Gloria Aron interview, 09 June 2007

In this 2007 interview, Gloria Aron, a lifelong resident of the Detroit Shoreway area of Cleveland, talks about her experiences living on West 81st Street, and her involvement in a number of projects as a community activist. She talks about the problems of the poor, the homeless, and the working class in her neighborhood. She also discusses government programs that have worked to alleviate neighborhood problems; and others that have not. She comments on the Cleveland School system, and contends that Cleveland schools are better as a result of court-ordered integration and busing. She also discusses problems with the gentrification of Cleveland neighborhoods such as Ohio City and Detroit Shoreway

Participants: Aron, Gloria (interviewee) / Cottos, Adam (interviewer)
Collection: Detroit Shoreway
Institutional Repository: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Interview Transcript

Adam Cottos [00:00:00] What is your name?

Gloria Aron [00:00:04] Okay. My name is Gloria Aaron. I live on the Near west side, on West 81st off of Lorain.

Adam Cottos [00:00:15] And what part of the communities are you part of activities or programs?

Gloria Aron [00:00:24] I became a community activist in 1979 when Cleveland schools were going to be desegregated. And I was part of a group that worked to ensure that we would have peaceful desegregation and bring about quality schools, which hasn't happened yet. But. And part of that is because Cleveland was allowed to get out from underneath the court before the desegregation order was fulfilled. And, you know, everyone says that that's what ruined Cleveland schools. But, in fact, what ruined Cleveland schools was them not completing the court order. And it, in fact, brought a lot of money, a lot of programs to Cleveland schools that would not have been there. I've lived on the Near west side my whole life, except for one year in Oklahoma. So I remember going to schools in this neighborhood as a kid, and some of the same problems, educationally that are here today were there then. So I don't remember these good old days where low income school areas were given the high quality of education. But there has been pockets of improvement, one being that if we had not had the court order, there would have never been anything such as a magnet school. We would not have Cleveland School of the Arts. But unfortunately, I think we're falling back. Am I talking too low? So, I mean, that's how I first got involved, and that was at the Westside community house. Obviously, that was a very explosive issue, and people were either for or against. And it was not something any of the community groups or development corporations took on. It was taken on by some of the settlement house and Merrick House and the Westside community house were the two that went around and organized parents. And we can be very proud, at least, that we did have a peaceful desegregation. And I still believe it was the best thing that happened for the schools. It was located with the organizing department of Near west neighbors in action was located in the Westside community house over on Bridge Avenue. And that's when I first started seeing community organizers doing neighborhood block clubs. At the same time, I guess Detroit Sherwood was probably founded, but their style and philosophy was a lot different than what my street believed in. And we were more grassroots, and so we started organizing on my street. The council person at the time said we would not get new sidewalks if we didn't join Detroit Shoreway. And we said, oh, yeah. So which was not the best use, I don't think, of development money. But at the time, what are you going to do? So we did organize and we did a lot of things, and we got the new sidewalks. One of the main things was, and which I still oppose, is the whole fact of community organizations teaching people to do code enforcement. I call it the snitch on your neighbor program. And everybody around here knows that. So that's why I was surprised when I even got a call to be interviewed. Not that I'm against code enforcement, but we have a city department whose responsibility is to do that. And it shouldn't be neighbor against neighbor. And they also have to have something at the end of the line to help the homeowner or the renter who cannot afford to fix up some of the problems they have. Some of that in some ways has gotten a little better, but it still is not enough, nor is it enough to see all the vacant and empty houses in this neighborhood. And I understand the housing market, but these houses have been empty and vacant for a long time. Over a year or so before the. As they say, the market bottomed out. From my street on west 81st to St. Coleman’s on 65th, I walked one day and counted over 30 houses that were either boarded up or for sale or just abandoned. And I think that's one of the big things that over the years, I have seen happen to this part of the neighborhood. And during the eighties and nineties, there was a lot of the housing corporations and housing groups able to rehab houses under the lease for purchase program. And I understand. And section eight. And so it was affordable. There's a couple on my street, in fact, a house across the street from me was purchased for twelve-five and then brought up to code for another twelve-five. I understand that the cost is a lot different now, but. And sometimes they say it's because you have to, you know, it costs so much to rehab it, but why are we waiting so long? You know, there's. Why aren't we addressing that problem? Why, as a community, have we stopped understanding or believing that we do have the power? I remember going to Washington in the eighties with Neighborhood People's Action, which is a coalition nationally of neighborhood groups and having hearings and saying that we have to ensure that section eight is there, that there's money for housing is put in place. But people have sort of just given up or have come to the view of, let's change everything to Battery Parks and $150,000 housing. I think one of the ugliest things in the city is on the old street I grew up on. Tillman Avenue, right across from Max Hayes, those yellow, pink, whatever the hell houses that look like they're trying to be in San Francisco or California or someplace, they. It's just, I think it's not good for neighborhood. I don't think it meets the real need. Not when we have so many homeless people, not when we have so many families, large families looking for housing. And yes, I know that there's problems, but I remember when there wasn't a housing court in Cleveland and people from the community got together and figured out how to make it happen. They made it happen. I remember that the reason nonprofit corporations have programs like the weatherization is because people throughout the city in different grassroots organizations got together and said. Then we had Sohio - that was before NPA, whatchamacallit, BP. And did a big campaign which cost us a lot of our funding to get to Ohio to put a billion dollars in to helping cover the cost of utilities. And we even. Because at that time, in the eighties, and you gotta tell me if I'm going too long or sticking that one subject too much. In the eighties, Cleveland was one of the strongest grassroots organizing groups in the country.We had over eleven organizing organizations and this was not housing corporations, but grassroots organizing from St. Clair, superior to newest neighbors in action, Buckeye, Woodland, all throughout the city. Broadway, it was called Bring Back Broadway. The whole name over there is different now of that area. I mean, we only became Detroit Shoreway and Ohio City because the city departments chopped it up and said, okay, these are the areas. This is the near west side. Tremont. When I was a kid, I was 16, one now it was the south side, it was the Tremont and all these names. So I think people need to remember that those titles were for reasons of doing projects and getting funding. And I don't take total ownership and certainly don't take or will not take any ownership to Ohio City. Because the whole thing of the fight to push poor people out and I'm.

