The Saturday, March 12, 2016, inaugural Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions engaged over 400 attendees from throughout Greater Cleveland to spend their Saturday morning in serious dialogue about key community issues. In addition, representatives from more than 70 nonprofit organizations staffed informational booths before the caucus started, and then joined the attendees in brainstorming priorities within eight “caucus areas.”
I want to start by thanking the Greater Cleveland Caucus Series partners for this 2016 initiative. I hope that the Caucus Series, and their related events (such as debate watch parties), provides structure for positive outcomes for Cleveland's future, and acts as a catalyst to involve more Greater Cleveland citizens in that future. The partners include:
Greater Cleveland Caucus - Fred Talks
Fred Talks build on Cleveland Foundation founder Frederick Harris Goff’s legacy of innovative thinking by inviting community members to learn, engage with one another, and champion new ideas in conversations with local and national thought leaders. Each event features a thought-provoking conversation, public Q&A session, and facilitated brainstorming roundtables that challenge attendees to become Cleveland’s next champions for change.
UPDATE -- MAY 9, 2016: Videos of the Fred Talks speeches from the March 12 Greater Cleveland Caucus Town Hall have now been added to this blog post!
Rather than write a summary of each of these Fred Talks in my blog post, I recommend reading about the talks in these articles:
Cleveland Foundation community caucus stirs healthy discourse on urban issues (photos)
By James Ewinger (@EwingerJ), The Plain Dealer on March 13, 2016, at 6:00 AM, updated March 14, 2016, at 11:30 AM
Takeaways from the Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions
Blog post on March 15, 2016, by Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation)
While I was writing this blog post, I received an email from Cleveland Foundation Chief Marketing Officer Michael D. Murphy indicating that videos of these Fred Talks will be added to the foundation's YouTube channel. Be sure to watch not only their YouTube channel, but also the Cleveland Foundation website and @CleveFoundation on Twitter for these videos and more information about caucus follow-up events.
UPDATE -- MAY 9, 2016: In addition to the videos being added to this blog post, I can now also provide a link to the Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions (March 12) playlist on YouTube.
Greater Cleveland Caucus Discussion
During the Fred Talks, all the attendees were seated in different sections of Cleveland Public Auditorium, according to which of the eight caucus areas they were interested in discussing. With over 400 attendees, the organizers where then able to break each caucus area into smaller groups. Each group was charged with the task of coming up with a positive priority for Greater Cleveland in 10 words for less.
I decided to join one of the Environmental Sustainability discussion groups, since several of my blog posts have dealt with greenway and waterway issues in our community. We had about seven people at our table, including Chagrin River Watershed Partners Executive Director Heather Elmer, Lake Metroparks Chief of Marketing Services Sharon Jenkins (@LakeMetroparks), a student from Hathaway Brown School (@HathawayBrown), and The Trust for Public Land Ohio Director of Philanthropy Jeremy Davit (@JeremyDavit - @tpl_org).
I do not remember the name of the Hathaway Brown student, but want to note that I thought it was really great that a high school student was actively providing her input. She was often the first person presenting ideas! It is exciting to see the next generation involved in our community's future.
After our discussion at the table, Jeremy also shared some information and a map about The Trust for Public Land's work with Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation), LAND studio (@cleveLANDstudio), and the Cleveland Metroparks (@CleveMetroparks) in developing the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail that I want to share with you here:
Greater Cleveland Caucus Vote
Once each table generated their priority idea, each of the attendees was given hand-held voting devices, and the results were shown on the big screens.
In the Cleveland Foundation's blog post Takeaways from the Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions, they provide a full summary of the Greater Cleveland Caucus results as a PDF file, which I have included here for your downloading pleasure.
Greater Cleveland Caucus Photos & Video
Tweets & Retweets
Here are my over 250 @sos_jr tweets and retweets about the Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions and related activities. I always find it interesting to see what others share during an event like this.
Please share any tweets with content or photos that you find interesting by retweeting them. Clicking on Twitter photos will enlarge them!
