It’s been a while since we’ve shared an update on the birth certificate lawsuit, so we wanted to bring you up to speed. Unfortunately, the case has been progressing slowly so there are no major updates to report, but there is lots of work going on behind the scenes:
- As many of you know, Ohio is now 1 of only 2 states that do not allow transgender people to correct the gender marker on their birth certificates.
Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) is in the midst of adopting comprehensive reforms, as required by a federal consent decree. While not specifically required by the consent decree, at the urging of ACLU of Ohio, Equality Ohio, Trans Ohio, and the Cleveland Community Police Commission, CDP has agreed to create a policy that will instruct officers on best practices for interacting with individuals who are transgender or gender non-conforming.
It was a Saturday in August 2017 when I drove across town to gather in Euclid with family and friends of Luke Stewart, a young father who was killed by Euclid Police after they found him sleeping in his parked car.
As part of its consent decree process, the Cleveland Division of Police is revising its search and seizure policies, which govern when and how officers can stop, arrest, and detain community members. Although its 2018 revised drafts represent an improvement, there are still changes that must be made for the policies to comply with basic best practices.
I wish this was a satirical headline published by The Onion. But it’s something we actually see and hear in the halls of the Statehouse from the officials we Ohioans have elected to represent us.
Because of policy decisions, our state’s incarceration rate has more than quadrupled since 1970.
Protest photo outside of Cuyahoga County Justice Center – Tuesday, January 8, 2019
You’ve likely seen the headlines: seven people died in the Cuyahoga County jail between June and October 2018, prompting a U.S. Marshals investigation and then, scathing report detailing the shocking conditions people are subjected to at the hands of the County.
When we first met with Toledo city officials to discuss safety it was the summer of 2017, and it had just been announced that Toledo would partner with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on an anti-violent crime initiative. Less crime, less violence – what could be bad about that?
In case you didn’t know, it’s National Police Week. Let’s reflect on what’s missing from the conversation.
We can all agree that we want our neighborhoods to feel safe. But “safe” can mean many different things to many different people. And too often, governments have used the idea of “safety” as a way to diminish people’s rights – particularly in communities of color and low-income communities.
One of the most important rights we have in our democracy is the right to speak out on issues we care about. After 17 high school students and teachers were killed in Parkland, Florida on February 14, gun regulation quickly became one of the most discussed issues in the public sphere, and many students around the country began to speak out.
With so many candidates for Cleveland mayor and City Council this year, it can be hard to keep track of all of them. But something you must keep track of is their commitment to police reform in Cleveland.
That’s because Cleveland is in year two of a multi-year police reform process, known as the consent decree, which is overseen by a federal judge after the U.S.
In this time of fear and uncertainty, one of the best things we can do for ourselves to maintain energy and positivity is to gather in a room with others, face-to-face, to strategize about a way forward. On February 28, Oberlin College students, faculty, members of the Oberlin community, and ACLU of Ohio staff did just that.