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Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis and Introduces Nominations to Citizens’ Advisory Council on Equity

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Devyn Giannetti: (216) 255-9813; dgiannetti@cuyahogacounty.us 

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH - Cuyahoga County Council passed legislation declaring racism as a public health crisis today and introduced the nominations for the Citizens’ Advisory Council on Equity. Nominated by County Executive Budish, they are subject to approval by County Council and tasked in part with reviewing and providing recommendations to reduce the disparity between Black and White people when it comes to:
  • Healthcare
  • The criminal justice system
  • Healthy food
  • Safe and affordable housing
  • Well-paying jobs and business ownership opportunity
  • Quality transportation
  • Educational opportunities
  • Safe places to be active

The resolution addressed structural and systemic racism and the disparities between Black and White people in Cuyahoga County. Executive Budish’s nominations to the Citizens’ Advisory Council on Equity are:
  • Rabbi Joshua Caruso—Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple
  • Stephen Caviness—Director of Project Management, Team NEO
  • Dr. Kenneth W. Chalker—Retired Senior Pastor, University Circle United Methodist Church
  • Jenice Contreras—Executive Director, Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development
  • Habeebah Rasheed Grimes—Chief Executive Officer, Positive Education Program
  • Dr. Heidi Gullett, Medical Director, Cuyahoga County Board of Health
  • Phyllis “Seven” Harris—Executive Director, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
  • Randell McShepard—Vice President, Chief Talent Officer, RPM International Inc.
  • Marsha A. Mockabee—President and CEO, Urban League of Greater Cleveland
  • India Pierce Lee—Senior Vice President, Program, Cleveland Foundation
  • Victor Ruiz—Executive Director, Esperanza, Inc.
  • Cordell E. Stokes—Chairman/CEO for CLC Stokes Consulting Group LLC
  • Danielle Sydnor—President, Cleveland Branch of NAACP
  • Eddie Taylor Jr.—President, Taylor Oswald, LLC
  • Sheila Wright—President, The Good Community Foundation

“This group is made up of so many incredible leaders that have worked tirelessly in their respective communities to create change and foster growth in new and innovative ways,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “Members of this board will influence decisions that shape the quality of life for our residents, and I am excited to see the great work the Council on Equity will do for Cuyahoga County.”

The Council on Equity will provide a status report no later than December 31, 2020, including any changes to County policies, procurement, structure of County government and the Cuyahoga County Code. Cuyahoga County will implement policy changes in response to the findings or recommendations from the Citizens’ Advisory Council on Equity.

“I recognize that racism is real and creates a public health crisis; as a community we have to work together to promote equity and eradicate racism,” said District 7 Councilwoman Yvonne Conwell.

“Having been a lead sponsor in creating the Equity Plan in 2012, I strongly support this effort to develop a comprehensive anti-racist program in health care, housing, employment and promotion, contracting, education, criminal justice, environment, and all other areas of county activity,” said District 2 Councilman Dale Miller.

“Our resolution declaring that racism is a public health crisis makes our values very clear and illustrates how we should view the work we do; now I look to this Advisory Council to help us turn those values into actions that will finally begin to address these issues of race and equity that have been given lip service for far too long,” said District 9 Councilwoman Shontel Brown.