Year of Awareness Building – June & July Recap

Year of Awareness Building – June & July Recap

In June & July, 221 concerned citizens participated in the half-day Groundwater Training and/or the two-day Racial Equity Workshop: Phase I.   We were joined by representatives of the following organizations:

  • Neighborhood Connections
  • MetroWest
  • Famicos Foundation
  • Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Applewood Centers, Inc
  • GAR Foundation
  • Cleveland Metroparks
  • Birthing Beautiful Communities
  • Education in Motion previously Enhancement Ministries, Inc.
  • The MetroHealth System
  • Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland
  • Bright Ideas Press LLC
  • Bellefaire JCB
  • Cleveland Office of Minority Health
  • Cleveland Transformation Alliance
  • Downtown Cleveland Alliance
  • East Ohio Conference, United Methodist Church
  • Cuyahoga Arts & Culture
  • Jumpstart
  • New Profit
  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership
  • Philanthropy Ohio
  • Cleveland Foundation
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio
  • American Red Cross
  • LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
  • Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC)
  • Cornell University
  • CWRU Law
  • City of Cleveland
  • Saint Luke’s Foundation
  • University Circle Police
  • Neighborhood Leadership Development Program
  • Enlightenment Consulting Group, LLC
  • IOBY
  • USDA Forest Service
  • ArtPlace America
  • Policy Matters Ohio
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District
  • Living Cities
  • Mahoning County Juvenile Court
  • Harvard Community Services Center
  • Burton D. Morgan Foundation
  • Oberlin Choristers
  • Cleveland State University
  • Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry
  • Nordson Corporation
  • Fairmount Santrol
  • Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
  • PFS Investments
  • Warren City Schools
  • Girl Scouts
  • Lorain County Community College
  • Lorain County LGBTQ+ and Allies Task Force
  • Ideastream
  • College Now Greater Cleveland
  • Fund for our Economic Future
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice NEO
  • Cleveland Housing Network
  • Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation and Historic Warehouse District Development
  • Headstart
  • Environmental Heath Watch
  • Cuyahoga County Board of Health/HIP-Cuyahoga
  • Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley
  • Community Foundation of Lorain County
  • March of Dimes
  • Raymond John Wean Foundation
  • New Growth Group
  • LAND Studio
  • Janus Small Associates
  • Cleveland Department of Public Health
  • The Center for Community Solutions
  • University Circle Inc.

Thank you to everyone who participated, for your engagement, and your willingness to dig deeper with us. Special thanks to Don Slocum and Neighborhood Leadership Institute for hosting the June Groundwater, and to the Community Foundation of Lorain County and Lorain County Community College for hosting the July Groundwater Training and Phase I Workshop.

Neighborhood Solutions Awards 2017: Fostering Racial Inclusion through Comprehensive Community Development

On June 12th, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress 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 round is focused on supporting the most innovative neighborhood-based projects intentionally designed to advance Racial Equity & Inclusion. Cleveland Neighborhood Progress acknowledges that, while encouraging, increased CDC staff and neighborhood diversity is simply a starting point for our collective efforts to create more vibrant communities. Therefore, Neighborhood Progress intends to support the most creative ideas to address existing patterns of racial exclusion and isolation within a neighborhood context. Awards will be announced at the 2017 Progress Institute on Oct. 31.


Most Republicans Don’t Believe Race and Gender Discrimination is Real by Eddie S. Glaude, JR., TIME

Excerpt: “Based on more than 40,000 interviews conducted across 2016, the survey revealed that only half of white Americans (50%) believe that African Americans face significant discrimination. When political affiliation is taken into account, the survey shows that most Republicans reject the idea that black people, immigrants and LGBTQ Americans face significant discrimination in the United States today. The majority of Democrats believe the exact opposite. Only 32% of Republicans believe that African Americans face a lot of discrimination in the U. S., while 77% of Democrats believe they do.”

“Lynching in America” Seeks to Spark National Conversation about Racial Injustice by Cyndi Suarez, NPQ

Excerpt: Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative had this to say: “The narrative of white supremacy, the narrative of racial difference that was used by people to legitimate and sustain slavery was not addressed by the 13th Amendment.” Stevenson said. Also, the communities that participated in lynchings never “had to feel shame about their history of lynching.” Because of that, lynchings went “indoors” after pressure finally succeeded in stopping such public displays of violence, Stevenson said. “They started trying people inside and they had the same kind of unreliable verdicts and the same kind of death sentencing and the same kind of abuse of people of color in the courtroom that existed outside the courthouse during the lynching era.” “The second thing is that, when you live in a country where this history has been unchallenged and where you don’t actually talk about it, the shame quotient remains pretty low,” Stevenson continued. “We can’t get to liberation without some acknowledgement of the wrong… until we do that, we’re gonna practice this denial tactic, this silence tactic, when young African Americans, who are unarmed, are shot and killed by the police.

