CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Dress for Success Cleveland doesn't just give women clothes; the organization also helps them build the skills needed to be successful. The organization does it with volunteers committed to making a difference.
During this Women's History Month, we're introducing you to some of the people being honored by Dress for Success and News 5 for their contributions.
We would like to introduce you to State Representative Janine Boyd.
Prior to politics, Boyd worked as a pediatric speech and language pathologist. That’s when she discovered her deep desire to help solve domestic issues.
“I loved advocating for kids with special needs and mental health disorders. I realized that I could potentially impact policy more directly if I was writing it," she said.
Boyd decided to try her hand at politics, first as a member of Cleveland Heights’ City Council, and then in 2015, becoming the State Representative in Ohio’s 9th House District. She replaced her mother, former State Representative Barbara Boyd.
Janine Boyd founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus, but she’s known for and is most proud of House Bill, better known as “Aisha’s law.”
The domestic violence bill aims to add “strangulation” to the state’s definition and provide additional training for police officers.
The bill was named after Shaker Heights school teacher, Aisha Fraser, who was killed by her ex-husband, a former judge.
Boyd began creating the bill in December of 2018 and got it passed in the House, but it’s currently stalled in the state Senate.
“It's one of the reasons you hear women say more women need to run for office. It is a very male-dominated career path and traditionally and as a result, most of the legislative priorities as organized and identified by our male colleagues have very little to do with crimes against women," Boyd said.
Boyd is determined to get the bill passed before her term is up at the end of the year.
“It's long overdue. So it would be like Christmas for me,” said Boyd.
In 2019, Boyd became a mother to her son Robert.
He was just 10 days old, in emergency foster care, and in need of a home.
By October 2019, Robert’s adoption was final—a full circle moment, since Boyd herself, was adopted.
Boyd says she plans to back away from the political spotlight once her term is up, so she can spend more time on something more important-- her son.
For more information on Dress for Success Cleveland, click here.