Because we live here- we steward here- we take responsibility for our areas with all of our faults and strengths.
It is our hope that by sharing our recent work, that you, as engaged neighbors, find what you are concerned about and are encouraged and empowered to create a movement of a more connected, safe, and valued community for us all.
Joy Cummings, a 2020 community steward of Slavic Village Development, began pushing on a few things that she saw were great needs: connecting neighbors, cleaning trash, speeding cars, and a crime. Soon joined by a neighbor & fellow stewards Tiffany Andreoli, Nic Abraham, and Pat Shields, and supported by Joe Linsky of Slavic Village Development, a dynamic force began to ask more questions and implement a few projects. Within just a few months’ time, Joy & Joe created and distributed 30 posters saying “I Support My Community” and encouraging neighbors to register to vote and take the census.
Joy began collaborating with new neighbors on E 69th Street working together to regularly clean the street of trash and debris. A walking tour where neighbors around E 69th and Sebert could taste healthy foods and do sidewalk chalk art was launched and enjoyed. From neighbors who just moved to neighbors who have resided for 20 years, all got to know names and chat about passions, family, and healthy food choices. An estimated 50 – 75 neighbors walked and enjoyed the fall day and formed new connections.
Forming a committee including Gia Hinton, Jasiman Cason, Josh Feldman, and Jesse Burnhenne, new leaders began joining in and contributing time and talents. A second event on October 31st featured live music from the local Infinity Band, pumpkin painting courtesy of former Councilman Brancatelli, and PPE distribution courtesy of Neighborhood Connections and University Settlement. Practicing social distance and still making way for building connections between neighbors, the event was a huge success enjoyed by all attendees estimated around 100 neighbors.
Reaching out to the City of Cleveland Division of Traffic, the group inquired about measures available to reduce traffic speeds and inspire caution. Having known a number of cars that crashed into a home on the block and car collisions on parked cars along the block, and what seemed to be excessive speeds on a residential street. Traffic and Engineering were able to quickly place traffic and speed counters in the area to collect data and recommend measures. The group reviewed the data and will be working on curb painting, signage, and other beautification measures to implement in spring 2022.
If you live here, you are no stranger to the sound of gunfire. Digging deeper into this growing issue (affecting communities nationwide), the group has read national studies and data around why and what has been and can be done to curb the violence. We learned that connecting neighbors and knowing how to look out for and care for one another is a major contributor to creating a safer community. We learned that a great many organizations and groups are working on these issues, but there is much more to be done, and many ways that neighbors can make simple achievable contributions. Other stewards have begun similar research advocacy work. Every voice is important, and every contribution is valued.
We have discovered that together is better in a real sense. And the more we lean into the needs of our community, the more we discover others who also want to take part.