Thank you to everyone who came out to the first Arts & Culture Network Night of the year! We were grateful for the opportunity to introduce our new Arts & Culture Fellows—Cheyanne Jeffries, Nahomy Ortiz-Garcia, Zuggie Tate, and Lindsay Wheeler. These fellows will be working throughout the year to make Arts & Culture Network Night even better!
Last week we said we had a BIG announcement to make about Cleveland Documenters.
You may remember the conversation we’ve been having over the last 6 months about partnering with the Ohio Local News Initiative (OLNI) which intends to create a new, nonprofit newsroom here in Cleveland. Back in December, many of you attended the in-person “meet and greet” we held with OLNI. And, we’ve discussed the potential for this new newsroom at Cleveland Documenters Community of Practice.
Well, here’s the big news: Cleveland Documenters will become a program of this new, OLNI nonprofit newsroom!
The idea is to build the newsroom around the Cleveland Documenters community and the work we do. A team of reporters, editors, producers, and researchers will rely on your assignments (and the questions you raise) to guide their reporting. And of course, we’ll continue and expand on creating explainers and guides to help make sense of local government. Your work and curiosity as Documenters is a key part of what will power this new newsroom.
Together we’ll equip Cleveland residents to better understand local government, better hold local government accountable, and to make meaningful changes in our city and neighborhoods. We also hope this newsroom will be a model for local, community based, participatory journalism for other newsrooms and other cities.
There is much about this new newsroom that needs to be worked out (for example, a name!). Only one newsroom staffing decision has been made so far: Cleveland Documenters team member and Neighborhood Connections Associate Program Director Lila Mills will be the Editor-in-Chief of this new nonprofit newsroom (yay!).
And, please know this: we do not take this move lightly. Our goals, our mission, and our practices remain the same. After nearly two years of collaborating with all of you to build this community — two years of listening and learning with you — we believe this newsroom is an opportunity to supercharge the work we have all been doing.
We see a number of benefits to joining this new newsroom, but here are two in particular:
- Increased funding means potentially more assignments for Documenters and more meetings covered for the public.
- The greater capacity of this newsroom will increase our ability to share the work Documenters do more widely, to better reach communities, and to explore and report on the issues Documenters raise.
To help answer any questions about this change, we’ve put together this FAQ, which we’ll keep updated as new questions come in.
In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, concerns, or thoughts you have at email@example.com
Our next Neighbor Up Action Grant deadline is Tuesday, February 15th at 11:59 p.m. Grants range from $500 to $5,000, and are meant to spur small, grassroots community projects. Grants may be used for a wide variety of projects, and groups are encouraged to think in new ways about what will work in their communities and with whom they might partner. Thanks to support from the Funders Collaborative on COVID Recovery, we’ll able to offer more funding for pandemic recovery proposals to groups in Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake counties.
Neighborhood Connections, in partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, is seeking Arts & Culture Fellows to support the stewardship of our Virtual Arts & Culture Network Nights. Arts & Culture Fellows will be emerging artists from diverse disciplines and backgrounds with a vested interest in weaving our city’s arts and culture community.
Thank you for another great year of Arts and Culture Network Night. We are pleased to have hosted six virtual events in 2021. These virtual events provided a space to stay connected with each other and the arts in a challenging year. Being online pushed us to craft new avenues for connection. The public agenda helps us navigate the online platform, and “What’s Lifting You Up” gives us a chance to further incorporate arts and culture into the discussion.
Our grantmaking committee has approved $323,930 in grants to support 126 projects in Cleveland and East Cleveland. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the local public funder for arts and culture, will co-fund 20 of these resident-led arts and culture projects through a partnership with Neighborhood Connections.
Highlights of the grants include:
- Creative Healing Foundation received $3,000 to expand their “City Scenes” artist photo walk program throughout Cleveland. These programs allow participants to render their own interpretations of the landscapes and introduce people to new areas of the city and culminate with a printed photo gallery show.
- Furaha Forever Productions received $2,000 to provide Family Creative Kits to families in need, and those negatively impacted by COVID-19 in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood. Kits will be accompanied by virtual and in-person programming with artists and guest speakers.
- Barrioboy Community Garden received $2,250 to help develop a fence around their community garden in the Clark Fulton neighborhood. The fence will help protect the garden and programming for children from the busy street, and will be a canvas for a community created mural.
- Black Men Who Excel received $2,250 to provide free piano lessons to children in the Fairfax neighborhood, in partnership with Ambitious Artists.
“We received more proposals from Greater Clevelanders this round than ever before,” said Tom O’Brien, program director of Neighborhood Connections. “People are resilient and working to create extraordinary communities right where they live despite many obstacles, including the pandemic. The funded projects show what can happen when we invest in residents working together to make the change they want to see.”
