Year of Awareness Building – April Recap

This month, more than 125 concerned citizens participated in the half-day Groundwater Training and/or the two-day Racial Equity Workshop: Phase I (our highest turnout to date). We were joined by representatives of the following organizations:

Big Brothers Big sisters Lorain County
Bike Cleveland
Bliss and Partners LLC
Bober Markey Fedorovich
Citizens Bank
City of Cleveland
City of Pepper Pike, Buckley King
City of University Heights
Cleveland City Council
Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Foundation
Cleveland Housing Network
Cleveland Jewish Publication Company
Cleveland Leadership Center
Cleveland Metroparks
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
Cleveland Public Library
Cleveland State University
College Now Greater Cleveland
Collinwood & Nottingham Villages Development Corporation
Cuyahoga Arts & Culture
Cuyahoga Community College
Cuyahoga County Administration
Cuyahoga County Board of Health
Deaconess Foundation
Dix & Eaton
Emerald Cities Collaborative – Cleveland Office
EYFairfax Renaissance Development Corporation
Famicos Foundation
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
Federal Trade Commission
FIT Technologies
Food Conscious
Forest CityFrantz Ward LLPFriends of Breakthrough Schools
Fund for Our Economic Future
GAR Foundationglobal X
Grants Plus
Gravitas Ventures
Greater Cleveland Partnership
John Huntington Fund For Education
JumpStart Inc.
Levin College, Cleveland State University
Lincoln Electric
Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio
Medical Mutual
Neighborhood Family Practice
NEON Health Services, Inc.
Northeast Shores Development Corporation
Oatey Co.
Old Brooklyn CDC
Paychex Inc.
Policy Matters Ohio
PolyOne Corp
Saint Ignatius High School
Sisters of Charity Health System
Slavic Village Development
St. Clair Superior Development Corporation
The Adcom Group
The Cleveland Foundation
The George Gund Foundation
The Greater Cleveland PartnershipThe Interlake Steamship Company
The Mt. Sinai Healthcare Foundation
The PrivateBank
The Raymond John Wean Foundation
Things Remembered
Tremont West Development Corporation
Tucker Ellis LLP
Turner Construction Company
U. S. Coast Guard
Ulmer & Berne LLP
University Circle Inc
University Circle Police
Upcycle Parts Shop
Villa Angela St. Joseph High school
Visibility Marketing Inc
Walter Haverfield LLP
Westfield Insurance
YWCA Greater Cleveland
Zieleniec Consulting LLC
Big Brothers Big sisters Lorain County

Thank you to everyone who participated, for your engagement, and your willingness to dig deeper with us. Special thanks to Jumpstart, Inc. for hosting both sessions, and to Chamber De Monte Catering for its labor of love!


We are proud to announce that the Cleveland Foundation is now a Champion-level sponsor of the Year of Awareness Building! Thank you to our Racial Equity & Inclusion Taskforce co-Chair, India Pierce Lee (Sr. Vice President, Program), for your leadership and your enduring support of this effort.

On Thursday, April 6th, the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2017 attended the Groundwater Training session as part of their Quality of Life Day. Special thanks to Chief Calvin Williams for hosting the training at the Cleveland Police Department – Third District station.

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Ideastream are partnering to host a virtual discussion group (via Facebook) open to all attendees of either the Groundwater Training, or Phase I Workshop. We envision this private, invite-only Facebook group as a “liberated zone” for us to debrief the experience, engage in civil discourse/debates, and ask the burning questions we weren’t able to ask during the training.

During the Meeting of the Minds 2017 Annual Summit (October 23-25), Cleveland Neighborhood Progress will lead a Workshop Tour entitled: East to West – Comprehensive Neighborhood Stabilization in Cleveland. The tour will explore a number of neighborhood typologies—from communities described as “ground zero of the foreclosure crisis,” to the city’s hottest real estate markets—and illustrate the need for a comprehensive approach to community development that responds to the unique context of each neighborhood through a Racial Equity & Inclusion lens. Follow the link for more information.

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress will be a community partner for the upcoming City Club of Cleveland Law Day 2017: The Fourteenth Amendment On May 5th, the City Club will feature a conversation with James Forman, Jr.,Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, on how and why our society became so punitive and what we can do about the future of race and the criminal justice system in the United States. Use promo code CNP17 with registration for 20% off non-member tickets.

