Cleveland women take the next steps to make a difference following women's march

Posted at 8:16 PM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-23 20:17:00-05

Thousands of women flooded public square this past weekend as part of the nationwide march.

But what's next for the women who want change here in northeast Ohio?

Coming off all the adrenaline from the march this weekend, Heather Steranka with the Greater Cleveland YWCA told me she's optimistic about her ability to make a difference in the community.

“I come to work every day, and I'm hopeful because I know I'm doing my part to make a difference."

Steranka heads up the racial justice and women's rights programs at the YWCA on Prospect Avenue and told me the many ways their organization is trying to move the needle forward.

“Moving the needle forward happens on an individual level and on an organizational level," said, Margaret Mitchell, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland YWCA.

With issues like infinite mortality, heroin overdoses and health disparities plaguing most of our communities here in Northeast Ohio, at a higher rate than most in the state, YWCA leaders told me it's prime time for a greater female presence.

“Studies show that when you empower women and when women are successful, communities do better," Steranka said.

“It is so important that we are continuing to develop leaders within the community, leaders who will go on to lead in companies, and school boards, and a county level… Leadership is key," expressed Mitchell.

That's why they'll be holding multiple events throughout the year, like their "It's Time to Talk" event next month, to promote women and diverse groups to get involved, become leaders in the community and not be afraid to speak up.

“We know systems have oppression whether it's against women or whether it's against different races or LGBT we know that the systems are linked. And it's really about giving people not just women, but women included a voice," said Steranka.

And if you can are wondering just how exactly you can do your part, Steranka told me, it's really about starting small and getting out of your comfort zone.

“Reaching out across is different lines so even if it's if you live on the east side shopping at the Westside market if you live on the west side try shopping on the Eastside, something like that is symbolic and it can really take it to the next level," she said.