Since 2003, Neighborhood Connections has invested more than $10 million in more than 3,500 resident-led projects in Cleveland and East Cleveland.
“Now more than ever, we need creative experiences that are safe, welcoming, and close to home,” said Jill M. Paulsen, executive director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. “By investing in Neighbor Up grants, we are recognizing the power and expertise that people have to use arts and culture to make their neighborhoods stronger.”
Cuyahoga Arts & Culture invested $60,000 in Neighborhood Connections in 2021 to support community-based arts and culture activities organized by and for Cuyahoga County residents. CAC defines arts and culture broadly to include nature, science, cultural heritage, and history in addition to other art forms. Through this partnership with Neighborhood Connections, CAC has co-funded more than 400 resident-led arts and culture projects in Cleveland and East Cleveland since 2013.
Neighbor Up grants are offered several times each year to groups of residents in Cleveland and East Cleveland and, for projects related to the pandemic, to residents in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties, to do projects that improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Groups are encouraged to work with partners and to propose creative solutions to challenges in their community. Check out our grants page for more information.
Projects Co-Funded in December 2021
Our grantmaking committee has approved $323,000 in grants to support 126 projects in Cuyahoga County. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the local public funder for arts and culture, will co-fund 20 resident-led arts and culture projects through a partnership with Neighborhood Connections. The following details each co-funded project, the grant amount, and the neighborhood where the project will take place.
|ArtHub||Downtown||$2,250.00||ArtHub received funding to create a regular networking showcase event of talent and creativity. Activities will include a DJ, local performers, open mic, sip and paint, local vendors market, and an interactive fashion show.|
|Barrioboy Community Garden||Clark Fulton||$2,250.00||Safety & Art is a project to build a fence around the Barrioboy Community Garden, protecting the garden and childrens’ programming from the busy street. The fence will also be utilized as an art canvas to allow the youth to express themselves.|
|Cerenyte Fried Pies||Mt. Pleasant||$2,500.00||The Veggie Tails Storytime Literacy Program will provide youth with books, educational toys, learning, arts and crafts supplies, as well as a positive outlet during the summer months their out of school for vacation. Participants will receive hands on traning in gardening and urban agriculture, arts and crafts, and will have their own personal end of the season project in urban farming.|
|Creative Healing Foundation||Cleveland||$3,000.00||City Scenes is an artistic photo walk through various neighborhoods and locations around Greater Cleveland. City Scenes is a location specific guided art walk that allows artists to render their own interpretations of the landscape and to introduce people to areas of the city they have yet to explore. Upon completion of the program each participant will submit a work of art to be printed canvas style then be presented in a gallery showing at the end of the program.|
|Diamond Makerzs||Downtown||$2,000.00||Who Asked You? Conversations with Youths about Pandemic & Post Pandemic Life is a 12 week program that will provide workshops, journaling activities, dance therapy, art therapy, and behavioral therapy exercises for children to voice their feelings. The program will have in person and virtual options, and will help re-acclimate student tso being in a structured environment after the pandemic shut-down.|
|East 89th Street Club||Fairfax||$500.00||East 89th Karamu Cultural Initiative will work with Karamu House to secure discounted tickets to distribute to residents on the street in order to partake in the spring performance season at Karamu House.|
|Eileen Dorsey Studio and Garrett Weider Studio||Old Brooklyn||$1,090.00||Old Brooklyn Blooms will be a series of three exterior floral murals to beautify the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, based on the community’s slogan “A Great Place to Grow!”|
|Elements Of Internal Movement||Union Miles||$2,500.00||Reflect. Connect. Protect. is a project designed to help children learn healthy ways to cope and express themselves. In summer 2021 the organization distributed 100 art kits to children in the neighborhood and the plan is to expand the art kits to include a guided journal and be available to all ages, and use social media to connect with participants.|
|Food Depot to Health||Glenville||$3,000.00||The HomesteaderVermicompost Project is about diverting waste from municipal streams and recycling food scraps and use various kinds of containers to create vermicompost, which becomes “black gold” natural fertilizer. Aside from using the compost for our Urban Farms, Community Gardens, and personal home gardening, the organization plans to collect food scraps at farmers markets in Glenville and St. Clair Superior to produce Vermi-compost for sale at each of those markets.|
|Footpath Foundation||Westlake||$2,500.00||Discover Your Path is a program designed to get youth outside where they can learn science and SEL content in engaging ways while amplifying their voices with ELA skill reinforcement. Spring DYP is a program for 6th graders (or 5th graders when appropriate).|
|Furaha Forever Productions||Old Brooklyn||$2,000.00||Our Family Creative Kits will be shared with families in need and those negatively impacted by COVID-19. Each box will contain a different fun activity with donated art supplies. The organization will also host educational virtual and in-person events with artists and guest speakers.|
