FEATURED PHOTO: MARCELLA BOYD COX GENERATIONAL OWNER E.F. BOYD FUNERAL HOME
Fox8.com, By Jennifer Jordan, Posed August 10th 2022
”Stop the violence or face the mourning after,” reads a billboard at the intersection of Woodland Avenue and the Opportunity Corridor.
It’s one of two in the Greater Cleveland area catching the attention of drivers and area residents.
“Anything and everything that can help the neighborhood. Bring some attention to it,” Shirleen Moton said.
E.F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home, the oldest black-owned funeral home in Greater Cleveland, is responsible for putting up the billboards in an attempt to send a message to the community it serves.
“It’s very sad and it’s just hard to see the neighborhood changing like it is. People don’t feel safe to walk the street at night,” owner Marcella Boyd Cox said.
E.F. Boyd, a staple in this neighborhood, has been working with families since 1905. They say they’ve seen the area go from good to bad to now, out of control.
Boyd Cox, the youngest daughter of the late owners of E.F. Boyd, is no stranger to seeing the end result of gun violence and says enough is enough.
“There’s more violence. There’s more Black on Black violence and that’s what we really wanted to speak to. That we are the ones killing our neighbors and our friends and it’s just sad,” Boyd said.
Since the pandemic began, inner city violence in Cleveland has drastically increased to a 30-year high with 179 homicides in 2020, 169 homicides in 2021 and 90 so far this year.
Boyd saying the burden often falls on families financially not prepared to bury their own.
“Don’t have insurance. Aren’t working so they don’t have insurance on the job. Don’t have money saved up,” Boyd said.
Moton raised her three children in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood and says the billboards will hopefully prompt change for the better.
“When the police kill somebody, they want to make a big deal out of it. But when we’re killing each other every day and that’s what we need to get out of. Speak on that because that’s the problem. We are killing each other,” Moton said.
Boyd added, “It’s up to us and we got to work in our community to make this a safe and better place for people to live.”