An Elegy for ‘The Hood’ by Brentin Mock, CityLab

Abstract: Rapper Prodigy died on June 20, 2017 and his death raises a few question about the hood: is “the hood” over? Mock discuss why the hood lost its life and lists the following reasons: mass incarceration, over-policing, the foreclosure crisis, the eviction crisis, the renters’ crisis, the redistribution of poverty into the suburbs, and many others. While there is always going to be hood, “Prodigy’s death seems to track with the death of the idea of “the hood,” especially wherein that idea signals poverty, drugs, crime, and death. None of those ills are gone for good, of course, but they are, by and large, no longer the demarcating features of neighborhoods in many places.”

What the History of One Cleveland Neighborhood Can Teach Us About Race and Housing Inequality by Todd Michney                 

Abstract: Standing at the outskirts of Cleveland, Lee-Harvard neighborhood remains “as an object lesson on the troubling history of race and housing inequality” evocative of the city’s racially-inflected past. “We need to move beyond the conventional narrative of ‘white flight,’” Todd Michney writes, “—one that has subsequently played out, albeit with a diminishing role for racial confrontation and high-pressure sales tactics, in suburbs including East Cleveland, Warrensville Heights, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Bedford Heights, Maple Heights, Garfield Heights, Euclid, South Euclid and Richmond Heights. We need to go further back in time to better understand patterns of urban development and population dynamics, and take into account the overarching structural factors that constrained African American housing options and reinforced white notions about the supposed links between race and property values that persist to this day.” Beginning with the furor ignited by arrival of the first African-American residents in Lee-Harvard to the disproportionate impact African American homeowners experienced due to the more recent housing crash, the author traces an unsettling, pressing account of Cleveland’s history that continues to shape the city we call home.

There Are No Urban Design Courses on Race and Justice, So We Made Our Own Syllabus by Brentin Mock, CityLab

Abstract: Brentin Mock voices the frustration of students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design concerning the absence of design courses that incorporate race and justice. As successful architecture lies in the capacity to integrate living space and design such that quality of residential life is maximized, this article conveys the failure on part of design practitioners and educators to think critically about social equity issues in urban communities of color— undermining the social impact of racially equitable design and the people it is meant to serve.

Excerpt:Such class omissions would seem to leave these future urban designers ill-prepared in the face of escalating tensions around policing and city policies that produce racial inequities. For students trained as problem solvers, it has to be frustrating that their profession seems to have little impact on the prevailing problems of communities of color today. Part of the problem is that thinking about how race should intersect with design too often becomes the burden of citizens, if it becomes anyone’s burden at all.” 

Racial Inequity in Social Impact Design by Christopher Scott

Abstract: Providing a unique internal and external perspective on racial inequity in the impact design field, Christopher Scott describes the structural, often unconscious racial bias faced by communities of color and black-led nonprofits. He argues that we must be “moving towards a more racially equitable consciousness” and inclusive collaboration at all levels of the nonprofit design ecosystem, whether it be public policy or funding or design implementation. Mentioned are suggestions to catalyze structural change within a structurally inequitable system, including pushing racial diversity; applying racial equity lens to our work; and continuing to have discussions about race.


Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell

Revisionist History is Malcom Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every podcast episode re-examines something from the past – an event, a person, an idea, even a song – and asks whether we got it right the first time. Specifically, one of the podcast, The Foot Soldier of Birmingham, talks about Birmingham in 1963, and the image of a police dog viciously attacking a young black civil rights protester. This image stunned the nation, but very few asked the people in the famous photograph what they think happened that day. It is more complicated than it looks.

There Goes the Neighborhood by WNYC and The Nation

There Goes the Neighborhood is a podcast about Brooklyn and “the waves of money rolling into the real estate mar ket.” Today developers from around the world are hounding all corners of NYC seeking nefarious yet lucrative deals that will gentrify neighborhoods. However, through this process, tenants and homeowners feel they are violently battling displacement, especially brown Brooklynites who resided here for generations. The podcast takes listeners on the journey as WNYC investigates this process as developers strive to “revitalize” already vibrant neighborhoods.

Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, The First Psychologist to Run a Jail by Erza Klein

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart works at the largest mental institution in the country, Cook County Jail. Housing more than 8,000 people, 30% of its inmates are diagnosed with mental health issues; however, the percentage of inmates with undiagnosed conditions is projected to be much higher. Dart contacted Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, a psychologist, to run the site. However, what is astounding is that Jones Tapia is the first mental health professional to manage a jail. Erza Klein converses with Dr. Nneka Tapia about the current justice system but through a mental health lens, and how to balance punishment and treatment. Additionally, they discuss personal responsibility versus mental instability and managing tension “between what we use jail for and what we should use jail for.”

