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Perspectives on Growing Cleveland's Economy Through Diversity & Inclusion

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The second episode of Then There's Cleveland features special guests Phyllis Seven Harris, Executive Director of Cleveland’s LGBT Community Center, and Kerry McCormack, Ward 3 Cleveland City Councilman. Hosts Lauren and Michael ask our guests to share their expertise and experiences on the subjects of diversity and inclusion, what sets Cleveland apart from other major cities, and ways we can do better. Both Phyllis and Kerry talk about the equitable work being done and ways Cleveland can improve to attract and retain the best talent.

Lauren Niepokny: Welcome back to downtown Cleveland's podcast, Then There's Cleveland, where we'll discuss downtown Cleveland success, challenges, and future opportunities for growth. Currently Downtown Cleveland is experiencing rapid residential growth with the seventy nine percent population increase over the past 10 years. Not only are we the fastest growing neighborhood in northeast Ohio but we're the largest downtown in the state of Ohio. As we continue to grow, we ask ourselves are we growing in the right ways? Are we being intentional about inclusive city as a city that welcomes and appreciates diversity? Is our leadership supportive of social equity? In this second episode we're posing the question is our city inclusive or exclusive?

Are we innovators or stagnant in our approach? We've got two Cleveland champions who will share their expertise and experiences on subjects of diversity and inclusion, what sets Cleveland apart from other major cities, and ways we can do better. As the youngest member of Cleveland's City Council, Councilman Kerry McCormack speaks with us about perspective on cultivating the next generation of leadership in our city.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: “You know the passion that Clevelanders have for our city. You know that is something that really was highlighted to me when I moved home and I think it took me to leave Cleveland to see that."

Lauren: Executive Director of Cleveland's LGBT Community Center Phyllis Harris talks to us about her experience as a boomeranger and her ideas and how diversity and inclusion will attract and retain the best talent in our city.

Phyllis Seven Harris:”And I always think about it from my perspective right. Like a I'm a mom. You know I'm I'm a woman I'm a black woman living in Cleveland. I want an integrated culturally rich expanse of experience."

Michael Deemer: Well welcome back to downtown Cleveland's podcast,Then there's Cleveland. And I'm Michael Deemer, executive vice president for business development at Downtown Cleveland alliance. We're a nonprofit organization that's dedicated to attracting more people jobs and investment into downtown Cleveland and making it the most dynamic place to live work and play in northeast Ohio.

Lauren: Ditto to our message on what Downtown Cleveland Alliance does and I am Lauren Niepokny and I work in marketing. I'm the marketing coordinator and I work on projects like this.

Michael: We’re here with Kerry McCormack city of Cleveland councilman who represents Ward 3. We've worked with Kerry for a number of years. Can you tell us just a little bit about your your background.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: Hey guys. Thank you so much for having me on. It's an honor to be on with the folks from DCA as well as with Seven. And by the way congratulations on your beautiful new center there on Detroit road. So I represent Downtown, Ohio City, Tremont and part of the Stockyards neighborhood. I grew up on Cleveland's northeast side in the North Collinwood neighborhood. Went down to Miami University did a degree in international development Spanish and Latin American studies then went over to Madrid Spain and I taught first and second grade English in the public schools in Madrid. Came home I worked for a Senate campaign in Ohio for Sherrod Brown and then worked in community based organizing before joining council.

Michael: And then we're also joined by Phyllis Devon Harris the executive director of the LGBT community center. I've gotten to know seven fairly well over the course of the last year we've both participated in a leadership program here in Cleveland and I'm just delighted to have her join us today. Seven can you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself.

Phyllis Seven Harris:My name is Phyllis Seven Harris. My friends call me Seven. I am born and raised here in Cleveland. I like to describe myself as you know I started at at Head Start and you know all the way through Case and I'm and I'm not done learning yet and so I live in Larchmere. Shout out to the L.O.L's the Lesbians of Larchmere. We're building community over there and you can be a L.O.L.A. Remember the Lesbians of Larchmere Allies.Be a L.O.L.A. And so I also work in Golden Square and Detroit Shoreway. I am a nonprofit practitioner and so you know I feel like I am Cleveland.

