Angelo Anderson Recognized by City of Cleveland

Angelo Anderson of 2100 Lakeside Shelter and Cleveland Street Chronicle

Angelo Anderson spent eight years living on the streets of Cleveland in the early 1990s, but turned his life around and used the next 25 years serving people who find themselves without housing.  He started the street newspaper, the Homeless Grapevine, first as a photocopied newsletter and then a real newspaper with the words of homeless people. 

Anderson worked to expand the Homeless Stand Down to include veterans and non-veteran homeless people. He has worked on housing people with a program called Bridging the Gap.  Anderson began working at the largest shelter in Ohio in 2000, and he has cooked, done catering and restaurant work.  His hobbies include fishing and he sometimes organizes outing for the guys at Lakeside shelter.  Angelo frequently speaks to church groups and school groups about homelessness and you can still find him on Saturdays selling the street newspaper at the West Side Market.

On February 26, 2016, the Community Relations Board and the City of Cleveland honored African Americans of note working in the City of Cleveland.  Mayor Frank Jackson was on hand and Blaine Griffin of the Department of Community Development.  Others of note working to serve low income individuals included Charles See of Community Re-Entry, Margaret Bernstein previously of the Plain Dealer and currently with WKYC-TV, Loretta Ferguson Freeman of No Return to the Streets that works with at-risk youth.  The committee recognized Celeste Terry of the United Black Fund and Latasha Watts of the Purple Project for her work with foster children locally.  Juvenile Court Judge Michael John Ryan was the keynote speaker, and there was a nice reception for the individual's honored.  The committee gave five $1,000 scholarships to Cleveland Metropolitan School District children going on to college as part of the celebration.

One strange piece of the celebration was the honor to Valerie Wright a sociologist from OSU who wrote a book entitled Could Quicker Executions Deter Homicides? The Relationship between Celerity, Capital Punishment, and Murder.  This seemed strange to me that a Black History Month celebration does not seem to recognize the history of executions of African Americans as a tool of terrorism.  Here is the description of the book from the LFB Literary Scholarly Publishing:

Wright examines whether waits for executions impact the deterrent value of capital punishment. She also seeks to determine whether race has a role in producing or inhibiting deterrence. She asks whether blacks and whites are equally responsive to how quickly executions are carried out, as well as, whether the effect of celerity varies with the race of the executed. Longer waits on death row are not related to murders. Indeed, executions and having individuals on death row may be contributing to higher rates of homicides. In states and years where there are no executions, homicides among blacks are about thirty-six percent lower, and in states and years without anyone on death row white homicide rates are about forty percent lower.

Am I wrong that the explosive title of this book and the premise of deterring crime through faster executions would not be something to celebrate by African Americans?  It just seems that executions in America are a racist form of punishment used disproportionately against African Americans and any discussion about the speed of those executions is beside the point.  I understand that this is a scholarly work that many have wondered about, but should an African American group give an award to an academic who studies this question?  Maybe the title of the book should have been, Execution is Obviously Racist, but Does it Deter Homicide? What do I know?  I am just a white guy, an outsider, observing all this. 

Congratulations Angelo on the recognition for the 25 years of work serving homeless people and the City Hall event was a nice wrap up of Black History month.

Brian Davis

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