Year of Awareness Building – November Recap

In November, more than 260 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:

AVI Food Systems
Bellaire Puritas Development CorporationBirthing Beautiful Communities
Bonner Center for Service & Learning
Campus District
Case Western Reserve University
Center for Community Health Integration, CWRU
City of Cleveland
City of Cleveland Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood- SOCF
Cleveland Department of Public Health
Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
Cleveland Public Library
Cleveland Restoration Society
Cleveland State Univ.
Cleveland Transformation Alliance
College Now
College Now Greater Cleveland
Compelling Communications
Cuyahoga Arts & Culture
Cuyahoga CC
Cuyahoga Community College
Cuyahoga County Board of Health
Cuyahoga County Department of Development
Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability
Cuyahoga County Library
Destination Cleveland
Digital C
Educational Talent Search
Enterprise Community Partners
Environmental Health Watch
Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation
Family Connections
GAR Foundation
Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Inbloom Consulting
LAND studio
Literacy Cooperative
MetroHealth Hospital
MetroHealth System
Neighborhood Connections
Neighborhood Leadership Institute
New Bridge
New Growth Group
Ohio City Incorporated
Ohio GuideStone
Ohio Sea Grant
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation
Open Doors Academy
Philanthropy Ohio
Pleasant lake villa
Richland Community Development Group
RITE Board
Saint Luke’s Foundation
Seeds of Literacy
Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland
Slavic Village Development
Stonebrook Montessori
The Centers for Children
The Centers for Families and Children
The Cleveland Foundation
The George Gund Foundation
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
The Greater Cleveland Partnership
The MetroHealth System
The Trust for Public Land
Thea Bowman Center
Towards Employment
Tremont West Development Corp
United Church of Christ
University Circle Inc.
University Circle Police
University Hospital Cleveland Medical
University Hospitals
Veterans Education Access Program
Western Reserve Land Conservancy
Youth Opportunities Unlimited
Zuckerman Consulting Group

Thank you to all participants, for your engagement and commitment towards reaching  a shared understanding of racial inequality. Special thanks to the Cleveland Public Library, to GenerationWorks and to Tri-C for their support.


Not a crime to be poor: the criminalization of poverty in America
Date: Wednesday, December 13th
Time: 12:00PM
Location: The City Club of Cleveland
In the wake of Michael Brown’s death, the Justice Department investigated the police department of Ferguson, Missouri, and found routine constitutional violations as well as a regular mistreatment of individuals because they are black, poor, or both. In the United States, nearly the same amount of Americans reside in prison as they do in public housing. While 37.9% of inmates are black, only 13.3 percent of the American population is black. And within 5 years of release, 76.6 percent of released prisoners were rearrested. In light of these findings, the relationship between poverty, race, and the criminal justice system continues to be examined.
As part of the City Club’s Authors in Conversation Series and The Tom L. E. Blum Memorial Forum on Overlooked Citizens of the Inner City, Peter Edelman joins us to discuss his new book, Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America, and the disproportionate way in which lacking money can turn citizens into criminals.

Beyond the Glamour: Considering Race and Inequality in an Era of Opulence 
Date: Saturday, December 16th
Time: 10:30-11:30AM
Location: The Cleveland Museum of Art
The Jazz Age features all that glitters and shines in the 1920s. The restless desire for new fashions, new technologies, and new ways of understanding “the good life” permeates these visions, but what we cannot immediately see are the other ways in which the 1920s roared. Racial tensions, class strife, and women’s calls for political recognition also pervade this era. Inaugurating the educational series What Lies Beneath: Seeing the Unseen in Works of Art, this panel discussion considers how race and inequality, while not seemingly present on the surface of these works, ghost their glimmer.
Panelists include: Stephen Harrison, Curator of Decorative Art and Design, CMA, Key Jo Lee, Assistant Director of Academic Outreach, CMA, and Mordecai Cargill, Director of Strategy, Research and Impact, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.
Free; ticket required. Register online at or through the ticket center.

PRISM: A Racial Equity Learning Laboratory  (Opening Retreat)
Date:  Feburary 15th – 16th
Time:  All sessions held 8:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Location:  Neighborhood Connections
The next session of Prism, our racial equity learning lab, begins in February 2018. Register  now to join Cohort IV.
Prism  is led by two of Cleveland’s most experienced and dynamic racial equity trainers: Erica Merritt and Adele DiMarco Kious.
Prism participants explore the historic 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. Participants also have the opportunity to participate in caucus groups and bridge the chasm between community and institution throughout their Prism journey.
Leaders leave the program with greater self awareness, an individualized plan for beginning to dismantle racism in their neighborhood 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.


Simple Truth: Tamir Rice should be alive today
Hack Cleveland – Medium
On November 22, 2014, a 12-year-old boy playing alone in a familiar place became a martyr for a cause he had not volunteered to serve. The death of Tamir Rice was a poignant reminder of the fractious relationship between communities of color and law enforcement.

If you care about ending mass incarceration,
look at what Philadelphia just did
German Lopez – Vox
A local prosecutor’s race just set the national standard in the fight against mass incarceration.

Leave or Die:America’s hidden history of racial expulsions
Elliot Jaspin – Statesman
Elliot Jaspin, an editor in the Washington bureau of Cox Newspaper, which owns the Austin American Statesman, began his investigation into racial expulsions in 1998 after stumbling across an all-white country in Arkansas where resident said blacks were systematically excluded.

The Nationalist’s Delusion
Adam Serwer – The Atlantic
Trump’s supporters backed a time-honored American political tradition, disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination.

The Mythical Whiteness of Trump Country
Elizabeth Catte – Boston Review
J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy has been held up as a guidebook for understanding the 2016 election, but his logic is rooted in an enduring and dangerous myth about race in Appalachia.

