Year of Awareness Building – September & October Recap

In September & October, more than 210 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:

  • Accelerate Great Schools
  • Adult Probation Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley
  • Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
  • AVI Foodsystems, Inc.
  • Bialosky Cleveland
  • Birthing Beautiful Communities
  • Brendle Group
  • Burton D Morgan Foundation
  • Campus District Inc.
  • CAN Journal
  • Center Operations Directorate
  • Church of the Redeemer
  • City of Cleveland, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
  • CLDP
  • Cleveland Botanical Garden
  • Cleveland City Council
  • Cleveland Metroparks
  • Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
  • Cleveland State University
  • Cleveland VA Medical Center
  • CMHA
  • College Now Greater Cleveland
  • Community Legal Aid Services, Inc.
  • CPAC
  • Compass Consulting Services, LLC
  • Congregation Shaarey Tikvah
  • Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Corriere della sera newspaper, Italy
  • Crafty Mart
  • Cuyahoga Community College
  • Cuyahoga County Planning Commission
  • Cuyahoga County, Department of Sustainability
  • Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District
  • CWRU
  • Eastgate Regional Council of Governments
  • Eaton
  • Environmental Health Watch
  • Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI)
  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • ESOP
  • European Policy Institute, Skopje
  • F&CS
  • Famicos Foundation
  • Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey
  • FRONT International
  • Fund for Our Economic Future
  • Goodwill Industries
  • Gordon Square Arts District
  • Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity
  • HFLA of Northeast Ohio
  • HP Inc.
  • Inspiring Minds
  • Jewish Federation of Cleveland
  • JGL Strategy, LLC
  • JumpStart
  • LAND studio
  • Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
  • Mahoning County Juvenile Court
  • Malwarebytes
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
  • Neighborhood Family Practice
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland
  • NewBridge Cleveland Center for Arts & Technology
  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
  • Northeast Shores Dev. Corp.
  • Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence
  • Regency Construction Services Inc.
  • Saint Luke’s Foundation
  • Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland
  • SSTR5
  • St Edward High School
  • Surratt Consulting Services, LLC.
  • The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation
  • The Cleveland Foundation
  • The Food Trust
  • The Greater Cleveland Partnership
  • The Liberal Party
  • The Music Settlement
  • The Raymond John Wean Foundation
  • Three Butterflies Entertainment & Press LLC
  • Tremont West Dev Corp
  • Trumbull County Historical Society
  • Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority
  • Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership
  • United Way of Greater Cleveland
  • United Way of Summit County
  • United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley
  • University Circle Police
  • University Hospitals
  • Warren City Health District
  • Warren Municipal Court
  • Youngstown City School District
  • Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Youngstown State University
  • Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber
  • Youth Opportunities Unlimited
  • YWCA Greater Cleveland
  • 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 for hosting the September Groundwater and Phase 1 workshops, to the Cleveland Foundation for hosting the first half-day Groundwater Training in October, and to the Raymond John Wean Foundation for hosting the Groundwater and two-day Phase I Workshop in Warren.

What’s New:

Progress Institute 2017
On Tuesday October 31, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress hosted over 250 attendees from northeast Ohio at its fourth annual Progress Institute. At this day-long learning symposium, we convened Cleveland’s community development field for learning, connecting, and inspiration. The event was held in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood and Dr. Mark Joseph offered the keynote address, “What If We Got Really Serious About Promoting Racial Equity in Cleveland?”
Dr. Joseph’s keynote and work sessions helped attendees envision an equitable Cleveland, provided tactical steps to apply a racial equity lens to attendees thinking and work and issued a call to action to Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Cleveland Community Development Corporations and The City of Cleveland to create a city-wide racial equity agenda rooted in an Awareness to Vigilance Campaign. Watch Dr. Joseph’s speech and review a copy of his presentation here.

Special thanks to Dr. Joseph for his continued guidance and support.

Neighborhood Solutions Awards 2017: Fostering Racial Inclusion through Comprehensive Community Development
As community development professionals, our work is, at its core, focused on people and place, and people in place. Throughout the Year of Awareness Building, we have sought new opportunities to support Cleveland’s robust system of community development corporations (CDCs) in their efforts to operationalize a Racial Equity & Inclusion framework. The purpose of this year’s Neighborhood Solutions Awards—Fostering Racial Inclusion through Comprehensive Community Development—is a natural extension of this far-reaching paradigm shift. These capital grants provide critical resources to grassroots-level organizations and community leaders seeking to implement innovative ideas around issues generally faced by neighborhoods throughout Cleveland.