Adam Cottos [00:11:50] So you think that's a major issue is by segregating in the communities, there's different perceptions?

Gloria Aron [00:11:57] Oh, they're definitely. Well, yeah, there's definitely different perceptions of housing and what the need is. And I guess the major issues that I've worked on over the last years have been education and healthcare, housing and issues of homeless. At one point we had a big campaign, a bunch of coalition of groups that got together that said, do you realize that if you're a family that for whatever reason gets thrown out of the, out of your house, you lost your job, or whatever. At that time, if you were a family of a mom, dad, little girl and a twelve year old boy, the mom and little girl could go to one shelter, the dad could go to the other, and the boy was not old enough to go to the men's shelter, so you'd have to run away. And that was disgusting that we could allow that to happen. And a coalition of settlement houses and community, different, various community groups got together and said that can't change. We proved it and we were able at the time to get the first full intact family shelter. But then we got so hung up on shelters that we still, and have not to 2007 addressed the real issue of providing affordable housing. And that doesn't mean everybody can own a house or that everybody wants to own a house. But there is so many opportunities that we miss of making decent, affordable rentals. I mean, I don't know if that's going to take a. What do they call it? I'm getting old. I lose my train of thought when you can't raise the rent. Putting. Yeah, whatever. There's a specific word. But if that's what it takes, then maybe we need to think about doing that. Fighting to have more section eight, fighting to figure out why are all the jobs leaving Cleveland. And you know, they talk about drugs and bouncing around. So if that's a problem, just tell me because I start ranting on it. [crosstalk] They talk about the youth, how terrible it is. And we do have a big problem. And we have a big problem with drugs, but that didn't happen yesterday. When I was a kid, a teenager, we were stealing Thunderbird out of the store. And that was how. That's what you did. Unfortunately, today there's crack on every corner, but it was happening there. It's like none of us invented sex, but everybody thinks that this generation is the one that's going down the tubes because they're, they're all sex addicts. But. And the same thing with drugs in my neighborhood for at least 25 years. The same streets that have drugs today were selling drugs 20 years ago. Everybody knows it, but we haven't been able to address it. We didn't see, in my estimation, and from someone I know who lives in the weed and seed area across town, has been a total failure. Part of it is because it's top up, top heavy down, and it's such a big problem. Having a Halloween party is not going to cut it. But what alternatives to some of these our kids are having? And what is out there for them? The playground in my neighborhood I've been asking for a damn bench for three years now. So when I take my grandkids there, I can at least sit down with a, we've always, we always say with a forgotten neighborhood.

