FRASER (WWJ) – Members of the general public, civic leaders and clergy are pushing for more unity between the suburbs and Detroit as part of a series of Inclusive Communities Uniting (I.C.U.) meetings.

WWJ’s Pat Sweeting spoke with Fr. Lawrence Ventline of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Roseville who was in attendance at the ICU meeting.

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“Oh, it’s very important for Detroit and the whole region, there’s Fraser, Roseville, Clinton Twp., Centerline or Harrison Twp.,” said Ventline. “To connect, to build trust,  (there is) so much mistrust – distrust, ever since the civil unrest it seems to me, when the great Eleanor Josaitis and Fr. Cunningham brought together their people to try to get them to talk and bridge the great divide.”

Bob Waters of Hope Centers — a food bank in Fraser — is a regular at the meetings. He admits to some degree of surprise after a meeting with a local Muslim cleric.

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“I guess I didn’t expect such a great relationship to build there so easily … as you go through life, you found out, that if you just drop your guard and accept each other as people – as we are – it doesn’t matter where you go,” said Waters.

Waters, a native Detroiter, says there’s so many beautiful things about the city that suburbia doesn’t know about … and that includes the people. The next ICU meeting is scheduled for February 9th at the Clinton Township Public Library.

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“I think they are a neighbor and it spreads … I think helping our brother – helps – that’s my faith,” said Al Biletti, a 10 year resident of Fraser, who summed up the feel that the I.C.U. meetings bring.