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City council passes Black Women & Girls Commission to address obstacles in Cleveland

Comes after CLE ranked worst city for Black women
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Posted at 2:46 PM, Jun 07, 2022

CLEVELAND — A piece of legislation aimed to address systematic issues in social, health and economic equality among Black women and girls in the city of Cleveland was unanimously approved by city council Monday night.

City council members voted to create the Cleveland Commission on Black Women and Girls. Its mission is “to improve the quality of life for women and girls by advocating, initiating, and championing programs and legislation to strengthen families and communities. The vision is simple—women and girls in the City of Cleveland deserve access to unlimited opportunities to achieve social, health and economic equality.”

The commission will consist of 12 regular members and two ex-officio members, including:

  • One Black woman representing the faith community
  • One Black woman representing corporate Cleveland
  • One Black woman representing higher education
  • One Black woman who is a MD within one of the hospital systems
  • One Black woman representing social services
  • One Black woman representing labor
  • One Black woman representing education (primary, secondary and/or pre-school)
  • One Black woman representing grassroots organizations in Cleveland
  • Two Black women in college
  • Two Black students representing ages 11-17
  • * One Black woman from the Mayor’s Office
  • * One Black woman to represent Cleveland City Council

“This Commission is creating an opportunity for Black women and girls to work in partnership with the City of Cleveland on the agenda that they believe is best,” said Councilwoman Stephanie Howse, a co-sponsor of the ordinance, in a news release. “To get results, we must give the power to Black women. They know what is needed.”

The commission will work to establish a girls’ subcommittee to help identify and recommend solutions to obstacles that Black girls face in the city, particularly in schools.

Enlightened Solutions, the Cleveland research and advocacy firm behind the Project Noir study, which took a deep dive into the lived experiences of more than 450 Black women and girls in Cleveland, will consult with city leaders on the initiative. It will continue to provide data and expertise in developing and gathering metrics that will be necessary to measure the progress of the commission’s efforts over time.

Project Noir was in response to the 2020 Bloomberg CityLab report that ranked Cleveland as the worst city for Black Women’s livability.

“We really do think that there are solutions, but we need to stop looking to other regions and get creative with our own problems,” said Bethany Studenic, co-founder and managing director of Enlightened Solutions in a news release. “We believe that if we can solve this in Cleveland, we can solve it anywhere.”

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