|Gordon Square Classical Concerts||Detroit Shoreway||$2,000.00||The Quarantine Poems is a cross-medium collaborative project: a gallery exhibition in Collinwood of 13 paintings by artist Christopher L. Richards, and two concerts and artist talks corresponding to the gallery exhibit. The concert will present 13 pieces composed by Cleveland composer, Ryan Charles Ramer. Both pieces are inspired by 13 poems. Funding from the Action Grant will also provide audiences with free CD’s of the music and exhibition catalogues of the artwork. Informative talks from the artist and composers, as well as a Q&A with the audience will provide educational content and direct community engagement.|
|Hasani Management Inc.||Bellaire Puritas||$2,250.00||Hasani Garden Camps will run from spring through autumn in person and virtually. The camp is designated to educate and entertain the participants with and fun and engaging curriculum around climate action, sustainability, organic gardening, theater, storyteling through art therpay and expression, environmental health, and healthy eating. Within our programs guidelines, we provide social inclusion for special needs children, who are mainstreamed into our activities.|
|Honey Hive||Hough||$3,600.00||P.O.E.T Speak will engage neighbors (youth and adults) in settings that give voice to writing, while highlighting and celebrating the community. Neighbors will be encouraged to see themselves as POETS, as they look at the landscape of the community and write about it. The project will conduct two written Poetry Contests, and showcase a printed publication at a community wide celebration of Poetry.|
|LAST SUNDAY MAKERS MARKET||Old Brooklyn||$1,000.00||Last Sunday Makers Market is an event that brings local entrepreneurs, business owners, artists, and makers together to showcase their businesses and products. The market has evolved into more than just that. It has become a place for the community to come together and enjoy getting outside to listen to music, eat great food and check out local art. The market feels like a block party for everyone.|
|Oh Sew Powerful, Inc.||Lee Harvard||$3,000.00||Creativity Rocks is a project to gather glass washed up on the shores of Lake Erie, rocks and stones from recyclers, scrapyards and landscape inventories, and transform materials into jewelry or art objects. This multigenerational program will be free to all participants, have both virtual and in-person activities with the final output being a creative product – jewelry or a painted rock, for the participant’s own use.|
|Old Brooklyn Historical Society||Old Brooklyn||$2,500.00||The Old Brooklyn Historical Society intends to digitize information from the Old Brooklyn News the 1978 to 2008. They will scan these documents into their computer so people will be able to see more about the history of Old Brooklyn.|
|Poetic Movement||East Cleveland||$2,000.00||The Literary Leaders Program is a 4-week lesson plan to equip the youth of East Cleveland with literary skill for the future that will help them express themselves so that they can become future leaders and use the power of their voice through the written word to change East Cleveland and even the world.|
|Rhythmic Artistry||East Cleveland||$3,000.00||The U and I of Euclid Avenue is a community mural series that envisions beautiful murals depicting colorful scenery, African American heritage, and historical themes relating to the City of East Cleveland. Fifteen moveable murals will be painted by more than 25 Cleveland and East Cleveland artists, and installed on city walls along Euclid Avenue.|
|Sudanese Cultural Center||Cleveland||$2,500.00||Sudanese Sunday School aims to expose the Sudanese Community to the history and Culture of Cleveland in order to promote healthy integration in their wider civil community as well as promoting cultural exchange within the community itself. Field trips will include the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Karamu House, and others.|
We are pleased to announce renewed funding from the Cleveland Foundation for community building around adult literacy. This funding includes dollars to create a Community Literacy Fellowship. Inspired by our work with the Committee for Adult Literacy Action Grants, the fellowship will be instrumental in our efforts to deepen our connection to people impacted by literacy challenges and grow the network of people working to improve adult literacy in Greater Cleveland.
We are thrilled to welcome Margo Hudson as the first Community Literacy Fellow. Many of you may know Margo from her speaking engagements and advocacy for Adult Literacy. Margo is a former student and longtime tutor at Seeds of Literacy and an active member of Neighbor Up. In her role as Community Literacy Fellow, Margo will connect and support Neighbor Up members, grant recipients and community members who are working on adult literacy. She will help us to welcome adult learners and other stakeholders into the Network.
Read more about Margo and her work for adult literacy in this cleveland.com article.
We will be hiring a second fellow in the months to come. You can view the job description here. Early next year, we will launch another Innovation Team for Adult Literacy. This cohort experience brings together grassroots leaders and others working with adult literacy to connect and strengthen existing efforts, and to experiment with new possibilities.
In the spring, we will launch a second round of action grants to support adult literacy projects rooted in the community. Click here to learn about the projects funded in 2020.
