I've been here all my life, all 46 years. It's a big passion of mine. Born and raised here, seen it grow extremely big in different ways: citizens, poverty rates. The overall growing of the West Ward has been good and now, here and there, we're having problems, so I figure I just want to try to keep people positive with what's going on. Get 'em out, let them know what's going on. Don't be afraid to speak up for what you see."
"So what do you think is the biggest problem and what's the solution to that problem?"
"I think the biggest problem--I understand that everyone says 'it's landlords,' 'it's vacancies,' 'it's slumlords'--but a lot of it too is that we have to understand we have to police our own community, and I don't mean with guns. When you see something happen, get out there and report it. Call the cops. Stay informed. That's the only way we're gonna be able to settle and communicate and work with the police."
"How do you get people to do that without being afraid?"
"Hopefully by continuing to have meetings and being voiceful. Speak up, let people know, 'Hey, this meeting is going on today. We're offering this, come out, join up. Let's stick together.' I mean, the West Ward is very big--there're 16,000 people just in the West Ward alone. If we can get 5,000 people to come out every meeting, wow, that would be a big force and they would know that we mean business and crime wouldn't happen as much."
"So where do you see the West Ward in a year?"
"Moving forward. Continually growing. I'm not going to say we're going to stop growing because there's a lot of activity here, a lot of people who like the West Ward, move into the West Ward. You know, you got Downtown, College Hill, South Side. The West Ward--It's growing. Every. Day. I want to make it grow for the positive."
These are the stories of the people of Easton, PA