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Ohio Street Previously Closed Due to Prostitution Back Open- Fight Continues

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Ohio Street Previously Closed Due to Prostitution Back Open- Fight Continues

By Yolanda Spivey

Back in June, Your Black World reported on a Cincinnati Ohio neighborhood that was plagued with prostitution and other unlawful activities.  As a result, the local police department and politicians decided to barricade three sections of McMicken Avenue, the street in question, thinking that it would curtail criminal activities.  Well, after much publicity and help from an anonymous donor, the street barricades are finally down.

Vanessa Sparks, director of the Mohawk Area Development Corporation, was ecstatic at the news.  She told Your Black World, “I’m singing that song from the movie The Wiz, ‘Can’t You Feel a Brand New Day’, because it is a brand new day.”

Sparks stated that an anonymous person came forward and helped the residents file a federal lawsuit against the township on July 29, 2014.  They also filed a restraining order barring the barricades from being erected again.

The city’s attorneys agreed that the barricades will remain down while they are litigating the case.

In addition to the restraining order, city residents are also citing that their civil rights were violated.   They want the opportunity to attend city board meetings in the future, which was previously denied to them.

Sparks reflected on the how the barricades negatively affected some of the residents on McMicken Avenue.  “People were running out of food and medication.  They couldn’t get to the grocery store or make important doctor appointments.  Emergency services couldn’t reach our elderly and chronically ill residents, creating a great amount of stress and chaos.”

In an exclusive interview with Your Black World, attorney James F. Bogen, who is representing the city residents in the lawsuit stated, “Barricading a street is not a solution and doesn’t solve the problem long term—they’ll just go somewhere else.”

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Bogen stated further, “It’s not like the prostitution and other criminals are going to go home and rethink their lives.  A solution to any crime—you have to rethink the underlying factors. It’s like pushing dirt around with a broom and not picking it up with a dust pan.”

Bogen also stated to Your Black World that although the barricades are down, they are still not “where they want to be.”  “We don’t have a commitment from the city to not put the barricades back up so we still have an issue.”

For now Vanessa Sparks is happy of the progress her neighborhood has made by standing together. “I want to say how proud I am of my neighbors and friends who came together behind this,” she said. “Unfortunately, it takes a crisis for us to come together.  This victory is not only for the people from around here, but for the people around the world that are in the same predicament we are in.”

To help Ms. Sparks and other residents in this Cincinnati Ohio neighborhood, please call the Mohawk Area Development Corporation at 513-365-4764 or email them at Mohawkotr@aol.com.

Yolanda Spivey writes on a variety of topics and is the founder of Black Insurance News. She can be reached at organize@yourblackworld.net or you can visit her Facebook page.

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