Announcing the 2016 Greater Cleveland Caucus Series! Learn about the series & join us at the first event Mar. 12: https://t.co/VQNljcRjb7— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) February 12, 2016
@sos_jr You are the hardest working man in all of Social media! Love reading your tweets and seeing your adventures.— BarbaraSandon Norris (@sandon53) March 12, 2016
"In 2014, 485 children in Cleveland had elevated levels." #CLECaucus— LGBTCleveland (@LGBTCleveland) March 12, 2016
Are we distressed? I don't think it's even an argument. The doctor just told us that infant mortality and lead poisoning r major #CLECaucus— Journey With Jaz (@JazminALong) March 12, 2016
This room is filled with 100% Cleveland . #CLECaucus— Jenn Elting (@ThingsToShea) March 12, 2016
This room is filled with citizen leadership and love for Cleveland #CLECaucus— Jodi Mitchell (@JodiCMitchell) March 12, 2016
Talking about the history & importance of welcoming refugees, Cimperman says "The Land is a place where futures have been made." #CLECaucus— Kate (@bigkatenewsome) March 12, 2016
"We have to get rid of barriers to capital for the African American community. We need to start lending to the Black community." #CLECaucus— LGBTCleveland (@LGBTCleveland) March 12, 2016
Each of us has an unlimited ability to be creative #CLECaucus— Gabriella Celeste (@mgeecee) March 12, 2016
"You know the fastest way to get a job? Start one yourself." Eric Diamond, ECDI #CLEcaucus— Hermione Malone (@mimiincle) March 12, 2016
I am tired of seeing children killed in CLE and we need to change that. #CLECaucus— Gabriella Celeste (@mgeecee) March 12, 2016
Ron soeder on safety- children killed too soon, it is a crisis, need to celebrate monuments of life not death #CLECaucus— Jodi Mitchell (@JodiCMitchell) March 12, 2016
Ron Soeder challenges us to be a mentor and give of ourselves what can benefit others! Empowered! #CLECaucus— LaToya Logan (@LogansTwoSense) March 12, 2016
"Violence is a public health crisis." Ron Soeder, Boys & Girls Club #CLECaucus— Kate (@bigkatenewsome) March 12, 2016
Mentoring = shared DNA not required, make a difference through caring #CLECaucus— Jodi Mitchell (@JodiCMitchell) March 12, 2016
NOACA invites all NEOians to participate in developing a transportation plan for the next generation #CLECaucus— Sydney Martis (@SydtheKid812) March 12, 2016
Many wonderful group dicussions at #CLECaucus— RFJYouth2016 (@RfjYouth2016) March 12, 2016
We're getting ready to vote on the #CLECaucus priorities! What do YOU think we should do to make our region better?— ClevelandYPS (@ClevelandYPS) March 12, 2016
What's your vote? Education #CLECaucus— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) March 12, 2016
Health, what's your vote? #CLECaucus— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) March 12, 2016
Neighborhoods + Housing, what's your vote? #CLECaucus— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) March 12, 2016
Jobs + Economy #CLECaucus— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) March 12, 2016
Safety #CLECaucus what's your vote? We voted, now it's your turn!— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) March 12, 2016
Transportation #CLECaucus— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) March 12, 2016
Great job City Club and CLE Foundation and CLE peps #CLECAUCUS— Gabriella Celeste (@mgeecee) March 12, 2016
Population + Demographics— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) March 12, 2016
The environment, what's your vote? #CLECaucus— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) March 12, 2016
Thank YOU for everything! We're excited to continue the hard work in the coming months! https://t.co/gZN3aqdq62— ClevelandYPS (@ClevelandYPS) March 12, 2016
.@KhrysCLE Thanks for your kind words. Hope we can talk at a future event, so see you next time!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. (@sos_jr) March 12, 2016
Tweets I shared after the event
Cleveland Foundation community caucus stirs healthy discourse on urban issues (photos) https://t.co/gfUPXjFlEC— James Ewinger (@EwingerJ) March 13, 2016
The votes are in! The community priority is "mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods by eliminating absentee landlords & vacant homes."— The City Club (@TheCityClub) March 12, 2016
The votes are in! The population priority is "institutional change to create welcoming and equitable opportunities for all." #CLECaucus— The City Club (@TheCityClub) March 12, 2016
NEW BLOG POST: Takeaways from the Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions https://t.co/g2rVxOzJel— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) March 16, 2016
@sos_jr Oh good, thanks!— Joshua Jones (@Josh_CLE) March 22, 2016
Normally, I would attend an event that had the energy level and high participation level of the inaugural Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions, and report that it was a great success -- the end. That is NOT the case with this event!
For the Greater Cleveland Caucus, the event organizers presented a higher goal -- for it to be just the beginning! It cannot be considered a success unless it leads to real action that makes change in the Greater Cleveland community.
To that end, there will be more events and more work to be done. I look forward to learning about these next steps, and recommend that you engage in a future caucus at: ClevelandFoundation.org/Caucus
On Twitter, watch for tweets with the #CLECaucus hashtag, and for announcements by the partners:
Mark you calendar now for the next event, and RSVP online:
YPCLE: The Millennial Caucus
By: Cleveland Young Professional Senate
Saturday, May 14, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Avenue #200, Cleveland, OH 44114
Related Blog Posts
I have included here my other blog posts that deal with environmental issues that are related to the discussion group I attended during the Caucus:
Blog Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Cleveland Waterfront Panel: Is Development Paying Off?
Blog Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Eastside Greenway - A Vision for a Future Eastside Cleveland Bikeway
Blog Date: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Visiting Wally Waterdrop - NEORSD Open House
Blog Date: Thursday, September, 18, 2014
Cleveland Foundation Centennial Gift: Weekends on the Water
Blog Date: Thursday, September 11, 2014
"Take a Hike" - Cleveland's Flats & Beyond!