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In 2020, Cleveland ranked dead last as a livable city for Black Women.

In early 2020, right before the Covid-19 pandemic began, and the "(white) American racial reckoning" became a national conversation, Brentin Mock of Bloomberg City Lab publicized a ranking of American cities based on livability metrics for Black Women. ​ Cleveland ranked dead last. 

The metrics paint a picture of stark inequity, but they fail to answer the two most obvious questions:

  • As a Black Woman, what is it like to live in a city that experts agree is the worst place for you?

  • How can individuals and anchor institutions create tangible research focused solutions?

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The Industrial Midwest is known for strong work ethic, entrepreneurial grit, and neighbourly spirit - but Black Women are routinely denied the opportunity to gain access and influence within the workplace.


Cleveland boasts three internationally renowned healthcare hubs, but Black Women living next door to major anchor institutions suffer from poor healthcare access, experiences and are dying at alarming and preventable rates.



Our higher education institutions attract scholars discussing social justice, yet inside those classrooms, Black Women are conspicuously underrepresented and marginalized.

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The Urgency

Without tangible equity progress, we will hemorrhage talented Black minds and continue a long-term legacy of decline and disinvestment. 


We believe that since Cleveland is an epicenter of inequality in America, this is the best place to create solutions. By centering Black Women, we are focusing on the most marginalized individuals in our region. Continued systemic marginalization will have catastrophic sustainability, socio-economic and environmental consequences for our region. Inclusion of Black Women within all industries is the key to our interconnected futures.

The Methology

Enlightened Solutions created and dispersed a survey focused on understanding the experiences of Black Women in Cleveland. Two local Black Women influencers CourtneyCoversCleveland and Lemon-Love Lifestyle, to assisted in social media promotion and media appearances speaking directly to a multiplicity of Black Women. 

We utilized a survey framework based in Phenomenological Research, which is the study of lived experiences. We know these accounts to be true because of their inherent value, coupled with widely-available existing bodies of research which addresses systemic racism, misogyny and the compounding misogynoir that Black Women navigate through each day.

Project Noir is not designed to prove or disprove disparate treatment of Black Women.

Black Women Know What is Best For Them

The script of harassment, discrimination and alienation Black Women are subjected to in Cleveland, is often predictable. 

We cannot fix this problem if we continue to refuse to look at it directly. The stories that follow are not easy to hear. There are stories of assault, medical malpractice, dismissal, termination, exclusion, harassment, and targeted mistreatment. We designed this project to center the voices of Black Women. We encouraged opportunities to connect to counseling, additional conversations, and advocacy services to every woman we spoke to. 


This report is split into three major areas of discussion and inequality: Workplaces, Healthcare, and Education to correspond with the research from the CityLab/Bloomberg article.


Explore each to understand the harmful, yet prevalent, challenges Black Women face within Northeast Ohio.

Special Thanks to

Project Noir Participants

Black Women in Northeast Ohio

Larisa DaSilva, Enlightened Solutions Project Manager

Tait Manning, Research Associate

Kiliyah Mair, Communications and Data Analyst

Enlightened Solutions Board of Directors

The Fowler Family Foundation

Many Thanks to Our 2020 Partners

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"What Livability Looks Like for Black Women" CityLab/Bloomberg, Brentin Mock

"Pittsburgh's Inequality Across Race", Dr. Junia Howell

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