LORAIN — Some Lorain residents are sick and tired of the bad rap their city takes when it comes to crime and violence, and a grassroots group hopes to change it.
With eight murders already in 2007, this year has been particularly lethal — making it a record for murders in the past five years.
But the folks of Reclaim Lorain are aiming to restore the city to the hard-working, family oriented, business-bustling city it once was.
They are seeking political attention to remove blight within the city, bring in fair and full funding of public education, and add community centers and, in the future, a justice center.
The group will hold a rally 4:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at Sacred Heart Chapel on Pearl Avenue in Lorain.
Laura Rios, one of the group’s organizers, said that while things haven’t changed much in Lorain since last year’s founding of the group, these changes will come with time. Continuing support from residents is crucial, Rios said.
“We believe in holding our politicians accountable, but we also believe in holding ourselves accountable,” Rios said. “While progress is slow, one thing has definitely changed. The residents of Lorain are now filled with hope for the city.”
With voter turnouts in recent elections in the city hovering around 25 percent, she said voter turnout is key when it comes to inducing positive change.
“The low voter turnout only made things worse. Candidates seeking votes do not concentrate on Lorain. They know that we do not vote in large numbers,” Rios said.
The group, which is led by local church leaders and assisted by the Industrial Areas Foundation, plans to motivate residents to vote in local elections, but it does not endorse specific candidates and consider itself to be non-partisan. Rios said that in a way, their platform has become their candidate of choice.
“We asked the candidates to endorse (the platform) and us, and not the other way around,” she said.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Betty Sutton, D-Copley, will be attending the event and will take questions from participants.
“With God’s help, we will reclaim Lorain,” said Rios.
Contact LeeAnn Mullen at 329-7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org