One theologian with knowledge of both Christian and Islamic doctrine is Hamza Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, Calif., the first Muslim liberal arts college in the U.S. Born Mark Hanson, he was raised as a Christian and then converted to Islam. He quotes the Quran as saying that God is immeasurable, so to define God in some particular way is impossible.</p><p>&quot;God is much greater than anything we can imagine,&quot; Yusuf says. &quot;The Muslims have a statement in our theology: Whatever you imagine God to be, God is other than that.&quot;</p><p>At&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lpts.edu/">Louisville Seminary</a>, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, Pauw says she&#39;s preparing her students for Christian ministries that are likely to involve work with people of other faith traditions and she says she&#39;d like them to remember that no religious community can claim God&#39;s favor.</p><p>&quot;No one is in a position of saying, &#39;Well, we know exactly how God works in the world, and my particular group has a monopoly on that,&#39; &quot; Pauw says.</p><p>She adds: &quot;There are certainly Muslims who will say that. There are certainly Christians who will say that. But it&#39;s out of my own Christian conviction that I think we have to approach these issues with a kind of humility and kind of generosity toward others, because God&#39;s ways are not our ways.&quot;</p><p>In&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wheaton.edu/Media-Center/Media-Relations/Statements/Wheaton-College-Statement-Regarding-Dr-Hawkins">its statement</a>&nbsp;about Professor Hawkins&#39; view that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, Wheaton College emphasizes its rejection of religious prejudice and its commitment to treat and speak about neighbors with love and respect, as Jesus commanded people to do. But, the statement says, &quot;our compassion must be infused with theological clarity.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/20/460480698/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-the-same-god?ft=nprml&amp;f=460480698" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Sun, 20 Dec 2015 22:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-same-god-114232 Some Muslim Women are Taking Self-Defense into Their Own Hands http://www.wbez.org/news/some-muslim-women-are-taking-self-defense-their-own-hands-114231 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mw14-8f0266a78194ce1c2965f59150ec37e576885748-s600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res460324354" previewtitle="About two-dozen Muslim women attended a recent self-defense class in New York City."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="About two-dozen Muslim women attended a recent self-defense class in New York City." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/18/mw14-8f0266a78194ce1c2965f59150ec37e576885748-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="About two-dozen Muslim women attended a recent self-defense class in New York City. (Courtesy of Mariana Aguilera)" /></div><div><div><p>It&#39;s not an easy time to be Muslim in the U.S. Attacks on mosques are at a record high,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/13313-mosques-targeted.html">according to the country&#39;s largest Muslim advocacy group</a>. Women wearing hijabs, or headscarves, are often singled out for harassment.</p></div></div></div><p>That has galvanized some to take their protection into their own hands.</p><p>On a recent day, some two-dozen Muslim women &mdash; nearly all of them wearing hijabs &mdash; have crowded into a studio in Midtown Manhattan. They are sparring with instructor Nicole Daniels.</p><p>One of the women smacking Daniels&#39; glove is Amirah Aulaqi. She and friend Mariana Aguilera, who is also Muslim, decided to create the class after the attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif. They&#39;re concerned by the antagonism they see directed against Muslims.</p><p>&quot;We want you guys to leave this class and not feel like victims, because you&#39;re not victims,&quot; Aulaqi tells the class.</p><p>There were no men allowed in the class &mdash; and only Aguilera, one of the organizers, had a camera.</p><p>Aulaqi and Aguilera created the class for observant Muslim women. That population is particularly at risk, because their hijabs can make them stand out. There have been incidents of verbal abuse &mdash; in some cases, people have yanked at women&#39;s headscarves.</p><p>&quot;We want you to go out and say, &#39;I&#39;m a Muslim woman and nobody has the right to take my dignity or freedom within this country,&#39; &quot; Aulaqi says.</p><p>The class sold out in an hour. It drew women not just from New York City, but New Jersey and Connecticut as well.