This research was prepared for The Nord Family Foundation by The Center for Community Solutions. Read an introduction by Anthony Richardson, J.D., Executive Director of The Nord Family Foundation and scroll below for a series of graphics which examine racial disparities in Lorain County. Data on education, justice, economics and health is included. A recording of one of the presentations of the report is included at the bottom of this page.
Since the inception of our country, American citizens have organized social movements that – in many cases – have challenged our country to uphold its promise to protect all U.S. citizens’ unalienable rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It is only through this promise that our country can continue to evolve, uphold its democratic principles and aspire toward a more perfect Union.
America’s promise is always under attack and constantly at odds with the longstanding vestiges of patriarchy, racism, bigotry and hate. Inclusion efforts have been resilient in the face of evil, sparking movements that have led to major breakthroughs in civil rights, such as (to name a few):
- In 1868, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment was expanded to include African Americans.
- In 1920, women received a right to vote.
- In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act banned extreme child labor and established minimum wage and work conditions.
- In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court held segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.
- In 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin (and later sexual orientation).
- In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Virginia state law banning interracial marriages.
- In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibited discrimination based on disabilities.
- In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states.
- In 2021, the U.S. Congress passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.
In 2020, we witnessed protests across the country after George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, MN. At a high level, the nationwide protests that followed continued the legacy of citizens challenging America to sustain its promise. In response, many state and local governments declared racism a public health crisis; a plethora of private companies, including Fortune 500 companies, publicly denounced racism and committed to deepening investments in BIPOC communities; and, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Further, in Lorain County, our Board of Commissioners along with the City of Lorain, City of Elyria and City of Oberlin declared racism a public health crisis. During that time, our staff participated in countless community conversations on racial equity, many of which were grounded in anecdotal experiences and assumptions as our community lacked a comprehensive – one stop – document that illustrated racial disparities across the various public systems in our local community. As such, in the spirit of learning and surfacing quantitative data, The Center for Community Solutions – through a generous grant provided by The Nord Family Foundation – embarked upon a six-month research journey to conduct an audit on racial disparities in Lorain County.
It is our hope that the data in this report is not weaponized to spur greater division; instead, may it be used to challenge and disrupt existing social constructs and institutional norms that continuously undermine Lorain County residents’ ability to fully access and enjoy their unalienable rights and constitutional rights, respectively.
Lastly, I want to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to all the people and organizations that have been and continue to remain at the forefront of equity work in our community. I also want to acknowledge the people and organizations that are in the very early stages of their equity journey; I commend your bravery, capacity to empathize and willingness to envision and ultimately create a more just Lorain County.
Anthony Richardson, J.D.
The Nord Family Foundation
Click on any of the images below to open the data slideshow.