Adam Cottos [00:16:29] Why do you say that though? Why do you get that perception?

Gloria Aron [00:16:34] Oh, well, you know, it was obvious when we were on the wrong side of the advocacy of that we were, we're not going to get attention. And a lot of attention has been paid since that era of doing organizing and putting money into things into Detroit Avenue and Madison Avenue has not gotten, and there's so much stores empty. Of course, some of the things around here haven't been working too well either. But the organizing piece, up until Near West Neighbors closed down, a lot of it on Madison and on streets in my neighborhood and on 65th was done by Near West Neighbors.

Gloria Aron [00:17:29] And we had Near West Housing Corporation, which no longer exists, grew out of nearest neighbors in action, which was neighborhood people coming together and identifying an issue and then figuring out the solution and going down that road. And we said we needed a housing corporation and so we put that together. Some of the development corporations started out from day one as development corporations. I'm not saying they're terribly awful. I disagree with a lot of their philosophies. I certainly think over the years Detroit Shoreway has gotten a little bit better, but they have never had the skills to do grassroots organizing or build or develop leadership within the community. I mean, they do housing. So I guess I think I've got off on a tangent, which I do all the time, but the whole thing is Battery Park used to be there was either a business or there were streets housing of regular people. That's not there anymore. I remember as a kid going to the Capitol show with my good friend who was greek and seen a greek movie and her telling me what they were saying. But I also remember on Madison Avenue we had a theater. We had a theater on Lorain Avenue on 117th. They don't exist. There was two movie theaters down further on Lorain. They don't exist. Throughout the neighborhood there were major grocery stores. Yes. Somebody who, what's A & P and Kroger they got, huh? Never heard of them. Now we have a drugstore on every corner. And what are the real needs? What are, where do kids go to play? It's. Oh, that's what I started to say before I went off, is at my playground, we used to have basketball hoops. They're gone. I'm sure that, you know. Yes, it probably was as most playgrounds, unfortunately, are a drug hangout, but deal with that. Don't take the hoop away from kids that need, you know, need a place to go. What hope are we given to our kids? A neighbor of mine said that there was a shootout at the end of my street last week with some guys with nine millimeter guns. I mean, that's getting pretty scary. I have a neighbor who is wanting to move because she's basically afraid of the safety for her kids. I think, yeah, we had a lot of flight from the community because of racist feelings. I think we still, you know, Cleveland is a racist city, but when are we going to address that issue? When there was a strong coalition of community groups, I think that was being addressed because we all were in the same boat and I had the same feelings and the same concerns as people in Buckeye Woodland. And together we were working to find solutions for it, and we found solutions. We were able to get weatherization dollars put in. We were able to get more housing subsidies, which are now also going down and down and down. We were able to make the city do things. And there was a time that every year when they get their community development block grant monies, there was hearings around the city, and people had the opportunity to come and say, this is what we want for our neighborhood. People know what's needed. But I think that people at this point in time are feeling, yeah, we know, but nobody's listening, and they're just very discouraged. But I think there's great things about this community, always has been, as I said before we started, that we have a great resource in Edgewater, but I am so afraid that before I know it, before I'm dead, that it's going to be locked off from people of lower income because it just seems to be heading that way. Before we know it, it'll be private docks, and it won't be for a swift raft to come down and have picnics with. But what? This city used to have the greatest 4 July celebration. It was an all day event for families and jerks alike. You know, down at Edgewater, you spent the whole day. The city had bands there. You know, you staked out your spot. If you were willing to come at, you know, 07:00 in the morning, then you got the best place to see the fireworks. Now it's jammed down in a little piece of what used to be pier nine or something. And now they got another new fancy name because we're so great at designating areas and making big deals out of it, and very few people have access and it's not even if they do. You can't bring a picnic lunch. You can't spend the whole day playing baseball. That was something the whole community, not just from this neighborhood, but from across the city, came. Buses came and stayed down in the parking lots. And those are the kind of things that bring people of all diversities together and we should not be allowing that to happen. One of the things that I'm proud about in this neighborhood of recent times was right after 9/11, a group of churches and some community agencies came together at St. Colemans and we said we have to find a way to make sure that craziness doesn't break out because there are a lot of Middle Eastern store owners of the small stores and this was all the craziness going on. We were able to bring people together. We met with Access, that is Arabic or Middle Eastern organization, up by 117th and Lorain. And we had meetings and we had open discussions for people of the community to come together and learn about each other. I mean, who, how many people even knew what Islam was or what Muslim was? And, you know, people still don't understand because we don't have any sense that history is important. And I think everyone from one area is where Lebanese could be, you know, someone from Africa, you