CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — The cities of Lakewood and Euclid have been recognized by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health for their efforts to address racism after the health department declared racism a public health crisis.
In 2020, the health department voted on a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis in Cuyahoga County, addressing systemic racism and the disparities Black people face in terms of healthcare, the criminal justice system, food accessibility, business opportunities, affordable housing, transportation, educational opportunities and other areas of life.
In Lakewood, city officials are being recognized for efforts to address the issues and correct them, citing public forums held with the community after a shooting near a basketball court in the city.
Rather than disinvesting from the basketball courts amid the crime, and in turn the youth that uses them, many of whom are children and teens of color, the city listened to the concerns of residents and launched a mentoring program at the courts.
The city also implemented design improvements like lighting and connected walking paths while adding grills and drinking fountains to strengthen public engagement around the court.
In Euclid, a group made up of the mayor, residents, city council, the recreation department, a local church, schools and CCBH all worked together to help acquire funding to build two new public basketball courts outside of Bluestone Elementary School and held forums to hear feedback on the location and importance of the courts.
Mac Stephens, the Euclid Recreation Department director, encouraged the project, calling public basketball a "way to reach and mentor the youth."
In 2010, Euclid did not have a single public basketball court. As of 2021, the city had build four.
For their efforts in these regards, the leadership of both cities are to receive resolutions from CCBH expressing support for their actions.
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