Growing up on the westside of town- a blue-collar, non-activist kind of place- I was never involved in any sort of protest. One time I refused to eat my mother's Brussels sprouts for dinner, but that's about as confrontational as I've ever gotten. It was a tad surreal, therefore, as Saturday I found myself marching down a street repeating phrases yelled out by a guy into a megaphone.
Last weekend there was a march here in Walnut Hills organized by a group called Ceasefire Cincinnati. For the past five years, two of Cincinnati's most violent neighborhoods have been Avondale and Walnut Hills; the communities, which sit adjacent to each other, continually swap the top spot. I should admit that it's not like Walnut Hills is an incredibly violent neighborhood. Most of the violence committed centers around the drug trade which has increased here with the gentrification of Over-the-Rhine.
In 2007, Ceasefire started their first campaign in Avondale and have seen some amazing results. Their goal is to establish community presence in order to dissuade criminal activity. They accomplish this by getting a group of people to show up at the site of any crime scene where firearms have been used, attempting to do so within 48-hours of the occurance.
By itself, I'm not sure that's something I'd want to be involved in. I get a little leery when it comes to causes. As in this case, I'm not anti-gun, by any means. Although I don't own any guns, I believe in the right that the Constitution gives people to have them. And I'm not sure that Ceasefire is really anti-gun as much as it's for taking a stand against crime. But they do more something even more than even this.
Now I can get into that.
So as Ceasefire celebrated their expansion of operations into Walnut Hills, I was there, marching down East McMillan. And I did so with a diverse group of people excited about taking back their community. I'll admit that I wasn't into the chanting and stuff, and when the local media were filming I steered away from the cameras, but I was glad to be there. It was inspiring to see how many people, on an absolutely abysmal day, came out to support the kickoff. It makes me feel even better about the community in which we live.
I'm not sure how successful this program will be but, like I said, praying for our community can't be a bad thing.
So, for now, I'm in.