Connect with us
Do you have a connection to adult literacy? We would love to learn more. Click here to schedule a time to connect.
Thank you to everyone who came out to Arts & Culture Network Night last week! Our final Arts & Culture Network Night of the year is right around the corner on Thursday, December 9 at 6 p.m. Register here.
A special thank you goes to the Roberto Ocasio Foundation and Xavier Walsh for starting the October Network Night off strong with some latin jazz. You can learn more about the Robert Ocasio Foundation and its latin jazz camp (of which Xavier was a participant) here.
What’s lifting you up? Participants shared a piece of art and culture that has been lifting them up recently. Check out the Public Agenda to discover something new and lift your own spirit!
Business of the Network offers opportunities for people to explore specific issues that are important to them. This month, the Business of the Network conversations included:
- What are your thoughts/hopes around support for the arts from the next City of Cleveland administration? What do you want the next mayor to know about the arts community?
- I’m working on a project with FRONT. We are crafting a fellowship for BIPOC artists in CLE. What would you LOVE to see in a fellowship? (Deidre)
- I’m interested in gaining insights from people who’ve been involved in (or interested in) projects using art to discuss/process racial healing. (Danielle)
Be sure to check out the notes from each discussion and possible points of connection in the Public Agenda. If you want to follow up with a conversation host, click their name in order to email them.
The Marketplace provides another opportunity for connection as neighbors are able to make offers and requests to one another. We believe that everyone has something to offer and our community is stronger when everyone is able to contribute. The Marketplace provides a space to see this in action. At the October Neighbor Night, requests and offers included:
- Margo is looking for people to connect with who are interested in adult literacy.
- Diedre is a consultant who works with independent artists and organizations to create community programs. They are offering their program management and marketing skills.
- Kevin with Roots of American Music is in need of teaching artists, especially with regards to Maltz Museum’s Stop The Hate youth sing out.
Check out the complete Marketplace offerings and requests in the Public Agenda.
Don’t forget to register here for the final Arts & Culture Network Night of the year on December 9!
You’re invited — October 28th
Whether you are an artist or someone who simply loves to support arts and culture in the community, we hope you’ll join us for an upcoming Arts & Culture Network Night.
Network Night includes space for anyone to host a breakout conversation during Business of the Network. To host, you simply pose a question you’d like to listen about. This is an opportunity to get feedback on your work, to brainstorm ideas, or receive support. You can scroll down to see examples from previous Arts & Culture Network Night events. If you’d like to host a conversation and would like support shaping your invitation, simply email Lj or call her at (216)264-9858.
Save the Date — our final Arts & Culture Network Night event for the year is on December 9th from 6 to 8 pm. Be sure to mark your calendars now!
Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for Arts & Culture Network Night.
Business of the Network is always a part of Arts & Culture Network Night. It is an opportunity for people to host conversations about topics that matter to them. It is an excellent opportunity to get feedback, learn from the group, and explore opportunities for collaboration. The following topics were discussed in August:
- Are you collecting demographic info? We’d love to hear about your process, any challenges or ideas you have. (hosted by Julia)
- How might FRONT International Triennial for Contemporary Art create meaningful connections to the Cleveland community so more people can enjoy and participate in this program? (hosted by Deidre)
- How do cultural institutions create collaborative community-based programming with community members? (hosted by Andrew)
- Are any of your organizations struggling with the anxiety-level of your audiences and/or participants? And how are you navigating this? (hosted by Colleen)
- Who are your favorite elected officials who have supported arts and culture, and how have you worked together? (hosted by Jeremy)
To learn more about these conversations, check out the Public Agenda or click the contact person’s name to send them an email. If you’d like to host a conversation in October or December, we are happy to help you shape the question. Simply email Lj.
The Marketplace is a practice that reveals the gifts and resources we have available in the community. Everyone is invited to make a request or an offer, and then “match” with folks to share resources and support the community. Here are a few requests and offers from the August event:
- Ed offered help with IT and tech support.
- Sharon is looking for community partners to help bring chamber music to a broader community, specifically for our concerts presenting the Imani Winds (10/5/21) and Lawrence Brownlee (4/26/22).
- Nahomy works to uplift the Latinx artist community. She offered to share opportunities with a database of Latinx artists.
To see a full list of requests and offers, check out the Marketplace and Connections section of the Public Agenda.
See you Next Time!
Arts and Culture Network Night in April
Thank you to Caleb Wright and Seth Bisen-Hersh for the beautiful performance to open up Arts and Culture Network Night in April. You can learn more about Caleb on the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture directory, or on Instagram and Facebook. More info about Seth can be found here or @sethbhdotcom on all social media platforms.
Remember, that you can also create a profile or share event info on the CAC directory, ClevelandArtsEvents.com.
