Activists Rally for Seat at the Table in Economic Development Discussions


Sam Allard / Scene

Standing behind a row of symbolic folding chairs on the Plain Dealer Plaza outside 1801 Superior Ave., a group of 20-25 local activists rallied for a seat at the table in current regional economic development discussions.

The group, organized as the Coalition for Open Regional Development (CORD), was spawned in part by a letter penned by attorney Rebecca Maurer in Crain’s Cleveland Business, calling for transparency in the planning of a regional summit in 2019.  Both Maurer’s letter and speakers Thursday argued that for a summit to be truly inclusive, community members must be involved from the very beginning of the process, including the two-day “design session” which kicked off on the second floor of 1801 Superior shortly after the rally concluded.

“We demand that any regional summit be governed and led by a board that is representative of the region’s diversity,” said Avery Martens in introductory remarks, adding that a majority of board members should be elected by the community itself and should represent the region in race, gender, income level, occupation and geography.

Speakers from Black Lives Matter Cleveland, Clevelanders for Public Transit, the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, Democratic Socialists of America, Standing Up for Racial Justice, the Ohio Student Association and other progressive groups approached the same message from different angles, championing related causes under the umbrella of economic justice.

The core theme, though, as articulated by Kareem Henton of Black Lives Matter Cleveland, was this: “Nothing is scarier for poor and disenfranchised people than when rich people and politicians come together in a room to talk about the needs of poor people, without including poor people.”

“Nothing about us, WITHOUT us,” chanted the demonstrators after Henton spoke.

Veteran activist Greg Coleridge quoted a relevant adage later, reminding those gathered that, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

The current ‘table,’ such as it is, includes 84 of the region’s emerging and established leaders, selected from the networks of an As Yet Unnamed Committee Of 15 civic leaders (AYUCO15). The full invite list was released to the media Thursday.

It was stressed by the rally’s speakers that the 2019 summit and its precedent conversations are merely the latest iterations of existential hand-wringing that mushrooms up in Northeast Ohio periodically. These conversations always result in “big projects and trickle-down economics.” That’s the status quo, or at any rate one element of it, that demonstrators desperately want to change.

Brad Whitehead, President of the Fund for our Economic Future, and Bradford Davy, the Fund’s recently hired director of community engagement, were the only leaders invited to the design session who attended the demonstration and listened to the roster of speakers. They spoke with CORD members informally after the prepared remarks.

They said they’d been invited to the design session and planned to attend because they felt the conversation was an important one. But they agreed with the rally’s sentiments — Whitehead cited the insistent call for racial equity in The Two Tomorrows Report, published earlier this year, and said he would now enter the meeting “humbler and smarter.”

When Yvonka Hall, who leads the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, challenged Whitehead and Davy to leave the design session if there was not sufficient community representation, they deferred. But they appeared to take the message, and the demonstrators’ broader set of demands, to heart. They vowed to attend CORD’s meetings in January and February to help elect a slate of community representatives.

Scene magazine 2017 People Issue

July 19-25, 2017

Four years ago, we met around a table, smacked our foreheads and decided it was high time we featured Clevelanders doing cool things in the region. We put together a long list of candidates. The only real qualifications were that we thought our subjects were interesting: They were young, old, black, brown, white, straight, gay, trans, cis, artistic, entrepreneurial, social, political and smart. They were weird and wonderful and enthusiastic about things that we sometimes were, and sometimes were not, also enthusiastic about. We had so much fun talking to our subjects that we did the same thing the next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.

This is our fifth annual People Issue, and once again we’ve been bowled over by the energy and diversity of the human beings with whom we share a city. In the following pages, you’ll meet artists, activists and an architect; writers, teachers and chefs. You’ll meet a rapper and a lawyer, a hardwood restoration specialist and a naturalist. You might meet someone you know — but you’ll certainly meet 27 people who you’ll want to know.

This is the Scene People Issue: Don’t be shy.

People 2017 photos by Ken Blaze Photography.

Greg Coleridge



Move to Amend Reports on Progress and Actions From the National Conventions

August 11, 2016


Move to Amend Reports connects you with activists and organizers working on the frontlines of the democracy movement, to bring you the lowdown on corporate rule, corporate personhood, and money as speech.