During the 2017 Progress Institute on October 31, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress announced the winners of this year’s awards. The winning proposals scored highest in the traditional Neighborhood Solutions Awards categories—Innovation, Impact, Collaboration, Thought Leadership, and Replicability—and impressed our multidisciplinary panel of experts gathered to judge the Finalists’ presentations. Most importantly, each of the selected grantees demonstrated a willingness to wrestle with the complexities of creating inclusive communities, and the courage to imagine creative solutions to foster a sense of belonging among historically marginalized members of their community.

Congratulations to the following CDCs:

  • Union Miles Development Corporation (UMDC): $20,000
    Solution: UMDC and PASSAGES, Inc. will provide a pathway to employment for returning citizens and remediate deteriorated housing in the neighborhood. teach returning citizens construction skills so that they may rehabilitate blighted homes and become certified in the trade.
  • Metro West Community Development Organization (MWCDO): $20,000
    Solution: Facilitators will lead discussions with youth in the neighborhood to discuss how structural racism impacts their lives. They will then work with artists to translate their experiences into painted expressions on doors while will be installed in highly-visible vacant lots around the neighborhood.
  • Famicos Foundation (Famicos): $26,500
    Solution: Working with young people in the neighborhood to catalogue Glenville’s history while exposing them to urban planners and community development leaders so they may better understand how these professions have impacted their neighborhood and city.
  • Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation (OBCDC): $28,500
    Solution: Engaging in culturally appropriate organizing to build connections to communities of color and resident leaders who may help the organization be more inclusive and representative in its outreach and programming.
  • MidTown Cleveland, Inc. (MTI): $30,000
    Solution: An audit of MTI’s real estate development process to deepen its understanding of where inequities may exist its current real estate development pipeline, and to identify opportunities to insert more racially equitable and inclusive development policies and practices.

Link: Neighborhood Solutions Awards 2017 – Progress Institute Announcement

Divided by Design – Nov 15-21st, 2017 (90.3 WCPN, WVIZ/PBS &
Greater Cleveland is one of the country’s most segregated metro areas. It is a region characterized by persistent poverty among African Americans, with generations of disadvantaged families essentially “stuck in place.” With few exceptions, there are predominantly black neighborhoods and predominantly white neighborhoods.
This divide has serious impacts for everyone, relating to education, health, taxes, wealth-building, crime, and more. And it didn’t come about by chance. How did we get here and why does it matter? What are people doing about it?
This special series will look at some of the crucial policies and practices that created such a black-white divide in the region—and which continue to perpetuate racial inequities—in an attempt to bring important historical realities to light so that we may choose a different future. Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is proud to partner with Ideastream to connect this important work to our growing coalition of engaged citizens dedicated to advancing Racial Equity & Inclusion throughout Northeast Ohio.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #dividedbydesign. Follow the link for more info.

What we read:

Las Vegas Is Only the Deadliest Shooting in US History Because They Don’t Count Black Lives
Michael Harriot, The Root
Does the Las Vegas incident qualify as the “deadliest” mass-shooting incident? According to the author, “there are countless incidents in which black and brown people were killed in incidents far worse than what happened in Vegas”.

The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity
Angela Glover Blackwell, Mark Kramer, Lalitha Vaidyanathan, Lakshmi Iyer, Josh Kirschenbaum, FSG
Corporate America is missing out on one of the biggest opportunities of our time for driving innovation and growth: creating business value by advancing racial equity. Developed in partnership with PolicyLink and funded by the Ford and W.K. Kellogg foundations, The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity highlights examples from 12 leading companies such as Gap Inc., PayPal, and Cigna, who are driving innovation and growth by advancing racial equity.

Why America is coming apart at the seams
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week
America is tearing itself apart. People are angrier at each other, more resentful and contemptuous of each other, than they’ve been in living memory. Americans are experiencing a collective nervous breakdown, and there’s no telling what happens if they don’t find a way out of it. At the center of this is politics, which has become a tribal battle between Team Blue and Team Red.
And quite often, at the center of our political battles is race.