know, it doesn't matter. But we came together, all nationalities, all religions and talked about it and everyone had an opportunity to get to understand what is really meant by different religions. And it isn't that, you know, we're going to kill everybody. I mean, unfortunately, you know, we all say for whatever religion there is, probably more people in history have been killed in the name of religion than anything else. So let's. Those non-institutional believers are not all bad either. But anyway, we were able to do that. We had a couple of community meals where everyone did a potluck and we got to know each other and things, you know, may or may not have happened if we hadn't have done that, but we did do it. And unfortunately, like everything else, the crisis is there. Then the crisis goes down and people have so many other issues that we didn't keep that growing. And so I think that's the other thing. I think we're also concerned about and have so many pieces in the pie and so many leaks in the dam that what do you do next? I go to the grocery store and I think, what does a young family do today? How can you survive the whole issue of healthcare we've been working in? And when I say we, there's a whole bunch of different groups, but in a different coalition that grew over the years have been working on healthcare. I can't even remember what year it was, but there was a rumor going around that Metro Health was going to close its outpatient pharmacy. And we said that can't happen. It's just, I mean, that's, people would not have any access to medicine. So we joined in and we made sure that that didn't happen for a while. They tried to change who could use it. But we filed a suit in Chicago with the civil liberties, and it's still there. Metro is still a public hospital, even though several times there's been been a move to change that. We have to make sure they do that. But the bigger issue is Metro is being overwhelmed by the lack of uninsured. When my husband died, I lost insurance. And good for me that I'm not any older than I am, but bad for me that I'm not old enough because I don't qualify for any programs. And so even getting rated, I'm so rich, I have a Social Security of 1291. I'm rated three. So I can pay 60% of any test or anything I want to do. I have children that would help me. But what about people who don't? I think the morality or caring has just left. I was watching Dick Feagler and they were talking about, how did they say it? The doughnut hole, the suburbs and the hole in the middle is us, and nobody cares. And how are we going to do that if we don't organize and if we don't respect ourselves and respect our community and say that we really do, we're not just doing the, oh yeah, this is a diversified neighborhood and everyone's welcome, but you better not be poor, because over the years, that's what's happened in what is designated Ohio City. Part of my time. I grew up there and I went to, I graduated from Kentucky school in William Dean House, which is not William Dean House. That was a junior high school then. I was so smart that I knew at 16 I could quit and get married. And now I don't know how to type all kinds of stuff. But there was, and I never can say the word gentrification rights. But I mean, that has always been the fight between that and in the neighborhood. And seeing that I grew up there when it was a lot different, it's sad because we had such great things, I mean, that are gone. We had bakeries again, 25th street was all kinds of stores. Now they're gone, probably because people don't have any money to buy anything. And I said one of the biggest things on the near west side is the lack of shopping spaces. I don't know, you know, we don't have things that we have Save-a-Lot, but we don't have a whole lot. We don't have just so much that was there before. We don't have a lot of businesses. How are we going to change that thing? A lot of the lower income, this. I think when I was growing up, I didn't know what the difference between middle lower income, but I would assume it was a blue collar for my family and my neighbors and everyone were doing okay. Then as things started changing and Ohio City was pushing low income people out, they were moving more here we have more rentals left. That didn't destroy our neighborhood because damn, all the. If all those rentals were leave, were empty now, you know, we have a heck of a lot more empty buildings. But there was a real move to make sure that, I mean, all the, you know, the new housing that moved in, there was a big push. Always the fight between too many social services. The Westside Community House closed and moved up here on 98th and close to 98th, 95th and Lorain. And this is an area that never has had a community settlement house. And I don't disagree that it isn't needed, but I don't believe that it still isn't needed there. That was the place for me. I mean, that was the place I got my baby shots where I first organized and all kinds of stuff. But we say, okay, push the poor here. Where are we going to push them? Are we now going to open up the lake and just, you know, say, everyone who doesn't make $60,000, you know, put them. Put us on a raft and drift away, drift to Canada? You know, it's just. It's just insane. That doesn't solve the problem. And the same talk of what concerns me is when people say, if we could just get rid of all those damn renters, you know, we wouldn't have those problems. I was a renter for 15 years before I bought my house. Some of the strongest neighborhood people are renters and keep their property up. We allow slum landlords, you know, and we no longer hold them accountable. We need to figure out how to do those kind of things. So, yeah, I think that I'm worried about everybody wanting all this new housing. I mean, who's gonna buy it? I think I've heard rumors that they did that kind of thing over in Ohio city, south of Lorain. And now some of those houses around Greenwood are being sold already. And because they have new houses and new people, Greenwood still has its drug problems, you know, so we're not dealing with the core things.

