On December 17, nearly 100 guests gathered on Zoom to celebrate GCC’s 2020 accomplishments.
Among the accomplishments celebrated was the creation of a long-needed off-site pre-booking mental health and addiction crisis diversion center, which GCC has relentlessly fought for over the past number of years. Speakers who acknowledged GCC’s outsized role in making the crisis center a reality included Azizi Arrington-Slocum, whose brother was incarcerated as a result of a mental health crisis and subsequently died in Cuyahoga County jail; MetroHealth System CEO Dr. Akram Boutros; County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley; former Presiding Judge John Russo; and current Presiding Judge Brendan Sheehan.
GCC’s Color of Health Initiative was also recognized. In response to the COVID pandemic, GCC recruited 17 African-American congregations to provide free onsite COVID testing in partnership with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and MetroHealth System. Those sites tested 3,361 individuals, with more being tested indoors at three locations beginning this month. And as a result of GCC pressure, eight new national pharmacy testing sites were added in the city of Cleveland.
Also celebrated was GCC’s Battle for Democracy Initiative to ensure that tens of thousands of voters were made aware that their ballot applications had been rejected so they could correct them. In the space of three weeks, October 14-November 3rd, GCC trained 285 leaders to take on this critical task. Volunteers made 13,000 voter contact calls, sent 650 emails and delivered 1,500 door hangers during those three weeks. As a result of their work, 7,000 applications were corrected! GCC also acknowledged the work of its partners, NOVA and the League of Women Voters, in accomplishing this feat.
And GCC’s election work included helping the Cleveland Metropolitan School District pass its levy with 62% voter approval!
All agreed that much work is yet to be done, but GCC is up to the task! Here’s hoping for a less unprecedented 2021 for our community as we bid an enthusiastic good bye to 2020!