Carlton Collins At The Forefront For Police Reform In Cincinnati

The Heights Movement Continues Advocacy Efforts to Relocate Cincinnati Police Department Gun Range from Lincoln Heights

by Danielle Jeter

Carlton R. Collins, an esteemed historian, entrepreneur, activist, and co-founder of The Heights Movement, is leading the charge for change in Lincoln Heights, Ohio. As the first Black-incorporated city in America and the oldest Black-operated municipality north of the Mason-Dixon line, Lincoln Heights boasts a rich history of resilience and community empowerment.

The Heights Movement, a 501c3 organization dedicated to economic development, education, and public health in Lincoln Heights, has been at the forefront of efforts to address systemic issues facing the community. One such issue is the presence of the CPD gun range, which has been a source of concern, frustration, and trauma for residents.

However, in recent decades, Lincoln Heights has faced new challenges, including the presence of the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) gun range. For 76 consecutive years, the sound of gunfire from the CPD gun range has echoed through the streets of Lincoln Heights, serving as a constant reminder of the violence and oppression that continue to plague Black America.

“The presence of the CPD gun range not only perpetuates a culture of violence in our community but also symbolizes the systemic racism and oppression that continue to hold us back,” explains Collins. “For too long, the residents of Lincoln Heights have been subjected to the harmful effects of this gun range, which has contributed to a sense of fear and insecurity.”

Collins and The Heights Movement have been at the forefront of efforts to address this issue, advocating for the relocation of the CPD gun range to ensure the safety and well-being of residents. The Heights Movement’s tireless advocacy efforts have not only resulted in raising $44 million towards the relocation of the gun range but have also captured national attention, with coverage in esteemed publications like The Washington Post and Slate Magazine.

“We refuse to accept the status quo,” says Collins. “We are standing up against injustice and fighting for a better future for Lincoln Heights and beyond.”

Incorporated in 1946, Lincoln Heights emerged as a beacon of hope for Black Americans seeking refuge from the pervasive discrimination and segregation of the time. Despite facing numerous challenges, including economic disparities and government-sponsored oppression, the residents of Lincoln Heights persevered becoming the second wealthiest Black community in the US, banding together to create a self-governing municipality that provided essential services and opportunities for its residents.

Some of these essential services and opportunities included public safety through the establishment of its own police, fire, and EMS departments, investment in education, infrastructure development, community programs, and efforts to stimulate economic growth. Today, Lincoln Heights stands as a testament to the strength and resilience of the Black community, while The Heights Movement continues its advocacy efforts for a safer and more prosperous future for all residents, especially the youth.

“The story of Lincoln Heights is a testament to the strength and resilience of the Black community,” says Collins. “Against all odds, the residents of Lincoln Heights built a thriving municipality that served as a model for empowerment and self-determination.”

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