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Our Communities are VITAL!

Our Businesses are VITAL!

Our People are VITAL!

A Message from Councilwoman Deborah Gray

Dear Neighbor,

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


Thank you,

Deborah A. Gray

Cleveland City Councilwoman, Ward 4

Cleveland (Aug. 5, 2022)Application Deadline for Cleveland Commission on Black Women and Girls Extended to August 31

The deadline for application to the Commission on Black Women and Girls has been extended to August 31. Council, in collaboration with Mayor Bibb’s administration, unanimously passed legislation to create the Commission on Black Women and Girls in early June. The Commission’s mission is to improve the quality of life for women and girls by advocating, initiating, and championing programs and legislation to strengthen families and communities.

Those interested in serving on the Commission can apply at

More than 100 women and girls have submitted applications to serve on the commission. Black women and girls know more than anyone else how to improve their position at school, at work, and in the community. Extending the deadline allows time for Council and the Mayor’s administration to receive even more high-quality applicants, and to exhaustively review the prospective members.

In speaking about the importance of the Commission, Councilwoman Stephanie Howse, one of the legislation’s cosponsors said, “Black women and girls account for more than a quarter of the City’s population. When our city’s black women and girls thrive, Cleveland thrives.”

Councilwoman Deborah Gray, legislation cosponsor stated, “This Commission is a significant step toward empowering Black women and girls who have long been denied numerous opportunities. It represents one of the ways this Council is working to modernize Cleveland.”

The Cleveland Commission on Black Women and Girls will serve as an advisor to the mayor and city council and make recommendations based on a data-driven approach.

The Commission will consist of 12 regular members and 2 ex officio* members, including:

  • One Black woman representing the faith community

  • One Black woman representing corporate Cleveland

  • One Black woman representing higher education

  • One Black woman who is a MD within one of the hospital systems

  • One Black woman representing social services

  • One Black woman representing labor

  • One Black woman representing education (primary, secondary and/or pre-school)

  • One Black woman representing grassroots organizations in Cleveland

  • Two Black women in college

  • Two Black students representing ages 11-17

  • One Black woman from the Mayor’s Office

  • One Black woman to represent Cleveland City Council