October 25, 2014

Partly sunny with showers

Stop the Violence and Hate Rally at Ely Square remembers young men and boys killed locally

ELYRIA — Just like the mother of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, Lisa Barrios belongs to a club she never intended to join.

It’s mothers who have lost a child to violence club, and being a member requires a kind of strength that no one knows they have until their child is gone.

Monday, Barrios, who is four years removed from that day a bullet killed her son, 17-year-old Charles “Chuckie” Howard, spoke publicly for the first time. She chose a Stop the Violence and Hate Rally organized by three local women who all wanted to find a way to bring the national story closer to home.

Just like Martin, Howard was 17 when he was shot and killed Aug. 19, 2009. It’s a tough age to be, Barrios said, “Not yet a man, but no longer considered a boy.”

“When I decided to speak today, I wondered what I was going to say that has not been said by another mother about another child,” Barrios said. She donned a yellow T-shirt with an airbrushed picture of her son on the front along with the words “Mommy’s Angel.”

A crowd of about 50 people, standing in the rain at times in Ely Square, listened to Barrios speak, many of them moved by her words, which were tinged with pain.

She spoke of how in the beginning she could barely get out of bed and, when she did, she sometimes turned to prescription pills to dull the agony. Barrios spoke of turning her life over to God and letting faith heal her hurt just so she could breathe again without it feeling like her heart was breaking every single day.

She spoke of following the trial of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Martin, and the not guilty verdict a jury handed down at the conclusion of the second-degree murder trial. And, the anxiety she felt as she sat in a Lorain County courtroom while a jury decided the fate of 19-year-old Alverno Howse Jr., who is serving a 13-year sentence for the reckless homicide charge he was eventually convicted of in 2010 in connection with her son’s death.

“I can’t tell you what I would have done if it was not guilty,” she said. “But for my son the verdict was guilty and in my heart justice was served.”

But, Barrios asked the crowd, what did her son’s death do to better the community? Has anything happened since in the way children are raised, loved and revered in the community that would stand in the way of the next bullet?

“Until we learn to stop the hate and violence, we will always have these stories to tell,” she said. “Are you or your children in a waiting line not knowing you could be next? If we don’t do anything now, you will be standing in the same line and be in the same club I never knew I was going to be in.”

Barrios’ message was simply one of action.

“We have to care about them all,” she said. “If we don’t, we do none of them justice.”

The theme of Monday’s rally could have easily been a call to move forward with purpose. As much as many could not refrain from mentioning Martin — a sign carried by one woman read “Trayvon: You died needlessly and received no justice. But you will never be forgotten. God bless your family” — there was a lot of talk of what should happen next.

“This is an opportunity to reflect on what our personal role is in choosing humanity over hate every time,” said Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda.

Betty Moody White, president of the Elyria chapter of the NAACP, called for more civic involvement.

“As a black mother, it’s hard to have to accept that verdict, but that’s our justice system,” Moody White said. “That is why it’s important to use our power every single time its time to vote. We have to use the ballot box. We have to be mindful all the time, not just when another Trayvon Martin is killed, of who we are putting in office to govern for us.”

Moody White also implored attendees to answer the call to serve on juries if the time ever comes.

“I can’t help but to think that maybe that verdict would have been different if there was someone who looked like me on that jury and maybe we wouldn’t be standing here today,” she said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    I have a suggestion to reduce the violence; screw responsibly. Think about it.

  • hottamomma

    bravo to you lisa, sorry for the lost of your son at such a young age. you were an inspiration to others

    • Pablo Jones

      Maybe an inspiration on how to handle the situation after the fact. Have you ever told someone who is raising a family that is law abiding, drug free, values education, and is respectful that they are an inspiration to others? I would think that those who raise successful kids would be an inspiration.

      • hottamomma

        shes an inspiration to those who have been through the same, and dont know how to cope. a death is a death know matter if drugs or violence or being at college is the cause.

      • samantha schmittle

        we can raise and teach our children morals and the difference from right and wrong . but thats all we can do. that and pray they adhere to what we have taught them. basically we give our children the power of knowledge its up to them to use it.

        • Pablo Jones

          Raising kids is more than teaching. You can teach a kid that stealing is wrong and spank them to show they will get punished for stealing. But if you look the other way at future occurrences you did not instill in them that stealing is wrong.

