Cleveland and East Cleveland community activists, clergy members rally for help after recent murders

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio - Dozens gathered on vacant property on Friday, outside of the same abandoned home that hid the body of an East Cleveland murder victim.

But instead of a prayer vigil, community activists and clergy members called for help from as far as Washington, D.C.

"Certainly in urban areas, there are always a host of problems. But we really see a crisis," said Tony Minor, executive director of the United Pastors in Mission.

With the three East Cleveland murder victims, the three East 93rd Street murder victims and the Seymour Survivors in mind, Minor called for heads of government to declare a state of emergency in the greater-Cleveland area. Community activists want the National Guard to come and search all abandoned and vacant properties in the hopes to curb the more violent acts against women. The issue brought activists from Cleveland to East Cleveland together Friday. 

Those rallying included the United Pastors in Mission, the East Cleveland Concerned Pastors for Progress, the Baptist Ministers Alliance, Imperial Women, Audacity of Hope Foundation, Oppressed People's Nation Peace in the Hood, The Task Force for Community Mobilization, the Carl Stokes Brigade, the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor and the Women's Federation.

This rally, a collaboration Cleveland NAACP's executive director said, is a needed step.

"What has to happen is that, the community has to be one to address it. To say that this is not just a Cleveland issue, this is not just an east side issue, this is a regional issue and until we all come together, you're just going to have these segmented attempts to address these matters," said Sheila Wright of the Cleveland NAACP.

Tanya Williams said first people need to start changing their own behaviors.

"I've cut down bushes that have been there for years because now I'm more mindful and I'm more conscious of just places and areas where people can hide," Williams said.

But those rallying said they can still only do so much and are calling on the government for help.

"It's the responsibility of the government to step in and to help the local areas deal with the problems that they have. If it's a hurricane, if it's issues that deal with the environment and we certainly should step in when it comes to issues that involves people," Minor said.

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