The Way to Happiness Brings New Life
MOTOR CITY TEAM FIGHTS BACK AGAINST URBAN DECAY
Detroit, Michigan, once celebrated as Motor City for its automotive industry and Motown for its musical legacy, is today one of America’s most troubled metropolises. Soaring unemployment, crime and drug trafficking drove an exodus of 25% of the population in the past decade, leaving behind tens of thousands of abandoned businesses, buildings and homes. In 2013, Detroit became the first major U.S. city to declare bankruptcy. But fighting back against the daunting scenario of urban decay in this hotbed of crime is a growing movement involving Detroit residents determined to infuse new life into their city. Monika Biddle was among them, inspired by The Way to Happiness contribution to lowering crime in other cities, and looking for the same in Detroit.
She established a connection with ARISE Detroit!, a coalition of some 400 community groups sharing programs and resources to promote volunteerism and community activism. From there she reached out to Mack Alive, an east-side Detroit community development group led by former Michigan State Representative, Artina Tinsley Hardman. With the Mack Avenue district featuring two of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Detroit (an area with 26% unemployment and with 35% of its residents living below the poverty line), the challenge was daunting.
When introduced to The Way to Happiness, Hardman immediately saw the practical value of the 21 precepts in the work of her organization. “All people need a moral compass,” she said as volunteers distributed thousands of booklets in the district.
Added Hardman: “I find that no matter how we use it—in a senior citizen center or one of our ‘take it to the streets’ events—someone will pick up that booklet, call us and ask, ‘Where can I get more?’ People want to share The Way to Happiness with their friends and family, and that builds our community.”
The Way to Happiness Detroit team repeated the pattern on Detroit’s west side, where the Sisterhood Foundation in Brightmoor launched the program in housing projects.
In north Detroit, a faith-based support group for victims of violence also adopted it. Word spread and ultimately more than 40 interfaith, community safety and service organizations placed 40,000 copies of the booklet and films in the hands of Detroit citizens. Violent crime and property crime dropped by 25% in neighborhoods where the booklets were passed out.
When top city officials—City Council members, the Chief of Police and Detroit’s Mayor—received copies of the booklet, the Mayor responded: “This initiative is a vital factor in reviving our city spirit and pride and building a bright new Detroit where all can flourish and prosper.”
Crime Drops With The Way to Happiness
Police report crime rates drop in communities saturated with The Way to Happiness:
Plettenberg Bay, South Africa: After distribution with police of The Way to Happiness in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, shoplifting fell 63%, attempted business break-ins 67% and aggravated robbery 100%.
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico: On the “world’s most dangerous city” list, it dropped from No. 1 to No. 37 after distribution of The Way to Happiness, with homicides in 2013 at their lowest since 2008.
HELPING OTHERS FIND THE WAY TO HAPPINESS
The Way to Happiness Foundation International works to reverse the moral decay of society by restoring trust and honesty through widespread distribution of the 21 precepts. Donations support production and distribution of The Way to Happiness booklet and curriculum material.