Advocacy News from LMM
A Year in Review
2022 was a busy year for LMM’s Office of Advocacy! What follows are advocacy highlights from the past 12 months. We hope you’ll join us in 2023 to continue our efforts to end homelessness, reform the criminal legal system and end racism in all its forms. 
Raising Awareness to Challenges Facing Returning Citizens
Charles R. See Forum

The Charles R. See Forum on Reentry took place on Friday, April 29, 2022 at the City Club of Cleveland. The forum honored See’s 44 years at LMM by bringing attention to current issues in the field of criminal justice and featured keynote speaker, Ms. Susan Burton.

To watch this year's Charles R. See forum, click the button below:
The People's Reentry Assembly

The People’s Reentry Assembly took place on Saturday, April 30. This half-day program elevated the stories and experiences of those with past criminal legal involvement, provided information about policies that could reduce housing-related collateral sanctions, and determined a path for advancing policies in Northeast Ohio. Individuals with direct criminal legal system involvement, or who have been indirectly impacted through a family member, roommate, or close friend, were encouraged to attend. 
Hosting the Candidates for County Executive
LMM was fortunate to host the two leading candidates for Cuyahoga County Executive, Chris Ronayne and Lee Weingart, in August for a series of site visits. Both candidates toured LMM's emergency youth shelter and the Men's Shelter at 2100 Lakeside and drove by a Breaking New Ground home. They were then given a tour of the Richard Sering Center, where they received a primer on LMM's Workforce Development programming and Guardianship Services. Through these visits, both candidates learned about LMM's programming, how we currently partner with the County, and areas for future collaboration. Thank you Chris and Lee for spending so much time with us and for your dedication to improving our community. 
Creating a Culture of Advocacy and Justice at LMM
Soup for the Soul

On Friday, January 14, LMM’s Advocacy Department hosted Soup for the Soul - a program in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Gloria Craig, LMM's Community Engagement Coordinator, facilitated the conversation, which focused on the people closest to Dr. King, or in other words, his village. Many of these individuals, like activists Bayard Rustin and Claudette Colvin, were central to Dr. King’s fight, but are too often forgotten in the history books. Following the program, soup was dropped off to each of our four main locations for staff and included an inspirational quote.

Read more about the importance of having a village in Gloria’s A Push Towards Justice blog post.
Juneteenth Staff Lunch and Learn

On June 15, Gloria Craig hosted a Lunch and Learn for LMM staff with a discussion focused on highlighting the history behind Juneteenth, busting myths around the holiday, and sharing why it is important to recognize and celebrate Juneteenth.
Promoting Voter Education and Awareness
Opposing HJR6

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry was one of 140 groups to sign onto a letter opposing efforts by the General Assembly to make it more difficult to amend the state constitution. Ohio House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR6) would increase the threshold for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments from a simple majority, 50%+1, to 60% support. This would drastically limit the citizen-led amendments that advance in the state.

LMM values citizen voice in all aspects of the policy-making process, and is concerned about the additional barriers that HJR6 would create for citizens wanting to affect change. LMM will oppose any future efforts by the state to limit civic engagement and resident voice.
Cleveland VOTES Grantee

LMM’s advocacy department received a grant from partnering organization Cleveland VOTES. With this grant, we were able to put together programs for different populations of program participants we serve.

The first program was geared toward our residents at the Men’s Shelter, where we spoke with residents about civic engagement, specifically providing information on where to find relevant elections information. We also discussed the primary forms of identification needed to vote. We provide residents with information on how to access these documents on their own as well as information on resources they may want or need to utilize while experiencing homelessness.

The second program we put together was a writing workshop focused on writing to your legislators for our Chopping for Change program participants. Although many of those incarcerated are not given the opportunity to vote, their vote still matters. This program focused on how to construct a letter to your legislator, where to find the address, as well as information on how writing to your legislator can uplift issues, policies, and personal stories that elected officials may need to know in order to be holistically informed on decisions, policies and issues that arise.

Lastly, we put together folders for our youth program participants that included resources on how to become civically engaged, things to know regarding judges, information on county executive candidates, and how to become an elected official as well as voter registration forms.  
Hosting LMM Summer Intern Morgan Edwards

Over the summer, LMM's Office of Advocacy was granted the opportunity to host summer intern Morgan Edwards, a Sophomore at John Carroll University.

While with us, Morgan participated in volunteer opportunities with our Community Engagement Coordinator, Gloria Craig. She assisted in putting together social media content about voting and civic engagement information. Throughout her time with us, Morgan identified and put together a research project highlighting an issue our program participants and some staff experience - child support as a barrier, specifically for those who are returning citizens. 
Want to see more highlights from LMM's 2022? Give us a follow on social media to stay up-to-date with the #LMMYearInReview campaign!

Our Annual Report for 2021 is also available HERE to view a recap of the prior year. Happy New Year! We'll see you in 2023!