Commentary Compiled by Alex Grabtree
After we endured the division within the community because of the planned Ku Klux Klan rally between the Mayor and the police force and the NAACP, then we see the city face a complete lock-down of the city in a Security State that will close the Downtown area for one day. We find that homeless people will be adversely impacted because of the KKK rally.
NEOCH is hosting the Seventh Annual Homeless Stand Down all day service fair. Every service that a homeless person might need is provided at one location. There are medical services, donations, jobs information and sixty social service providers available for help. This year, we planned to have a Municipal Judge and City Prosecutor at the Stand Down in an attempt to clear up misdemeanor cases of homeless people. They could plead them out and be assigned community service at the Stand Down. This was modeled after the program in Cincinnati that has proven very successful.
The municipal judge was enthusiastic, the legal community was looking forward to this opportunity, but the Klan takes precedence. The City Prosecutors will all be in training on Friday before the Klan rally (the day of the Stand Down) to go over arrest protocols for the rally. They could not spare any staff to attend the Stand Down.
This must be marked down as a huge victory for the Klan. They have successfully attracted attention to their mission of hate for one month in Cleveland and they are basically shutting down municipal operations for two days. It is amazing that a call for hate has brought so much attention while a call for justice in our community hardly creates a ripple.
Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Issue 37, Aug.-Sept.1999, Cleveland, Ohio