Year of Awareness Building – May Recap

This year, more than 400 Cleveland residents, civic leaders, and community development practitioners have participated in the half- day Groundwater Training and/or the two-day Racial Equity Workshop: Phase I (facilitated by the Racial Equity Institute). Last month we were joined by representatives of the following organizations:

Bernie Moreno Companies
Better Future Facilitators
Preterm Cleveland (Board)
Center for Community Planning and Development
City of Shaker Heights
City Year
Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Foundation
Cleveland State University
Care About Climate
Cuyahoga Arts and Culture
Cuyahoga County Board of Health
Cuyahoga County Office of the Executive
Deaconess Foundation
Case Western Reserve University, Department of Bioethics
Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization
Dively Community Development
East 73rd Street Community Club
Eastern Ohio Education Partnership
Emerald Cities
Enterprise Community Partners
Fairfax Development Corporation
Fund for Our Economic Future
Hawken School
Hispanic Business Center
Janus Small Associates
Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network
Meaden & Moore
Midtown Cleveland, Inc.
MomsFirst Project
Northeast Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Notre Dame College
Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services
Philanthropy Ohio
Robert N Brown, FAICP City Planning Consultant
St. Luke’s Foundation
The Greater Cleveland Partnership
The Housing and Research Center
The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
The McGregor Foundation
University Circle, Inc.

Thank you to everyone who participated, for your engagement, and your willingness to dig deeper with us. Special thanks to Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish for hosting the May Groundwater training, and to Cleveland Public Library for hosting the May Phase I workshop.


We are proud to announce that Cuyahoga Community College has joined our coalition as a Convener-level sponsor! Through this exciting partnership with the Office of the President, 50 members of Tri-C’s administration will attend the Groundwater Training throughout the end of the year.

Thank you to Neighborhood Leadership Institute for hosting the June Groundwater Training (6/21) and Phase I Workshop (6/22-23)!

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress served as a community partner for Ideastream’s screening of RIKERS: AN AMERICAN JAIL—the first film to focus exclusively on former detainees who were held at Rikers Island. Exploring issues that are all too common at jails across America, the film opens a window on the human toll of mass incarceration. The screening was followed by a panel discussion, featuring Johnny Perez, Re-Entry Advocate, Urban Justice Center (one of the former detainees featured in the film); David Singleton, Executive Director, Ohio Justice and Policy Center; and Shakyra Diaz, Midwest Regional Director, Alliance for Safety and Justice.

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Ideastream are also 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. Follow the link for more information and sign-up online.

We are eager to share another opportunity to increase our shared awareness of racial inequity and exclusion. Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is a proud supporter of PRISM: A Racial Equity Leadership Program facilitated by Adele DiMarco Kious & Erica Merritt of Yinovate. PRISM participants explore the historic racial conflict that continues to shape the United States and

determine the fate of all its people. Racism is examined on four levels: internalized, interpersonal, institutional and structural. Tools to assess the state of one’s organization and community are introduced and participants “experiment” with implementing them throughout their experience. Participants also engage in caucus groups and bridge the chasm between community and institution throughout their PRISM journey. Cohort members leave the program with greater self-awareness, individualized action steps for beginning to dismantle racism in their community or organization and greater capacity to do so. They also gain a group of fellow travelers to support them well beyond the structured program experience. After completing the program, cohort members are invited to participate in ongoing capacity building sessions offered on a monthly basis at no additional cost. Follow the link for more information.

On June 8th, ioby began its annual board retreat in Cleveland, with a special Groundwater Training session for board members, staff, and grantees throughout its national footprint. ioby helps neighbors grow and implement great ideas one block at a time. Through its online platform, ioby connects leaders with funding and support to make our neighborhoods safer, greener, more livable and more fun. Check out their resource guide, Getting Good Done in Cleveland, for a summary of ioby’s work in our hometown.

