United Way of Greater Cleveland and NAACP Cleveland branch present 10-part series of Community Conversations about the Cleveland Consent Decree and Police Reform

First discussion led by retired Cleveland Judge Ronald Adrine with panelists instrumental to the implementation of the mandates identified in the 2015 Consent Decree.

NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CLEVELAND (January 27, 2021) – The NAACP Cleveland Branch and United Way of Greater Cleveland today presented the first in a 10-part series of Community Conversations about the Cleveland Consent Decree and police reform.

In 2015, the City of Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice entered the Consent Decree, a five-year agreement in which the city was mandated to make policy changes in how the Cleveland Division of Police interacts with the community. The goal of the Cleveland Consent Decree is to repair community trust and protect the constitutional rights of the people of Cleveland.

The first Community Conversation reviewed and discussed the background of the Cleveland Consent Decree, its purpose, current state, changes that have been made and the future of police reform in Cleveland. You can view the first segment on the City Club Cleveland's YouTube page.

Retired Cleveland Judge Ronald Adrine, a nationally recognized expert on violence issues, moderated the panel discussion, which brought together members of the community who are instrumental to the implementation of the mandates identified in the decree.

Panelists:                            
Hassan Aden, Monitor, Cleveland Police Monitoring Team

Bridget Brennan, Acting U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Ohio

Jason Goodrick, Executive Director, Cleveland Community Police Commission

Ayesha Hardaway, Deputy Monitor, Cleveland Police Monitoring Team

Barbara Langhenry, Law Director, City of Cleveland

Danielle Sydnor, President of the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP

Calvin Williams, Chief of Police, City of Cleveland

“After the murder of George Floyd, the nation was forced to reckon with the reality that wide scale police reform is not only necessary, but long overdue,” said Danielle Sydnor, president of the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP. “We recognized that even though Cleveland Police are under a consent decree, many members of the community are still largely unaware of what that means and what they can do to help the department reform. The goal of this series is to make it easier for the community to have a voice in this process.”

Sydnor added: “The monthly topics we will address through the Cleveland Consent Decree Community Conversations are right in line with the work the NAACP has championed every day for more than a century here in Cleveland.”

Between now and October, the monthly series will focus on the current state of the Cleveland Consent Decree and the future of policing in the city through a two-way dialogue, inviting community participation. Each session highlights an area of the Consent Decree and police reform, featuring conversation among experts, community leaders and the public.

“United Way of Greater Cleveland’s mission is to be a voice for those in need who so often go unheard,” said Augie Napoli, president and CEO at United Way of Greater Cleveland. “We know that there are many layers of poverty that also often go unseen but must be discussed and addressed for anything to change in our city where generational poverty has afflicted far too many within our community for far too long.”

“United Way and the NAACP’s objective for these monthly Community Conversations is to provide a forum to raise awareness and increase community engagement about the Consent Decree and how it affects members of our community,” Napoli continued. “While no single organization can solve Cleveland’s inequity issues on their own, United Way is proud to be part of a coalition of partner organizations from across the public and private sectors who have come together to support this program.”

The Consent Decree Community Conversations 10-part series is made possible through the generous support of Cuyahoga Community College and Rockwell Automation.

In addition, more than 30 Community Partners also support the series through communication and outreach efforts including:

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc.
  • The Center for Community Solutions
  • The City Club of Cleveland
  • Cleveland City Councilman Blaine A. Griffin Ward 6
  • Cleveland City Councilmember Jasmin Santana, Ward 14
  • Cleveland City Councilmember Jenny Spencer, Ward 15
  • Cleveland City Councilman Kenneth Johnson, Ward 4
  • Cleveland City Councilman Kerry McCormack, Ward 3
  • Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell, Ward 9
  • Cleveland City Councilmember Phyllis Cleveland, Ward 5
  • Cleveland Public Theatre
  • Cleveland State University
  • East End Neighborhood House
  • Esperanza
  • Facing History and Ourselves
  • Fatima Family Center
  • Friendly Inn Settlement Corporation
  • Harvard Community Services Center
  • Karamu
  • The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
  • Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry
  • May Dugan Center
  • Murtis Taylor
  • Neighborhood Connections
  • Neighborhood Leadership Institute
  • Saint Luke’s Foundation
  • United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland
  • Urban League of Greater Cleveland
  • WOVU
  • Youth Opportunities Unlimited
  • YWCA of Greater Cleveland

The next Cleveland Consent Decree Community Conversation takes place on Feb. 10 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. and will focus on use of force, including vehicle pursuit, with Rick Jackson, senior host and producer at ideastream, moderating the discussion. Learn more about NAACP – Cleveland Branch and United Way of Greater Cleveland Cleveland’s Community Conversation series by visiting www.unitedwaycleveland.org and clevelandnaacp.org.

About NAACP Cleveland Branch: Chartered in Cleveland in 1912, the Cleveland Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is a branch of the National Association. Founded in 1909, the NAACP is a membership-based civil rights organization. The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Learn more at clevelandnaacp.org

About United Way of Greater Cleveland: Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information, visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.

Media contacts:
Danielle Sydnor, NAACP – Cleveland Branch: 216.910.9014 and clevelandbranchnaacp@gmail.com

Katie Connell, United Way of Greater Cleveland: 404.895.5513 and kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org