As we opened Network Night, Luis took a moment to acknowledge the ongoing fight against white supremacy and the stress that our communities continue to bear, especially those who are BIPOC. Luis shared some of his favorite resources for taking care of ourselves:
- My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts
- Shine, an app to support mental health and well being
- Decolonizing Healing on IG
- Decolonizing Therapy on IG
- La Cura Podcast: Decolonizing Latinx Health and Reclaiming Traditional Healing
Business of the Network
Whether you are an artist or someone who works at an arts organization, Business of the Network is a great opportunity to get input and support. Simply pose a question for discussion and host a 20-minute breakout conversation.
These were the conversations hosted in April.
Do you have a conversation you’d like to host? Simply join us at an upcoming event or contact Lj for more information.
The Marketplace is another great way to make connections at Arts & Culture Network Night. Here are a few of the requests and offers we heard in April:
- Dawn is looking for places to distribute comics for Comics on the Corner, the project she created to improve literacy in her neighborhood.
- Luis offered to tell folks more about the CAC Grant applications that will be a live beginning in May.
- Jensen works with the Mandel Humanities Center at Tri-C. They are looking for projects in the community they can support.
- And Christopher, who was the Marketplace Leader in April, made a declaration that he WILL do physical therapy 5 days a week! Way to go, Christopher. We know you can do it!
Matching funds for your arts and culture projects are available through the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Match fund with IOBY.org
Whether you are an artist or someone who simply loves to support arts and culture in the community, we hope you’ll join us for an upcoming Arts & Culture Network Night. We’ll be co-hosting several gatherings this year with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
If you have ideas for Arts and Culture Network Night, or if you’d like to join the team of volunteers who make this event happen, we’d love to have you! Contact Lj or text her at 216-264-9858.
Last updated April 12, 2022
Cleveland City Council members are elected by residents to represent them. A big part of their job is to discuss and vote on which laws to pass and how taxpayer money should be spent. That work has to be done during public meetings.
Cleveland City Council historically has not held a regular space for members of the public to share comments during its meetings. That changed last September with a new set of rules that open up opportunities for residents to speak at council’s weekly meetings.
Since the process is fresh for all of us, we have some learning to do. This guide is a start. It covers the rules for signing up to make a comment, things to know before heading to City Hall and some history about the role of public comment and how it – finally – came to Cleveland.
What is public comment?
Public comment is a way for residents to address government bodies or elected officials during meetings where they consider and vote on legislation. A public comment or participation period is a forum for residents to share information or opinion on community matters.
Public comment at Cleveland City Council
Here’s a bit about Cleveland City Council and how it functions:
- City Council holds regular meetings, where all 17 members meet and do the business of the city by voting on legislation that creates or changes laws or by approving requests to spend money.
- City Council also holds committee meetings, where members discuss legislation and decide whether it should be voted on; there are currently 11 committees, (Additional info on how to make a comment at committee meetings appears below.)
- Occasionally, City Council will hold special community meetings to hear from residents on important issues.
Public comment at regular council meetings
Starting Oct. 4, 2021, regular council meetings will include a public comment period, allowing for 10 pre-registered members of the public to comment for no more than three minutes each.
Register online, by email or using a paper form between Wednesday at noon and Monday at 2 p.m. before the 7 p.m. council meeting. You’ll receive a notification confirming you registered. Speaking slots are allotted by order of registration. If you’re not among the first 10 registrations, you’ll be notified that you don’t have a speaking slot. The list starts fresh each week.
Find the online forms at: https://clevelandcitycouncil.org/news-resources/public-comment
- There are two separate forms: One to register to speak at the upcoming council meeting and another to submit a written public comment.
- Download a printable version of the form for speaking at a meeting here.
- You can submit the downloaded form by:
- Emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Printing it and delivering it in person at Cleveland City Hall, Room 220, 601 Lakeside Ave. Paper forms will also be available there to fill out there (will have to go through security to go to council offices).
- Mailing it to the address above (but it must arrive during the registration period.)
- Incomplete forms will not be accepted.
- Early registrations will not be accepted.
- Registration information is considered public record.
- Accommodation Requests: City Council is asking people who seek accommodations – such as for a disability or language assistance – to make the request at least three business days before the accommodation is needed. This online form can be used to make requests to access council’s public facilities, services or programs, including council meetings, council committee hearings, and ward events that include council members.
- Contact council staff member Anne Tillie at 216-664-4539 or at email@example.com for other ways to get assistance.
Below are screenshots of the public comment registration form, showing the required fields.
