DETROIT, May 18 (UPI) -- Louis Farrakhan, speaking at a Detroit City Council meeting, urged unity and a focus on urban renewal through shared work for the city's black residents.
Speaking at a special session of the council Friday, the Nation of Islam leader urged ministers of all faiths to come together and lead their congregations in an effort to rebuild blighted sections of the city, the Detroit Free Press reported.
He suggested members of Detroit's black population, numbering about 500,000, donate $1 a month to a shared charity and use the funds to buy up unwanted property.
The work required to fix up blighted homes or build on abandoned lots could provide an opportunity to train young people in various trades -- giving them an option to make money other than dealing drugs, he said.
"What about all of you who know how to build? You carpenters, you plumbers, you brick masons, you electricians. Well, look at your brothers out there in the street, slinging drugs," he said. "Why can't we buy the buildings, get our ... craftsmen together, take the young people off the street and make them apprentices?"
Farrakhan, 80, is scheduled to speak at two Detroit churches this weekend, the Free Press said.