How the American Dream turned into greed and inequality
Alberto Gallo – World Economic Forum
The American Dream is broken. Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives recently, stated that “in our country, the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life.”Yet the idea that every American has an equal opportunity to move up in life is false.

A Forgotten History Of How The U.S Government Segregated America
Terry Gross – NPR
In 1933, faced with a housing shortage, the federal government began a program explicitly designed to increase and segregate America’s housing stock.

Ten Talented Local Leaders Win LISC Fellowship
Ten of the community development field’s most promising local leaders will have the chance to deepen their work around economic opportunity and disseminate their expertise nationally as winners of inaugural Michael Rubinger Community Fellowship awards, a new program that invests in nonprofit talent from across the country.

Trump’s presidency may present “the greatest psychiatric disaster in history”
Chauncey Devega – Salon
Johns Hopkins psychologist John Gartner suggests an “80 percent chance” that Trump will push the nuclear button.

To Create More Economic Dynamism, Empower Entrepreneurs Of Color
Ben Hecht, Jim Clifton – Fast Company
We are not starting enough new businesses to create enough jobs. Opening up opportunities to people systematically denied funding and support could help solve the problem.

Who We Talk About When We Talk About Gentrification
Brian D. Goldstein – Black Perspectives
Gentrification is a term whose meaning is as contested as the process itself. Accounts of gentrification depict dualities: there are victims and victimizers, winners and losers.One way to understand this is by asking not just what we talk about when we talk about gentrification, but who.

Killings of Black Men by Whites are Far More Likely to be Ruled “Justifiable”
Daniel Lathrop, Anna Flagg – The Marshall Project
When a white person kills a black man in America, the killer often faces no legal consequences. To understand the gaps, The Marshall Project obtained dozens of data sets from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and examined various combinations of killer and victim.

The Othered Paris
Tanvi Misra – CityLab
They’ve been called “no-go zones”-regions where no rules apply. To residents, they’re neighborhoods that are stigmatized and neglected. Why haven’t targeted polcies to fix them had the intended effect?

Colin Kaepernick and the Legacy of the Negro National Anthem
Brent Staples – The New York Times
The lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key embraced the pop cultural tastes of his day when he wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” to commemorate an American victory over the British at Baltimore during the War of 1812.

Denver Talks About Racism With Claudia Rankine, Michael Hancock
Jessie O’brien – Westword
Claudia Rankine came to Denver to talk about her book, Citizen: An American Lyric.

Trump, Proxy of Racism
Charles M. Blow – The New York Times
The Trump Doctrine is White Supremacy. Yes, he is also diplomatically inept, overwhelmed by avarice, thoroughly corrupt and a pathological liar, but it is to white supremacy and to hostility for everyone not white that he always returns.

Operationalizing Equity
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Annie E. Casey Foundation’s decades-long journey to promote race equity and inclusion.


That’s Not Us, So We’re Clean (Seeing White, Part 6)
John Biewen – Scene on Radio
When it comes to America’s racial sins, past and present, a lot of us see people in one region of the country as guiltier than the rest. Host John Biewen spoke with some white Southern friends about that tendency. Part Six of the ongoing series “Seeing White”, which explores the idea of whiteness and its construction through the eyes of white people.

Episode 44: White Affirmative Action(Seeing White, Part 13)
John Biewen – Scene on Radio
xWhen it comes to U.S government program and support earmarked for the benefit of particular racial groups, history is clear. White folks have received most of the goodies.

James Baldwin Speaks! The Free and The Brave
An address by Baldwin to Los Angeles’ Second Baptist Church in the Spring of 1963 on a speaking tour following the publication of his incendiary The Fire Next Time.

I Was There
The Paris Review – Stitcher  (EXPLICIT)
LeVar Burton recreates the Review’s Art of Fiction interview with James Baldwin; Morgan Parker reads her poem Hottentot Venus; Dakota Johnson reads a poem by Dorothea Lasky; and Lorin Stein reads Why don’t you dance, a classic story by Raymond Carver.

Other Planes 01: Ytasha Womack
Other Planes | Afrofuturism Podcast
The first Other Planes podcast features Chicago-based author, filmmaker and innovator Ytasha Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and director of the black science fiction film Bar Star City.


We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
Ta-Nehisi Coates – AtlanticLIVE
Michele Norris, founder of The Race Card Project, interviews Ta-Nehisi Coates, Author of We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy.

Puerto Rico Rising
PRonthemap#PRontheMap is a grassroots media delegation devoted to reporting on, reimagining, and reviving Puerto Rico.

Monuments and Identity Politics
Vann Newkirk – The Open Mind
Vann Newkirk, correspondent for The Atlantic, talks about culture wars ensnaring the memorialization of American history.

Ethical Redevelopment
Place Lab
Ethical Redevelopment makes the case for mindful city-building. By utilizing cross-city networks and cross-sector innovation, Ethical Redevelopment encapsulates a philosophy by which to shift the value system from conventional, profit-driven development practices to conscientious interventions in the urban context.

Dr. Cornel West: “The Profound Desire for Justice”
Excellence Through Diversity Series – UVA Engineering
UVA Engineering welcomed Dr. Cornel West, professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University and professor emeritus at Princeton University, for the first event in the 2017-2018 Excellence Through Diversity Distinguished Learning Series. Dr. West’s talk, titled “The Profound Desire for Justice,” was preceded by musical performances by pianist Dana Kristina-Joi Morgan and vocalist Terrence Tarver.

Mapping Police Violence
Living Cities Racial Equity – Good Reads


Racial & Ethnic Identity
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.