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Cleveland Looks More Deeply at the Role of Race in Other Issues Facing the City

Old Stone Church forum

The issues facing Clevelanders -- from lead exposure to gun control -- were explored from a racial perspective during an open forum over the weekend.

It was the first of five programs at the Old Stone Church on Public Square, where the conversation focused on race in an election year.

One of the participants -- retired Pastor Kristine Eggert with God Before Guns – says her group is circulating a petition to place a measure before voters for home rule for gun laws in Ohio.

“Because we believe that the public is with us, rather than with the legislature in Ohio -- we’re going to do this public petition to fight for a Constitutional amendment so Cleveland or Oberlin or South Euclid or whatever city you live in can determine what ordinances they want to have for guns.”

City Councilman Zack Reed says that building the $30 million bridge from City Hall to the Rock Hall should not be a higher priority than dealing with lead paint and water contamination in the city.

“The problem in Cleveland is 2 1/2 times worse than in Flint, Mich.  And yet, we just act like everything’s all right.  Our young people that are mostly affected by this continue to be mis-educated and misdiagnosed with this.  We’ve got to get this lead out, so that our young people -- and these young families -- that we continue to say are our future, can have a better future than what they have right now.”

The Old Stone Church holds a follow up forum this morning for clergy and church professionals. The church’s pastor, Mark Giuliano, says it's a way to open the dialogue ahead of the Republican National Convention in a non-partisan setting.