The latest blade story about gangs in toledo interviews Apple Bottom Cleo Wallace, an aspiring screenwriter (when she isn't having children) and a North Toledo mom concerned about the safety of her 6 kids, Deonta-19, Jamonte-11, Jahmal-8, Jaymar-7, Jhoyne-6, and Je-Bron-5. 5 boys and 1 girl. (Nice to see she picked up her baby making in that 4 year span). Anyway, she's moving herself and her kids to Georgia due to her concerns about safety. No, Deonta is not in a gang, but he is friends with, and hangs out with gang members. (really? and that's o.k. mom?) Deonta says, "The people I hang with, they're in gangs. I ain't no gang member. I'm affiliated with it, so because the people I hang out with, I can lightweight be a target." (I'm not sure exactly what "lightweight" means, but o.k.)
Ms. Wallace says, "He will be standing there and be the oddball-everybody got on red and then he be the oddball and that be the person always gets their head blown off, Then a week later you on their shirt and they're still on the corner."
Beginning at 12 and continuing for years, Ms. Wallace ran the streets. She knows all too well the chaos they breed. "I used to run the streets like a man, having sex, not respecting myself. I learned to love myself and I didn't learn that until the age of 34." (That explains the 6 kids I guess. So she was running the streets up until about 5 years ago?)
She's working on 2 scripts. She chose to move to the Atlanta area because that is most promising for her screenwriting aspirations. One of her scripts is about the father of 5 of her children. Former gang member who became a 50 yard line football coach after seeing Jamonte at football practice. (What organization hires a former gang member to be a kid's coach? Is that safe for the other kids?) There were nights when the children were asleep and the house was quiet. She would fall to her knees to cry and pray for something better. (when she wasn't making more children, or running the streets)Ms. Wallace says, "Ain't nobody do this. I did this." She's referring to being the happiest that she's been in 34 years.
Wow! Riveting! I'm smelling another award from the "paid members only" club for this one.
What I learned:
-Just because a kid hangs out with, and is friends with gang members, doesn't mean he's in the gang. Although, doing this could make you lightweight a target. (see above)
-Sometimes, you reach the point where the only way you're gonna feel safe is to completely move out of your dangerous neighborhood. But not unsafe enough to prevent you from leaving your kids behind, in that unsafe neighborhood, while you go "scope" out the new place, across the country.
-Ex-gang members make great football coaches. It's amazing how much the phrase, "Score a touchdown or get shot!" motivates youngsters.
Here's the link to the article:
Imagine how much better things would be (here) if all parents of gang affiliated young people who have gotten so close to gangs that moving within Toledo is no longer an option moved to a different state.
I applaud this mother for saving her children, and us, from the inevitable.
The best part is the comment section. A woman who lives on her street is sharing some stories about Miss Cleo:
Oh I loooooooove how this woman has spun this woe is me and mine story for the paper; however not even six months ago she flashed me her bare butt in the middle of the street in broad daylight because she was upset about me parking my car on the street in front of her house! Threatening me and saying that she can't be held accountable for any damage that could be done to my car by her "special needs" children playing with basketballs on the sidewalk by my car!
Oh and this beloved father who left the streets and became a football coach was breeding pit bulls in their garage, that's why they couldn't park their car in the garage and would instead park it on the street where I would park my car and start up an argument with me. But that is neither here nor there, the reality of the situation is not what she described in this article and I just thought I would let you all know what the truth is! This woman is trying to make herself look like mother of the year when in all honesty all she was doing was staying in the house while her kids ran the streets and when the streets showed their cold side she wants to cry foul as if it had changed from when she was laying in it on her back getting knocked up year after year! Good riddens and go flash your butt to your neighbors in whatever poor town you're moving to in Georgia you annoying piece of ghetto trash!
More from the neighbor:
You care about your children and their safety?? I can tell by the way you are always in the house when they are outside running the streets!
This is what Toledo has come to--very sad. I work at one of Toledo's largest employers and was thinking the other day that of the 16 people in my department, only 1 person lives within the city limits. Toledo will eventually only be filled with people who are on the government dole.
I still appreciate the story.
As much has been made about how bad the gang problem is, and as much effort that The Blade has invested in making sure that all google roads lead to "Toledo=Gang," I would appreciate a headline story every time current and future gangsters leave for greener pastures.
It kind of balances things out, and as somebody who is yet to sell and flee, I need that balance.
justread it was worth the loss to get out of dodge while I still could. Maybe set retirement back 5 years... best 5 years I've ever spent.
One day the long term residents of this town will wake up and realize their sleepy metropolis isn't the old polish/irish/german town it used to be. And no amount of art walks, over priced houses in the OWE, or Larry Dillon vs City Council cage matches is going to bring that back.
News flash people don't dump millions into warzones where the workforce has trouble counting up the hours on their timesheet.
If you can read this Cleo, I wouuld like to tell you one thing about relocating to solve your problems. You may leave your current troubles behind in Toledo, but one thing that you take with you is YOU when you relocate. I think that Cleo is the source of most of her own problems, and they will surface again, no matter where Cleo goes.
Real change comes from within.
If you can read this Cleo, I would like to tell you one thing about relocating to solve your problems. You may leave your current troubles behind in Toledo, but one thing that you take with you is YOU when you relocate. I think that Cleo is the source of most of her own problems, and they will surface again, no matter where Cleo goes.
Real change comes from within.
Sounds like the environment is only part of the problem for Miss Cleo. Allowing her oldest to hang out with and be friends with known gang members is like rolling the dice for your kid's life. And where is the father and his input on all this? Miss Cleo can move to wherever she wants, but unless she makes some other major changes, she's just gonna have other problems.
Heh heh my reaction to the story was the same as the folks here. Does the Blade do these articles tongue in cheek?
I think this gang needs a reality show.
I just don't understand why some people think that many members of the African American community may have gone astray value wise!!
I am still waiting for someone to identify what constitutes a legit gang in Toledo.
I want to start a "gang". With Jr's permission, let's start the Toledo Talk Gang. Our "gang" will be for positive community interaction. We can plan and do a neighborhood clean up. Maybe do things like walk around the mall parking lots at holiday time to report any suspicious activity. Help some needy citizens with yard work, etc. Maybe some other suggestions. All positive.
Any interest in that? I see the Party in the Park thing kinda went south.
As long as there are no berets.
At least the gang stuff interesting and, at least for me, I've learned a lot about a subject that I knew nothing about before. What I like about it is the fact that reporting is done from all sorts of angles. I think it's a good series. It's a hell of a lot better than the stupid-ass dogs and crumbling buildings that the Blade is obsessive about.
Very entertaining article, whether one reads between the lines or not. I was interested in her description of the subdivision where she'll be living -- but she wants to keep the details private :-).
If she is going to be a screenwriter, she might have a positive influence on others.
Having said that, and reading the comments above, I know that the Atlanta area is a real mecca for flamboyant, expressive black women and maybe she will feel at home. There will also be hundreds of educated, upright middle class black role models for her sons. Best of luck to her & the kids.