Michael: Well to get us started, I guess I'd like to turn to our downtown Councilman first Kerry McCormack. Some of your perspectives on where we've been and in terms of diversity and inclusion and you know kind of where you think we are today.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: So I represent Downtown Ohio city, Tremont, and part of the Stockyards neighborhood on Council. So it's a very diverse ward and we think it's really important, if I may when talking about these issues is that we do understand the past because when we think about these you know the good and the bad of what we face in the city today it's important to understand the history and especially around diversity and inclusion we know that in the city of Cleveland in the long past, but also you know within the last 10 years that we have suffered from issues of societal racism we have suffered from issues of discrimination based on gender identity and expression we've suffered like many other cities in the country on these issues we know that. How do we move forward and how do we put forth intentional plans to correct some of those issues. It's important that we understand that these things don't just happen. They're intentional these problems that have come on have been caused by intentional human action. And I think that that's really important to understanding the context when we talk about the future of Cleveland. So that we ensure that things like that never happen again in addition to putting forth plans to improve our community.

Lauren: Let’s get down to the actual definition or your definition of diversity. This is a question for both of you, people listening they think diversity is just black and white when there's so many different you know aspects to it. Give us your definition and give us your definition of how you think it should be in the future.

Seven: So when I think of diversity encyclopedia or a dictionary definition doesn't come up. What comes up for me is that we all you know carry diverse aspects of who we are in terms of our identities. It is not just about race. And I understand that. Well my definition of diversity is taking time to be intentional about the ways in which we are different. And we might separate but that when we are together we have more power. And so that that could be looking at you know men and women and people or straight and you know like everything. I think it's it's an overused word. It's a misunderstood word. It's a personal word. You know we see this move movement more around the conversation not being about diversity but being about inclusion. Right. And so I think there's something to this.The title of this podcast is it inclusive or exclusive.

Michael: Three of the big issue areas that we think of in downtown Cleveland in terms of wanting the city to be a very welcoming and inclusive place. Phyllis as you laid it out. Racial equity, LGBTQ equality, and immigration are three areas that you know we know that in order to be successful as a city downtown Cleveland has to be on the leading edge of being a very welcoming place and being seen as a place that's inclusive on those issues in particular but as well and on all the issues. We've got a long history of you know redlining and institutional racism and segregated neighborhoods. And yet you know I I sense that you know we're we're at a moment in this city's history where it feels in somewhat ways like we're turning a bit of a corner. You know as I talk to the leaders in the business community, there's more of an embrace of the recognition of the past and its influence on the present and the need to achieve greater racial equity in order to be economically competitive and I'm curious from both of your perspectives whether you're perceiving something similar or different or how you see it?

Councilman Kerry McCormack: First of all on the question of the definition of diversity I am not going to try to match Seven's definition but I think one of the most important things is that we all understand that we live within a society where societal structures do not treat all people equally. And being aware of that and having that scope on when you walk through life and understanding how do you fit into that equation. And so take myself for example you know as a as a white man there I am going to have experiences in life in society that are different than a person of color for example. And so it's important to understand that lens and to use that lens to really educate yourself first and foremost but also to think in ways when you're making decisions that are equitable and are taking into consideration the fact that people have different lived experiences based off of the way society is structured.

So that's a lot of the wordy but the point is is that you know when we think of it I think one other step on that is also understanding the fact that understanding when to lead and speak and understanding when to sit and listen and I think this is also a really important dynamic. So if we can be better listeners and if we can understand other people's experiences in scope I think that's a huge part of the battle.

Lauren: Wow, how do you put up with that...

Seven: The councilman has spoken. I think yes. You know people are becoming conscious to to the issues. We're a city that's under a consent decree. So there's work that's happening and I think you know like well this didn't happen overnight. It's going to take some being really intentional and in doing exactly what Councilman McCormack has said around listening to folks. The center has been in existence, you know I tell people we're gonna be celebrating 45 years next year. And so if you're Clevelander be proud that we have had a city that could establish and maintain and and create an LGBT center for that long.

We're the fifth established LGBT center in the nation. I. You know like I used to say all the time you know you can find everything in Cleveland you can you can find everyone in Cleveland. Our issue is is how segregated we are. We might come together around. This is why I love going to Edgewater. When I go, because at Edgewater you see everybody and everybody's there for that beautiful sunset and the air and the water you know and and and really to enjoy themselves. How do we how do we do that in a way that we are not leaving and how do we grow and we shine as Cleveland with our meds and our ed's and our arts and our parks and our eats. We got it all right. You got it all. You have the Metroparks how do we do that and shine that way and not leave out the folks who live on Buckeye and the folks who live near where I live in Larchemere on Wood Hill and Woodland and you know in those areas. And so I think you know that I I'm hearing that the moral imperative didn't work right. So we're we're moving toward. I'm still working on that but also the business imperative around you know economic growth and Cleveland being strong and strengthening you know, being a player that we can absolutely turn it around. And there's some things that we're doing including you know we don't we don't want to necessarily talk baseball but including confronting that right.

