Life in the city disproves unflattering stereotype
I am writing in response to the letter of Jan. 24, in which the writer implies that suburban residents would not dare to attend First Night Youngstown & quot;without the fear of being stabbed, shot, raped, robbed, or murdered. & quot; Sadly this is the mindset of many of those who live outside of Youngstown, but I write to say this is not true.
I have lived in cities my entire life of 74 years, until 21/2 years ago when a wonderful new marriage finds me now living in Poland Township. I lived for the 19 years in the heart of Youngstown, 12 of those when I served as the Protestant Campus Minister at Youngstown State University. When I arrived here in 1983 I did not come with a bias against city folk for over the years I have lived with persons of many different colors, creeds, and cultures. I have always found such people sharing my likes and dislikes, and contributing their energy to make their city a good place in which to live and raise a family.
That is not to say that in those cities, and in the city of Youngstown, there were no urban problems, including crimes against persons. But, sadly, much of the serious crime that the writer of Jan. 24 refers to in our city, as in all others, is what is referred to as & quot;black on black & quot; crime. That is sad because it is always a reminder of the larger problem of racism in our country, which after two centuries of perpetuation, finds inner city youth unable or ill-equipped to find a job.
Many reading this letter will say that is & quot;their & quot; (the inner city youth) problem, but I have learned that it is all of our problem. Thus I have spent many years trying to better human relations in the cities where I have lived. The stereotype used by the previous writer, while not true, also perpetuates the problems that confront us all.
In my 19 years living in Youngstown, I drove and walked in all kinds of neighborhoods. I never had a problem, perhaps because I was not looking for one. I knew that our university, YSU, was the safest state university in Ohio, and still is. But good folk in the suburbs deprive themselves of the many exceptional cultural opportunities, downtown and on the YSU campus, because they are afraid they will be harmed if they venture & quot;down there. & quot;
You can be harmed in the suburbs if what I read in the police reports in the suburban newspapers are true Now, the city of Youngstown is in the midst of a major planning process -- Youngstown 2010. I am trying to lend a hand to support this important effort to dramatically improve our city. One of the best ways readers of this letter can help is to cease believing in the stereotype found in the Jan. 24 letter.
The city of Youngstown and its citizens need the suburbs, and the reverse is also true. There are wonderful persons in both places. They just need to get together to realize that is also true.
The Rev. JIM RAY
The dream of 2010 beginsto become a reality
The presentation of the 2010 Plan was a gift of hope to the citizens of Youngstown. We have waited a long time for our city to come alive again and the city which was born in 1796 to be reborn in this, the 21st Century.
Let us all do our part, to volunteer, to clean up and to be proud. It's our home! Let's make it all it can be.
Mayor McKelvey and those who worked so diligently with the citizens on the proposal are leaving a legacy to their children and all the citizens of Youngstown.
MARY ANN O'NEIL