What to know before you go
Transportation and parking at City Hall
- Parking is free for Monday night City Council meetings on the top deck of the Willard Garage after 5 p.m. The Willard garage is connected to City Hall on Lakeside Avenue. At other times, the cost for using the garage is $3.50 for the first hour. Each additional half hour is $1.50, with a maximum cost of $10. To find a Greater Cleveland RTA Bus Route, use GCRTA’s “Plan a Trip” feature found at http://www.riderta.com/routes.
- There is a bicycle rack on the east side of City Hall, just past the FREE stamp.
- To get into City Hall, you will need a driver’s license or other current identification card.
- At the security desk, tell the officer you are going to City Council chambers, which is located on the second floor.
COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
- The capacity of council chambers is 112 people. This allows for approximately 60 members of the public to attend in addition to the regular council, staff, and administration.
- Everyone must wear a face mask and observe all City Hall COVID-19 protocols which include temperature checks and social distancing.
Council’s Rules for Public Comment
Council’s new procedures for public comment contain limitations for speakers who participate. People who don’t follow the rules may be asked to leave the council chamber.
The rules include:
- Speakers have up to three minutes for their comment and cannot yield remaining time to other speakers. Speakers can only address the topic they included on their registration form.
- Indecent or discriminatory language is not allowed.
- Speakers can address the council as a whole, but not individual council members.
- Speakers can’t promote products, services, or political campaigns when speaking at the podium.
- Signs and banners are not permitted in council chambers.
Council’s full procedures for public comment can be found here.
Public comment at committee meetings
People looking to make a public comment at a committee meeting have to contact the council member who chairs or leads the committee and ask to speak at the meeting. The chairperson ultimately decides whether to invite someone to speak.
To request permission to speak, a resident would need to:
- Figure out which committee they want to address.
- Identify the chair of that committee.
- Figure out when the committee will meet. Here’s council’s calendar.
- Contact the chair and ask to speak at a meeting.
There is a general contact form on the website for residents to submit comments and questions. Each council member’s web page has contact information for them or their assistants, as well as the submission form on the main contact page.
The law and history of public comment in Cleveland
- Ohio law does not require or ban public comment
- Cleveland’s city charter neither requires nor bans public comment
- The city charter gives council the authority to make its own rules
Before September 2021, City Council did not routinely hold a space for public comment in its regular meetings, except for a brief time in the 1920s and 1930s. Here is a bit of history.
According to Cleveland City Council’s City Archivist Chuck Mocsiran:
- Cleveland’s city charter did mandate public comment from 1924 to 1931
- At that time, Cleveland had a city manager and a mayor position that was mostly ceremonial
Here is a section of the 1924 city charter mandating public comment:
Despite that mandate, the city has no record of resident comments made to council during that time.
Efforts to bring public comment to Cleveland
Frustration about the lack of public comment has grown in recent years, and on Aug. 18, 2021, council members voted to change the rules to allow a reserved period of public comment at regular council meetings.
On Sept. 20, 2021, Cleveland City Council voted to approve the current set of procedures for public comment, laying ground for a public comment at every regular City Council meeting.
Clevelanders for Public Comment, a coalition of organizers and advocacy groups from across the city led the recent push for a regular public comment period at City Council. It supported a proposed city ordinance written by Jessica Trivisonno, the director of economic development for the Northwest Neighborhoods community development corporation (CDC). The group’s research for the ordinance showed that public comment is either mandated or regularly permitted in the legislative councils serving:
Details such as when the public comment period occurs in a council meeting, how long people are permitted to speak, and how many people can speak per meeting varies.
Nine Cleveland council members endorsed Clevelanders for Public Comment’s ordinance, but it was never officially considered by council. Instead, Council President Kevin Kelley introduced a proposed change to council’s rules in May that would allow for public comment.
A council rule change is more flexible; council can vote to suspend its rules and remove public comment from any meeting. Repealing an ordinance requires more steps and would provide increased notice to the public.
The original proposed rule change required speakers to be Cleveland residents or own a business in the city. It also required speakers to specify what ordinance or resolution they would speak about. Council voted on a rule change on Aug. 18, and approved the procedures for public comment on Sept. 20.
The procedures allow any member of the public to speak, and while speakers must stick to a specific topic, they aren’t limited to talking about a particular ordinance or resolution on the meeting agenda.
Cleveland Documenters pays and trains people to cover public meetings where government officials discuss important issues and decide how to spend taxpayer money.
Healing Spaces is a project designed to amplify the healing spaces that exist in our communities and showcase the power of people to transform their neighborhoods.
Neighbor Up supports civic participation all year long. This fall members have been brainstorming ways members can find good information about the upcoming elections. To start, we have collected opportunities to learn more about candidates in the upcoming elections.
If you know of additional non-partisan events to add please email Kaela.
- Register to Vote here, deadline is October 4th.