</p><p>The only students who were willing to be interviewed are longtime New Yorkers with careers.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;d never thought I&#39;d actually see myself in a self-defense course,&quot; says Fatiha Ahmed, who was born in Queens, N.Y., to Bangladeshi parents. She is a teacher and attended the class with her three sisters and two sisters-in-law.</p><p>She signed up because she has been feeling uncomfortable wearing the hijab on the subway. People looked at her before, but she says it feels different now.</p><p>&quot;Usually it&#39;s curiosity. But now it&#39;s a more hateful stare. And it&#39;s not a good feeling,&quot; Ahmed says.</p><p>She is particularly concerned about her sisters-in-law, who came to the U.S. from Bangladesh in the past few years.</p><p>&quot;They are very timid,&quot; she says. &quot;They&#39;ve had experiences where people have said hateful things toward them. They ran away, they ran home, they didn&#39;t want to go to work for a few days.&quot;</p><p><strong>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-15/being-muslim-america-today-114168" target="_blank">Being Muslim in America Today</a></strong></p><p>Both of Ahmed&#39;s sisters-in-law declined to speak with NPR.</p><p>Her older sister, Sabji Ahmed, is a nurse and a classic New Yorker.</p><p>&quot;When I walk around, I don&#39;t put my head down to be the victim,&quot; she says. &quot;And if I see a couple of guys, I make sure I give them the look and say, &#39;Yes, I know you&#39;re standing there.&#39; &quot;</p><p>Sabji Ahmed says she attended the class to see if there were self-defense techniques, and not just attitude, that she could teach her three teenage daughters.</p><p>&quot;It was more for them. They couldn&#39;t make it today for other reasons,&quot; she says.</p><p>Nadia Alemare was born and raised in New York and is a single mom to an 11-year-old boy. She says she hasn&#39;t encountered much harassment, but her son has, coming home from school.</p><p>&quot;He was like, &#39;Mom, I had these kids chase me down and they kept saying I&#39;m a terrorist, go back to your country.&#39; And I was very scared for him,&quot; she says.</p><p>What concerns Alemare most is how the incident crystallized for her son that people can identify his ethnicity and that it makes him vulnerable.</p><p>&quot;He was like, &#39;Mom, do I look Arab?&#39; For him to even feel inferior just because of the way he looks, that in itself kind of bothered me,&quot; she says.</p><p>Alemare says she is going to tell her son what she learned in this all-female class. The organizers are planning to make it a regular event. It&#39;s not just about preparing the students to deal with physical attacks. It&#39;s also a way to make them feel supported at a time when it can be challenging to be an observant Muslim.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/18/460307169/some-muslim-women-are-taking-self-defense-into-their-own-hands?ft=nprml&amp;f=460307169" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Sun, 20 Dec 2015 21:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/some-muslim-women-are-taking-self-defense-their-own-hands-114231 Your school shapes how you think about inequality http://www.wbez.org/news/your-school-shapes-how-you-think-about-inequality-113801 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/school-inequality_custom-99a663b90c86786f3d3b4b3dbe1f61e744183c3b-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455355841" previewtitle="Two students passing through each other to get a glimpse of another way of life"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Two students passing through each other to get a glimpse of another way of life" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/09/school-inequality_custom-99a663b90c86786f3d3b4b3dbe1f61e744183c3b-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 354px; width: 620px;" title="Two students passing through each other to get a glimpse of another way of life. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>Ask yourself this question: <em>Were you aware of inequality growing up?</em></p><p>Your answer may depend in part on where you went to high school. Students at racially diverse schools, particularly black and Hispanic students, are more tuned-in to injustice than students going to school mostly with kids that look like them.</p><p>That&#39;s one of the main threads of a new book by Carla Shedd, an assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Columbia University. In&nbsp;<em>Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice</em>,&nbsp;Shedd goes straight to the source: the students at four Chicago public high schools. She even let the kids pick their own pseudonyms.</p><p>Two of the schools were largely segregated: one had no white or Asian students. The other two were fairly diverse &mdash; by Chicago standards &mdash; one with about a third white or Asian students and the other, a magnet school, with more than half.