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Diverse set of leaders joins together to battle poverty

by Oralander Brand-Williams
From The Detroit News

African-American and Jewish community leaders from around the country are expected to wrap up today a conference in Detroit about poverty.

The Mission to Detroit conference, sponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, brought together activists from both groups to explore ways to battle poverty in their cities.

The year’s conference participants came from around the country, including Nashville, Tenn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Providence, R.I.

Jim Vincent, the president of the NAACP branch in Providence, came to Detroit along with Marty Cooper, community relations director for the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, and Scott Libman, a board member of the Jewish Alliance.

The three men spent a part of Wednesday afternoon weeding an urban garden at the Romanowski Park on Lonyo Street near Livernois. The three said they are taking note of Detroit residents’ use of blighted lots for growing food.

Rhode Island has a 10.9 percent jobless rate, one of the highest in the country.

“Urban gardening is great because it’s about people coming together around a positive issue like food,” Vincent said.

Libman said the conference has given community leaders a chance to look at what they can do to help their cities…

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