Lauren: Love it.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: And Michael if I may. You know and hearing folks talk I mean I always get hard on myself, I always forget to mention that you know we have so much good stuff going on and we do whether you look at downtown and the neighborhoods of you know Seven just mentioned. What I'm excited about in the previous issues that I identified is that we're also taking the systemic problems seriously.

Seven: Yes. Finally.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: Yeah. Finally right. We are excited about that at the same time we're taking our city you know our are issues at their roots seriously and starting to attack them.

So I think that that's really good news for the long term sustainability of Cleveland.

Michael: By the way we do have listeners outside of Cleveland and outside of northeast Ohio and for those of you who've heard Edgewater mentioned a couple times and aren't sure what it is it is our beautiful beautiful city of Cleveland beach right on the shores of Lake Erie. One of the that we're talking about some pretty weighty topics today. But let's step back and appreciate we've got a great beach in Cleveland too right.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: That’s right.

Lauren: And I want to talk Phyllis about the new LGBT Community Center in Cleveland. You know it's new, it's new you know kind of in the neighborhood and things like that. What is the significance of having something new in a neighborhood that you know kind of has seen has seen some blight has seen you know things closing around it. I or even new resources coming around the city what is the significance of that coming to our city?

Seven: I mentioned that the center will be celebrating 45 years next year and I feel like we are we are trailblazers right. But we were in the basement. So if you didn't know to really look at our address and find it on our store front you missed us you zip right by. Most people did the first time they came to the center. Now you know we have established ourselves as an anchor organization in the Gordonn Square Arts District and I heard somebody said that say it. I didn't make it up and I was like yes that's exactly it. We have. We are a community center. I think it's a super significant, and even though this project went overtime that we had our open house and grand opening in the in the year the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. Right. So. And the fact that you know we are doing that in a way that is so visible during these times when we are seeing you know some of the progress that we've made in terms of LGBTQ rights and protections being challenged and you know so so heavily you know under this current administration and so it was of huge significance I think. And in terms of the the visibility for the LGBTQ community in Cleveland and in the region, Cleveland, Akron, everywhere that you know this is this is our center and certainly in terms of what the opportunity is around the economic development the impact that the center and other and in the folks who support the center and in our community can have in Cleveland. And I think you know it started, my attention came to it around the Gay Games. When the Gay Games where it was here in Cleveland in 2014 a bunch of amazing people got together. It wasn't easy but it was amazing. Right.

Michael: Remind us a little bit about the 2014 Gay Games and what what a big deal that was for the city of Cleveland.

Seven: The Gay Games was just like the Olympics you know happens every four years and so Cleveland acquired the privilege and it was very a very competitive process for the Gay Games to happen here in Cleveland. And so we call it G.G. nine, Gay Games nine, super significant in terms of the impact on the city around bringing together both LGBTQ leadership and our allies to worked to present Cleveland in a way that we know to show, to highlight Cleveland, to showcase Cleveland to showcase the fact that we'd be willing to gather and to support and lift up Cleveland and to participate fully. We were able to do that. Inclusion was super important around this process. There was all sorts of collaborative partnerships that it was required in order to participate fully in the Gay Games and it it had a great impact on both the LGBTQ community and Akron and Cleveland but also you know for Cleveland when when people look at history when they Google Cleveland if they're if they're LGBT you know some information is going to come up about the Gay Games and information is gonna come up about the center. And so I think it really allowed us to shine and showcase Cleveland in a way that if it hadn't been before we are the first Gay Games that had, that made a profit because of the support that we had from the Cleveland Foundation as as a lead sponsor and the Gund Foundation who gave us support around allowing for people to have scholarships to to waive the fees so that they could participate in all the other individuals who who who who invested in it.

We were able to establish a fund that the Cleveland Foundation that now we can continue to use for organizations whether they're LGBT led or if they are allies if they're serving the LGBTQ community can tap into. And so there's a lot that came out that really came out of that around being more collaborative. It allowed us to build relationships with the city of Cleveland.