Embracing an Equity Lens in the Organization and Community
Melissa Hall Sommer, Stanford Social Innovation Review
What questions should you ask when adopting an equity lens? How to address racial disparities in your organization? Learn how a social service organization defined equity and made it a core of its programs for low-income families in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati, Ohio region.

Why white people think they’re the real victims of racism
Paul Waldman, The Week
“According to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 55 percent of white Americans believe that whites suffer from racial discrimination in America today.” Discover how and why the idea that white people are the true victims of discrimination has spread in the US.

Black Lives Matter is Democracy in Action
Barbara Ransby, The New York Times
Why has this generation of black activists failed to produce a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or a Malcolm X — a charismatic, messiah-like figure who can lead a major movement? According to the author, “the answer is a choice, not a deficiency. The suggestion that the organizations that have emerged from the Black Lives Matter protests are somehow lacking because they have rejected the old style of leadership misses what makes this movement most powerful: its cultivation of skilled local organizers who take up many issues beyond police violence.”

In debate over national anthem, black wealth becomes a target
Vanessa Williams, The New York Times
“President Trump has said his fight with NFL players is about respecting the flag and honoring veterans — not race. But the president and some conservative commentators have made wealth a part of the debate, inflaming racial resentment among Trump’s white working-class supporters who express no tolerance for black athletes raising concerns about institutional racism while making millions of dollars a year.”

What we listened to:

Pod Save the People with DeRay McKesson: Ask the Biggest Question
DeRay, Brittany, Clint and Sam talk about this week’s news, including the deadly violence in Las Vegas. David Cole, national legal director of the ACLU, joins DeRay to share more about what the ACLU is doing to protecting civil rights through litigation, and Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD talks to DeRay about intersectionality and activism in the LGBTQ community.

Axes Files with David Axelrod – Episode 183: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Author and writer for The Atlantic Magazine Ta-Nehisi Coates sits down with David to talk about his upbringing in Baltimore, his early forays into journalism, race and politics in America, his reflections on the Obama presidency, and much more.

Danielle Allen: Live at Politics and Prose
Michael Alexander Allen was arrested at age fifteen, served eleven years of a thirteen-year sentence for attempted carjacking, and was found shot to death three years after his release. He was Danielle Allen’s cousin, and she grew up with him, supported him, and encouraged him to pursue his dreams of becoming a writer and a firefighter. His death was a shock, and in her powerful memoir Allen, the James Conant Bryant University Professor at Harvard and author of the award-winning Our Declaration, seeks to understand what happened to him, and to the legions of other young black men who spend most of their lives in prison.

Could we power our economy with old buildings?
If we focused on preserving old buildings instead of building new ones, could we make our economy bigger and stronger? Stephanie Meeks is the CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a nonprofit that protects historic sites in the United States. In this interview with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal, Meeks talks about why our economy needs old buildings, what types of places we need to do a better job protecting and how they prioritize what gets saved and what doesn’t.

A Year of Love And Struggle In A New High School
At Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, students aren’t kids or boys. In the classrooms and cafeteria, they’re kings. That’s just one of the many things that stand out in this new boys-only, public school in Washington, D.C. The school opened in August 2016 to a class of roughly 100 young men. All are freshmen. All are students of color. All are determined to change the narrative. In Washington, and the rest of the country, that narrative says too many young black men are below-average readers. They’re suspended from school at above-average rates and less likely to graduate than any other group. Ron Brown College Prep is a radical effort to change that. For the past year, NPR and Education Week have been reporting on the birth of this new school.

What we watched:

How to raise a black son in America – Clint Smith
As kids, we all get advice from parents and teachers that seems strange, even confusing. This was crystallized one night for a young Clint Smith, who was playing with water guns in a dark parking lot with his white friends. In a heartfelt piece, the poet paints the scene of his father’s furious and fearful response.

