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May 2, 2013

Cleveland ganging up on gangs

CSU to host largest gang summit in 20 years

By Gabriel Hart

After years of decline, in recent years Cleveland is once again seeing increase in violence among inner city youth.  However, Cleveland is not the only place affected. A spurt of violence most of which is gang related is occurring all over America. We see it every day on the news people shooting each other due to gang rivals, and innocent people getting caught in the cross fire.

But now there is a gang of people who are ganging up on violence.  It is the 20th anniversary of the gang summit that took place in Cleveland, that summit decreased an abundance of gang violence.        

Faith-based leaders, Community groups, activists, and gang prevention specialists from the most gang infected areas of the country like:  Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta,  Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Chicago are coming together right here at Cleveland State to educate the youth of America on how gang and gang violence can affect your life and the life of those around you.

Khalid Samad is a community activist and a leader in Cleveland’s stand against violence. Clevelanders know him from when he led events such as “The international walk and run for peace”, and also empowerment day at Luke Easter park. But he is more commonly seen on the news as the speaker at candle light vigils held for the victims of violence in Cleveland. 

Because of his ambition and dedication to inner city crime Samad has become known as one of the “Heroes of the hood” he is said to be “The brains behind the Cleveland peacemaker alliance”. He is extremely passionate about stopping violence and the cycle that continues to formulate in the inner city.

Samad has been working closely with activists and youth in Cleveland to try and put an end to the violence that is occurring in the inner city. He believes it is a cycle that can and will be broken if more black leaders step up, and if we educate the youth appropriately, hence the summit that is being held.

The movement called “The International Urban Peace, Justice & Empowerment” Is holding a summit on May 30 through June 2nd in Cleveland right here at Cleveland State.  The choice of Cleveland is inspired by the city’s strong history of hosting successful political movements.

Mayor Frank Jackson, Congress Woman Marcia Fudge, Sherrod Brown, Whitehouse Representatives, Police and public safety will also be in attendance.  35 Cities will be represented at this summit. Attorneys, black entrepreneurs, Construction owners, NAACP member will all be in attendance also.

There will be different events and speakers for each day.  The first day will be an overview of where we are now. The second day there will be an expert panel of facilitators discussing problems and sharing solutions. The third day will be focused around the mass incarceration of African Americans today. And day four there will be experts dealing with “Post traumatic slave disorder”.

The final day which is a Sunday there will be a day of remembrance that will start at 10a.m. at Mt. Sinai Baptist church on the east side of Cleveland

Then from the church there will be a walk to Luke Eastern Park at Noon. Where family and friends of victims will bring pictures, wear shirts to honor and remember their lost loved ones.

Hip Hop leaders will be in attendance, Doves will be released, and there will be performances, spoken word, and what Samad says will be the biggest candle light vigil this city has ever seen. 

Most of the other events will take place inside of CSU’s Main Classroom auditorium.
In addition to the leaders and activists who will be heading the meeting there will also be current and former gang members in attendance.

Samad says it is important to put the black community in touch with each other; this will be a great time for everyone to connect and network amongst each other. Samad also mentioned that the White house has taken a special interest in this event and will be sending reps out to attend.

Tristan Hobson is a senior marketing major at CSU, when he heard about the summit he seemed unsure about it saying “It could be explosive”. He believes a situation where current and former gang members from different gangs come together can become hostile.

Dr. Michael Williams is the director of CSU’s Black studies program and he is also Khalid’s contact at CSU. Williams says “Ultimately the goal is to bring peace to some gangs, and to renew and strengthen what was done 20 years ago at the gang summit”.

“Many gang leaders and members are interested in decreasing violence, because they’re the ones getting killed.” said Williams.
As Samad said This Is a “Call to universal oneness”.