February 8, 2024 — Cleveland — This morning, the city made history with the swearing-in ceremony for the Cleveland Commission on Black Women and Girls a critical initiative sponsored by Mayor Justin M. Bibb, Councilwoman Deborah A. Gray and Councilwoman Stephanie D. Howse-Jones.
“This Commission is creating an opportunity for Black women and girls to work in partnership with the City of Cleveland on the agenda that they believe is best,” said Councilwoman Howse-Jones, a co-sponsor of the ordinance that created this commission. “To get results, we must give the power to Black women. They know what is needed.”
The newly established Commission is dedicated to advocating, initiating, and championing programs and legislation aimed at enhancing outcomes for Black women and girls, as well as their families and communities.
"The only way to substantively and permanently improve the living conditions of Black women in our city is to center the voices and lived experiences of Black women," Mayor Bibb said. “I look forward to listening closely, engaging deeply, and collaborating with this commission of outstanding leaders to implement programs and policies that begin to close the success gaps that have plagued Black women in Cleveland for centuries too long."
The Bibb administration and Cleveland City Council oversaw the selection process to ensure a diverse representation of expertise and backgrounds. The Commission includes individuals from healthcare systems, faith communities, grassroots organizations, and other varying fields.
“The Commission members and I look forward to working with Black women and girls from across Cleveland to identify resources and solutions to the challenges they face on a daily basis,” said Kathryn Hall, chair of the new Commission. “This Commission will collaborate with those organizations who are doing this important work in Cleveland, convene dialogues for individuals to share their stories, and ultimately serve as a catalyst for change in our city.”
The establishment of the Cleveland Commission on Black Women and Girls is an important step forward for the city. The recently appointed members will concentrate on tackling systemic inequalities and structural obstacles experienced by Black women and girls.
Inaugural Members of the Cleveland Commission on Black Women and Girls:
Kathryn M. Hall -- Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, JACK Entertainment
Linda Bradley, MD -- Vice Chair, Women’s Health Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Eugenia Cash-Kirkland -- Social Support Services Director, City of Cleveland
Rev. Dr. Lisa Maxine Goods -- Senior Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church
Taneisha Fair -- Associate, Racial Equity, The Center for Community Solutions
Stephanie Howse-Jones -- Member of Cleveland City Council (Ward 7)
Shameka Jones Taylor -- Chief Operating Officer, Saint Martin de Porres High School
Anastasia Sakairoun -- Student, Cleveland State University College of Law
Dameyonna Willis -- Founder and Executive Director, Queen IAM
Lita-Marie Wills -- Commissioner of Health Equity and Social Justice, City of Cleveland
*Once the Commission is up and running, two open 3-year terms and three open 2-year terms will be filled by the administration and City Council based on recommendations from current commissioners
“I am delighted to see this commission moving forward, especially during our observance of Black History Month,” said Councilwoman Gray. “These outstanding women are the leaders we need to fight for better outcomes for Black women in this city.”