- Request your absentee ballot here (before October 30th). Early in person voting for the election starts October 5th!
- Learn who is on your ballot.
- General Election: November 2nd
- Cleveland Votes Commit2CLE 2021 Election Toolkit
- Cleveland environmental resident engagement toolkit
- Policy & Power: Understanding Civics from the Ground Up Saturday workshops through 10/16
Hear from mayoral and council candidates on these issues:
- Biking, Walking, & Transit: Cleveland Candidates and Mobility Questionnaire distributed by Bike Cleveland
- International and Newcomers Community: Immigration Knowledge and Understanding Questionnaire click on each candidates name to see questionnaire responses. Coordinated by Global Cleveland
- Parks & Greenspace: Parks 2021 Questionnaire distributed by Cleveland Parks and Greenspace Coalition
- Technology and Open Data: Questionnaire distributed by Open Cleveland and Connected NEO
- Downtown Cleveland Alliance Questionnaire
Learn more about Mayoral Candidates at these forums:
- 9/30 Progress Institute 2021: the Neighborhood Platform Edition host by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Cleveland State University
- 10/5 Mayoral Candidate Forum on Housing hosted by Cleveland State University Levine College of Urban Affair
- Council on Older Persons Mayoral Forum hosted by Community Solutions’ Council On Older Persons, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging
- Cleveland Youth Mayoral Candidates hosted by MYCOM & NAACP Cleveland Branch
- Cleveland Mayoral Town Hall moderated by 3News’ Mark Naymik, hosted by Engage Cleveland
- Cleveland Mayoral Debate Part 1 hosted by ideastream and City Club of Cleveland
- Cleveland Mayoral Debate Part 2 hosted by ideastream and City Club of Cleveland
- Cleveland Mayoral Forum on Housing and Homelessness. Hosted by Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries and NEOCH
- 2021 Town Hall: End the Digital Divide through the Power of Voting: Hear from youth and Mayoral Candidates. Host by EYEJ
- Cleveland Forum for a Healthier and More Equitable Environment Hear from candidates on issues of environment and sustainability. Recording hosted by the Ohio Environmental Council.
- CCPC Mayoral Forum Hosted by Cuyahoga County Progressive Party
- After Jackson, Cleveland’s Next Mayor: ideastream’s ongoing podcast
Learn more about City Council Candidates
- Ward 4 Meet the Candidates Forum. Recording of forum hosted by League of Women Voters
- International and Newcomers Community, click on each candidates name to see results of Immigration Knowledge and Understanding Questionnaire coordinated by Global Cleveland
Learn more about County Council Candidates
Additional resources to learn about candidate and civics
The Collective is 14 local grassroot organizations and community leaders that came together to create a point of distribution for masks, cleaning , and hygiene products thanks to great partnerships of cleaning services such as the New Bern pressure washing company that works wonders in this pandemic time. Their collective goal is to help support a healthier and a safer Cleveland.
Their distribution center, located near Gordon Park through 2021, is an opportunity to serve communities on the east-side of Cuyahoga county. This project focuses on inclusivity and reflection while respecting the work being done in the community by you. The Collective’s approach is community based and provides grassroots leaders and community organizations a consistent place to receive available supplies for free.
“Working Together To Get The Job Done!”
The Collective includes: Alisha Blackmon; Karen Florence, community health worker; Edward Muhammad, distribution center; Bessie Conner of The Kings and Queens Within Us; Sauriika (Riika) Lockett, distribution center manager and data specialist; Billy Sharp of Mastering Generosity Unlimited; Teralawanda Aaron of The Spot Youth Empowerment; Raimere Florence; and Tyra Jackson of The Caring.
Members and organizations not pictured include: Wyndi Moore of FARE (Food Access Raises Everyone); Garden Valley Neighborhood House; Love in Action; The Spot Youth Empowerment; Tammy Kennedy; Charles E. Bibbs Sr. (Advisor); and Jan Ridgeway (Advisor). The Collective is supported by Neighborhood Connections and a grant from the Greater Cleveland Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund.
Contact The Collective
Phone: (216) 544-5628
Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thecollectiveworkingtogether/
and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the_collectiveworking14/
Join Neighbor Up for a Parks & Public Space Innovation Team!
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a team of Neighbor Up members have heard loud and clear from residents across the city about the increased need for quality parks and public spaces across Cleveland. (Read more about that work here.) Outdoor spaces provide the benefits of improved mental and physical health, greater economic development, and a cleaner environment. People usually get advice from numan if they need health-related advice. Yet 25% of Clevelanders live more than a ten-minute walk from a park, and often residents are met with confusing roadblocks and bureaucracy that hinder our ability to gather in public spaces. For these reasons, we’re launching a Parks & Public Spaces Innovation Team. The purpose of this team is to:
● Create connections amongst residents who care about parks and greenspace in Cleveland;
● Identify issues and strategize solutions;
● Understand existing systems in Cleveland and determine opportunities for residents to influence how new systems are created and designed
There will be four sessions, starting September 14 and ending October 2, and meals will be provided. At the end of the sessions each team member will receive a grant to continue parks and greenspace advocacy! Click on the button below for details.