Adam Cottos [00:35:20] It’s such a [crosstalk, inaudible]

Gloria Aron [00:35:23] Right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Right, yeah. Like, if I go and scrape the front of my house and I paint it, the snitch on your neighbor will leave me alone. But the house is still rotting away. So if I don't fix the other part, you know, we haven't really, really, really solved that. I think a good thing that has happened to this neighborhood is that it has certainly changed in the diversity, because it always wasn't that way. That when I was a kid. And I think we need to work on making that better. But I sure am glad that my kids went to a school that was integrated and has developed friendships. And as I said before, I miss all of the stores and that were in this neighborhood that are gone. And I certainly don't know the answer of how to change that. I know the little boutiques are not going to be the answer. And our kids. Our kids deserve best, better than what we're getting. And yeah, I don't think every hustler and every drug dealer is in know to be pitied or say, gee, it's our fault that they're. That they're a drug dealer. But we have to take some responsibility and we have to find a way of really, one being holding the public officials accountable. And we don't do that, you know, and holding our neighborhood organizations or all nonprofit organizations accountable. I was on the founding board of NPI because when it first came together, it was put together both by, you know, three fractions representation from development corporations, grassroots, and then the business corporation. And we didn't use the strategy strength of that either. But I guess I think we have the ability to do that. I think we need to train and learn how to teach and find ways to pay for more grassroots organizers. And we have to go out and convince ourselves because I certainly think I need to be convinced that we do. We can change. I know we have the power. I just, you know, I just. [crosstalk] Yeah, yeah. And. But we have to believe that we can do it. And we have to. We, the people in the community, or the people that are being affected by whatever the problem is, have to be the ones to say, this is the problem and this is the possible solution. Let's work together to figure out who has it done, not have someone come to us and say, this is a problem. We know how to fix it. For you. And unfortunately, that happens, I think, too often. But, you know, I think there's great things. When I leave here, I'm going to go across the street and try the new coffee shop until my daughter comes and pick us up. I've seen that corner change too many times, so I'm hoping it sticks around. I'm looking forward to seeing the Capitol brought back. I'm a little nervous about the whole idea that this is another artsy neighborhood as long as we remember real people with kids that play in the street live. But I also know that it was everyday people who made near west community play become that. And it is. I don't know if you've ever seen one of their plays. If you haven't, you've got [crosstalk]. Oh, did you? Oh, then you probably know Billy Joyce and.

