I never realized how much of a suburban girl I was until this summer.
This summer, I began working for the Cleveland Foundation, a community foundation in downtown Cleveland that receives money from donors willing to support change in Cleveland and disperses it to deserving nonprofit and governmental agencies across Northeast Ohio.
To keep current on things in Cleveland, I make it a point to read the Plain Dealer every day.
It seems like every day since the beginning of summer, I log onto Cleveland.com and discover that overnight, while my family and I were sleeping peacefully, a young adult was murdered.
This morning I read about Brandon Marshall, a bright, yet troubled 16-year-old who was shot in the leg because he didn't have permission from gang leaders to be in a certain area. He was on his way to his aunt's house.
What kind of city am I holding on to? What is going on? I can't even imagine not being able to walk where I wanted to walk just because some local drug dealers decided it was their territory. Where are the cops?
The long list of murder victims this summer alone troubles me. I wonder, why are people killing each other? It might be the result of media coverage, but why does it seem like all the violence in Cleveland is black-on-black crime?
I always say I love Cleveland, but maybe what I mean is, I love Cleveland Heights, the racially diverse suburb where I grew up, which is still relatively safe.
I don't know anything about drug dealers. I know a little about drugs, but have no idea where to buy them. I realize for some Cleveland residents, they don't have to go very far. Right next door. Up the street. Around the corner. Plenty of places to get that fix.
What can I do? I think to myself as I keep reading these stories of young people gunned down simply because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I understand some tragedies can't be avoided, but a young girl stopping at the corner store to buy candy shouldn't be shot and killed as she leaves.
This has got to stop. I know I get scared when I have to drive through certain sections of Cleveland at night, but I have no idea how terrifying it must be to actually live there.
I pray for all the families of the victims. May God bless you.