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Anti-Violence Activists React To 4th Of July Weekend Shootings

Photo by Flickr's Heather.
Photo by Flickr's Heather.

By ideastream's Brian Bull

A rash of shootings over the July 4 th weekend left  a dozen people – including three children and two teens – wounded by gunfire.  Now community peace activists – as well as police -- are striving for answers.

Seven separate incidents in both the city’s West and East Side kept police and paramedics busy this weekend.  As investigators continue their work, people like Khalid Samad are reflecting on the violence. 

“We call it ‘the madness’,”  says Khalid Samad.  

Samad is CEO of Peace in the Hood, an organization that works to prevent gang violence, and promotes accountability…especially among young people.  It’s part of the Greater Cleveland Peacemaker’s Alliance which works with the City of Cleveland, church groups, and civic groups in trying to prevent violence.  The group recently helped alleviate tension before the verdict in police officer Michael Brelo’s trial.

Samad says he’s seen violence erupt around the holidays, before.  

“There’s more drinking, there’s more partying, there’s more young people out in the street," explains Samad. "So you got these young people who are claiming one street, when they get into a beef with some other boys on another street…and it’s not random in the sense that they’re maybe looking for somebody to shoot.  But they have no regards for those that are there.  Y’know, that’s why we call it the ‘madness’….it’s just senseless stupidity.” 

Samad says getting kids away from drugs and gangs -- and helping leaders and law enforcement identify problems within their community – can help curb sporadic violence.

Requests for comment from the Cleveland Police Department and the City’s Community Relations Director were not returned.