Cleveland Ward 6 Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell
The Home on Imperial Ave. in Cleveland, Oh. of Anthony Sowell where the gruesome remains of 11 Black women were found on Halloween Day in 2009.
Alleged Serial Murderer Anthony Sowell .
CNN Hero Laura Cowan, who survived rape, captivity of six months, and torture in an unrelated case
Cleveland Ward 9 Councilman Kevin Conwell, who chair's Council's safety committee
From the Metro Desk of The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)
Cleveland Ward 6 Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell and Jane Chichester, Executive Director of The Women's Center of Greater Cleveland, will keynote as speakers during a "Fight Violence Against Women Anthony Sowell Capital Murder Trial Rally" scheduled for noon on Wed., June 22, at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center, 1200 Ontario St., on the Lakeside Ave. side. Sowell is accused of kidnapping, raping, murdering and dismembering 11 Black women on Cleveland's Imperial Ave, and of raping at least three other Black women, one who told police that she was kidnapped by the former marine and convicted sex offender near an outdoor plaza in Cleveland Hts and taken to his home in Cleveland, and then repeatedly raped for two days. She did, however, get away, to live to tell about it.
Kevin Conwell, who represents Cleveland's Ward 9 and is chair of City Council's safety committee, will speak on any efforts by city officials to take measures to ensure that Black and other women are less at risk as much as possible since The Imperial Ave. Murders.
The event occurs as jury selection in the Anthony Sowell Capital Murder Trial slowly draws to a conclusion and is sponsored by The Imperial Women, Survivors/Victims of Tragedy , Black on Black Crime Inc., Peace in the Hood, The Greater Immigrant Support Network, Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor, the office of Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge and a host of other community groups. (Note: Previous keynote speaker Laura Cowan, a CNN Television award recipient last year for her bravery after a torrid rape ordeal in California, is now being denied work leave by the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority after previously confirming that she had leave to keynote the rally but is invited to speak briefly if she can get approval on any lunch break. The Imperial Women call on CMHA to release Cowan on her lunch break to attend the rally briefly to encourage other women survivors of rape and other violence. Otherwise, women's groups will entertain Cowan in either a weekend or after five forum and still support her efforts as a spokesperson for women survivors of rape, captivity, torture and other violence. Cowan says she will confirm on Monday, June 20, whether the lunch leave is granted by CMHA officials for the rally).
Meanwhile, the keynote speakers are ready to perform.
"I will address violence against women issues," said Mitchell, on Cleveland City Council since 2008 and one of only three women of 19 lawmakers for the predominantly Black major metropolitan city of some 400,000 residents. "We have to pay more attention when women claim rape and other violence."
Chichester, who leads the drug and alcohol abuse center for women in the county, agrees.
"What happened on Imperial Ave in Cleveland transcends Cleveland and happens in every corner of the county," she said. "But I don't believe that it would have gone on as it did if those women were White and affluent rather than low income Black women, at least some with substance abuse problems."
Linda Matthews and Ariella Brown, on behalf of the office of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-11), will read statistics on violence against women and the resolution introduced in Congress by Fudge around The Imperial Ave. Murders. And, Judy Martin, the founder of Survivors/Victims of Tragedy and a member of Black on Black Crime., will talk about the many women that she has helped that were subjected to violence and the many families of missing persons that she has assisted as a longtime community activist.
Contacts for the rally are Judy Martin at 216-990-0679, Kathy Wray Coleman at 216-932-3114 and 216-376-0722, Roz McAllister at 216-577-0466, Art McKoy at 216-253-4070, Don Bryant at 440-623-0492, Donna Brown at 216-337-3188, and Khalid Samad at 216-538-4043.
Others speaking include family members of the 11 Black women murdered on Imperial Ave., allegedly at Sowell's hands, and Tina Bronaugh, whose two daughters were brutally arrested by Cleveland Fifth District Police last May at Collinwood High School for participating in a peaceful student organized protest over teacher layoffs and school closings. And Marva Patterson will speak about violence by Cleveland Fifth District police allegedly against her niece Rebecca Whitby two years ago where an elderly White neighbor said she witnessed police beat Whitby unnecessarily and call her the n-word.
Cheryl Wilson and Roz McAllister, a leader of The Imperial Women, Ohio Family Rights and The National Organization for Parental Equality will talk about domestic violence that they experienced and Imperial Women leader Kathy Wray Coleman will discuss how police dragged her to the county jail over her activism and writings in the Call and Post News Paper and on her blog (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com) as a journalist where she was harassed, held naked, given a knockout drug, supervised by a disgruntled male jail employee and released four days later without charges.
Though not directly subjected to violence Denise Taylor of Black on Black Crime will discuss how Black women are impacted when Black men are mistreated by the legal system and will highlight the case of her nephew, Joaquin Hicks.
Cleveland Jobs With Justice Leader Debbie Kline, a union activist, said that she will speak toward the end of the rally on violence against women and how it affects a community. And Betty Brown, a leader of County Grand Jury. Org (www.countygrandjury.org), will highlight her group as one committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of women and others are not trampled upon via constitutional infractions, including the denial of equal protection under the law to women and other members of a protected class as to rape complaints and other complaints of violence to city and county officials, police and other law enforcement authorities.
Seasoned Community Activists Priscilla Cooper of The Family Connection Valerie Robinson, a member of Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor and The Imperial Women, will discuss how poor women of all races, including the 11 murdered on Imperial Ave. and others allegedly raped by Sowell, are disenfranchised by the absence of substantive public policy relative to the poor.
Another issue of public concern is the family structure as Angelique Cunningham will speak about needed resources to low income single women raising families alone and efforts at keeping families together that are led by women who have survived poverty or domestic and other violence, Black families in particular.
Additional rally speakers include Laura Cowan (tentative), Stewart Robinson of Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor and The Imperial Women, Art McKoy of Black On Black Crime Inc, Khalid Samad of Peace In The Hood, Cleveland Ward 11 Councilman Michael Polensek (tentative), Donna Brown of Black on Black Crime, The Lady Vanguards and Black on Black Crime, Doreen Burks, Don Bryant of The Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network and The People's Forum, Doretha Garrett as a representative of Imperial Ave Victim Janice's Webb's family, Bill Swain of Revolution Books, Abdul Qahhar of The Cleveland Chapter of The New Black Panther Party and The Lucasville Freedom Uprising Network and Larry Bresler, leader of The Northeast Ohio Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign
Other organizations associated with or supportive of the rally include People for The Imperial Act, The Carl Stokes Brigade, The Oppressed People's Nation, Advocates For A Renewed African-American Museum of Cleveland, Cleveland F.I.S.T., The Sowell 11, Bailout The People Movement, The People's Fight Back Center, Govabuse Ohio and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com).