CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Councilman Basheer Jones, who represents Cleveland’s 7th Ward, is holding a 48-hour vigil to draw attention to violence in the community and solutions.
Jones is camping in a vacant lot at the corner of East 79th Street and Superior Avenue. He wants his presence to spark new conversations and action on issues plaguing neighborhoods.
"We want to bring awareness to the violence that’s taking place in our community. But not only violence in the sense of people killing people. But also, the fact that we live in a food dessert. The fact that we have one of the highest infant mortality rates even though we’re right next to one of the greatest hospitals in the world. This is also a form of violence as well. So, we all have a part to play in making this community better.”
Jones said the city’s plan of hiring more officers is part of the solution. In August, 49 officers graduated from the academy. Nearly 90 recruits are currently in training.
“We love to see more officers, but what we want to see is officers who are engaged with community. Officers that are getting out of the car and getting to know the residents,” Jones said. “I just appreciate the officers for giving their life- putting their life on the line every day.”
Jones said he wants to inspire hope and tough love is part of the equation to changing community dynamics.
“I think individual responsibility is the first thing. And then of course we need for systems whether it’s jobs, security (or) whatever it is- we need for those systems to be open to impact all people. No matter where you come from. Whether you’re poor white, or your black, Latino (or) Asian. No matter where you come from, your social-economic status or neighborhood everyone should be able to benefit from this American dream.”
Jones will be camping until Saturday morning.