It can feel like too much. Fake news, real news, natural disasters, mass shootings, racism, sexism, voter suppression—and let’s not forget bee colony collapse disorder.
Troubling as they are, even these big threats sometimes feel like just the tip of the iceberg. Especially when we hear assertions like, “Americans are less socially and politically engaged now than 30 years ago,” it’s easy to conclude that consumerism has become our unquestioned king, to lament that our humanity has gone up in smoke, and to yell into the wind, “For crying out loud, what is civic engagement now, anyway?!”
Friend, we feel you. But at ioby, we also have the privilege of working every day with residents all across the country who look at challenges and see opportunities. These people are aware of the problems—large and small—in our neighborhoods, schools, parks, roads, downtowns, and town halls, but they also know that they can help create solutions, right where they live. These people are walking out their front doors, linking arms with their neighbors, and saying, “Let’s do this.” Continue reading What is civic engagement in a bad-news world?
As our beloved colleague Indigo moves on from her role at ioby, we’re excited to welcome Dawn Arrington as our new Cleveland Action Strategist! She brings her own big shoes to the role, and has no shortage of big ideas for her city. Service is in Dawn’s DNA and she’s ready to get to work.
“My mom, my step dad, my father, his twin brother, my uncle, and several cousins all served in the military in one capacity or another,” she says. “I don’t think everyone needs to serve that way, but I do believe that we all have a duty as residents of a place to maintain and contribute to it. That was instilled in me at an early age.” It’s an ethic that she’s stuck to throughout her life. Continue reading Meet Dawn, our new Cleveland Action Strategist!
You could say the concept of crowdfunding is as old as civilization itself—or, at least as old as money. The act of pooling assets to achieve a common goal is nothing new. (Fun fact: did you know the Statue of Liberty was a crowdfunded project?)
In the past 20 years or so, crowdfunding campaigns to launch new businesses, pay for medical expenses, and support charitable missions have become as popular as venture capital meetings and bake sales. The internet has revolutionized individuals’ and organizations’ ability to drum up funding for things people care about, and for that, we thank it. But crowdfunding is not a one-trick pony whose only talent is raising cash. Continue reading Crowdfunding for Advocacy and Organizing
Since the launch of our Racial Justice Toolkit this past spring, we’ve posted several stories about racial justice work from the perspectives of some of our favorite Cleveland-based activists. Why Cleveland? Well…
Continue reading Cleveland is a Racial Justice Town
This spring, we published the ioby Racial Justice Toolkit: a collection of resources designed to help anyone take action for equity, wherever they live. Have you given yourself a chance to check it out?
To complement the Toolkit, we’re highlighting some of the great racial justice initiatives taking place in Cleveland, Ohio these days, with an emphasis on the great people behind them, and some of the complexities of their work. Cleveland has a robust racial justice movement that’s rooted in many decades of history, and it’s growing stronger by the year. We’re proud to support local leaders in Cleveland as they take their city’s legacy to a new level.
Continue reading Six racial justice organizers real talk about burnout
Like many ioby Leaders, Samaria Rice didn’t always think of herself as an activist. Until a few years ago, she was a busy single mom, taking care of her kids and studying to start a career in real estate in her native Cleveland. “I was living in a bubble,” she says.
Then, on November 22, 2014, Ms. Rice’s 12-year-old son Tamir was shot and killed by Cleveland police while playing with a pellet gun outside the Cudell Recreation Center.
Continue reading Awesome Project: Building Tamir’s Legacy
Racial justice work is hard.
There are many good approaches to addressing the historical and systemic injustices faced by people of color, but they all involve difficult tasks. Whether you’re bringing community agriculture back to a marginalized neighborhood, facilitating a multicultural public art project, mounting a national educational campaign, or any other initiative, there will be personalities, logistics, and budgets to deal with. There will be difficult conservations, delays, and disappointments. Sometimes, there will be burnout.
Continue reading Meet the ioby leaders healing Cleveland’s communities through racial justice work
From the Women’s March to the #metoo and #timesup movements—in the past 15 months we’ve seen many strong civic leaders step up and create grassroots movements that speak for women’s rights in all its facets.
Here at ioby, we believe that positive change starts in our backyards. Everyday we see on-the-ground women leaders combat racial injustices, advocate for bike safety, beautify public spaces, mentor young women of color, and SO much more!
Continue reading 12 currently funding projects, led by women, on International Women’s Day!
Dawn Glasco, a Community Engagement Coordinator who works with children, has lived on East 76th street, Cleveland, for the past 10 years. And right outside her window, across the street from her home, all those years, had sat a large vacant lot — run down, overgrown with tall grass that the city wasn’t mowing, and littered with trash. A couple of years ago, Glasco started to feel ready to do something about it, summoned her courage, and began going door to door, asking neighbors if they’d join a group effort to beautify the street and turn the lot into an outdoor classroom. She also called the city, asked them to come and mow, and got permission to improve the lot. Glasco’s neighbors were receptive, and so was the city. For her, a door had opened.
Continue reading AWESOME PROJECT: A garden classroom and a space for possibility in Cleveland
By the time Kevinee Gilmore was in college, it seemed like she really was beating all the odds. In the foster care system since she was 13, the oldest of five, she’d never expected to succeed in school, not to mention graduate from Cleveland State with a Bachelors degree in social work.
Continue reading Awesome project: A safe haven for aged-out foster kids in Cleveland