Sunday, May 4, 2014

Imperial Women Coalition, community activists to rally against violence against women to mark the first anniversary of the rescue of Ariel Castro victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight at 5 pm at 2207 Seymour Avenue in Cleveland on May 6, 2014

From left, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight
CLEVELAND, Ohio-Community activists will hold a Stop Violence Against Women Rally and Vigil at 5 pm on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 2207 Seymour Avenue on Cleveland's west side to mark the first year anniversary of the day a year ago that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued from the home of serial rapist and kidnapper Ariel Castro following a decade of captivity. The rally and vigil will be held in front of where Castro's since demolished Seymour Avenue home once stood. For more information contact the Imperial Women Coalition at 216-659-0473.

"This is a celebrated case of unprecedented cruelty and violence and we intend to address this issue and other issues on violence against women and girls in greater Cleveland, statewide and nationally in a wholehearted fashion," said Imperial Women Coalition Leader Kathy Wray Coleman. "And we again praise the Ariel Castro victims for their courage and fortitude and for getting out alive when so many other innocent women and girls pay the ultimate price of death."

Coleman said that her group will also address the Imperial Avenue Murders by serial killer Anthony Sowell, the murders by alleged East Cleveland serial killer Michael Madison, who awaits trial, and the Cleveland E. 93rd St murders, where the assailant is still on the loose. 

Groups or group members associated with the Imperial Women Coalition include Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor, the Carl Stokes Brigade, People for the Imperial Act, the Fairfax Business Association, the Cleveland African American Museum, Black on Black Crime Inc., Peace in the Hood, the People's Forum, the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, Sister to Sister, the Cleveland Black Contractors Group, Ohio Family Rights, the National Association for Parental Equality, the Cleveland Chapter of the New Black Panther Party, Gov Abuse, and Revolution Books. 

Ariel Castro, 53,  at sentencing on August 1, 2013 at the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas at the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Next to him is one of Castro's court appointed attorney's, though demolition crews found $22,000 when his home on the city's west side was demolished about a week after sentencing. 
A fired Cleveland schools bus driver and hoggishly violent and abusive widower with two grown children, Castro, 53, pleaded guilty to numerous criminal charges, including multiple counts of rape and kidnapping, in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He hanged himself in the Correctional Reception Center in  Orient, Ohio last September, just over a month into his sentence.

The three women were rescued by Charles Ramsey, a neighbor who kicked in the door of the Castro home after he heard Berry scream for help. 

With a 28th-year birthday on April 22, Berry was nearly 17 when he kidnapped her, DeJesus, who knew his daughter, was 14 and also grew up close to the Castro home like Berry, and Knight, now 32 and a women's advocate spokesperson, was 21 at the time.

Castro admitted at sentencing as part  of a plea deal that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty negotiated in under three months that he raped DeJesus,  Berry and Knight, and he told Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo Judge Russo moments before his sentence was handed down, that he and the three girls, and the child he fathered with Berry, were one "happy family." 

The serial rapist had also been charged with multiple counts of aggravated murder and faced the death penalty for allegedly murdering at least three of the unborn fetuses of Knight that he help create through rape and torture.

Over 100 feet of chain was found in the Castro home when police raided it in May.

Like the home of Castro, that he turned over to the county land bank as part of a plea deal,  the home of Sowell on Imperial Avenue, the now infamous street by which the Imperial Avenue Murders drew its name , was demolished too. 

Convicted serial killer of 11 Black women Anthony Sowell
A former marine, Sowell (pictured), 53, raped three Black women and strangled and murdered 11 Black women whose bodies began surfacing at his family's home in 2009. He sits on death row  while his appeal of his rape, aggravated murder and other  convictions is before the seven-member largely Republican Ohio Supreme Court, which is led by popular Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor. 
( / (