A statement on Charlottesville

A statement on Charlottesville…

This past weekend, our nation witnessed unspeakable acts of hatred, terror and violence committed by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Cleveland Neighborhood Progress wholeheartedly condemns the ideology that produced these acts, and remains steadfast in its commitment to creating more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant places for all people. We believe that all individuals – regardless of race, culture, religion, sexual preference, or lifestyle – are created equal and deserving of respect. We stand in solidarity with all others willing to resist the forces of hate in our country, and envision a more equitable society. The tragic events of this past weekend are a sobering testament to the work we still have to do.

Race continues to be a primary predictor and determinant of individuals’ outcomes. These acts of bigotry, while no less unsettling, can distract concerned citizens and enlightened audiences from the intransigence and devastating effects of historic, structural and institutional racism. As we strive to create more inclusive, thriving neighborhoods throughout Cleveland, community development professionals and civic stakeholders must address the root causes of economic and social inequality. We must be intentional in our work to create and sustain racial equity – the systematic fair treatment of people of all races, which results in equitable opportunities and outcomes for everyone.

To support our industry in its efforts to reckon with our city’s complicated racial history, and align itself around racial equity and inclusion (REI), Cleveland Neighborhood Progress embarked on a Year of Awareness Building, which began in January of this year. Through July, more than 230 organizations, and more than 550 individuals have participated in either the half-day Groundwater Training or the two-day Phase I Workshop. By year’s end, we anticipate nearly 2,000 community development professionals and community stakeholders from Northeast Ohio will have participated in REI trainings and programs.

We know that, while encouraging, increased CDC staff and neighborhood diversity is simply a starting point for our collective efforts to create more vibrant and inclusive communities. Therefore, on June 12th, we announced the availability of $125,000 in grant dollars for the 2017 Neighborhood Solutions Awards: Applying a Racial Equity and Inclusion Lens to Community and Economic Development Work. This year’s Neighborhood Solutions Awards are focused on supporting the most creative ideas to intentionally address existing patterns of racial exclusion and isolation within a neighborhood context. Awards will be announced at the 2017 Progress Institute on Oct. 31, which will feature a keynote speech and panel discussion with Prof. Mark Joseph from the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities at CWRU.

We invite you to stand with us in denouncing any action or belief that promotes hate and intolerance. Please join us as we work to deepen our understanding so that we can better advocate for and create more racially diverse, inclusive, and equitable communities.
                                                                                                                                    – – Cleveland Neighborhood Progress