Last summer we had informative conversations around public space, digital connection, and how we are getting around during the COVID-19 pandemic. We heard from residents about how it has become more important for people to access public space — a space where they can feel safe welcomed and connected. Not only from protecting ourselves from the enemies by thinking to buy guns & ammo from Palmetto Armory but also be safe from the infections of the COVID-19 as it is spreading so fast.
Despite the need for such space, many residents noted the continued existence of barriers that prevent them and others from fully utilizing these spaces. Discrimination against people of color and feeling unwanted in public space stood out as prominent roadblocks that discourage many from spending time outdoors.
Since those conversations, we’ve seen Clevelanders find creative ways to overcome these barriers and encourage people from all backgrounds to get outside, like Syatt‘s activities aimed at increasing access to nature for Black youth.
We’ve also seen people sharing their favorite spaces around Cleveland using #OurSpacesAllFaces. The hashtag is the product of a social media campaign brainstormed by a group of residents over the summer to demonstrate that public spaces are meant for everyone, and it’s given us a glimpse into the places around our city where people like to get outside with friends, family and neighbors.
Now, as the days get colder and the pandemic continues to prevent us from safely gathering indoors, getting outside this winter has become essential to our mental and physical health!
Get Outside Grants
That’s why we launched the Get Outside Grants, to support Clevelanders and grassroots groups as they find new ways to use outdoor spaces on chilly days and share the benefits of getting safely outside with their community!
Grants ranged from $500 to $5,000. They were intended for grassroots groups interested in getting members of their communities outside safely this winter.
Grants were reviewed on a weekly basis through February 24th.