The Truth Staff
On Wednesday, January 18, the Coalition for Peaceful Toledo Neighborhoods will hold a memorial service for victims of violence here in the city. The service will be held at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral and the plans for the event were laid out on January 4 at a press conference at the Cathedral.
Clergy, labor leaders, former mayors, along with concerned citizens gathered for the press conference, along with the mothers and families of victims of the violence that has seen a sharp increase in the number of homicides in recent years.
“There has been a great rise in violence within the last decade,” said Cathedral Archpriest Michael Sheheen as he opened the announcement for the upcoming memorial service. “We need citizens of this city to pull together.”
Also speaking at the event were Lashawnda Kinnebrew, mother of Christopher Kinnebrew, who was killed in July 2021; Aviance Hill, mother of Issac Carpenter, who was killed in July 2022 and Abena Rowland, mother of JoVon Porter, who was killed in March, 2021.
“The detectives need to come together with the families,” said Kinnebrew, who noted that Toledo Police Department detectives waited four months before they reached out to the family. “The detectives, they need to help us and we need to help them,” she added.
“I hope you never have to experience a holiday like we just did,” said Hill. “I hope you never have to see a child ripped out of history and into eternity – the detectives treated us like we killed out own child.”
“I’m the face of those who are here and those who aren’t,” said Rowland.
Also speaking at the event were former mayors Mike Bell and Donna Owens.
“The reality if that we are killing kids in our community,” said Bell. “This is about trying to help a community. We need to be able to step up.”
“You heard the voices of those who have been hurt the most,” said Owens. “We need hope in our community.”
The Coalition for Peaceful Toledo Neighborhoods was formed in October and has gathered broad support so far for their efforts to address the issue of violent crime, including all four former mayors. Their mission is to encourage community engagement, partnership building as they call for a return of community policing and the Block Watch program.