Community members and leaders react to 100 homicides so far in 2021

Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–An early morning shooting became the city’s 100th homicide of 2021, as homicides continue to break the pace of last year’s record-setting year.

Bishop Timothy Clarke said there is no true way to measure what has been taken.

“If a person in Columbus is murdered, Columbus is the less. That’s 100 lives less. For good, for change, for potential, for possibility, all of that lost,” Clarke said. “These young men and women, teenagers, it is children they’ll never have. Grandchildren they’ll never hold. It is families they’ll never build. All of that is lost.”

In 2020, the 100th homicide didn’t occur until September 7th. A little more than two weeks later, Jacqueline Casimeir’s son would become number 111.

“I had two ways to go. I could sit down and die with my son or I could get active,” she said.

She would soon join Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children and help women going through the same grief she was.

She said they’re doing good work, just too much of it.

“I am not even a year into grieving my son’s death and I am now a veteran at this because there’s so many mothers behind me. I have to pick myself up and try to get it together because I’ve got other mothers that need my assistance with this process,” she said. “Don’t wait until it knocks on your door. Moms, get up. Get out. Fight for your babies.”

Clarke said change needs to happen and it needs to start in the home.

“These are our children, some of them, committing some of these murders. What’s going on in the lives of people that has made life so cheap?” Clarke asked. “It’s more than just anger where does the anger come from?”

Clarke believes there are multiple sources or reasons behind the violence so multiple solutions should be sought as well.

“Racism, economic inequity, lack of opportunity, inability to access the resources, the distribution of resources, of money, of opportunities, of jobs, of upward mobility, the disparity in all of that that leads to despair….those are things we have to deal with,” Clarke said.

Until all parties in the community unite for change, both Clarke and Casimier aren’t optimistic about the future.

“It’s for us to be better. I didn’t say do better, be better. We can be better. And if we will commit to being better, guess what, we’ll do better,” Clarke said.

“100 homicides and today is July 1st. The summer hasn’t hit yet. Where are we going to end up? Four, five hundred?” Casimier wondered, adding a call to action to parents in the community. “There’s organization on organization on organization out here fighting for the life of your kids and you’re not out here fighting with us. You have to be out here on these streets, you have to be out here looking for answers. You have to put an opinion in. Because it’s not going to get done any other way.”

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