Cleveland residents shared their personal losses and their hopes that the city will put in place a holistic, public health approach to supporting families and survivors who have experienced gun violence in order to stop the cycle of harm.
The Public Comment CLE website has all of the week’s comments and transcripts, edited by Cleveland Documenter Gennifer Harding-Gosnell.
Preventing gun violence
Cleveland resident Michelle Bell lost her son, André Brown, to gun violence in 2019. His case remains unsolved. Bell, who founded M-PAC Cleveland, which supports survivors and advocates for change, called for city leaders to support grassroots community engagement to address violence and trauma holistically. Bell is working with Together We Rise and Project Ripple, groups that aim to support families and stop gun violence.
Leslie Jennings-Maldonado, and others who spoke to council, want gun violence treated as a public health crisis and for some of the city’s budget to be used to create a community violence-prevention strategy. The commenters were working together under the umbrella of Project Ripple.
Veronica Howard said gun violence must be treated like the epidemic that it is. That doesn’t happen, she said, because it affects mostly Black and brown communities. Howard lost her 25-year-old son, James Howard Jr., in 2011 on Christmas Eve. His murder is unsolved.