Cleveland, OH

The Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County Sends a 21 Days Action Notice to Cleveland City Council: Follow the Rules

Brown on Cleveland
BWCCC T-ShirtCourtesy of The Brown Report Newspaper (Photo)

Cleveland, OH. - The Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County (BWCCC) recently held a press conference on the stairs of Cleveland City Hall to address the secondary street named signage for 9-year-old Saniyah Nicholson. Saniyah was killed in Cleveland Ward One by a stray bullet.

The BWCCC sent Cleveland City Council members 21 days plan for action notification. "Following our public comments at the recent Cleveland City Council meeting on 11/7/2022,  we would like to ask Cleveland City Council to revisit the secondary signage or memorial bench for Saniyah.  After all, Saniyah's signage would significantly impact the City of Cleveland as her sign would remind individuals why gun violence must cease!

If the above request is not feasible, BWCCC and WCET ask that Cleveland City Council remove all signs that do not meet the requirements and those that pass their time limit. The rule also says that signage can only be up for ten years. What is good for one must be suitable for all of us.

We want a written response from Cleveland City Council within 21 days from today.

 Please let us know when Cleveland City Council will deliver a Saniyah's Way sign or a memorial bench promised by Councilman Joe Jones will be placed in Cleveland Ward One," wrote the Commission.

In 2019, former Council President Kevin Kelley placed a moratorium on secondary street-named signs. He also established guidelines after the City denied the request to honor the life of nine-year-old Saniyah Nicholson. Saniyah died at the hands of gunfire in June 2018. Saniyah Nicholson was shot in the head while eating ice cream in her mother's car. Her older sister sat in the front seat of the vehicle. The shooting occurred between Cloverside and Westview Ave on Lee Road in the Cleveland WARD ONE neighborhood in the 4000 block of Lee Road in Cleveland on June 20, 2018. According to the Cleveland police report, the baby was caught in the crossfire by two groups of males shooting at one another in broad daylight.

  • In 2017, Former Councilman Jeff Johnson issued secondary street signage to Mr. Robert Godwin. The Facebook Killer Steve Stephens randomly killed Godwin. He did not meet the requirements.
  • In 2022, current Councilwoman Rebecca Maurer of WARD 12 sponsored legislation for Davia Garth. She did not meet the requirements.
  • In 2022, current Councilman Richard Starr sponsored legislation for a secondary street signage for Hughes. Hughes died in December 2020. The rule says that the deceased must have been dead for two years and contributed to the City of Cleveland. He did not meet the requirements.
  • Most recently, Councilman Mick Polensek sponsored legislation for Officer Shane Bartek (he died on 12/31/2021), and, unfortunately, this officer did not meet the two-year requirement. A sign was honored in his name.

Cleveland Council members unanimously voted yea in every instance but refused to entertain the idea of honoring Saniyah Nicholson.

To add insult to injury, the current council should have followed its rules regarding the secondary street-named signage. Again, we will not sit quiet and allow Cleveland City Councilmembers to continue disrespecting Black women and girls - All Lives Matter," said members of the Commission.

On Thursday, November 10, 2022, Councilman Richard Starr of Cleveland Ward Five contacted the BWCCC to express his concerns. Starr informed the group that he was concerned about his political career. "I will not let this situation mess up my political career. I will speak with Joe Jones and Joan Mazzolini (Council Communications Director) to get to the bottom of this matter," Starr scoffed. Starr referred to the comments made by Brown at the Cleveland City Council meeting and the news article previously posted on NewsBreak regarding Cleveland City Council denying Saniyah a secondary street-name signage.

President Brown responded - "so your career is more important than the life of a nine-year-old innocent girl. It's not our problem that you failed to know the rules - policies, and legislation. Council is supposed to move as a unit, not separate islands. As I stated, we would support you if she were your daughter. We expect Cleveland City Council to follow the rules as they expect others to adhere," stated Brown.

Please note that the Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County and the Women Commission for Education and Training will seek other remedies to address this issue should Cleveland City Council fail to do what is right. 

Readers can log on to Cleveland Channel 20 to review Monday, November 7, 2022, Cleveland City Council Meeting for more information about this topic.

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"Brown On Cleveland" features podcast host, former licensed social worker, an occasional National FOX News Network guest, and social justice activist Kimberly F. Brown. Brown is a former talk show host with WOVU.95fm. She has over 20 years of experience as an on-air radio personality. Brown is the Chief Administrator of The Brown Report Newspaper. Brown's background is in investigative reporting.

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