Sharon Brooks is a success story.
She started as a student at Urban Appalachian Council’s Identity Center in 1999. She signed up with AmeriCorps, and in 2000 she joined the teaching staff at the Urban Appalachian Council’s GED program at the Identity Center in Over-the-Rhine even as she started her bachelor’s degree in education at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.
The Identity Center looks the worse for wear inside and out. What money there is is spent on more important things than office furniture.
In a downstairs meeting area, Ms. Brooks says she doesn’t feel changed by the events of last April. But she sees changes, some for the better, others for the worse.
There are the women who go up and down Walnut Street every day, sweeping and picking up trash.
And she sees an increase in police patrols on Main Street and on Vine, ‘‘where they want to revitalize.’’ On Walnut, she says, there’s an increase in drug activity and prostitution.
Ms. Brooks, 29, of Northside, is going to be laid off on Friday, when funding runs out for the Identity Center’s education program.
She sighs. Commitment to education is where change needs to happen, she says. People need to learn job readiness and life skills. Plus, they need transportation, she says.
‘‘(Leaders) say they want productive citizens, but they stop the funding.’’ She sighs again.
Just as important, she says, decisions shouldn’t be made from the outside by people who are ready to ‘‘speak on behalf’’ of Over-the-Rhine residents.
‘‘People who live down here — they have to be asked what they want to see happen. Everyone needs to meet on central, neutral ground and work from there.’’
— Jackie Demaline
Faces of Over-the-Rhine
Restaurant owner Paul Sebring
Taft senior Darrel Shields
Social worker Angela Coleman
Sarah Center director Sister Jeanette Buehler
Jordanian grocer Taraq T.A. Adwani
Filmmaker Steve Gebhardt
Gallery owner Suzanna Terril
Beauty shop supplier Chong Kim
Teacher's aide Kemberley Alexander
Waitress Karla Davis
Teacher Sharon Brooks
Dock worker Leo Sneed
Police officer Michael Ammann
Soup kitchen manager Denise McPherson
Artist Joseph M. Winterhalter
Janitor Latrell Walker
Fund-raiser Torren "T.J." Partridge
School social worker Joe Wilmers
Rehabber Greg Badger
Medical student John Eckman
Treatment counselor Calvin W. Wooten
Photographer Jimmy Heath
Violence up, arrests down
Changes made since April 2001
Q&A with Police Chief Streicher
Q&A with former F.O.P. president Keith Fangman
Neighbor to Neighbor
Community meetings produce results
Going beyond polite silence
What your neighbors said
What do you think?
What's happening in 145 communities
A sampling of communities:
What institutions are doing
Neighbor to Neighbor home page
Matters of Race: Bridging the divide in Greater Cincinnati
On the Same Page Cincinnati
Live Without Hate
Cincinnati 2001: Year of unrest
Unrest in the city: Archive of riot coverage
Unrest photo timeline
Jim Borgman on race