A Message from Councilwoman Deborah Gray
I am proud to announce that legislation I sponsored, giving Black women much needed dignity and respect, has been unanimously approved by City Council. The legislation establishes the Cleveland Commission on Black Women and Girls, a 15-member body that will recommend programs, policies and legislation aimed at improving the quality of life for Black women and girls. Creating this commission is in response to a 2020 Bloomberg report showing Black women living in Cleveland ranked last in the nation regarding equity access to social, health, economic and education opportunities. But even without the study, we felt this. This is a national embarrassment and we cannot tolerate this glaring inequity. The commission creates a venue where Black women may express their concerns, experiences and challenges and where recommendations will be developed for programs that will improve their lives.
When Black women flourish, families and communities flourish. Commission appointees will come from different backgrounds and experiences, representing faith, education, organized labor, health care, social work and more. Now that the legislation has passed, the mayor’s office and council will begin the process of selecting the commission members. The commission will conduct research and public hearings and issue reports on the status of Black women and girls. It will serve as an advisor to the mayor and city council. The commission will also establish a girls’ subcommittee to identify, explore and recommend solutions to obstacles that Black girls are facing, primarily in the schools. This is real progress toward freeing Black women from so many dead-ends in their lives. I see this commission as a monumental step toward empowering black women and girls who for so long have been denied so much.
I want to thank Mayor Justin Bibb
and my council colleague Stephanie
Howse who co-sponsored the
Deborah A. Gray
Cleveland City Councilwoman, Ward 4