Michael: And it also seemed to me with that that in hosting the Gay Games so successfully that it represented a not necessarily a turning point for Cleveland but more of an acceleration point. You mentioned even I was surprised to hear that the LGBT center has been around for 45 years and that's amazing and you so powerfully rooted what you've done in the neighborhood in the history of Stonewall and you know we just celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the love of the river that really catalyzed the environmental movement. We celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of electing the country's first African American mayor of a big American city. It all those issues are still resonating today but I always find it so powerful to root you know today's progress and in those those movements of the past.

Seven: As people are talking about some of the great things that have happened in Cleveland in terms of development, that they include the center because I've been in rooms where they talk about well you know the Cleveland has hosted the senior games, Cleveland has hosted the RNC, Cleveland you know. And right in the The Gay Games is right in there you know like and they skip over it. So I'm so happy to be here. I have this come up because and you know there's information better than what I could recite. I remember I remember the exhilaration of it more than anything else and that the feeling like yeah this is my town this is my Cleveland and we're representing. But you know that you can get the data you can get that the details about the numbers of numbers of people here and the economic impact that it had on our city. And when we talk about city Cleveland's pride please include The Gay Games.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: And I think too if I may you know you think about Cleveland is a welcoming place to folks that are coming to visit. I mean I think about how you know we we welcome the Gay Games and then shortly after we welcome the Republican National Convention and we're part of that right. So I mean we see people even folks that we might disagree with as our guests. And I think we do that well. You know diversity inclusion tracks right along with the growth and well-being of a city. So for the first time in history Cleveland had a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign municipal quality index. We were proud to put the stake in the ground as the first Ohio historic marker for the LGBT civil rights movement on Twenty Ninth and Church. So you know the momentum of really building off of some of these catalytic events there's been a lot of great moments when we've been able to say that our doors are open and we're going to prove it by making sure that our city government is doing what it should be doing. Making sure that we have a LGBT liaison in the police department to the mayor you know and beyond. So of course again we've got more work to do but it's been great to see Cleveland come together understanding the importance of diversity inclusion for our residents, our citizens of the world their well-being but also for the growth of the city.

Lauren: We have more work to do. People always talk about you know you've spent both of you've spent some time away from Cleveland and you experience other cities other big cities. Phyllis You mentioned the West Coast Kerry Spain and other cities you guys have both you know been to either for work or leisure. What experiences from other cities have you brought here and what do you think other cities I mean can kind of emulate from Cleveland?

