Calling Ohioans “Buckeyes” goes back to the 1830’s. The buckeye is seen as a sign of good luck. Ohio State seems to personify this “myth” of luck, always winning everything, growing at an astronomical rate, leading in education, etc.
Well the Buckeye neighborhood of Cleveland could say just the opposite. This area once showed extraordinary promise as a sustained, attractive area mostly inhabited by Hungarian immigrants. Fast forward and you see the common African American neighborhood, full of liquor, violence, saggin pants, potholes, boarded up houses, etc. all throughout.
“Things can happen in a band, or any type of collaboration,
that would not otherwise happen.” Jim Coleman
We often drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out: “Where do we start?” Well, I have to say, the answer has never been so clear to me. The answer is through the arts and collaboration. Simple as that. Yes, it is simple. Yes, it takes tons of work, but so does creating counterfeit money, or obtaining a college degree, or selling drugs, or talking to a beautiful woman who doesn’t fall for the same line. Everything takes work. People are even working hard at doing nothing! Looking at it from this perspective, you really have to wonder, what is the real problem here?
Lack of focus, from lack education, from lack of hope. The arts have to be the answer. The arts equate to edutainment, where motivation is born. That is what Buckeye represents. I have always been cautiously optimistic about the plight of African Americans, always thinking that underneath it all, we WILL overcome this dead mentality. I thought that it was inevitable. That we had to wake up at some point. But, it wasn’t that easy. I never gave up hope, but began to gradually realize that the system was not set up for African Americans to succeed. Simple stuff: you release an enslaved people with little to no assistance to adjust to the world they created, but never lived in and you get modern day urban America.
Despite all, I have seen how the arts and the collaboration of groups throughout the Buckeye, Shaker Square, Larchmere and Woodland Hills areas have began to come together en masse to make the real, sustainable difference. Mark my word and take note, this will serve as the microcosmic solution to the Cleveland delimma. Hopefully, Cleveland can become the microcosm of a Renaissance for the entire state, country, and Diapora as a whole.
We’re going to break it all down very soon. Going to name some names and give some hard facts – good stuff though!
Stay tuned on this one my people….