Adam Cottos [00:40:02] Yeah, yeah, my first show was there.

Gloria Aron [00:40:07] Oh, yeah. [crosstalk] Oh, yeah. With George Hrbek, I think, yeah. So we have such. We have. We, especially on the near west side, have such a rich history of starting things and forgetting about it. The Cleveland mediation program that brought people together started here on the west side and went to Scotland to figure out how it was going to be done. We started so many things, but I think some of us are getting really old, and we need to make sure that that new leadership is built up. But we also can't just do the nice stuff. We have to really take a hard look of how are we going to, and when are we going to address the homelessness? When are we going to really address, how do we keep jobs here in the city? And I don't even want to talk about the non smoking thing since I smoke and I'm told, bad, bad, you can't do that. But you're going to pay more money. How can you have anything but see our system as a joke when they talk out of both sides of their mouth, you know? But, you know, things don't get passed unless people vote. And we have to go out and convince people why they should do them if not for politicians, but for issues and us. Define what the real issues are and then be willing to work about. Don't bitch if you're not gonna be part of changing the problem. And we have the resources, we have the problems, and we have the people. So we can either sit there like my brother and say, you know, or we can come together and figure out how it's done. And we have such, you know, such great things in this neighborhood. Mount Carmel, St. Colman's. I mean, St. Colman's is like an anchor in my neighborhood because they have an outreach worker that really does the basic things, and. But we should be organizing about that. We should not be allowing a system to say, you cannot do this without an id. You must have a birth certificate. And yet we're not going to give you the resources to get that. You know, there's so much of that. It just angers me, I guess, so much to see how we just keep on putting roadblocks against things to happen and costing us more money when most neighborhood real people can see a more logical way of doing it. But if it's logical, then the powers that be aren't going to do it that way unless we convince them to do that. But, yeah, I think that we're lucky in this neighborhood, we have a whole lot of problems. But there was no place I would ever want to live than Cleveland. I tried Oklahoma. My husband was in the service. Couldn't wait to see the Terminal Tower. And there's no place I'd rather live or will live than the near west side. Nothing against West 130th, but I lived there one time when my daughter was little because they were tearing down the house I lived in for the damn freeway. And then again, because we really planned things out so well, we tore down so many houses that they didn't use, areas that they didn't use. And it just, you know, empty now. And people lost housing, and people like me were forced at the time to move further out. And I lived on West 130th for two months, and I hated it. I felt like I was in a whole different world. And as soon as my aunt called me up and said, honey, there's a house for rent on West 81st Street, I said, don't let anybody else look at it. And that was almost 40 years ago, and we lived there until we bought it, you know? And I'm gonna stay here. And I have a daughter who is committed to stay in this neighborhood, too, because that's what we have to do. We have to make that commitment. And I don't know if those are the kind of things that you were looking for.

Adam Cottos [00:45:40] [crosstalk] want to give me your final thoughts or gonna tell me.