Seven: You know my my stories is so brief and so personal. I only lived I lived in San Francisco right right in the city for a year and I was a long time ago. I was in my 20s and so it was '92, '93. All my friends are moving excuse me to the Bay Area and so I thought I go oh I'm going to try it and I get there and I get a job at Walgreens right on Castro Street, 18th and Castro right in San Francisco. And so what you know working at a pharmacy during that time around the height of the HIV, AIDS HIV epidemic I learned compassion for people. I learned to see people who were spending hundreds of dollars on you know on drugs that may or may not work. And having to write a check for it and show me their license because they that's required when you write a check and see them and see the difference between you know how how they look standing before me and how they looked in that picture and to not move my gaze but to keep it into when they handed me their money to not you know put the change on the counter but to let their hand touch mine. So you know I learned to abide by by watching me actions and things like that. And I was so you know like really interested in and supporting education around you know HIV and staying safe. What I learned there in terms of community I think I already had in me you know around service around caring and compassion. I think I already had in me but I was able to too. There was some there was so much we were they were so much further advanced in the conversation around it. And we had the task force here doing the work but I was able to come back here and I really helped me to establish my myself as an activist as someone who cares about working for organizations with socially charged missions and things like that. So it's not it's not that I that I learned so much there. And in terms of how they operate that would support the economic development that here, but I learned to love Cleveland. You know I like to open up to Cleveland and and think about the different neighborhoods and you know. You know that's been an ongoing a going journey and I'll be 54, but I you know I love, I love the city and I think that you know I bring a perspective that sometimes has been overlooked. What I learned is that you know the power that I had to affect change and bring it back here and say where you know I can do this. Don't forget I'm building leaders like me. Don't forget including people like me we're here. Don't sleep on us.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: Yeah. I can't beat that. But look I'll say that when I moved to Europe you know I lived in Madrid for a little over two years and I did have my own personal journey there. You know as a as a gay man you know I think it was my time abroad and disconnected mostly from my family but not to reflect on my family. They're incredibly supportive but sometimes in your own personal journey you just gotta take your own time and I think that kind of did help me build out who I am and who I always was and gave me that confidence. But I'm also on a personal note coming back to Cleveland without I think I had a clearer head of who who I am and who where I was going. But I think to specifically to cities look I you know I had the opportunity to see a lot of different places and you know because we had no money my friends and I we would do it on the cheap. We would stay in the 12 bed hostile and we would walk all around cities and we would eat street food and you know. And so what that did for me is really a couple of things. Number one it emphasized when I came home to Cleveland the amenities that we have all under one roof here in the city that a lot of other cities don't have. And how we as Clevelanders we don't know that we have them a lot of time. So you know whether it is our historic neighborhoods, our history, our two waterfronts, our arts culture our connectivity our relative affordability you know the passion that Clevelanders have for our city. You know that is something that really was highlighted to me when I moved home and I think it took me to leave Cleveland to see that. And also not only did I see that potential is a good thing but I saw the potential as a challenge. So for example you know how do we leverage the potential in this city to really realize our dreams and our full potential and doing so in a way that it brings everybody up to. So how do we look at our public spaces differently? How do we create more opportunities for people scale development in our city things like pocket parks and bike lanes and places that are open and you know healthy and people are going to want to spend time and that's going to help our downtown. You know we recently introduced and passed shared mobility device legislation to ensure that we could welcome things like scooters and e-bikes onto our streets and right now we're taking a look at how do we create an environment that also moves away from such an auto centric town right. So how do we create better infrastructure for bikes and other users on the road. How do we create a more ADA accessible Cleveland right. So these these conversations of how to make it more people friendly livable city we'll take Cleveland from a place where we're proud of our progress to a city that's really future oriented and can sustainably grow linking all of our kids matching them with the existing potential and opportunity in our city to grow making Cleveland a more people friendly place with infrastructure and parks. Again not to pooh pooh the great stuff that's happened. We've had amazing investment in public square and different parks throughout the city.

The conversation around shared mobility and you know Malta Complete Streets has really picked up. So there's been a lot of progress we got to make sure though that we are continuing to push Cleveland into the future to ensure that we are equitable that we are a friendly place for people scale development and experience. And here's the thing I think if we do that if we really create excellent multi-modal infrastructure and opportunities if we really intentionally dig in and connect our kids to opportunities that is going to be a long term growth and sustainability for our city that can really compliment some of the good things that have already happened.

Michael: One of things we don't talk a whole lot about in Cleveland is some of the things you were just beginning to touch on: walkable transit oriented neighborhoods and communities as issues of equity and making sure that people have access to jobs to housing and that walkable transit connected neighborhoods are virtues in that regard. Seven and I had a chance earlier this year we were in a leadership program together to visit Minneapolis St. Paul and one of the things that struck me about those cities is the extent to which they're really doubling down on building more walkable transit oriented neighborhoods as an issue of equity and inclusion. And Kerry I hear a few people in Cleveland talking like you but probably not enough. And so I'm actually interested in your perspective and in seven you know people live in large measure and I walked to Saturday mornings to. You live in one of the most walkable you live in one of most walkable transit connected neighborhoods in the city of Cleveland. The LGBT Center folks who aren't from Cleveland may not know is in one of the most transit connected walkable neighborhoods in the entire city. So I'm really interested in both of your perspectives on you know how we can do a better job at downtown Cleveland alliance and how we can do a better job as a city of raising up these issues of walkable transit oriented development as a way to advance equity.

