YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The teenager murdered Tuesday night in the Homestead Park area of Youngstown’s Southside — 16-year-old Isaiah Walker — was like family to first ward councilman Julius Oliver. Walker was the young cousin of Oliver’s best friend. So from the floor of city council, OIiver Wednesday evening pleaded for help, calling the violence an emergency situation.
Oliver spoke for seven minutes and 30 seconds and what he had to say was personal.
“I’m trying to hold it together here…Our kids are killing our kids,” said Oliver.
Oliver was at the crime scene where the young cousin of his best friend was killed. Having grown up on the Southside, he told council he’s been at crime scenes his whole life.
“The lights, the sounds, the prayers, the cries, the white sheets. The white sheet is what gets you. The body laying on the ground, blood seeping through the white sheet, and when they lift those white sheets, to move that body into the coroner’s vehicle, the cries of the family are something you’ll never forget,” said Oliver.
Oliver recalled a meeting with YSU President Jim Tressel where a plan was devised to stop the spread of COVID. He wants the same community effort — everyone involved — to stop the violence in Youngstown.
“This is my plea. Can we please get together? Get in a room, and call out every one of these organizations, elected officials, powerful businessmen and say, ‘We need your help,'” said Oliver. “I walked up and down that street all night last night and every neighbor came out of their house and said, ‘What’re y’all gonna do? What’re y’all gonna do?’ And I had to tell them, ‘Listen, what are you going to do?'”
Oliver urged his fellow council members to get involved in the schools and asked the patrolman’s union to support expanding the community police unit. He also asked people in the suburbs to get involved, too.
“This is a community issue. This is going to reach the suburbs. It does. So you know what? We need the suburbs’ input. What are you willing to do to help the city of Youngstown because the better we do, guess what? The better ya all do,” said Oliver.
Afterward, in a rare moment at a Youngstown Council meeting, Oliver was given applause.