CLEVELAND — It was a loss that shook a community to its core. Major Howard was just three years old when he was shot to death while sitting in his godmother’s lap.
Nearly four years later, Major’s Glenville community is still recovering. One woman is working to usher in healing through love.
"We don't know how much time we have,” said Latoya Davis.
Major was collateral damage when Donnell Lindsey pulled the trigger. Lindsey was sentenced to 37 years to life for Major's murder. Though Major only spent three years on this earth, he made an impression.
"Everyone in that neighborhood knew Major,” said Davis.
Years later, folks show up on the corner where he was shot in his memory. Davis' goal is to change their lives, and eventually the neighborhood. She calls it "Major Transformation."
“I'm coming from my heart but going after the heart of people to help the people,” said Davis.
In those hearts, she sees chronic struggle: a need for clothing, food, job-readiness, and financial literacy.
“This is my hood,” said Davis.
Donations make her program. Davis shares through community cooking.
"I've relied on the system for help: medical and food stamps,” said Davis.
Major Transformation is run on the sidewalk at Paxton and Arlington Streets in Cleveland. A permanent building space is too pricey, so Davis would like to acquire office space to run Major Transformation. The organization is accepting donations though Huntington Bank, under the name Major Transformation Community Center.
"I have spent time being hungry,” said Davis. "Major's life, as short as it had to be, had a major impact on the community."
To learn more about Major Transformation, click here.
This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.