Listening to the voices of the people

(Plain Press, November 2004) Most of us have now heard the sobering news that Cleveland is number one in poverty for cities of its size across the United States . For most affected by poverty in our community, this announcement was not much of a surprise. While they may have not known that Cleveland was number one, they were aware that resources were slim, need was great and their quality of life had suffered.

Since the actual announcement, a variety of efforts have taken place to address issues and concerns related to poverty. Out of this, a diverse coalition of organizations and churches from across the Cleveland community has joined together with a focus on providing the low-income with a voice.

This will include a way for low-income residents to state what they think the problem is, what they believe needs to be done and, most importantly, how they can be part of future action steps.

This has resulted in A Grassroots Economic Development Meeting for the Low Income to be held on Saturday, November 13 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm in the Student Center on TRI-C’s Metro Campus. The theme is Self Determination and Community Empowerment. The forum’s workshops will ask attendees what is needed to enable low-income residents to provide for themselves and their families, what is lacking in our community, what obstacles exists, and what needs to be done to remove those obstacles. The intent is for those who live poverty every day to be the ones providing the answers.

Anyone in the city who considers themselves low income and/or no income is encouraged to attend and participate. The supporting organizations are working on providing childcare. Expect to have one or more workshops to hear from the children from age 7 and up. Lunch will be provided, along with a raffle for a variety of door prizes.

At present the sponsoring organizations include the Collaborative for Organizing Mt. Pleasant, the May Dugan Center , the Neighborhood Center Association, Council on Economic Opportunities of Greater Cleveland, New Life Community and a number of churches and other agencies. The group will be contacting other organizations and individuals over the next weeks to encourage their support and participation and ask that they inform their program participants of this opportunity. For more information, contact Tim Walters at the May Dugan Center, 631-5800.


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