The Sunday Edition

Touring the Cleveland delegates don't see

Michael tours Cleveland's neighbourhoods with Dr. Rhonda Williams, professor of history at Case Western Reserve University, and founder and director of the university's Social Justice Institute.
(Talin Vartanian)
Listen15:09

The city of Cleveland, Ohio, has been through some tough times. Once an industrial powerhouse, Cleveland was hit hard by the decline in manufacturing that took place across the Rust Belt at the end of the twentieth century.

Today, there are new restaurants, hotels, a revitalized downtown — even an NBA championship, courtesy native son LeBron James. And as the host city for the Republican National Convention, Cleveland got an opportunity to show itself to the country in a new light. 

​Dr. Rhonda Williams (who is known, affectionately, as "Dr. Rhonda" in the communities she works in) is a professor of history and the founder and director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University. She tells Michael Enright the economic transformation of her city has had benefits for certain neighbourhoods — but not for others. 

We have Cleveland Clinic, we have university hospitals, we have major nationally, internationally renowned hospitals, and we have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation in the African-American community here... And so it's a transformation for some and not for others. - Dr. Rhonda Williams 

Williams, who sits on the Cleveland Community Police Commission, says that fixing systemic problems within Cleveland's police department is a crucial first step if the city is truly going to go through a renaissance. 

"I don't want an economically destitute city, but to be quite honest, economic renaissance downtown and development, for me, comes secondary to people's human lives, quality of life, human dignity and respect," she says. 

Williams took Michael on a tour through Cleveland to show him the deep contrasts between affluent and impoverished neighbourhoods. 

Michael Enright got a tour of Cleveland from Dr. Rhonda Williams, professor of history at Case Western Reserve University. (Talin Vartanian)

Click the button above to hear Michael's tour of Cleveland with Dr. Rhonda Williams. 

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