          Sure you can find exceptions where you have a model family where one kid is a criminal or druggie. But you can not live your life by the exception. More often than not those that are involved in drugs, violence, or criminal acts had parents that failed at raising their kids. Even in those model families if you ask the kids why they act the way they do, they will probably say that their parents don’t care what they do.

          If you don’t want your kids to die because of violence or drugs and you want them to be successful the best thing you can do is stay on them their entire life to do good in school, be respectful, stay away from the wrong crowds, don’t do drugs, and to be the best they can be.

          • Bob Sweatt

            To me it is all about parents putting their kid in a “time Out”. When I was growing up. I did what was right because I lived in fear of getting the belt or paddle across my butt.

            I am not saying we should make our kids live in fear. but I bet if they know their little butt would get tanned if they misbehaved. I bet your kids wouldn’t be the way they are today.

          • Joe Smith

            I agree with you Bob, and it is a spanking, NOT a beating to those that oppose

          • Bob Sweatt

            It’s call punishment not a beating. A beating is abuse. As few hard smacks on a butt is punishment.

          • Joe Smith

            Yes I agree, that post was for those who oppose spankings.
            I got the same punishment when I was a kid and I would not have reacted the same to a ‘time out” for sure and I grew up to be respectful etc until give reason to be otherwise.

            We also didn’t have kids shooting up schools etc like we do now days

          • Bob Sweatt
          • FoodForThought63

            Well said Pablo. I know you are raising kids that you didn’t even bring into the world due to their fathers being absent. In my humble opinion, you are an inspiration.

      • Melissa Merrill Snyder

        I make it a point to tell young people how impressed I am with their manners when they do something nice (like when the young men at the college hold open a door for me) and how proud their parents should be of them. I try to encourage kids to be the best they can be regardless of who their parents are. In our parish, the parents of younger kids knew that if their kid was getting into a bad situation, I would make sure they got out of it ok…whether it was at a church function, a football game or just out in the community. THAT is how I was raised and how I want kids today to know: other adults care about them and have their backs always.

  • Pablo Jones

    Do you want to know how to reduce violence? First look at the families that have lost someone due to violence. How do they raise their kids, do they value education, do they value right and wrong, do they teach them to be respectful, do they teach them responsibility, are the mother and fathers involved in the child’s life, do they know who their kid’s friends are, do they care if they do drugs, do they blame others for their own actions. Once you do that now look at the families that haven’t lost someone to violence and ask the same questions. Do you see the difference?

    If you want to stop the violence don’t follow the same behaviors of people that are involved in violence, follow the behaviors of people not involved in violence. This isn’t a white/black, rich/poor argument because both white and black and rich and poor families are affected by violence. There are also poor families and black families that aren’t affected by violence.

    This can also be applied to success as well. Don’t associate yourself with the drug dealer or user if you want to be successful. Associate yourself with successful people.

    If you want to stop the violence and raise successful kids it starts at home. I wonder how many people at that rally see kids whether in their family, friends, or kids in the neighborhood that are heading down the wrong path but don’t say anything. Actions speak louder than words or rallies.

  • Common Sense

    Mrs. White said, “Someone who looked like me.” And this woman President of our Elyria NAACP chapter… One would think she might refrain from statements that could be perceived to perpetuate and insight racism. This was a wonderful story, and could have been published with out that quote.

    • Americaschild

      so sick of this president and his divide. it is an evil sin that he is a divider of our country. NEVER before has America had such a race issue as with his evil president.

    • Melonie Reazor Houske

      The prosecution dismissed a Black man from the jury pool because he watched Fox 8. When the dispatcher asked Zimmerman the race of the person he was watching…he said he wasn’t sure. Maybe Black. Doesn’t sound like he cared what color Martin was to me.
      Keep using a picture of a beautiful 13 year old boy to keep things stirred up. It’s shameful to watch some people fan the flames to keep things stirred up for their own benefit.
      So sick of all this racial divide. Things are worse than they’ve ever been. Leave race out of the equation and step up and raise your family to be the best they can be.

      • Joe Smith

        In addition, Zim is part black ( grandfather) he chose a black person to be a business partner, his prom date was black and he mentored black children on his own time. Not exactly the actions of a KKK member

  • Americaschild

    when are parents going to take responsibility? watch your children, be consistent, make them go to school–then get a gun–legally– and if someone tries to hurt you shoot that criminal. guns do not kill –people do, or some people punch and try to beat to death others like trayvon

    • Zen Grouch

      **…when are parents going to take responsibility?**

      IS YOU CRAZY?!