On June 8th, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress joined Enterprise Community Partners for the second meeting of its Racial Equity and Inclusion Book Club. This month, we’ll be discussing Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress will be a community partner for the June 16th City Club of Cleveland forum featuring Robert Greenstein, President of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. In April, Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown, approving a stopgap budget deal that included concessions from both sides. President Trump’s 2018 budget, to be released the week of May 22, is expected to bolster spending for the military and border protection, include funds for his southwest border wall,

suggest cuts to Medicaid and other social service programs, and propose a balanced budget within 10 years. Mr. Greenstein’s address entitled, “The Changing Federal Policy Landscape: What It Means for Poverty, Inequality, The Budget, And Places Like Cleveland”, will discuss the federal budget process and what the proposed changes mean for all Americans. Use promo code CNP17 with registration for 20% off non-member tickets.

Additionally, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress joins the City Club of Cleveland as a participant and supporter of the upcoming, For the Love of Cleveland series, presented by the Cleveland Foundation. Throughout the summer, Clevelanders of all type and tenure, are invited to Public Square to participate in a discussion of the building blocks of urban neighborhoods and examine Cleveland neighborhoods’ past and present successes, failures, and growth areas. We are thrilled to announce that on July 11th, our very

own, Mordecai Cargill, will be featured in a panel discussion entitled, “The Geography of Gentrification”. Follow the link for more information.

Other partners include ENCORE Cleveland and members of the Generation Work Planning Committee.


Moving Racial Equity and Inclusion from the Periphery to the Center: Lessons from an Incomplete Project
by Nadia Owusu & Micah Gilmer, NPQ
After Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, conversation regarding race arose at Living Cities, a collaborative of foundations and financial institutions working together to improve the economic well-being of low-income people, and revealed the need for the organization to address the intersections between poverty and race. Thus, in order to explicitly focus on racial equity and ameliorate the approach to racial equity and inclusion, Living cities designed concrete five steps to change the way their institution works: New information, Understanding, Implications, Commitment, aligned action. Furthermore, the organization constructed three-pronged strategies to integrate racial equity and inclusion: Organizational Learning, Public Engagement, REI Integration.

Race & Risk in Housing
by Jillian Olinger, Kelly Capatosto, & Mary Ana McKay
Excerpt from introduction: The ability to exercise agency over where one lives is a hallmark of freedom. And yet, this privilege has not been equally afforded to all. Race has been—and continues to be—a potent force in the distribution of opportunity in American society. Despite decades of civil rights successes and fair housing activism, who gets access to housing and credit, on what terms, and where, remains driven by race. This is important to our shared future because investments in homeownership are multiple and generational. Indeed, research shows that the biggest factor in the Black-White wealth gap is years of homeownership, showing how critical positive home equity is to building wealth. Racialized systems that generate lasting inequality may perpetuate self- fulfilling expectations, where “structural disadvantages (e.g., poverty, joblessness, crime) come to be seen as cause, rather than consequence, of persistent racial inequality, justifying and reinforcing negative racial stereotypes.”

Collaborative for Equity and Justice
By Tom Wolff, Meredith Minkler, Susan M. Wolfe, Bill Berkowitz, Linda Bowen, Brian D. Christens, Vincent T. Francisco, Arthur T. Himmelman, Kien S. Lee and Frances Dunn Butterfoss
Coalitions and collaborations need a new way of engaging with communities that leads to transformative changes in power, equity, and justice. Thus, a group of researchers developed a set of six principles to facilitate successful cross-sector collaboration for social change in a way that explicitly lifts up equity and justice for all and creates measurable changes.

The principles are the following:

  1. Explicitly address issues of social and economic injustice and structural racism
  2. Employ a community development approach in which residents have equal power in determining the coalition’s or collaborative’s agenda and resource allocation
  3. Employ community organizing as an intentional strategy and as part of the process. Work to build resident leadership and power.
  4. Focus on policy, systems, and structural change.
  5. Build on the extensive community-engaged scholarship and research over the last four decades that show what works, that acknowledge the complexities, and that evaluate appropriately.
  6. Construct core functions for the collaborative based on equity and justice that provide basic facilitating structures and build member ownership and leadership.