Seven:Yeah I think you know that one of the the the ways in which we were intentional about the center being in and where it is in Gordon Square on Detroit Avenue is that we had kids who were coming from all over as far out as Mayfield Heights. And what we figured out is that you know they could if they could get the bus to downtown to public square they could catch the 26 and it would bring them right here. And so we didn't want to go any further west because you know we had someone who was supporting the construction of this facility. Who literally asked because they counted if we move any further west from downtown people are going to have to go these many more bus stops. So that's how intentional we were about it being in a place where people could get to us where there was some accessibility.I sensed you know as as an adult and a parent and in that co-parenting situation with my former partner we both moved to a Larchemere so that we kids could walk to back and forth to to each house we move one street over from each other. We knew that there was Shaker square right there where there's a movie theater and and in the drugstore and Dave's supermarket and you know there's some fancy restaurants where we wanted to feel fancy you know whatever and begin to see the development of more retail. You know fewer antique shops but more retail and restaurants in Larchmere. And that has really helped to open my eyes to you know I want to live in a city that I can get to places pretty easily. I want to build community in these cities. I want to invest my you know you know as as as as a professional as a nonprofit practitioner and I want to you know take you know you know a little bit of money that I make and I want to invest it right there. In Larchmere. I think I think we have to think about it like that and I always think about it from my perspective right. Like I am a mom you know I'm I'm a woman I'm a black woman living in Cleveland I want you know an integrated culturally rich expansive experience and I want to take any money time you know that I might volunteer which is money and in money that I have in terms of my disposable income where I buy where I rent so that I think we shouldn't be missed. I keep saying that about you know like this is why it's it's cool to be even included in this conversation.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: When it comes to walkable transit connected cities. The city of Cleveland has work to do for sure and we're kind of jumping into that right with some of the conversations around completing green streets and shared mobility and ADA accessibility and those types of things. And that's something I'm passionate about too. You know I grew up pushing my little brother in a wheelchair his whole life. He's born both cognitively and physically disabled so and shared about with a bedroom with him for 18 years so this is a personal issue to me which is why I will not sign off on any patio that obstructs with more than five foot clearance of a you know a ramp. I will you know there's things like that that have been built into my mind that I make my decisions often and frankly. But we also have to get real about some other stuff here. So you know right now there is a challenge out there for a million dollars to figure out how to move employees to jobs and like this is fundamentally the wrong conversation to have. Stop putting jobs in Solon and then complaining when you can't get employees there.

Michael: Amen brother.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: I’m sorry. I'm just going to say this like it is right like you made that choice.

Lauren: Michael is jumping up and down right now.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: Here’s what I'm trying to say. Well you made that choice and now you want civic groups in Cleveland to pay for vans to come take employees to your property. We need to be locating jobs closer to our urban core where people can access them on a bike on a bus maybe walking from their home. I mean this is exactly where our focus needs to be not on spending a million dollars to figure out ways to ship people who live closer to the urban core out to the exurbs or you know we don't need to be subsidizing RTA. And look I sympathize the folks needs their job needs you at their job but as a part of a larger conversation you know figure out how do we get RTA 45 minutes outside of the city to a job location. That's the wrong conversation the conversation should be, how do we invest in places where people can access jobs whether it's on foot on bike on bus or otherwise. So I just wanted to put that out there and really I would wish that the civic conversation would focus more on that.

Seven: I’m on your bandwagon.

Councilman Kerry McCormack: Yes. So the other I mean the other thing I would say too is that you know anytime we think about all these issues they're multi-layered. We have to make a strong statement here in Cleveland and across the state of Ohio that the fact that the state of Ohio is spending 60 some cents per capita on public transportation versus ninety some dollars in Pennsylvania per capita on public transportation is fundamentally unacceptable. The state of Ohio needs to do a much better job not only understanding that public transportation is an equity issue but that it's an economic development issue. We've got to get real in the state of Ohio that we have to fundamentally shift our resources to ensuring that people have equitable access to public transportation not only for the well-being of our community members but also to ensure that we continue to grow. So this is a multilayered discussion. But yes it's incredibly important for our city to connect people but also for the growth that we are embracing public transportation that we are creating job opportunities closer to our urban core and that we're really embracing the diversity of our community and really ensuring that we have walkable connected communities that's good for people and that's good for jobs.

Lauren: Well my goodness...

Michael: Believe it or not, I'd like to keep this conversaton going.

Lauren: What a conversation

Michael: But we really appreciate having both of you sharing so much time with us.

Lauren: Yeah. This was a real like a raw authentic conversation that we had not that we didn't have then last podcast but this was you know I I hope it would open up some different perspectives for some people it's going to be you know they might be fighting with themselves and saying like I don't know about that I don't know about that listen the podcast again. Kerry and Phyllis nailed it you know

Michael: And we ended we ended right where we needed to which is bringing jobs and people investment to the urban core.

Seven: Well thank you.

Michael: Thank you again. Councilman McCormick thank you again. Phyllis Seven Harris for your time today. And thank you to all of you who are listening to this our second podcast of Then There's Cleveland. And thank you Lauren. My partner in crime for putting up with me.

Lauren: Thank you so much to our fans and we have them out there and thank you to Michael. You've been great. And thank you Kerry and Phyllis. It was awesome.

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