'Heights Conversations' on race continue in March
In cities like Cleveland Heights and University Heights, so often praised for being “walkable,” how do we see pedestrian safety being addressed, discussed, and prioritized? In her nonfiction book Right of Way: Race, Class and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America, Cleveland-based journalist Angie Schmitt shines a spotlight on social inequities revealed by pedestrian accidents and pedestrian deaths.
According to the book’s publisher, Island Press, “[These accidents] don’t happen because of jaywalking or distracted walking. They are predictable, occurring in stark geographic patterns that tell a story about systemic inequality. These deaths are the forgotten faces of an increasingly urgent public-health crisis that we have the tools, but not the will, to solve.”
Last year, several Heights organizations hosted conversations about race and equity in our community. In 2022, the conversations continue with two community events that will focus on the intersectionality of race, class and pedestrian safety.
On Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m., Heights Libraries and FutureHeights will co-host a virtual talk on Right of Way. The book addresses the racism and classism that plays into the dismissal of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. To register, visit www.heightslibrary.org/events/. Copies of the book are available to borrow at Heights Libraries, or to purchase at local bookstores, including Mac’s Backs–Books on Coventry.
On Thursday, March 10, at 7 p.m., the groups will present "Heights Conversations: Intersectionality of Pedestrian Safety," a public forum that will feature a panel of experts, including author Schmitt and Heights Librarian John Piche, who will discuss the social trends that are putting pedestrians at risk, and the impacts of systemic, structural inequality in our communities on pedestrians of color. Attendees will learn about pedestrian safety in the Heights, and have the opportunity to discuss the intersectionality of pedestrian safety with the panelists. For more information and to register, visit www.futureheights.org/intersectionality.
Heights Conversations is a partnership between FutureHeights, Heights Community Congress, Family Connections, Heights Libraries, the Cleveland University-Heights City School District, Reaching Heights, Road Printz, Compass Consulting Services, and the city of Cleveland Heights that is focused on creating spaces for dialogue surrounding anti-racism and equity issues within the community.
Lydia Ward is a graduate student at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, and is a FutureHeights intern.