Human relations outreach team works to stop violence before it s - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Human relations outreach team works to stop violence before it starts

(Source: Gordon Graham, FOX19 NOW) (Source: Gordon Graham, FOX19 NOW)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A little known faction of the city government, with a focus on rehabilitation and recovery is working to end the violence plaguing the streets of Cincinnati.

Most of its members are ex-felons, who go into the city's neglected neighborhoods, providing alternatives for drug users, criminals, and the homeless.

Vine Street between Green and Findlay is one of the hot spots in Over-The-Rhine. It's not far from the trendy bars and restaurants, but along that strip you can buy drugs or some trouble, but trouble is what the Cincinnati Human Relations outreach team is trying to prevent.

Outreach coordinator, Steve Sherman, says he's had enough of the violence. 

“Some of the things we been talking about is what's going on in some of these communities, man you know what I'm saying, like all this killing got to stop,” Sherman said. 

Outreach member Ali Rasheed says it is a harsh reality. 

“It's our young men for the most part that are out there killing our young men. That's an issue that the African American community shies away from because we don't have any immediate answers,” Rasheed said. 

Sherman meets a man on the street who says was shot for not apparent reason. 

Al Catone is a local comedian who says a lot of the shootings stem from drug dealers robbing each other and he says they need to have hope for something better. 

“We need to figure out how to get these robberies down, putting these young folks to work, giving them a dream and a vision,” Catone said. 

Rasheed believes the solution lies in community engagement. 

“Nothing is going to change until we make the community a full partner. We can't ignore the community. We have to make them a full partner to what the police do and what social services does,” Rasheed said. 

Outreach team member Tony Hill says the community has a responsibility. 

“As a community we all have to be willing to stand up and speak out when we see what's not right,” Hill said. 

Sherman says he tells people he meets on the street that his job is to meet them at their level of need. 

“Felony expungement. We'll go to court with you, court advocacy. We'll help you get your ells back, we help you with housing, we help you with anything on this list, anything on this list we try to help you with barriers,” Sherman said.  

These outreach team members are on a mission to show people looking for a better way that they can do it. After all these team members have been there themselves. 

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