CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland City Council members declared racism a public health crisis, and now they are joining others in a show of solidarity at a march and rally Thursday, June 4.
“When there is pain and frustration and no outlet to express it, that’s when you have destruction,” said City Councilman Basheer Jones. “What I want to do is speak about what you do with your danger. Worst destruction is not destruction of the buildings, but the destruction people’s hope for a better future.”
The Stand in Solidarity event aims to bridge the divide by not only bringing people together, but to show racism impacts all of our lives. “I think once we make this a human issue, not one segment of society issue, then we will start seeing success,” said Councilman Basheer Jones.
Pastor Kyle Earley with the City of God Church will be attending.
“This march is about showing a unified front and to keep Cleveland on the track of fighting for justice,” said Pastor Earley. “This is just phase one. This isn’t the end, but by all of us coming together and showing we don’t want to tear our city apart. We want to build our city so we can have a better quality of life here.”
The event will be held in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood. A neighborhood still healing from the riots of 1966. Four African Americans were killed during the unrest, 275 people were arrested and businesses were looted and fire bombed.
“We haven't healed from a lot of traumatic situations that we have been thru in this city,” said Pastor Earley. “Peace and calm is the first step.” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams is scheduled to attend. Connecting with law enforcement is part of moving forward. “I think a majority of police officers are great human beings and want to go home to their families. They are amazing,” said Jones. “But kneeling is not sufficient, polices must change.”
Changes begin with getting involved. “I am encouraging people to not just protest, but to register to vote and participate in the political process so we can have leaders in the seats to change policy that we care about," said Pastor Earley. You can learn more about Pastor Earley at www.cogministry.com.
The Stand in Solidarity event will be held Thursday at 8555 Hough Ave. in Cleveland. Participants will meet at 5:15 p.m. at Thurgood Marshall. The march begins at 6 p.m.