Rally organizer brings back cross for crime awareness

By Joe Gorman



The organizer of an April 13 series of rallies against crime has brought back a cross from Aurora, Ill., that is designed to honor shooting victims.

Jon Howell, who is helping to head up the effort for the march, said at a planning meeting Friday at Overture Restaurant/DeYor Performing Arts Center that he got the cross in Aurora after traveling there after a mass shooting earlier this month.

Greg Zanis, an Aurora resident, has made more than 26,000 crosses and Stars of David to help memorialize shooting victims across the country.

Five people were killed in Aurora last week when a man being let go from his job opened fire at the Henry Pratt Co. in the Chicago suburb. The gunman took out a pistol and began killing people, then stormed into a warehouse and was killed after firing at police.

Howell said he is hoping that churches or other houses of worship in Youngstown will agree to house the cross for a week, and during services the pastors or leaders of the congregation will speak for at least five minutes about combating crime not only in the city, but also in the neighborhood around their congregations.

Howell is part of the YOUNGSTOWN: A Crime-Free Zone group, which is planning a march from 1 to 4 p.m. April 13 along with simultaneous rallies at Harding Elementary, Taft Elementary, East High School and McGuffey Elementary.

Among the team that is helping to plan the rallies are Mahoning County Common Pleas judges Anthony D’Apolito and Anthony Donofrio; Juvenile Court Judge Theresa Dellick; and Judge Renee DiSalvo of the municipal court.

Several other community organizational leaders and clergy were also in attendance at Friday’s meeting. Howell said there is a lot of talent planning the event, and they can make a difference in the city’s future by reducing the crime rate.

“The topic here of reducing crime affects everybody here at this table,” Howell said.

Another planning meeting is on tap for today from 10 a.m. to noon at the Fifth Avenue Community Church, 1361 Fifth Ave.

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