Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC)
Forest Hill Church is an active member of Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC), a non-partisan organization of more than 30 faith communities and civic partner organizations in Cuyahoga County who work together on social justice issues.
Building a More Just Northeast Ohio
GCC challenges Greater Clevelanders to imagine what can be accomplished together by mobilizing members to ensure that collective voices are heard. Through person-to-person organizing, GCC is building the power necessary to create a better, more just Northeast Ohio.
Volunteers and Voters
Trained hundreds of volunteers and mobilized thousands of voters to pass two critical school levies for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. And, in the fall of 2020, GCC trained 285 leaders to alert voters whose ballot applications had been rejected. 13,000 voter contact calls were made, 650 emails sent, and 1500 door hangers delivered. The result? 7,000 applications were corrected!
Civil Rights Unit
Organized the creation of Cuyahoga County’s first-ever Civil Rights Unit to reduce by 20% over-charging for non-violent offenses (2012-2016) and created a third Drug Court whose criteria does not exclude people of color.
Mental Health and Addiction Center
Campaigned for a long-needed mental health and addiction crisis-diversion center to provide an alternative to incarceration. The new center opened in May 2021.
Listened and responded to African-American concerns about the Covid vaccine through small community discussion groups, and operated pop-up vaccination sites at member church sites, vaccinating thousands in our communities.
Currently, GCC is focusing on these efforts:
Battle for Democracy
Battle for Democracy combats voter suppression, depression, and regression by implementing strategies to increase voter turnout in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County over the next ten years. In 2021, for example, this effort focused on canvassing five key neighborhoods in the City of Cleveland on the topic of Cleveland’s mayoral election. Volunteers are much needed to be trained to work in pairs and canvass specific neighborhoods.
Criminal Justice Reform
Criminal Justice Reform crusades for significant change in the Cuyahoga criminal justice system in partnership with the office of the County Prosecutor and County Executive. Efforts to end abuse of the practice of discretionary youth bind over is an important focus. In Ohio, a bind over occurs when a juvenile court judge transfers a youth’s case, a child as young as age 14, to adult court to be tried and sentenced as an adult. Cuyahoga has the highest juvenile bind over rates in the entire state.