</p><p>Shedd followed the schools from 2001 to 2011, a turbulent decade when the city demolished its infamous high-rise public housing units and began closing public schools in large numbers.</p><p>I spoke with Shedd about how school segregation can damage a student&#39;s sense of self.</p><hr /><p><img alt="Unequal City cover" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/manually-added/unequal-city_custom-e4c22271c64c0ef421fdf85be815ee8c507f32cf-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Cover, Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice, by Carla Shedd" /></p><p><strong>Let&#39;s jump right in. What did the students have to say?</strong></p><p>Black and brown kids going to their neighborhood school, many of them didn&#39;t have the concrete experiences to know that maybe their experiences are unequal. Those kids are very different from the kids who leave their neighborhood and go to a school downtown and sit with classmates very different from them. They see what&#39;s similar and they see what is different. This is mind-blowing for 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds who are making sense of who they are. It will form their perceptions of opportunity.</p><p><strong>So what does that look like from the student perspective?</strong></p><p>Both Alex and TB live on the South Side of Chicago in all-black neighborhoods. Alex travels all the way from the South Side to just north of Chicago&#39;s downtown for his school. He has a racially mixed group of friends and his experiences confirm both his privilege and his disadvantage.</p><p>Alex went on a shopping trip with his friends to the mall downtown. So, he&#39;s in a mixed group of friends, they&#39;re doing something social, and a store security guard believed that one of their group members was shoplifting. The guard approached them and pulled out the three black kids in the group and told them they had to leave. Alex was really stressed by it.</p><p>And the contrast is TB. He has been searched but not arrested multiple times. He still thinks the police are fair. I asked him, &quot;How do you feel when this happens?&quot; And he says, &quot;Doesn&#39;t this happen to everyone?&quot; It&#39;s almost normal for him. TB&#39;s school can&#39;t confirm that what he experiences is not the norm for everyone else.</p><p>So, students of color in segregated schools might be less aware of inequality, but in diverse schools, they might be overwhelmed by it. Where&#39;s the balance?</p><p>With kids in segregated schools, I talk a little about dosage. If they have a lot of these experiences with police &mdash; they&#39;re being stopped and searched &mdash; they&#39;re a little less naive. But for those who this hasn&#39;t happened to so many times, they see it as normal. It&#39;s almost protective in a way.</p><div id="res455803212" previewtitle="Click to subscribe!"><div data-crop-type=""><strong>What about the kids at more diverse schools, like Alex?</strong></div></div><p>In terms of the larger burden for other young people, it&#39;s also something that could be positive, to think about challenges, to think about inequality. It&#39;s a burden, but it&#39;s an important skill set that prepares them later on for inequality with a different face, for working in corporate America and being the only minority or walking down the street and having to disarm people who think they&#39;ll be robbed.</p><p><strong>How does this affect white students?</strong></p><p>There&#39;s a Filipino student who named himself Joaquin. So, Joaquin said after he leaves school, it&#39;s like different species go off into the world. You see the black kids go to a bus or a train line. You see the white kids walking to their homes, some of the most expensive real estate in the city, and the Hispanic kids going to the Brown Line to go to the West Side where they live. He talks about the flows of people at dismissal being so striking, because in school, he doesn&#39;t see that clash of species, as he called it, until everyone is dismissed.</p><p>That&#39;s a very different experience for white students and perhaps Asian students. Otherwise in Chicago, they wouldn&#39;t necessarily have to be in a diverse environment, in light of the options they have for private and parochial schools. It&#39;s almost an anomaly that they&#39;re getting to interact with a diverse group of students. Otherwise they could just be in their segregated lives.</p><p><strong>Is your book an argument for integration?</strong></p><p>I&#39;m not saying kids that go to all-black schools can&#39;t have a great educational experience, but the resources are so starkly divided across these types of schools that are more racially homogeneous, and that&#39;s the problem.