Community members in Akron explain which issues they want the next mayor to address

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 6:08 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - The city of Akron is still on edge after the Jayland Walker shooting and a grand jury’s decision not to indict the eight police officers in his death.

Protests in honor of Walker are continuing and Congresswoman Emilia Sykes has asked for a Department of Justice investigation of the Akron Police Department.

In the middle of that, next Tuesday, Akron voters will participate in the primary election for their next mayor.

Dashika Street, the owner of Street Craftery in Downtown Akron, said a few issues will be top of mind for her when she heads to the polls.

“I would say economics and race relations absolutely,” Street said. “I think in the city of Akron we have a lot going on. There’s a lot of elevated temperature when it comes to race relations so it can’t be a topic that’s left off the table.”

She has felt the hurt in the community from the Walker case.

Street hopes the city’s next leader improves race relations and finds ways to help small and minority-owned businesses, like hers.

“Place making is very important to me and transparency, so looking at things from a broad perspective from budgeting, city budgets and things like that where dollars are going to be allocated,” Street said.

In light of the grand jury’s decision in the Walker case, community member DeShawnda Fitzgerald said it is important people in power are held accountable.

“Of course the Jayland Walker issue. It’s a big thing going on right now,” Fitzgerald said. “I would like to see justice for Jayland.”

A recent poll from the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research surveyed more than 500 Akron residents.

The survey found crime, safety, and law enforcement are the top issues for people in the community.

Fitzgerald hopes the mayor-elect can help lead the charge against the violence.

“They’re just one person and I believe it takes the entire city to be on one accord,” Fitzgerald said.