Guardian US this week launched City Champions a new series that will highlight community-based projects in Cleveland, Ohio that are offering potential solutions to systemic issues including inequality, structural racism, infant mortality, and lead poisoning
The first instalment of the City Champions series published on Guardian US this week includes a news feature by Nina Lakhani profiling the work of the Birthing Beautiful Communities group and its battle to stop the shocking rate of infant mortality in black babies.
As part of the series, Guardian US has collaborated with the Cleveland Plain Dealer and local PBS and NPR stations, run by ideastream, to select 25 Cleveland people and community groups to recognise for their positive contributions. This week, all three organisations will report on each champion to reach local, national and international audiences.
Guardian US has also commissioned five provocative billboards in partnership with Cleveland-based artist, Amanda D. King, from For Freedoms, a national collective of artists who worked with local artists - Robert Banks, Matt Chasney, Amber N. Ford, and Noelle Richard - as well as young people from King’s art collective, Shooting Without Bullets to visualise the complex social justice issues affecting their lives and communities.
Known, says The Guardian, for challenging the dominant narrative and speaking up for the powerless, Guardian US has been reporting on communities where other national media don’t spend enough time. Through its recent projects The Fight to Vote, Cancer Town and Guns and Lies the organisation has covered some of the most underreported stories in America.
The organisation is focusing on Cleveland as it is one of the most segregated cities in the US and has suffered decades of economic decline and widespread racial inequalities.
Mark Oliver, special projects editor, Guardian US, said: “City Champions aims to highlight the work of some of the unsung heroes of US cities – we will shine a light on the brilliant people and organisations transforming the lives of thousands for the better, especially in those communities most in need.
“Visiting Cleveland and meeting these people over the last few months has been inspirational, we hope these stories inspire our readers too.”
John Mulholland, editor, Guardian US, said: “Right now presidential politics is crowding out some of the most important stories in America. And if we don’t look deeper, we’re failing the public. Our editorial mission means we don’t just report on the deep-rooted problems in American society, we also give space to ideas and people that are building hope for the future.
“Cleveland has faced huge issues as a city historically, yet it also has an irrepressible spirit - this series looks at how individuals and groups are combating a narrative of hopelessness and building a new more dynamic city.
“Through our collaboration with local partners in Cleveland – the Plain Dealer, Ideas Stream, For Freedoms and Shooting Without Bullets – we can provide a platform for community voices and bring a deeper understanding of societal issues.”