</p><p>On the integration front, the positive is not just putting people of different races next to each other, but it also opens up different experiences and perspectives so they can share with one another and think within and across whatever boundaries there are: race, class, gender. It gives them a fuller sense of how the world works.</p><p><strong>What should we take away from your book?</strong></p><p>It is providing some nuance to how young people understand themselves in the world, and it&#39;s also having their voices heard.</p><p>I want [readers] to think concretely about how what happens in school at this formative age shapes the lives of these young people, and it shapes the America we&#39;ll have.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/11/14/454858044/your-school-shapes-how-you-think-about-inequality?ft=nprml&amp;f=454858044" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 11:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/your-school-shapes-how-you-think-about-inequality-113801 In Brooklyn, a big Muslim voice sounds out against terror http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-11-16/brooklyn-big-muslim-voice-sounds-out-against-terror-113798 <p><div>New York&#39;s diverse immigrant population gathered in small clusters around the boroughs Sunday night to speak out against terrorism in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and at home in a city where the wounds of 9/11 are not completely healed. Scores met for a vigil in the densely populated neighborhood of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/new-yorkers-gather-commemorate-terrorism-victims/" target="_blank">Jackson Heights</a>&nbsp;in Queens, hearing from leaders in the Pakistani community there.&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CarrollGardensCandle.jpg" title="Brooklyn leaders gathered in Carroll Park for a vigil that featured the flags of France, Kenya, Lebanon and the United States. (The World/Julia Barton)" /></div><div><div><p>And in&nbsp;Carroll Gardens, an upper-class Brooklyn neighborhood where many European immigrants live, faith leaders prayed for peace in English, Hebrew, Arabic&nbsp;and French. Public officials stood in front of the flags of Kenya, Lebanon, France and the United States; their calls&nbsp;for unity and tolerance are what&#39;s to be expected in a borough that houses some 49 different language groups.&nbsp;</p></div><p>Against that backdrop, it was a Muslim community leader,&nbsp;Mohammad Razvi, who sounded the hardest note against ISIS.</p><p>&quot;We pray to God for justice and for these individuals to be taken off this Earth,&quot; he told the crowd of about 100 gathered in a local park, referring to ISIS. &quot;If it&#39;s going to take&nbsp;our communities coming together and our governments to come together internationally, so be it. We look forward &mdash; because the red, white and blue are coming to get you!&quot;</p><p>Razvi, known around Brooklyn as &quot;Mo,&quot;&nbsp;speaks with a slight&nbsp;&quot;Vinnie&quot;-esque accent of a someone&nbsp;raised near Coney Island. His family moved to&nbsp;Brooklyn&#39;s&nbsp;Midwood neighborhood&nbsp;from Pakistan when he was 7. Razvi&nbsp;grew up to become a successful businessman in Midwood. But after 9/11, he saw his community devastated by detentions and harassment; his own daughter was pushed down the stairs at school after having her hijab ripped away.</p><p>After that experience, Razvi became a community advocate, eventually selling off his business empire to create&nbsp;<a href="http://www.copousa.org/history/" target="_blank">COPO</a>, the Council of People&#39;s Organizations, which coordinates 30 Muslim organizations in New York City. He&#39;s someone who can lead a prayer in Arabic and also talk with the FBI.</p><p>So when Razvi turned on his television on Friday&nbsp;to see news of attacks in Paris, his heart sank and his anger rose. &quot;When I was watching the TV, I was just grabbing my head going, &#39;God, we can&#39;t stop. We&#39;ve got to go after them,&#39;&quot; Razvi told PRI after the vigil. And he reiterated his call for military action. &quot;I really want to see the full coalition going after them before they hurt anybody else. Go after these guys &mdash; ISIS, Al Qaeda, whoever they are.&quot;</p><p>Razvi&#39;s demands were the boldest at the event, and perhaps surprising for a Muslim leader considered close to New York&#39;s establishment. But he says his views are&nbsp;based in his faith. &quot;[ISIS] have nothing to do with Islam,&quot; he insists, citing the Prophet Mohammed. &quot;If they hurt one human person, it&#39;s as if they are hurting all of humanity. If you help one human being, it&#39;s as if you&#39;re helping the whole humanity. It doesn&#39;t matter what culture or what religion they&#39;re from.