Mayor Carl Stokes Speaking at UCLA (1968)

Carl Stokes, the first African American to be elected mayor of a major American city— delivered this speech at UCLA in 1968 on Urban Crisis and Renewal. Nearly fifty years following his address, his words provide a clear blueprint on what community development necessitates in order to best promote sustainable and thriving cities: “If the cities of today are going to survive it is going to require the greatest partnership ever in the history of this country. is it is going require a massive money investment from the federal government. It is going to require a much less but still proportionately great money investment from the state and the cities themselves. But the third partnership in that the third component of the triumvirate must be the private sector itself, is going to have to be that monetary input. And I say that you that along with the money must come the participation of the people themselves in their government…that’s what your government in the future is going to have to reflect if it is going to at all by the kind of time necessary, in order to correct the inequities, the deficiencies, and the deprecating and depreciating that those who are confined to the cities have had to endure.” 

Episode 92: A Seat at the Table

Delving into the question of “how can residents engage in their communities and what can that look like,” host Lara Decastro speaks with Professor Tia Gaynor to discuss her research on what role CDCs have in fostering equitable relationships between community members and their local governments.


Othering & Belonging: Guest Lecture with Professor John A. Powell

Zaytuna College joins Professor john a. powell, Executive Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (HIFIS) and Robert D. Haas, Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion at the University of California, Berkeley, to discuss Othering and Belonging. Othering is the process of ostracizing another because one perceives them as fundamentally different. Professor john a. powell expounds on the topic by focusing on subjects including economic/political inequality, ontology (the Nature of Being), humanization and dehumanization.

Brooklyn Boheme

About the film: Brooklyn Boheme is a love letter to a vibrant African American artistic community who resided in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill Brooklyn during the 80’s and 90’s that included the great Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Branford Marsalis, Rosie Perez, Saul Williams, Lorna Simpson, Talib Kweli just to name a few. Narrated and written by Fort Greene resident Nelson George, this feature length documentaryu celebrates “Brooklyn’s equivalent of the Harlem Renaissance” and follows the rise of a new kind of African American artist, the Brooklyn Boheme. The documentary is a funny, joyous look at a time and place with charismatic storytellers and dazzling photography telling this amazing story.

Fault Lines – For Sale: The American Dream

“If you have a foreclosure it was a very rare thing and now it’s like the opposite. There are so many of them [foreclosure homes] now that it has become the norm.” Officer Gonzales is now accustomed to evicting hundreds of families out of their homes, just like many other sheriffs all over the country. The United States’ housing bubble is nearly a decade old, but the housing affordability remains to be disproportionately higher for blacks. At the time, major banks lifted a freeze on foreclosure and government relief but was too small to make a difference. As public housing budgets and federal subsidies diminish (even today), large numbers of people are left with no place to call home. The documentary speaks with residents in Chicago and California to see how people at the frontlines of the crisis, more than 4 million people, are confronting the collapse of the American Dream.

Environmental Racism Is the New Jim Crow

“The environment isn’t a person, so how can it be racist?” Environmental racism is the disproportionate number of people who live in environmentally hazardous areas. Mainly those hazardous communities are made up of minorities with little to no access to clean water, healthy produce, sustainable green spaces, high performing schools and more. There is a strong correlation between the location of hazardous areas and the placement of minority communities. Vann R. Newkirk argues that discrimination in public planning is to blame, as communities of color face disproportionate rates of natural disasters and environmental harm as opposed to their counterparts. “The environment is a system controlled and designed by people- and people can be racist.”

Race, Architecture, and Tales for the Hood | Bryan Lee

Bryan Lee is the Place and Civic Design Director for the Arts Council of New Orleans. Lee works to create, advocate for, and contribute to the creative intervention of public art and social impact design in civic spaces across New Orleans. Bryan Lee talks about “design justice”- the idea that race, culture, and architecture are inherently connected in a way that links art to racial equity and design to cultural space. He emphasizes that we want to dismantle the privilege and power structures that actively uses architecture to create systems of injustice in the built environment. Lee explores the intersectionality between race and architectures, and encourages viewers to create spaces that will instead foster social equity and dismantle normalized complicities that perpetuate classism.

Save the Date – August Film Screening: Dark Girls
Date: August 24th
Time: 5-7pm
Location: Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

About film: Dark Girls is a fascinating and controversial documentary film that goes underneath the surface to explore the prejudices that dark-skinned women face throughout the world. It explores the roots of classism, racism and the lack of self-esteem within a segment of cultures that span from America to the most remote corners of the globe. Women share their personal stories, touching on deeply ingrained beliefs and attitudes of society, while allowing generations to heal as they learn to love themselves for who they are. Sign up for film screening here.

Racial Equity Term of the Month: Inclusion

An individual’s awareness and experience of being a member of a racial and ethnic group; the racial and ethnic categories that an individual chooses to describe him or herself based on such factors as biological heritage, physical appearance, cultural affiliation, early socialization, and personal experience.



Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, editors. Routledge, 1997.

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