Some Cleveland neighborhoods still dealing with segregation

CLEVELAND - Cleveland neighborhoods are on a list of the most racially divided in the country with some now labeling the communities as hyper-segregated.

But right now, momentum is building to help the city shed the stigma that’s been decades in the making.

While a lot of factors have taken Cleveland to this point, some organizations are using a simple approach to solve this very complex issue. And it all starts with raising awareness.

Those on the frontline of the systemic issue tell News 5 that Clevelanders do not truly understand segregation and why it’s so problematic.

“It's really complicated and I think draining on the mind and on the spirit,” said Evelyn Burnett.

Burnett proudly calls Cleveland's Glenville neighborhood home.

“Segregation isn't just physical walls and barriers, but the way people move about their communities and what is in those communities,” said Burnett.

Burnett works with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress which educates people on the importance of integrating communities.

"Awareness is essential to inform action,” said Burnett.

Action that Burnett said is needed to change the things that still allow segregation to thrive years after it began.

“Understanding the patterns of redlining, understanding the patterns of policy that give these things teeth,” said Burnett.

Michael Lepley, with Cleveland's Fair Housing Center, said segregation survives because we still don't truly know each other.

“If we interacted more, that would destroy some of those myths,” said Lepley.

Myths that can keep Clevelanders from embracing the thought of integration.

"There's still some animus that exists when people are starting to move into neighborhoods where their neighbors don't look like them,” said Lepley.

Mark Chupp, a social sciences professor at Case Western, said progress is being made.

"Yeah, I'm optimistic that we'll get off that list,” said Chupp.

Chupp said you can see that progress in the shift in population that is underway.

"More African Americans moving to the west side and more whites are moving to the east side of Cleveland, and those are the numbers that are beginning to change that,” said Chupp.

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