Tomorrow is another day

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 08/25/2009 - 21:36.

The violence in our neighborhood in East Cleveland is definitely escalating, as the community is neglected, summer lingers on, and temperatures rise.

This morning, East Cleveland Mayor Brewer spoke at a Neighborhood Stabalization Program Key Stakeholder meeting about how his administration has reduced crime, through doubling of the number of police officers in East Cleveland.

This afternoon, his police force failed to respond to yet another crime in my neighborhood - the fifth such serious crime I can remember within my eyesight in the last few weeks.

Since we are not protected by the police here, the citizens are stepping up and challenging some of the people challenging us, as indicated by the unfriendly meeting of block clubs in front of my house today, shown above.

Several neighbors have spoken up to the guardians of especially harmful youths, and brought their problem house to the attention of Cuyahoga County authorities, who have responded with stronger supervision, leading to a more attentive environment.

Still, this afternoon, a car stopped in front of that house and shouted to a teen girl on the porch that her brother was being beaten up on Wadena. She ran one way to Wadena... her 14 year old brother came through a vacant back yard the other way... he'd been punched in the face by a 17 year old. His sister came back, followed by a dozen teenagers from Wadena, including the 17 year old bully. The Wadena gang came to taunt the 14 year old and his family.

The father came out of the house furious and chased the teens of, and headed over to Wadena to confront the parents - he was obviously unsuccessful, as when he returned the teenagers followed him back from Wadena and taunted him.

He said he called the police - they never arrived. 

The 17 year old kept shouting "I'm only 17 - they can't arrest me".

The father and another neighbor called in some adult reinforcements and yards filled with men and teens... boys and girls... some carrying babies.

Nothing unusual for my street, until the 17 year old took on one of the neighborhood men. After a few failed blows they were rolling on the ground... at this point, the other adults started stepping back.

Now word was clearly out, as cars rolled in and out, yelling at the crowd. The Wadena teens told the Roxbury adults to mind their own business - the Roxbury adults said the Wadena gang can't keep coming over here messing around... that other people live on this street.

After an hour or so of such drama, things finally calmed down, and I went in the back yard to start the grill.

Life goes on.

No baseball bats, knives, or guns, so it could have been much worse.

Tomorrow is another day.

WadenaGang650.JPG193.88 KB

Hormones and boredom

  With no outlet and no safety net.  That's what I see in your picture.  Too bad--we can't find a way to give these kids an alternative.

Tomorrow is another's how I live, too--Norm.  But, you and your family are committed to making an improvement everyday.  I really applaud you for not running away from what seems daunting and overwhelming.  We can live in fear or with courage.  Teens anywhere/everywhere represent the worst angst we have to get through in life.  I try to make them see that they will get through to the other side.  

One on one--you can usually find the light in any one of these young adults.  But, put teens together with peer pressure and the tension is so palpable and potentially volatile. 

On a lighter note, we had a similar event on my street a few weeks back.  I happened to be home and watched the two sides convene for a "dramatic" showdown between two teen rivals and their "posses."  It deescalated into a fish fight--a few slaps while the girls (yes, with babies) squealed and shouted obscenities.  Everyone went home unharmed, the show over.  My sixty-five year-old neighbor called me to comment on it.  We laughed about it. 

Tomorrow is another day---

The problem is the police

 or lack of.

By not bothering to show up, they are sending a clear message to these kids that this is ok and it will be allowed. And it will only escalate.

Mayor Brewer should be ashamed of himself.

Bad cops good for crime statistics - bad for citizens

East Cleveland has all their cops (like 20+ of them, now) deployed for revenue duty... they don't pursue crime, and they don't respond to citizen complaints. That means our crime statistics are bullshit.

A friend helping me with my house yesterday had his girlfriend bring over a tub of fruit for his lunch and a cop pulled her over for rushing a stop sign a block away. They can waste citizens time (and lots of our money) on bogus traffic stops but do nothing about calls for police protection. It is hell here, because of the authority structure and poor leadership..

I undertstand the city got extra federal money to hire all the cops who are hurting the citizens now, and they were funded to protect people in my neighborhood. It appears the city is using these cops and lack of their performance in most capacities to intentionally drive people away from living in certain neighborhoods to blight them further, before Case builds their powerplant here.

Disrupt IT

purposeful neglect of duty

purposeful neglect of duty - thats an interesting take on it, Norm. I assume this would be going on with Brewer's blessing....?

Cops are afraid

  The cops are afraid--they don't live in your community and they don't know the kids.  This is the problem in my neighborhood, too--with the exception of some good cops.  Commander Sulzer at Second District is a great improvement.  His brother teaches at Lincoln West High School.  The kids are not an abstraction to these guys.

Don't dream it--Be it!

Could digital literacy, art and recreation greatly diffuse these types of situations?

I think so, which is why in my town for the last 5 years, I've been lobbying The City of Atlanta to create a summer school digital arts program.  And guess what, after years of saying no they finally said yes..a few months ago.  Their change of heart occured after I was fortunate enough to share a face-to-face chat with Atlanta's Mayor Shirley Franklin, also communicating further in an subsequent email exchange.

Talk is cheap.  Action is what we need!

Yet the beautiful thing about the digital thing is that it doesn't just provide opportunities for random facts found on the Internet, it's much more than that; being a gateway to healing and social transformation. 

But don't take my word for it.  Listen to what this guy had to say when asked about the digital divide:


“In the twenty-first century, the capacity to communicate will almost certainly be a key human right. Eliminating the distinction between the information-rich and information-poor is also critical to eliminating economic and other inequalities between North and South, and to improve the life of all humanity.” -Nelson Mandela

So...all this is very real.  And just because something doesn't exist today, don't mean you can't create it.


Don't dream it--Be it!



  We had our own experience today with "boys," bored and looking to mess us up...they vandalized a couple of bikes and then came back to flaunt their bravado at the library.   Good looking boys...they will grow up and look back on their thoughtlessness with shame.  I was young and stupid once, too.  Oh well.   Sorry, Jess, that you have to suffer the consequences.  Chock it up to someone's life cycle, right!  You make such a difference in people's lives.  I'll pay for the damages.  Let's go visit Mitch at Shaker Cycle :)