CLEVELAND, OH - Two of the biggest names in the Cleveland mayoral race took to the public on Saturday.
It might have been a fight to win over voters, but the message Mayor Frank Jackson and Zack Reed delivered was one of saving lives.
Reed hosted Family Unity in the Park at Luke Easter Park where close to 25 thousand people had good music, good food and good company.
All the way from Summit County, Don Lykes said it’s a party he could get used to.
"It's very family friendly, safe environment,” Lykes said. "It sets an example that, especially in minority communities, violence doesn't have to be what we're about."
It’s the same point candidate Reed wanted to make, ending violence by starting in the home.
"If we're gonna make this city great again, what's gonna have to happen is we're gonna have to bring back the family structure,” Reed said.
Fourteen years ago, Reed said things were different and when he hosted the first event, he had a multi-faceted approach to bring it back, even including the very people many still don’t trust.
"You look and you see police officers interacting with the kids, that's where it starts, Reed said. “It comes with closing a relationship gap."
On the other side of the city, Mayor Jackson took a different approach.
Caskets in hand, marching down the very streets of Cleveland, where people feel the effects of constant loss.
"My kid's father had got killed,” Charlene Hinton, participant, said. “A lot of my friend's kids have been killed, my kid's friends have been killed, it's crazy."
For three weeks, this visual carried heartbreak and sadness in the hopes of seeing change.
“Life is short, you can be here today and my mother-in-law says you can be gone today,” Dr. R.A. Vernon, pastor of The Word Church, said.
A reminder, but also a celebration of what this city could become.
"If one person decides not to overdose or kill someone then the thousands of dollars we spent, the time and energy would have been worth it,” Vernon said.
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