CINCINNATI - If you were in Cincinnati in April of 2001, certain images may be seared in your memory.
The sights and sounds of a city seemingly coming apart at the seams.
It's tempting to focus on those dramatic images, but that's not what we're going to do. Over the next 30 days, my colleagues at WCPO and I will look not so much at where we were, but how far we've come since then, and how far we have to go.
We won't ignore the past, but we won't dwell on it either.
Instead, we'll listen. We'll hear from newsmakers, but we really want to hear from you and your neighbors about where we are today, 10 years after the upheaval.
"Ah, you know, these days, they're telling you you're a nerd to be smart," said Dorron Hunter, Program Coordinator at Mercy Franciscan-St. John. "It's not good to make As. Don't buy into that."
|Ten Years Later/Special section: A changed city?|
|• Ten Years Later: A changed city?|
|• What is the Ten Years Later project?|
|• Ten Years Later video section|
|• Ten Years Later: Tell us your story|
Hunter, one of your neighbors and an apostle of education, works with the young men's program at Mercy Franciscan/St. John in Over-the-Rhine with 25 young men a week. He is a role model; a father figure to them.
"I was amazed at how many young men down here don't even know their father," said Hunter "I'm not talking about haven't seen 'em. They don't even know 'em."
Hunter pushes back against that with old-fashioned values.
"Never lie, cheat or steal," Hunter said.
And 10 years after the riots, he's seen a change in his boys that mirrors what's happening in their neighborhood.
"I've seen more police that are engaged in conversation with the people that are in the Over-the-Rhine community," Hunter said. "I've seen the people in the Over-the-Rhine community try to understand the police side of things."
I found another of your neighbors: "Colonel" De Stewart. Stewart owns Colonel De's Herbs and Spices in Findlay Market and is president of the market's business association.
Stewart opened for business in 2005 and he says, contrary to what you might expect, business in the renovated Findlay Market is booming.
"We are so far ahead of last year that it's ridiculous," Stewart said. "And this is our fourth straight year of at least 30 percent growth."
Stewart told me that may be the result of a change he's starting to see: Growing numbers of young professionals and retirees coming to the market during the week.
Stewart said the sheriff's patrols a few years ago helped calm customers' fears and gradually he started to see the real promise of Findlay Market: Customers from different races, different communities, different incomes; talking.
"And they will share recipes and at that moment, that's one of the most magical things I've ever seen happen," Stewart said. "And I don't know that that particular transaction between those two people would occur anywhere else in this city."
"Before the tumult, everybody said Cincinnati needed to talk about race," I said to Stewart. "And after the riots, we did talk on TV shows and in community groups for a while. So maybe it's time, 10 years later, to start talking again about talking."
Hunter and Stewart, living in a rapidly changing Over-the-Rhine, certainly believe in the value of Cincinnatians talking.
"If we could keep the lines of communication open between the police, the community and the community leaders I believe things will be much better than what I'm seeing right now," Hunter said.
"I think we're still a little isolated," Stewart said. "Hopefully it will come. It'll change."
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Cincinnati minister and civil rights leader Damon Lynch says he sees no sign of community anger over the weekend police shooting of a black teen.