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MANSFIELD: We Are All Witnesses

Unlike in many other cities, the Cavs victory over Golden State didn’t spark a mini riot in downtown Cleveland as LeBron James hoisted the NBA trophy over his head. Nor was there any negative acting out as fans celebrated into the wee hours of the morning.

While there were reports of a couple of overturned trashcans and a broken window or two, by and large fans celebrated wildly but peacefully. The residents of Cleveland are to be commended, applauded and ultimately respected for their adult behavior.

Of course the question that immediately arises from pundits is, “How can we as a city build on the goodwill, momentum and raised expectations created by this magnificent victory — the first championship in Cleveland in 52 years?” Perhaps a better question is, “What do we want to happen?”

Should the ending of the five-decade championship drought be used exclusively to attract more millennials to downtown Cleveland, or can it be harnessed to bring about more meaningful changes? After all, once all of the debris is swept up after the tickertape parade is over, Cleveland will still be among the poorest cities in the United States.

Coincidentally, on the front page of the Plain Dealer the day after the Cavs beat Golden State, there was an article reinforcing what some of us already are too painfully aware of: Wide life expectancy disparities exist between communities of color in Cleveland and suburban enclaves.

Virginia Commonwealth University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation completed a study that found while Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood and the city of Lyndhurst are less than 10 miles apart, a child born today in the inner-city community has a life span that is 12 years shorter than a child born in that suburb.

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