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Black Environmental Leaders Association uplifts 'Garden of 11 Angels' project

The empty plot of land near East 123rd Street and Imperial Avenue in Cleveland carries a dark history, and a group of leaders are aiming to shine a light on the land's past and its future.

"It only makes sense that as the project moves forward, The Black Environmental Leaders (BEL) Association continues to uplift, inform, educate and through our black landscapes matter series, let individuals know that this has become a place of incredible healing," said SeMia Bray with BEL.

Eleven women were murdered on the plot of land by convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell. His home, which once stood on the property, is a thing of the past, and now the Garden of 11 Angels replaces it.

Bray and BEL are using their Black Landscapes Matter series to educate others about the land.

The Facebook Live series takes place on Thursday at 6 p.m. on BEL’s page.

Bray said the organization has done the same for projects in other black neighborhoods in Cincinnati and Columbus.

“We want to encourage people to donate, to honor this space, to walk by it one time or another and if they see something pick it up," said Bray.

“For them [BEL] to put it [the garden] on a platform to provide benefits is incredibly important,” said Isaac Robb with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “This is something very meaningful to a lot of groups and we really want to pay respect."

Robb said the added eyes and attention on the project will draw more people to what they hope will be a place of peace.

“I feel a great amount of pride and respect to work on this project, and a lot of hope for the healing properties that hopefully this project will bring to the families in the community," said Robb.

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