CLEVELAND — New Era Cleveland is branched from a national effort spawning in several metropolitan cities across the country focused on creating action, change and unity.
“The realization is setting in with us that we can't sit around and wait for people to come here and do for us what we can do for ourselves,” said New Era Cleveland President Antoine Tolbert. “We have able-bodied men, and our babies need to see that representation.”
New Era’s work spans across Cleveland but it's heavily involved in the Buckeye neighborhood already several times this month.
Men from the group have walked through the neighborhood, making their presence known.
Tolbert said the men monitoring the neighborhood are legally armed and trained, explaining that they are focused on pushing crime out and bringing in unity, peace and security.
“Imagine as a young small child living in this community and you see black men that live here, patrolling it, taking ownership and keeping these streets safe,” said Tolbert. “It has a different type of effect, especially when these babies can see themselves in that individuals."
Men aren’t the only ones getting involved in New Era, women like Austria Everson are involved also and connecting with nearby businesses.
“I’m able to talk to them [businesses] about what safety they need because a lot of businesses have their doors closed, they’re locked and it's not a lot of foot traffic,” said Everson. “So building those relationships with the businesses is very important.”
New Era’s work isn’t just about security, the group hands out hygiene products and meals in neighborhoods that need it the most.
“I’ve worked in community development and social work and all of that but it felt different walking down the streets,” said Everson.
Tolbert explained that this organization is well respected by everyone in the community, specifically by groups that sometimes cause trouble in the area.
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