Lack of Inclusion, Diversity in Cleveland’s Civic Leadership ‘Perennial Issue’

by | Aug 29, 2018

By Emily Bamforth,


The majority of Cleveland’s business and civic leaders are white, male and over 50 — an issue that once again surfaced at the City Club of Cleveland Friday. The power brokerage can leave Clevelanders outside the circle feeling isolated. Efforts to make an impact on their communities feel fruitless.


“They feel like it might not be their city,” Shana Black, founder of blogger collective Black Girl CLE. “I don’t think people trust that their opinions matter anymore.”


As one City Club discussion attendee put it, Cleveland has a problem with “old and not smart leaders.”


It’s a “perennial culture issue” here, says Brad Whitehead, president of the Fund for Our Economic Future. Conversations about the lack of diversity and inclusion in the region’s civic leadership aren’t new, but the complaints are bubbling up again.


Fueling the conversation is a report from the Fund for Our Economic Future titled “Two Tomorrows” that ties solving racial inequality problems to Cleveland’s success.


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