EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Neighbors in East Cleveland come together for a campout against violence, and their goals are simple, stop the violence and take back the neighborhoods.
Ward 3 Councilman Ernest L. Smith organized the event and has a vision of bringing East Cleveland together to turn neighborhoods back into communities. He’s hoping this is a good first step, “What we’ll be doing is going from neighborhood to neighborhood, the worst neighborhoods in the City of East Cleveland, trying to get to know our youngsters and our elders.”
Councilman Smith wants women, children, and the elderly to feel comfortable sitting on their porches or walking down the street without the fear of threats or violence. “A lot of shooting around here. A young lady got killed on the corner of Northfield and Allegheny,” Councilman Smith said.
Margie Russell has lived in the same neighborhood for 42 years and would like to see a more visible police presence. She also believes people need to learn how to talk to each other to solve their differences peacefully.
“I go out there I ask the young men, I don’t go out there talking to them like their dogs or anything. I say young man will you do this for me? The music is bumping the house. When I ask them to turn it down they say, yes ma’am I’ll do that for you – I’ve got your back. I say okay you got my back, and I got yours,” Russell tells 19 News.
The group not only plans to pitch a tent and camp out at this corner of Hayden and Scioto until noon on Sunday, they also plan to walk the city hoping others will join them. But they all agree they would like to see more men get involved like 30-year-old Louis Travels.
“We’ve got to be a presence to show that we are here. That we care about this community,” Travels said.
Councilman Smith says this is one way to get neighbors talking and communicating so that when there are problems they can work them out together, peacefully.