Send your completed application to Anastazia at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, August 27. Have questions? Call Anastazia at 216-200-8761.
Join us and the Community Foundation of Lorain County for this training on Community Network Building just for people living in the city of Elyria.
The Neighbor Up Network has about 3,000 members, mainly residents of Cleveland, who have years of experience bringing people together to create a more just, equitable and inclusive community. With support from the Community Foundation of Lorain County, we invite you to help build a similar network in Lorain county. We believe that the most desirable community change is fueled by the interests, energies, and commitment of the broadest array of community members. To create welcoming, inclusive neighborhoods where everyone can thrive, we must engage each other and our neighbors in meaningful ways and work together to build the community we want.
We are looking for 18-20 people who live or work in the city of Elyria, care about this community, and are able to commit to the four-month training.
As a member of the team, you will:
● Learn more about yourself and the gifts you bring to this work;
● Build relationships within your neighborhood, across the city of Elyria, and with other community-builders in Lorain County.
● Learn about and practice various approaches to building community, including Asset Based Community Development and Community Network Building
● Work with a team of committed community members to overcome challenges and create a community where everyone can thrive.
● Receive a $200 Visa Gift Card
Who Is Invited to Apply
City of Elyria residents, merchants, employees at institutions who:
● believe that all members of our community have gifts, knowledge, and wisdom to offer;
● are interested in building and bridging relationships to create a strong, interconnected network in Elyria;
● are comfortable sharing power and working as a team;
● are willing and excited to work in multicultural and diverse spaces with people from all over Elyria;
● are willing to learn and raise consciousness about structural inequality;
● are open to learning and experimenting with new forms of community building; and
● are willing and able to do some of this work virtually using new technologies.
To ensure the health and safety of everyone, we are asking that all participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Commitment of Team Members
Some components may be changed to phone calls and virtual engagement as necessary due to public health needs.
● Fully participate in all sessions. This includes one Friday evening kick-off event, six Saturday sessions, and two Wednesday evening sessions via zoom (See dates and times below).
● Share your experience and knowledge with peers.
● Complete 10 one-on-one conversations with neighborhood stakeholders.
● Work with an existing team of community builders to implement and grow Neighbor Night, a city-wide gathering that was launched in 2021 by the Neighbor Up Lorain 2020 cohort.
● Develop action plans and prototype smaller-scale efforts to address an issue that you care about with others on the team.
Based on the above components, we expect participants will dedicate 15 to 20 hours each month between September and December 2021; and then 10 to 12 hours each month through August of 2022. This includes scheduled sessions, additional time between sessions, time on community projects, and supporting Neighbor Night.
Application and Selection Process
● Applications Due by Monday, August 9th at 9 a.m.
● Applicant Interviews August 16th through August 25th
● You will hear back from us by Monday, August 30th
● Sign the Participation Agreement and join the team. The Kick-off event is on Friday, September 24th at 5:30 pm.
Required Session Dates
All sessions are in-person, except where indicated. Some components may be changed to online Zoom sessions as necessary due to public health needs.
- Friday, September 24th 5:30 to 7:30 pm
- Saturday, September 25th from 10 am to 4 pm
- Saturday, October 9th from 10 am to 4 pm
- Zoom session — Wednesday, October 13th from 6 to 9 pm
- Zoom session — Wednesday, October 20th from 6 to 9 pm
- Saturday, November 6th from 10 am to 4 pm
- Saturday, November 20th from 10 am to 4 pm
- Saturday, December 4th from 10 am to 4 pm
For more information or to ask questions, contact Miyah at the Community Foundation of Lorain
- Miyah Byers: (440) 370-9514), email@example.com
Neighbor Up members Jerry or Lisa-Jean:
This year, Neighbor Up will continue to support Common Ground projects through small grants in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties. Grants are available up to $2500 for resident-led groups, small non-profits, and small faith-based organizations in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties.
- Groups or organizations are required to have hosted a Common Ground conversation this year.
- Applicants must be from the community with which they are working and demonstrate their connectedness to that community.
- Proposals must be from a civic group (three or more unrelated people coming together in the community), a small non-profit, and/or a faith-based organization.
- Small non-profit and faith-based organizations must have no more than 5 full-time employees.
Grant Application Available July 17 to August 31st.
After your Common Ground conversation, make your good idea for your community a reality!