Thursday, October 31, 2013

Imperial Women, other community activists call for state legislative bill that gives reparations to Ariel Castro victims to be amended to include Black women that were raped and escaped Sowell at anniversary rally to remember the 11 Black murdered female victims of serial killer Anthony Sowell, several family members of Sowell victims speak at rally as do community activists, Black clergy, elected officials, victims of rape, Republican-centered Cleveland Fox 8 News television station uses biased reporter Emily Valdez to publish negative story to try to taint event out of anger because activists want justice for the Sowell victims and their families, and reparations for Ohio Black women raped and for surviving children of Sowell's murder victims

From the Metro Desk of Cleveland Urban News.Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com, Ohio's No 1 and No 2 online Black news venues (www.clevelandurbannews.comReach Cleveland Urban News.Com by email at and by phone at 216-659-0473

CLEVELAND,Ohio-More than 200 people attended an anniversary rally and vigil Tuesday night to remember the 11 Black women slain at the since demolished home of serial killer Anthony Sowell, a gathering sponsored by the Imperial Women Coalition of community activists groups that include Imperial Women, Black on Black Crime Inc, the Carl Stokes Brigade and Peace in the Hood.

Cleveland police began removing the remains of the 11 women from the home on October 29, 2009 and Tuesday marked the fourth anniversary of the gruesome discoveries that have rocked the impoverished major American city of some 400,000 people. 

The event was covered by local television stations 3, 5, 19 and 8, the Plain Dealer, which is Ohio's largest newspaper, and several local radio stations.

Community activists, clergy, Black elected officials, family members of Sowell victims and a host of other women that have been raped marched to the site where Sowell's home once stood on Imperial Avenue on Cleveland's majority Black east side and then rallied for 2 hours before concluding with a candlelight vigil.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson declined an invitation to speak, though mayoral candidate Ken Lanci was among the many speakers there.

Each and every family member of Sowell's victims that could be reached was invited to speak organizers said  and many did, including the mothers of slain victims Tishauna Culver, Talacia Fortson, and Michelle Mason, a sister and brother of Amelda Hunter, the daughter of Nancy Cobbs, the son of Michelle Mason, and a sister of Janice Webb. Speakers also include keynote speakers Yvonne Pointer and Angelique Malone, the Reverends Aaron Phillips, Jeff Jemison and Pamela Pinkney, Cleveland Councilmen Ken Johnson and Zack Reed, Cleveland NAACP President Hilton Smith, Community Activists Art McKoy, Kathy Wray Coleman, Laura Cowan, Khalid Samad and Christine Wilson, and John Hairston, the executive director for 11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, who also leads the Congressional Black Caucus of members of Congress.

"Thank you," said  Yvonne Williams, Culver's mother, who showed appreciation to community activists for keeping the Sowell serial murders tragedy before authorities and the public.

An organizer of the rally, Coleman called for reparations for raped and murdered Black women via the amendment of a pending state legislative bill to include the 3 Black women that Sowell raped that escaped as well as the surviving children of his 11 murder victims. She said that while she supports state reparations through that proposed legislation for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were held for over a decade and raped by Ariel Castro at his since demolished home on the city's west side, that it would be unconstitutional to slight Black women and their families.

"That would be a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, said Coleman at the rally, referencing House Bill 197,  a proposed state law that would provide a quarter of a million dollars to each of the Castro victims but that denies Black women reparations, including the 3 Black women that escaped Sowell's raft after being viciously raped. 

"And we want the 27 recommendations implemented that the mayor's commission on violent crimes against women
devised around the murders and a state law with criminal
penalties for law enforcement officers that ignore missing persons reports," said Coleman.

Many of the families had complained that their missing persons reports had been ignored by police who captured Sowell on a rape complaint but released him from custody to strangle and murder the last six of his 11 victims. He was later captured again and subsequently convicted of 82 of 83 counts including multiple counts of rape, aggravated murder and kidnapping. He sits on death row while his convictions are on appeal.

The daughter of Tanya Carmichael, whose mother was also a Sowell victim, complained to the Republican-centered Fox 8 News after station reporter Emily Valdez, who was covering the rally, urged it. That daughter said at the rally that a memorial is needed where Sowell's home is since one has been erected at the spot where Castro's home once stood, though she is on the committee for that project, one devised by a group of Black clergy and Councilman Ken Johnson that excludes community activists  That same daughter, said Coleman, attended not one anniversary rally since the 11 bodies were uncovered in 2009 and only complained after a judge earlier this year threw out some lawsuit claims she filed against the city of Cleveland and a host of other defendants. 

In dismissing those claims Federal District Court Judge Donald Nugent said in his ruling that the Carmichael family never went looking for Tanya Carmichael when she came up missing.

Joann Moore, a sister of Sowell murder victim Janice Webb, told  Cleveland Urban News.Com that she is upset with a proposed state law that gives the victims of Ariel Castro reparations for rape and denies the same to similarly situated Black women.

"It is because of race," Moore said.