  • Bob Sweatt

    hey Betty Moody White. If you by chance read this comment. Can you do me a favor and look up the Scott-Cervini case out of Greece, New York.

    After reading that can you do us all a favor and STOP mentioning race. It happens both way.

    You sit there talking about Stopping the Violence. But you keep bring up the one thing that usually starts all the violence and hate in the country, Race. Stop talking about Black and White or White and Black. And begin to talk about citizens of this country. Or people of the HUMAN Race.

    Trayvon Martin. He wasn’t an angel. Nor I am sure was Christopher Cervini. They both made bad choices that end very badly for them.

  • FoodForThought63

    Maybe the jury weighed the evidence, as they are instructed to do, and not their hunch. When I first heard of this case, my hunch was “of course Zimmerman is guilty!” However, after hearing the evidence presented, there was really no evidence to prove he was guilty of murder, vs. self-defense. Of course he started the confrontation, we know that. But what happened after that is unknown. There simply wasn’t enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he walked up and shot Trayvon. Following someone, even if it was for a stupid reason, is not a crime in itself. The jury cannot convict based on that alone. Maybe George was defending himself, maybe he wasn’t. But in this country, you have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that someone is guilty of a particular crime. In this case, it wasn’t done, so the correct verdict was delivered.

    • Joe Smith

      What evidence do you have that he started a confrontation? I bet zero because there is no evidence that Zim started a confrontation and keeping a eye on somebody is not starting a confrontation nor justification for an attack.
      If so, it would not be illegal to attack a private eye

      • FoodForThought63

        I was referring to him following Trayvon. He was advised to stay in his truck and wait for authorities. Had he done that, this situation would have never occurred. Sure, following someone isn’t a crime. But, he should have heeded the advice of the dispatcher and stayed put. It was like he was out looking for trouble. Is he guilty of murder for that? No, but he should have not gotten out of his truck and followed a kid who he hadn’t witnessed doing anything wrong.

        • Joe Smith

          No he wasn’t advised to stay in his truck, he was already out and when he asked if they wanted him to follow him they said ” we don’t need you to do that” Zim said ok and was on his way back to his truck when Trayvon attacked him. Also, if Trayvon was not suspended from school for vandalism he would have been home with his mother where he lives and none of this would have happened for that matter.

  • FoodForThought63

    I find it appalling that folks such as Ms. Moody are implicating that the jury found Zimmerman not guilty because they were White. That is an insult to every one of those jurors who sat for hours on end and listened to this case, carefully weighing the evidence presented to them by both sides. I am White, and I am constantly advocating for equal rights. In the matter of fact, I went through Hell for over a year at my workplace because I spoke up and reported a case of racial discrimination that was going on and affecting a coworker of mine. People have asked me if I had the opportunity to go back, after all the crap I endured in the aftermath, if I would just have left well enough alone. My response is absolutely not. I will not stand by while someone is mistreated solely because of their race. When Ms. Moody makes a comment like that, it is a slap in the face to all of the “evil” White people for constantly fight for equality, even if it doesn’t affect them directly.

  • Nathan Opfer

    this went from a anti-hate rally to a racial rally really quick

  • Traci

    All of you who want to blame the President, get up in arms over ONE quote and start defending whether or not blacks do this to whites, or blacks do this to blacks, or whites do this to whites, YOU are part of the problem because you have completely overlooked what the message Ms. Barrios, the rallygoers and organizers conveyed. The fact that all this violence keeps happening in our communities is a PROBLEM. Nobody has a real answer yet as to what, exactly needs to be done to put an end to it, but at least people like Ms. Barrios, the organizers and rallygoers are getting together to ENGAGE; engage in discussions, engage in idea sharing, brainstorm. They’re not sitting on the comment section of the online edition to the newspaper throwing their opinions, and sometimes ignorance out into the wind, they’re coming together to support one another, share ideas and maybe, just maybe, try to find some comfort in each other. And that is a better start than not doing ANYTHING. By the way, I’ve known the Howards since I was 8 years old. Little Chuckie’s aunt and I have been friends since grade school and I spent nearly as much time at their house as I did my own. They raise their kids to respect others and have a deep faith in God. Chuckie was a good boy, a good student in school and had MANY friends who loved and still love him to this day. Lisa, I applaud your courageousness and willingness to share your story. <3

    • Bob Sweatt

      I don’t blame anyone but the media and the court system. because if ALL the evidence had been shown in court and the media. This whole story would have died out a long time ago. And there would have been NO doubt as to Zimmerman innocence.

