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More than 20 Cleveland-area organizations pledge support for city council's move to make racism a public health crisis

"And this day forward, let our actions speak louder than our words."

CLEVELAND — On the heels of Cleveland City Council unanimously approving a resolution that declares racism a public health crisis, more than 20 area organizations have lent their support to the cause. 

The legislation, once signed by Mayor Frank G. Jackson, will establish a working committee to propose further measures against racial discrimination and address longstanding gaps among citizens.

Each institution that has joined this initative is 'expressing its full commitment to the declaration and pledges to set forth tangible actions to undo the structural racism present in our community.' Organizations will pursue these actions individually and plan to report out on progress as a coalition in the future.

RELATED: Cleveland City Council unanimously approves resolution declaring racism a public health crisis

The following organizations and institutions have signed on to the below letter. 

  • Birthing Beautiful Communities
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • The Cleveland Foundation
  • Cuyahoga County Community College
  • Destination Cleveland
  • Dix & Eaton
  • Downtown Cleveland Alliance
  • Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation
  • First Year Cleveland
  • The Greater Cleveland Partnership
  • Gund Foundation
  • Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation
  • Historic Warehouse District Development Corporation
  • JumpStart Inc.
  • Karamu House
  • NAACP Cleveland
  • Playhouse Square
  • The Presidents’ Council
  • The United Way of Greater Cleveland
  • Urban League of Greater Cleveland
  • YMCA of Greater Cleveland and YWCA of Greater Cleveland

Additional organizations are encouraged and welcomed to pledge their support. Any organization interested in signing on to the initiative can contact Jason Guyer of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, jguyer@gcpartnership.com.

Below is the letter from the initative. 

June 4, 2020

This past weekend, across our country and here in Cleveland, we witnessed the ignition of long-smoldering injustice and inequity in our black and brown communities, the evidence of which is undeniable yet frequently overlooked: The rate of COVID-19 infections and infant mortality, disproportionate unemployment and another murder of an unarmed black citizen – George Floyd – at the hands of a police officer.

 Systemic racism is everyone’s problem. In Cleveland’s continuing fight for racial equity and inclusion, we have a singular history and have played a progressive role on a national stage. Prominent African American leaders throughout Cleveland’s history and today, have been instrumental in pushing us into the forefront. What we have learned over time is that this is not a fight of one race but rather a fight of one community – our Cleveland community.

Standing united, we are today voicing our strong support of recent legislation passed by Cleveland City Council to declare Racism a Public Health Crisis. Still, this is not enough.

Rectifying a system of structural racism will take much more than words. Work has been done, and, while incremental change is apparent, we need to do much more – and we need to do it now. We must act, stand with justice and work together across our community to do our part to both heal and begin to undo the endemic racism that has and continues to disproportionally hurt our city – emotionally, physically and in terms of reputation.

This legislation can enable and empower us to take this issue head on. It can provide a platform rooted in policy that can initiate substantive care and sustainable change, beginning at a governmental level and then cascading throughout our community.

What we do now to collectively hear the voices of pain, loss, and fear can initiate the actions we take to heal, change and unite our city to define us for years to come.

As leaders of institutions that all seek a better future for Cleveland as a whole, we are all fully committed to this charter and pledge our individual and collective resources to set forth tangible actions to undo structural racism. This is our commitment to our greater Cleveland community, and we ask that you join us as partners in this critical endeavor – and this day forward, let our actions speak louder than our words.

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