&quot;</p><div><img alt="Mohammad Razvi and Letitia James" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/PostVigil_Interviews.jpg?itok=RCPajWXC" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="After an interfaith service in Brooklyn, TV news crews interview Mohammad Razvi (left back) and Letitia James (right front), who's Public Advocate for the City of New York. (The World/Julia Barton)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>&nbsp;</p></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 10:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-11-16/brooklyn-big-muslim-voice-sounds-out-against-terror-113798 Rustbelt city wants immigrants, skilled or not http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/3.JPG" style="width: 605px; height: 404px;" title="Deserted houses like this one mar Dayton’s East End. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p style="text-align: left;">Lifelong Dayton resident Monica Schultz, 36, brings me to the East End block where she grew up. “This whole street was full of families,” she says. “Kids were running around playing, all within my age range.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Now no kids are in sight.</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz points to a half dozen abandoned houses, including one right next door to her family’s place. She says the city has boarded it up a few times but stray cats keep finding their way in.</p><p style="text-align: left;">“We had a flea infestation problem,” she tells me. “People walking by could see the fleas or feel the fleas or get the fleas. All of the yards in the neighborhood here were becoming infested with fleas.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz says the city can’t keep up with houses like this. “It’s one of many that need to be bulldozed,” she says. “But it’s on a list.”</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers faring better in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars-94303">Using sound to find leaks and save dollars</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/gas-drilling-could-take-air-out-offshore-wind-93875">Gas drilling could take air out of offshore wind</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>Dayton’s population has been shrinking since the 1960s. Most of the area’s factory jobs are long gone. To save the city, Schultz has embraced a new idea: Help immigrants and refugees lay roots in Dayton.</p><p>Schultz, who owns a small marketing firm, helped lead community meetings that generated a 72-point plan called “Welcome Dayton.” City commissioners approved the plan this fall. The points range from better immigrant access to social services, to more translations of court materials, to grants for immigrants to open shops in a dilapidated commercial corridor, to a soccer event that supporters envision as a local World Cup tournament.</p><p>Schultz tells me the plan could revive a Dayton entrepreneurial spirit that sparked inventions ranging from the cash register to the airplane. “You would have small businesses,” she says. “You would have coffee shops and you would have bakeries and you would have specialty grocery stores.”</p><p>Dayton is among several rustbelt cities suffering from population loss and brain drain. To create businesses and jobs, some communities are trying to attract immigrants, especially highly educated ones. Dayton stands out for the attention its plan pays to immigrants without wealth or skills.</p><p>The plan even addresses people without permission to be in the country. One provision calls for police officers to quit asking suspects about their immigration status unless the crime was “serious.” Another point could lead to a city identification card that would help residents do everything from open a bank account to buy a cell phone.</p><p>City Manager Tim Riordan, Dayton’s chief executive, says welcoming all types of immigrants will make the area more cosmopolitan. “I think there would be a vibrancy,” he says. “We’d start to have some international investment of companies deciding they ought to locate here.”</p><p>Foreign-born residents so far amount to 3 percent of the city’s 142,000 residents. For a mid-sized U.S. city these days, that’s not many.</p><p>But Dayton’s immigrants and refugees are increasing their numbers and, Riordan says, they’re already making a difference. He points to a neighborhood north of downtown where some Ahiska Turks have settled. “They were refugees in Russia," he says. "Here they’ve bought houses. They’ve fixed them up. And, sometimes when I talk to hardware store owners, people will come in and they’ll buy a window at a time. ‘I’ve got enough money to put in another window.’ It’s slow-but-sure change.”</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 280px;" title="A Dayton pizza parlor run by Ahiska Turks adds life to a decaying neighborhood. