The Greater Cleveland Civil and Human Rights Coalition worked together for several years to build a diverse and strong movement for civil rights. During past workshops the group agreed to convene for regular sessions for communication development, to share updates, resources and build community as recommended by BORDC staff. It had been many months since the coalition met before the workshop led by George Friday on Sunday, September 21.
Coalition members have worked together over the months and participated in anti-war events and rallies, actions against deportation and for humane immigration policies, and provided support to the families of and promote justice for the victims of 137 shots. This past Sunday, the group discussed why coalition building must go beyond just showing up at events as they explored the pitfalls that might undermine effective cross community work for power. Issues of race, color, gender and class comprised most of the group’s discussion with a range of responses that led those present to commit to come together before the end of the year in early December to continue their dialogue.
Using information from a workshop held last year when key issues, barriers and recommendations for solutions were identified, the group focused on some of the ways groups can become divided and lose cohesion and influence. Next steps involve taking on some of the recommended steps while collectively learning about oppression and building community. To date the Council on Islamic American Relations, the Immigrant Support Network and the Carl Stokes Brigade have been the coalition’s primary coordinators. This role will now rotate to 4-5 organizers who stepped forward Sunday to coordinate communication, activities and organize the December convening.