Cleveland: Are We All In?


I moved to the greater Cleveland area exactly 27 years ago – Memorial Day weekend, 1988.  I have since fallen in love with this area and it feels like home.  There’s so much to enjoy:  natural wonders like Lake Erie and the Metroparks, more fabulous restaurants all the time, culture galore, and all of it with relatively little traffic.  Cleveland is experiencing a renaissance right now, especially evident in our downtown area – occupancy rates soaring, a world-class grocery store, lots of energy.

This particular moment is strange in our city.  The front page of the Plain Dealer today recorded it well:  half the page dedicated to the victory which propelled the Cavs into the NBA finals, and half the page dedicated to the new police procedures mandated as a result of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

We are excited about our basketball team and at the same time holding our collective breath as we continue to absorb the news of the Brelo verdict and await news in the Tamir Rice case.

We have a bona fide hometown hero in LeBron James who plays and lives with heart and passion, who calls for the citizens of Cleveland to remain calm and direct their energies towards rallying around the Cavs.

We are this American city:

  • A foodies’ paradise –  where over 200,000 people are classified as “food insecure”
  • Home of the internationally acclaimed Cleveland Orchestra and the spectacular Cleveland Museum of Art, but how many of our students in Cleveland public schools have access to arts education?
  • Our largest employer is the Cleveland Clinic with its world-class care, yet access to that care remains difficult for some.

More bike paths?  More micro-breweries?  A winning sports team?  It’s all good for Cleveland, but what really matters is what civil rights activist A. Philip Randolph once said:  “A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.”

That’s the kind of “All In” we need the most.


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