A History of Lead Advocacy in Cleveland

History of Lead Advocacy in Cleveland

The "modern" history of lead advocacy in Cleveland is pretty well documented by Rachel and Brie. See Sources. Cleveland Lead Safe Network and our successor organization CLASH are direct descendants of Rachel and Brie. CLASH put lead poisoning back on the public agenda, but seven years later, the fundamentals have not changed: housing is still full of lead and children continue to be poisoned. 

There were a remarkable number of civic/philanthropic attempts before LSCC (see lead and amnesia)

CLASH thinks it's fair to say that the strategy of getting landlords to voluntarily comply with the Lead Safe Certificate law is on the edge of collapse. (Cleveland's plan) It's almost emperor's new clothes time and the danger is that the elite will walk away from the challenge.

September LSHB meeting, fur flies but no media. then, CWRU leaks a Fischer statement and whoops, picked up by WEWS.

Halloween 2023: Rebecca pulls the plug on the certificate program. The very plain dealer puts Bibb on the hook to rescue the program. 

Competing audiences for Faith and Leaders/Lead Resource Fair and LSCC lead march.

Yvonka throws down the gauntlet in her LTE on 11/3/23

Suddenly, Mayor Bibb's Residents First proposal is likely to be a really ​important part of CLASH's 2024 advocacy agenda. ​If the voluntary compliance model fails in 2024, the civic elites will be faced with a choice: abandon the lead safe certificate program... or make it work through real enforcement. You can get a backgrounder on the ​Bibb proposal by listening to Sep. '23 New Cleveland Code Enforcement Ordinances​ 

Addressing Lead poisoning in Cleveland

Presenters: Spencer Wells, Darrick Wade

(george questions are in red

Overview of lead poisoning. 

History of lead work in Cleveland

1987-2007: Rehab at Lakeview; Demetrius illness; claims against CMHA.

1996-1998; The HELP Coalition: National efforts to address lead poisoning as a public health problem based on a medical model. secondary vs. primary prevention, the origins of the expression "children as lead detectors"

2004 -- Cleveland enacts lead safe registry. No one ever registered.

2009--Ohio law suit against Sherwin Williams dropped. https://www.cleveland.com/business/2009/02/ohio_drops_leadpaint_lawsuit_a.html

2015-2017: Changing the problem into an issue

2016-2018. Cleveland Lead Safe Network: A power analysis. Testing a theory of change: good government/consensus building. . It would be great to hear your perspective on how you have worked tobring about change in Cleveland. strategy that gained traction

2018-2019: The emergence of CLASH as a political force

Shifting from citizen advocacy to political activism. 

Triggering reaction from the oligarchy.


2020-2023: Implementation and broadening the “community”.

2024-2025: Possible next steps

More legislation?

More collaboration

Another generation of leaders and activists

George notes: 

 If possible, it would be good to get your sense of what has and has not occurred in Cleveland since the

2021 video. If there are any articles you strongly recommend regarding CLE between 2021-2023, I can make sure students have a look at them.

Student questions

Why has it taken so long for people to act?

Why such persistent neglect of this issue?

Has CLASH received any push back for our advocacy

How does CLASH members manage to sustain themselves in a long struggle