CLEVELAND, Ohio — There’s controversy surrounding a Christmas giveaway event this weekend.
The organizers say they are honoring leaders and helping the community but in a Facebook post, a Cleveland city councilman is calling it “condescending” and “insulting.”
Urban Revitalization Coalition, Inc (URC) is a non-profit founded by prominent President Donald Trump supporter and Cleveland Heights Pastor, Darrell Scott.
URC is hosting the event which also features a question and answer session as well as a $25,000 cash giveaway to the people who attend. The event is open to the public.
“I don’t care what you’re doing it’s never condescending to giveaway $25,000, it’s a lot of money but that’s not the purpose, we just want to bless the community,” says URC Co-Chair and President Trump Supporter, Kareem Lanier.
“We are not about making our organization a political organization, though some would like to make it a political organization,”says Lanier.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Lanier says the organization is non-partisan with bipartisan support and is not funded by President Trump, political campaigns or governments.
“We’re here to serve and to help people who come from where I come from,” says Lanier.
“My mom was legitimately on crack cocaine, my father was never around and so when it comes to distressed communities it’s a passion for me,” he continued.
Ward 6 Cleveland Councilman Blaine Griffin was invited to be honored.
“A lot of people believe that this is condescending, a lot of people believe that this is disrespectful because there’s so many other problems dealing with our urban community, you can’t come in with a bag of money of $25,000 and think that you’re going to come close to addressing the issues in our community,” he says.
“We’re dealing with so many issues that I think that this President has helped perpetuate in urban communities, so therefore I cant tacitly support it and I can’t tell my people to tacitly support something like this.”
According to the flier for the event, “urban impact leaders” including Geraldo Rivera, Councilman Basheer Jones (who will be out of town during the event) and Special Assistant The President, Ja’Ron Smith, who is a Cleveland native, will be among the honorees.
It’s being held Saturday, December 14 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Galleria on East 9th Street.
Lanier says 70 gifts will be drawn between $300 to $1000.
“The people that are giving all the push back are not the people that may need this money,” he says.