What we read

Q&A: Artist Theaster Gates on W.E.B. DuBois and what Donald Trump doesn’t get about Chicago by Carolina A. Miranda, LA Times

Excerpt: “I cannot afford to just be an artist in this moment. I have to use my art and my brain to try to imagine solutions not only for the museum, but for the city — for black people. I can’t afford to lock myself in the studio.”

Who’s Following Ben Carson?

Kriston Capps, CityLab, that’s who. The HUD secretary’s every move is being closely monitored online by a confederation of housing advocates

Race and the production of extreme land abandonment in the American Rust Belt

Jason Hackworth, PhD, University of Toronto

Abstract: Most studies of land abandonment privilege the economic dimensions and causes of the process. In particular, land abandonment is largely derived from some combination of the following: housing obsolescence, municipal fiscal stress, or deindustrialization. When race is mentioned (and in most cases it is not), it is rarely situated in a meaningfully-causal way. This study explores the relative role of economic and racial factors on land abandonment in 151 Midwestern cities. It finds that percent Black is a far more significant correlate of extreme housing abandonment in the American Rust Belt than any of the aforementioned economic variables. (Hackworth) conclude[s] from this, that past and present institutional (and interpersonal) discrimination best explains this association. Moreover, (Hackworth) suggest[s] that existing theories of land abandonment be broadened to include group threat approaches to account for this relationship.

Neighborhood Change in the Fourth Federal Reserve District: A Multivariate Approach

Kyle Fee, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Using demographic and housing information, Fee develops neighborhood typologies to examine changes in neighborhoods in the four largest cities in the Fourth Federal Reserve District: Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Environmental Racism in America: An Overview of the Environmental Justice Movement and the Role of Race in Environmental Policies

The Goldman Environmental Prize blog

Excerpt: African American, Latino, indigenous and low-income communities are more likely to live next to a coal-fired power plant, landfill, refinery or other highly polluting facility. These communities bear a disproportionate burden of toxic contamination as a result of pollution in and around their neighborhoods. Moreover, these communities have historically had a diminished response capacity to fight back against such policies.

What we listened to

On April 24th, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress screened the 1965 Cambridge University debate between writer and civil rights activist, James Baldwin, and William F. Buckley, conservative commentator and founding editor of the National Review.  The historic “Baldwin-Buckley Debate,” at the Cambridge Union Society, featured responses from both men to the question: “Has the American dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?” During a time of intense social change, the debaters presented two radically different perspectives on the state of affairs.

Hip Hop Architecture: The Post Occupancy Report of Modernism

Michael Ford, the Hip Hop Architect, explores how hip hop lyrics provide an evaluation of modern urban architecture and some of the areas where it went wrong. Ford dedicated his professional career to stimulating cross disciplinary discourse on the sociological and cultural implications of architecture and urban planning on its inhabitants.

Episode 78: Can’t Get Ahead

Poverty can persist in the same communities for generations, especially communities of color. Professor Darrick Hamilton walks through the policies that prevent people from moving up in the economy and proposes solutions from jobs to schooling to banking. Check out his research on ‘Baby Bonds’ discussed in the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Read his two-page brief, co-authored with William Darity Jr. and Mark Paul.

Episode 77: Urban Renewal 2.0

Development efforts in American cities often push out long-term residents and communities of color. Zeroing in on Baltimore, Professor Brandi Blessett breaks down the intentional and unintentional impacts of urban policy decisions. Read more of her work on the impact of public administration on communities of color in her two-page brief. Check out Arnold Hirsch’s book on race and housing in Chicago, Making the Second Ghetto.

Chris Hayes on escaping the “doom loop” of Trump’s presidency

Chris Hayes, the author of A Colony in a Nation, recently sat down with Vox’s Ezra Klein for a wide-ranging conversation about damn near everything — the failure of elites, declining social trust, the crisis of authority in American life, the roots of the criminal justice system, the opioid epidemic, and how he escapes the “doom loop” that is the Trump presidency.

Racial Equity Term of the Month: Intersectionality

An approach largely advanced by women of color, arguing that classifications such as gender, race, class, and others cannot be examined in isolation from one another; they interact and intersect in individuals’ lives, in society, in social systems, and are mutually constitutive.

Exposing [one’s] multiple identities can help clarify they ways in which a person can simultaneously experience privilege and oppression. For example, a Black woman in America does not experience gender inequalities in exactly the same way as a white woman, nor racial oppression identical to that experienced by a Black man. Each race and gender intersection produces a qualitatively distinct life.

As always, please send any feedback, questions, or interesting reading materials to Mordecai ( )