Gloria Aron [00:45:50] I was trying. When I was. When I was coming up here, I was looking because I said, Gloria, you know, you don't. You shouldn't go on your rampage about what's. What's wrong with organizing that there's other history in this neighborhood. And I think we in this neighborhood and in this city are so. Are two in a hurry to throw away our history. And that really saddens me. I remember we used to have West High, where Gallagher stands. And over on the south side, there was Lincoln High. At the same time, they tore those two schools down to build the new ones that are not new anymore. But it really ticks me off that it's named Gallagher because it was named after a board member who made sure he kept all of the contractors and construction workers working. A year after the school opened up, both their roofs leaked. So, you know, and when I hear again, because I get bored and I watch Dick Feagler on Saturdays or Friday nights, but, you know, and I don't always agree with everything. But when he talks about stuff like them tearing down, it may seem like a little thing. The clock that was on 9th street, you know, or some of the buildings we have. We have. We have no. We don't have any sense of it. I'm waiting for them to want to tear down the old federal building downtown. You know, just that we don't appreciate on the art side. Those kind of. Kind of, kind of things. We don't. We don't appreciate. And I would hope I keep on bugging people that I know that from that area to try to get a grant to finish the market park on West 25th. I don't know if you're familiar with that. I mean, I was not happy when they. In fact, George Hrbek and I were on the team that took the artists around to. To pick, to develop the design. At first, our first choice was, let's not, why are we building a park, an artsy park here, when we need housing? Well, after we learned it wasn't an either-or it was, you know, our council was willing to, excuse me, give the money. Then we made sure that when we went on, when we took all the artists around, that they saw the whole of the near west side, that they saw the good things, and they saw the needed things, like St. Herman’s and St. Paul's Church. I remember when St. Paul's was an old church. I used to go roller skating in the hallway there when I was a kid. Another thing. We keep on complaining about how our kids just hang on the corners. What are we offering them? There's no roller skating rings. There's no bowling. I mean, those are maybe kind of boring things, but, you know, what are we giving kids to do? When was the last time, and I'm sure you doubt. Well, maybe if you come from a family that has been involved and do a lot of things, when was the last time at a playground did you see kids doing the. Putting their paper around the spokes and having a parade how much do we invest in making sure in the summertime. I know they do a few things at some of the playgrounds, won't happen that long, but it used to be at every playground that there was someone there that would do stuff with kids. You know, I know at some point they're supposed to redo Zone Rec, but everybody can't get to Zone Rec, you know, and that's what they. When they say, well, okay, we're going to take this out and put it there. They don't think about who is right. What about the rest of the people who are there? There's something else. And right now it loses my mind that they're, I can't think of what it is, but they're talking of moving out and it's okay well, that's something else that other people can't, can't get to if, because of this big drugstore that they just built here. If they decide on Madison, they have Rite Aid, it'll probably end up being closed because, you know, they want one on every half corner. But people right there, especially seniors, can't all get to West 65th street. So. And I understand. I certainly understand, even though I don't, am not happy about it, why we have to close some schools. I mean, when my kids went to school, there was like 117,000 kids in Cleveland. Now, if there's only 58,000, I mean, you, you know, I certainly believe in a better teacher child ratio, but, you know, I don't think it can be too much bigger. But why, you know, what are we doing to make people believe that Cleveland public schools will succeed or that any school. Why the charter schools? How many people really understand what they're about and then make sure that if they're good, that they are. But if they're not, I mean, I certainly am sorry that our new governor, I won't say, use the term I want to say, but, you know, is not sticking to saying that there should be no charter schools for profit. I mean, he's going to let the White Hat continue to make money, and yet there's no proof that that school system is providing any better of an education for it. One school system, I think, is very good is Urban Community [School]. But unfortunately, you got to be very, very poor or very, very. You know, even with two families working, you can't always afford that. But why can't we? I mean, Urban Community has proven. I bet you you went there. I'll let you go in a minute. Did you go to Urban?

Adam Cottos [00:53:20] I have a couple cousins who do.

Gloria Aron [00:53:24] Yeah. Yeah. And you know, people, kids that I know, like Billy Joyce and Brendan and. Well, I could name off all the social. I mean, they have. It works. Kids, you know, and they, you know, and yes, I understand some of it comes from parents and community. But why can't, if that can work. Why can't, I mean, why do we think we have to redefine? Why don't we look and say, okay, how can we make our system do that? So, you know, there's a lot of good things going on. We just want to reinvent the wheel all the time. But I better let you go.

Adam Cottos [00:54:08] Thank you for your time.

Gloria Aron [00:54:10] Yeah. Okay. Now you can cut it down.

Detroit Shoreway

Interviews in this series were conducted by students and researchers in the History Department at Cleveland State University in partnership with Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO). Interviews took place at Gordon Square Arcade and in other venues in the neighborhood. Select oral histories were accessible for several years in listening stations in the Gypsy Beans coffee house at Detroit Avenue and West 65th Street.