      I am all for ANTI Hate and Violence. But Ms. Moody White’s comment is a slap in the face. If I would have been there at the rally. I would have turned and walked away.

      Moody White is at a anti hate rally promote hate and racism.

      Watch the video I posted on here. You will realize that everyone carrying a bag of Skittle in honor of Trayvon are actually promoting drug use. It’s laughable how clueless people are about the Martin-Zimmerman. MAKE ME SICK.

      Trayvon Martin is no angel. If you would just look past the skin and look at the evidence against him. Evidence the media neglected to show. And you have to ask yourself why that is.

      Again watch the video. Watch all of it. It is rather enlightening.

    • FoodForThought63

      But Traci, we do know what perpetuates the violence, we’ve known for years. While it wasnt the case in this particular episode, in most instaces it is poverty. Lack of a parental figure. Single mothers with more kids than they can support, financially and emotionally. The problem is, the solutions aren’t popular. Limiting welfare to two kids. Tube tying the woman who gives birth to her 5th child, while she can’t support the other four. Vasectomies for men who fail to support the children they have fathered yet continue to impregnate more women. Society cries out loydly when these things are even mentioned. But yet, crime statistics prove that poverty = violence.

      • Bob Sweatt

        Well put.

      • Zen Grouch

        When the Nazi’s started forced sterilization and the killing of those deemed unfit, they said they got the idea from a similar program in the U.S.

        Sure, the end result was what they wanted, but still, some spoilsports (liberals no doubt) would disagree with the methodology.

    • Pablo Jones

      There isn’t an answer, there are lots of answers on how to prevent these situations. having a rally and talking about the problem will do very little if anything. Because when they go home it will be business as usual. Teaching values and instilling values are two different things. Believing in God and doing the right thing is one thing. A rapper believes in God and thanks him for winning his Grammy for a song about killing people after F-ing his Bs while high, is another thing. If they don’t live by the lessons you teach them, then they didn’t learn and your didn’t really teach them.

  • Bob Sweatt
  • Mark B

    in my opinion, here’s my take on the Zimmerman trial.

    It was a tragedy that should not have happen, but it did.
    Who was really “at fault”; they both were. !!

    People like Al Sharpton always think all incidents are about
    racism. There not. But then, that’s how guys like Al Sharpton,
    make their money by being a racist, always claiming racism.
    Some things are racial, and should be called on, and some are not.
    ( He’s like the boy who cry “wolf “, ect. too many times, no ones listens)

    You don’t see Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson calling the killings in
    Chicago racist ? Hundreds have died in Chicago, yet they only
    seem to care about the Trayvon case.? why? Because he can’t put
    a racial spin on chicago’s black gang violence.

    Even Bill O’Reilly’s “talking points” on monday’s TV show stated that.

    Fact: Zimmerman followed Trayvon, yes that’s true. But as it was
    told in court, Trayvon was the one who turned around and
    confronted Zimmerman.!

    As young kids do, they are not going to take “crap” from
    anybody. So he confronted George. It really didn’t matter that he was
    black, and Zimmerman was Hispanic, a young kid isn’t going to
    “back-down” from a confrontation.!

    Some young people,(older too) even look for, or create a “fight”,
    just to prove that their macho.! Hey, that’s why do “bar fights” happen?
    The “tough-guy” mentality. ( oh ya, the alcohol doesn’t help either, but…)

    Both Trayvon and Zimmerman made poor choices that day,
    and neither gets a “second chance to do over”. But ,As we get older,
    we hopefully get wiser .??

    So what IF ,
    …… Trayvon just went home, would he alive today??

    …. IF Trayvon called 911 , and said some weird guy is “stalking me” ;
    would he be alive today.?
    …… if Trayvon carried ” pepper spray”; would he be alive today?

    or …… if Zimmerman used “pepper spray” , instead of a gun, would it
    be different ?

    The fact is that it’s a tragedy, that should not have happen.
    Does the ” not guilty verdict” justify people rioting, looting,
    destroying others property? No it doesn’t ….. but some black people
    would say yes it does..! That’s the sad part.

    We have many social ills in this country, but few offer a solution. Many just
    exploit a tragedy for their own personal reasons or gains.

    That’s the sad part.