CINCINNATI - Community members said goodbye Monday evening to a man who gave of himself to make Cincinnati streets safer.
Abdul Bilal, a former social worker from CIRV, Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, died Sunday, July 15, from pancreatic cancer.
Monday evening friends and family held a service and march in celebration of Abdul's life and service to Cincinnati.
"He was a loyal friend, he always would have your back no matter what," remembered April Cummings-Perry, executive assistant for Avondale Comprehensive Development corporation. "He was the voice, he was that sound person He spoke up for those who felt they couldn't speak up for themselves."
"He was a self-sacrificing guy," said Bilal's wife, Yolanda Bilal. "He would get up in the middle of the night if there was a shooting, he would get up, he was there. I don't care if it was 1 o'clock in the morning, I don't care if he had a quarter tank of gas he would be there.... He had people calling him in the middle of the night, crying, people who needed funeral arrangements. When he was in between jobs he would take a break from one job and he would go and consult with one particular person one-on-one when it seemed like nobody else cared... he cared."
Bilal served the community for five years before moving back to Gary, Ind. last year to be with his family after doctors told him he didn't have much time left.
"He was a great guy, he lived in Avondale, he worked in Avondale," Yolanda explained. "He could have easily went, he had a master's degree, he had a bachelor's degree. He could have easily went and got a great job and moved out to the suburbs and forgot about stopping the violence but he didn't. He chose to live in the neighborhood that he worked in that he cherished."
Bilal's family buried him next to his father.
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