Slavery by Another Name (2012)
According to the broadest outlines of history, the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution formally abolished slavery in 1865, but the truth is far more complex. In this documentary, historian Sam Pollard argues that domestic slavery continued for years in a covert, thinly-veiled form for decades after the said legal shift. A huge system of forced, unpaid labor, mostly affecting Southern black men, that lasted until World War II. Based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Douglas Blackmon, Slavery By Another Name tells the stories of men, charged with crimes like vagrancy, and often guilty of nothing, who were bought and sold, abused, and subject to sometimes deadly working conditions as unpaid convict labor.

Watch the trailer here. Follow this link to access the Community View Guide and additional educational resources.

The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto
Artbound episode “The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto” delves into a new theory of the Black aesthetic in the 21st century. Created in collaboration with the award-winning creative studio Ways and Means, along with artist and filmmaker Martine Syms, the hour-long special examines the tension between conventional channels of media distribution and the Black imagination. Through a close reading of works by four Southern California artists engaged with problems of representation, the program walks through their artistic and creative processes as well as inspirations. In-depth interviews with novelist Tisa Bryant, musician/producer Delroy Edwards, film programmer Erin Christovale and visual artist Nicole Miller are featured.

Toni Griffin: A new vision for rebuilding Detroit
Once the powerhouse of America’s industrial might, Detroit is more recently known in the popular imagination as a fabulous ruin, crumbling and bankrupt. But city planner Toni Griffin asks us to look again — and to imagine an entrepreneurial future for the city’s 700,000 residents.

Black in Design: Pecha Kucha Presentations and Just City Lab Workshop
“The Black in Design Conference, organized by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design African American Student Union (GSD AASU) recognizes the contributions of the African diaspora to the design fields and promotes discourse around the agency of the design profession to address and dismantle the institutional barriers faced by our communities. Building upon the Black in Design Conference in 2015, we are framing the upcoming conference across the forms of design, to unearth our agency as designers to envision more radical and equitable futures. We revealed the boundless capacity and power of a network of black and brown designers that we intend to grow through the 2017 Black in Design Conference: Designing Resistance, Building Coalitions. While the political climate we face today is tenuous, the forces of systemic injustice are not new. We will explore design as resistance and show how designers are advocates and activists. We will highlight the contributions made by leaders across nontraditional fields in creating spaces for actions and representations of resistance. Through this exploration, we will broaden the definition of design, understanding it through the lens of these visionaries in their work. Design is activism. Design is coalition building”

Save the Date

November Film Screening: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
Date: November 30th
Time: 5pm-7pm
Location: Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

About film: With contemporary audio interviews from leading African American artists, activists, musicians and scholars, The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 looks at the people, society, culture, and style that fueled an era of convulsive change. Utilizing an innovative format that riffs on the popular 1970s mixtape format, Mixtape is a cinematic and musical journey into the black communities of America. At the end of the ’60s and into the early ’70s, Swedish interest in the U.S. civil rights movement and the U.S. anti-war movement peaked. With a combination of commitment and naiveté, Swedish filmmakers traveled across the Atlantic to explore the Black Power movement, which was being alternately ignored or portrayed in the U.S. media as a violent, nascent terrorist movement. Despite the obstacles they encountered, both from the conservative white American power establishment and from radicalized movement members themselves, the Swedish filmmakers stayed committed to their investigation, and ultimately formed bonds with key figures in the movement. This newly discovered footage offers a penetrating examination — through the lens of Swedish filmmakers — of the Black Power movement from 1967 to 1975, and its worldwide resonance. The result is like an anthropological treatise on an exotic civilization from the point of view of outsiders who approached their subject with no assumptions or biases. Follow the link to register.

Racial Equity Terms of the Month: Environmental Racism | Environmental Justice

Environmental Racism: Whether, by conscious design or institutional neglect, actions and decisions that result in the disproportionate exposure of people of color to environmental hazards and environmental health burdens.

Environmental Justice: All people and communities have the right to equal environmental protection under the law, and the right to live, work and play in communities that are safe, healthy and free of life-threatening conditions.

SOURCE: Bullard, Robert (2000). Environmental Justice: Grassroots activism and its impact on public policy decision making. Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 56, 3.
As always, please send any feedback, questions, or interesting reading materials to
(Resources compiled by Alexis Bernigaud, Royce Muskeyvalley, Colleen Gilson, Evelyn Burnett & Mordecai Cargill)