Cleveland NOW plan
Cleveland Mayor Carl B. Stokes
Cleveland Now! Was announced May 1, 1968 as a $177 million “program which enlists the aid of the total community—business, civic groups, professional people, the news media, and the general public.” Experts determined that the total needed rehabilitation of Cleveland would take an estimated 10 to 12 years, at a cost of some $1.5 billion, over and above those funds accruing from normal city resources for operating services.
The Cleveland Now! Plan focused on economic opportunities, youth resources, health and welfare, neighborhood rehabilitation, economic revitalization, future planning, and finances.

The link between housing conditions, elevated lead exposure, and kindergarten readiness
Claudia Coulton, Ph.D
Excerpt: In many big cities, substantial numbers of children enter kindergarten already well behind in their cognitive and social development. Accumulating evidence suggests that elevated lead levels are an important factor in cognitive development. However, little is known specifically about how housing conditions in children’s own homes and the immediately surrounding areas factor into their lead exposure and school readiness. Longer exposure to poor neighborhood or housing conditions increase chance of elevated lead. Living in or nearby housing touched by foreclosure or other signs of disinvestment (tax delinquent, speculator) increases chances of elevated lead.

What we listened to

Khalil Gibran Muhammad on Our Crisis of Racial Justice
Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a scholar and professor of history, race, and public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government sat down with Bill Moyers to continue a conversation about the founding paradox of our country, that our constitution promised “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” despite the entrenched institution of slavery and further discuss the importance of acknowledging the past history of race and racism in order to challenge our turbulent times and reshape our future.

Politics & Prose: Episode 149
Richard Rothstein, the author of The Color of Law, joins Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic to discuss the forgotten history of this country, and the residential segregation and myths that obscure it. In his new book, The Color of Law, Rothstein presents a forceful argument on how government policies at the local, state, and federal levels gave rise to and constantly reinforce neighborhood segregation.

HBR Ideacast – Why the Working Class Doesn’t Move for Jobs
Joan C. Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and author of White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, discusses serious misconceptions that the U.S managerial and professional elite in the United States have about the so-called working class. Many people conflate “working class” with “poor”- but the working class is, in fact, the elusive, purportedly disappearing middle class. Williams argues that economic mobility has declined, and explains why suggestions like “they should move to where jobs are” or “they should just go to college” are insufficient.

Pod Save the People – Behind the Vote
Organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson takes you inside conversations about culture, social justice, and politics by exploring the history, language, and people who are shaping the struggle for progress – and talking about the steps that each of us can take to make a difference.

The Ezra Klein Show
Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy, joins the Ezra Klein Show to discuss America’s history, our justice system, and our prejudices. Stevenson provocatively argues that the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, but it’s justice.


Theaster Gates on the transformative power of art
Theaster Gates, artist and innovator in the field of social practice, reflects on his commitment to bridging the gap between art and life through sculpture, installation, performance, and urban interventions.

Frontline documentary: Poverty, Politics and Profit
Excerpt: FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the billions spent on affordable housing, and why so few get the help they need.

Cracking the Codes
Tim Wise, author and anti-racism advocate, talks about how media plays a role in creating whites’ fear and envy of people of color and other barriers that keep whites from developing authentic personal relationships with people of color.
Cracking the Codes website

Inside Job
Inside Job is a 2010 documentary film, directed by Charles H. Ferguson, about the late-2000s financial crisis. The documentary provides a detailed examination of the elements that led to the global financial meltdown of 2008 that caused millions of jobs and home losses, and plunged the United States into deep recession by tracing stories from the United States to China to Iceland to several other global financial hot spots. It also identifies key financial and political players.

Racial Equity Term of the Month: Implicit Bias

Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to trump individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is often used to measure implicit biases with regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and other topics.

SOURCE: State of the Science Implicit Bias Review 2013, Cheryl Staats, Kirwan Institute, The Ohio State University.

Save the Date

June Film Screening: Brooklyn Boheme
Date: June 30th Time: 3:30 – 5:30pm
Location: Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

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 documentary celebrates “Brooklyn’s equivalent of the Harlem Renaissance” and follows the rise of a new kind of African American artist, the Brooklyn Boheme.

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