TUNE IN EVERY THURSDAY MORNING AT 7am PACIFIC / 10am EASTERN. Click here to listen to this week’s show!

While millions of people were tuned in for the political party conventions in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Houston as the presidential Move to Amend was on the ground connecting and building relationships with activists and organizers from across the political spectrum. Join us for a special report on Move to Amend’s activities during the Conventions with Move to Amend Ohio coordinator Greg Coleridge, Imam Paul Hasan of the American Friends Services Committee, Move to Amend outreach & engagement director David Cobb, Move to Amend National Leadership members Daniel Lee and Egberto Willies (Move to Amend Reports co-host), who served as a Houston delegate to the DNC.

Greg Coleridge is Director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee (AFSC, a Quaker social action organization), member of the national Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) collective, author of Citizens over Corporation: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future, writer of the documentary CorpOrNation: The Story of Citizens and Corporations in Ohio, lead researcher of two online calendars on democracy and monetary history, and former elected national board member of Common Cause. He also helps coordinate and expand the Move to Amend Ohio Network.

Imam Paul Hasan of Interfaith Ministries in Lorain, OH, has spent more than 20 years dedicated to building the community from the inside out while promoting peace and justice. Paul was a founding member of the nationally known International Council for Urban Peace, Justice and Empowerment. He founded the official Lorain County organizing committee for the Holy Day of Atonement in 1995. Paul is a Northeast Ohio AFSC Committee Member and long-time community activist in Northeast Ohio.

David Cobb is a Principal with the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy. He is a lawyer and political activist. David has sued corporate polluters, lobbied elected officials, run for political office himself, and has been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. In 2002, David ran for Attorney General of Texas, pledging to use the office to revoke the charters of corporations that repeatedly violate health, safety and environmental laws. In 2004, he ran for President of the United States on the Green Party ticket and successfully campaigned for the Ohio recount. He is also National Projects Director for Democracy Unlimited.

Daniel Lee has been with Move to Amend since 2012. A veteran of the United States Air Force and Air National Guard, Daniel has been an active member of Occupy Los Angeles and InterOccupy who participated in Occupy encampments across the country, the Black Lives Matter Movement as well as done community organizing locally in Los Angeles with Community Coalition and other groups. He has also served locally on the Culver City Martin Luther King jr. Celebration Committee for the last 5 years and is the current chair and has been a volunteer with El Rincon Elementary, also in Culver City, for the last 10 years. Daniel is also the Move to Amend representative for the Global Climate Convergence and recently campaigned for a seat on the City Council in Culver City, a small city in West Los Angeles.

Egberto Willies is a political activist, author, political blogger, business owner, software developer, web designer, and mechanical engineer in Kingwood, TX. Egberto is a member of Move to Amend’s National Leadership Team, co-host of Move to Amend Reports, and Vice President on the Board of Directors for Coffee Party USA.

America’s Work Force Radio – Interview


America’s Work Force Radio
March 1, 2016
On the broadcast today we had Tim Burga, President of The Ohio AFL-CIO, and he talked about the Workers Compensation Bill and Right to Work! Our second guest was Greg Coleridge, with Move to Amend, and he talked about the growing Influence of Money in Politics!   [Interview begins at 20:30 mark.]

Interview on The Forum with Mansfield Frazier

WTAM, 1100 AM, Cleveland, Sunday, February 21 (interview begins at 18:02)

We chatted about the Move to Amend movement, corporate constitutional rights, money in elections and citizen initiative campaigns in Cleveland, Shaker Hts. & S. Euclid)

Listen at       (interview begins at 18:02)

NEO AFSC February 12, 2016 Podcast


Listen to podcast here

We summarize last week’s activities; share upcoming events for next week; and comment on our Open Letter responding to Akron’s “Blue Ribbon Task Force” report (and the need for your calls), 100 donors having donated/invested more in the 2016 presidential elections than the 2 million smallest donors, why conservatives should support campaign finance reform, and Rob Portman announcing his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) due to building opposition “back home” (i.e. because of you!).  (Length 34:53)