The Politics Of Red And My Calcutta
The Politics Of Red And My Calcutta

The reddening of the political spectrum and the resulting economic chaos ensuing from decisions and policies made by red statesmen have had a direct impact on citizens and residents of my Calcutta. First, let me define who they are.

Located  in one of the most economically depressed areas of Detroit, hard hit by the downturn in the automotive industry, ( yes, I said downturn, there are no jobs here for these residents) and by policies and legislation enacted by politicians intent on seeking the blood of people who might h not have voted for them, it’s safe to say there are many adverse effects on residents in my Calcutta.

 Traditionally, this is an area with many social issues. School dropout rates are high while the rates of unemployment and incarceration seem to increase. I have seen the dramatic effects these policies have had on people in this area. There is no shame here. Just need. I volunteer with a church to help distribute food on Thursdays. Believe me it’s much needed.

 But food is not the only thing these residents need. The one thing they desperately need is hope. And that’s the one thing these harsh political agendas seem to have pushed away from people; hope. You see when you lose hope, there’s nothing left for the human spirit to survive, dream and build a future on. These policies have directly affected the way people see themselves in the future and in the here and now.

 The demographics here speak for themselves. Made up of predominantly African-Americans, on any given Thursday, the racial composition is mixed with my blond, dark-haired, blue-eyed brethren. Hardships and lack it seems know no color, and when the red statesmen enacted their policies they might have assumed that only African-Americans would be affected. The converse is now true.

 Persons involved in charity work around the country will tell the story, I have just told you. That more and more of our white brothers and sisters are showing up in places and at organizations looking for help. They have been affected by the economic downturn just as much as any one else. They too have lost hope. Many days as I sit and look across the people, I see no reason for them to hope.

 I feel their angst, but more importantly, I feel their recognition that there’s no use in hoping. Hope is a luxury they can ill afford. For them life is all about surviving for this day only. Some of my residents are those who were incarcerated and recently freed.

 Where do they go to get jobs.

 You can see the brokenness as they realize that not only have they paid for their crimes by serving life sentences or prison terms, but now that they are free, they realize they’re not truly free; as they cannot attain employment to sustain themselves. For these, there really is no hope.

 You may ask, why write about this. The answer is to make it personal as  it had become personal for me. Peripherally, I knew these problems existed, but until I had come up close and personal with it, I wold have never known what it must be like to live without hope.

 Many Thursdays, after I leave, I carry their burdens with me. It’s not enough  for me to touch their hands and pray and wish and hope for a better tomorrow for them. Sometimes, I want to help restore their hope.

 Hope, faith and love. The greatest of these is love. Is it too much to ask red statesmen to show a little love  to people who  do not look like them? Perhaps it is.

 I have found that hope is a beautiful thing. It can change and transform your perception of your situation. I’m amazed that so many red statesmen claim to be Christians and attend church frequently. I wonder if they really listen to messages on hope, and love. They use their Christianity as a tool to justify their reason for creating harsh policies aimed at destroying people’s lives. Have you ever wondered when they pray whom do they pray to? It seems to me the very christian principles they claim to adopt, they should practice.

 I invite you to visit my Calcutta. People who are there are not there because they’re lazy. It’s because, they cannot find work, they’re unable to access credit, they lost jobs, which in turn led to loss of homes, motor vehicles, and loss of lifestyles. Because they’re still alive, they’re clinging to life and trying to find the abundant life that is preached from the pulpits red statesmen visit.

Maybe spreading that abundant life around would do some good. Show some love and hope as much as you claim to believe in it. if you’re interested in visiting my Calcutta; email me. I would be happy to show you what we do, in spite of the little that we have been given. It’s no joke when we feed 186 families every week.

 Seriously, that’s no joke. If we run out of food, which has happened, the hurt and pain we have seen in people is unbearable. If you believe in the christian principles you expound from your platforms, then you know this  passage “Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends”.

 Myself and others involved in the business of helping people, do not claim to love people more than you do. We just use more of our compassion. Perhaps being red has distorted our vision and our ability to help humanity. If being blue is not for you, try a melding of red and blue. Let’s all become purple as we reach out and touch each other.

 Hope is a beautiful thing. Let’s give some hope.


Remember To: Never Look Back


(Calcutta is not the name of the area Harriet is referencing, the community is located in Brightmoor, in Detroit,MI. Calcutta is used by Harriet to reference need and a place of hope and dignity for those in need).For more information on Harriet and programs in the community, visit her web site at, follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.

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