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p>Not everyone in Dayton is on board with the plan.</p><p>In a corner tavern on the East End, a 62-year-old bartender serves the only customer what she calls his last can of beer for the night. It’s a Friday, just 11 p.m., but she’s closing. “The owner can’t pay me to stay any longer,” she tells me, speaking on condition I don’t name her or the bar.</p><p>The bartender says the tavern could be on its last legs and tells me what happened to three other East End bars where she worked. They all shut down. She says that’s because many of the neighborhood’s Appalachian families, who arrived for manufacturing jobs after World War II, have moved away.</p><p>“NCR closed down, Dayton Tire and Rubber closed down, GM and Delphi and Frigidaire,” she says, pausing only when her customer slams down the beer and bellows something about a “last paycheck.”</p><p>The bartender tells me she doesn’t like how Riordan and other Dayton officials are handling the exodus of families who’ve been paying local taxes for generations. “Why won’t he try to keep those kinds of people here?” she asks. “He wants to welcome the immigrants to come in here. What can&nbsp;they&nbsp;do? Where are they going to get the money to fix up anything? What jobs are they going to get to maintain what they fix up here? There are no jobs here. None.”</p><p>It’s not just locals like the bartender who have doubts about “Welcome Dayton.”</p><p>Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington group that pushes for strict immigration controls, acknowledges that attracting immigrants would increase the size of Dayton’s economy. “But that’s different than arguing that there’s a benefit,” he says. “Growing an area’s gross domestic product, but not the <em>per capita</em> GDP, doesn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t be very helpful. In fact, there might be problems with that.”</p><p>Camarota says the low-skilled immigrants would put downward pressure on wages for workers on Dayton’s bottom rungs.</p><p>But Italian-born economist Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis, says low-skilled immigrants would bring what Dayton seeks—and more: “One, they will increase the variety of local restaurants, local shops. Second, they will provide a variety of local services, such as household services, care of the children, of the elderly. Third, they will also develop and bring an atmosphere of diversity and higher tolerance.” Peri says these low-skilled contributions would all help Dayton attract immigrants with more resources.</p><p>The willingness of many immigrants to perform manual labor for low pay, Peri adds, could create jobs for longtime residents. He points to landscaping companies: “They will need people who mow the lawn but also they will need accountants, salespersons, a manager and drivers.”</p><p>Dayton’s approach—welcoming immigrants with and without skills—is the “optimal strategy,” Peri says.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/4.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 219px;" title="A Dayton church translates sermons to Spanish through headphones. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Whether a city’s immigrant-integration plan can actually attract many people is another question. About an hour east of Dayton, the city of Columbus launched an immigrant-friendly initiative in 2002 and saw its foreign-born population grow fast. But that city’s economy is much more robust than Dayton’s. It had already been attracting immigrants for years.</p><p>The results of “Welcome Dayton” could depend on how it works for city residents like a 25-year-old mother whom I’ll call Ana López. (She&nbsp;doesn’t have papers to be in the country so I agreed not to use her real name.) López says she came from the Mexican state of Puebla as a teenager at the urging of a friend who had arrived in Dayton earlier.</p><p>López says her first job was in a restaurant with a big buffet. “We didn’t come to take work away from anyone,” she tells me in Spanish. “Rather, there are jobs nobody else wants.”</p><p>Now López and her husband have three kids, all U.S. citizens. The family has managed to buy a house. And it’s found a congregation, College Hill Community Church, that provides simultaneous Spanish interpretation through headphones.</p><p>But Dayton hasn’t always been hospitable. López says police officers caught her brother-in-law driving without a license and turned him over to federal officials, who deported him.</p><p>Looking at the “Welcome Dayton” plan, López says providing the ID cards and removing the police from immigration enforcement could make a difference for families like hers. “These families would tell their friends and relatives to move to Dayton,” she says.</p><p>That’s exactly what city leaders want to hear.</p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0