Tens of thousands of people have arrived in Cleveland to participate in the Republican National Convention as either delegates, media representatives, activists or just witnesses to political history.
As a local publication that focuses on the arts, culture and social issues, the critical role of The Vindicator during the RNC is to report on its impact on Cleveland. Throughout the week, we will cover marches and protests, politics, the arts and other events happening in the city. Although the RNC officially starts today, we have been on the field since last week compiling information, covering events on our social media pages and preparing ourselves to provide news and knowledge to our readers.
To begin our coverage, we set out to learn how Cleveland's history as a two-time RNC host influences this week's convention. Last Wednesday, The Vindicator interviewed Dr. Richard Klein, Cleveland State University instructor and researcher. He explained what the RNC is in layman's terms, it's importance and how the unique characteristics of Cleveland's history and the current political climate in America define this year's convention.
Photo courtesy of Cleveland State University. Video by Evan Prunty. Interview conducted by Elisabeth Weems.
After gaining a better understanding of the political and economic implications of the RNC, we went to the recently renovated Public Square last Friday to speak with young Clevelanders about their perspectives and expectations for the week. For more information about the RNC, visit https://www.2016cle.com/the-host-committee.
Video by Evan Prunty. Interviews conducted by Elisabeth Weems.
Later that evening, the Black Lives Matter Network held its second protest of the week in Cleveland. Our correspondent Carter Adams followed the group's march which looped around downtown streets, beginning and ending at Public Square. Followed and escorted by Cleveland Police officers on bicycles, roughly 25 protestors rallied against injustice, racism and police brutality, chanting "No justice, no peace." For more information about the Black Lives Matter Network, visit http://blacklivesmatter.com/.
On Saturday, Carter sat in on a series of workshops held at the People's Justice and Peace Convention. All weekend long, socially active organizations from around the country convened in the Hough neighborhood of East Cleveland to both foster dialogue about pressing issues and to learn new skills to advance their causes. We spoke to representatives of some of these groups to learn more about the importance of creating a platform for the people to speak just days before the RNC. For more information about the convention, visit http://www.pjpc2016.org/.
Video by Carter Adams. Interviews conducted by Elisabeth Weems.
After we gained a better understanding of individual and collective causes that activists have been fighting for in the U.S. for generations, we followed Dr. Cornel West, lifelong civil rights activist and black community leader, who led a rally on the corner of Chester Ave. and E. 12th street. Around 3 p.m., the group of about 150 activists, including members of The New Black Panther Party, marched eastbound for more than 30 blocks, past the campus of Cleveland State University. That afternoon, the National March and Massive Rally Against Racism, Injustice and White Supremacy became a continuation of the intergenerational, black liberation movement, and we were there to witness it.
Photos courtesy of Elisabeth Weems.
On the final day before the RNC's official commencement, we visited a quiet corner near Ohio City in a refurbished, architectual office where Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein was expected to host a rally. Although Dr. Stein ultimately wasn't able to show, The Vindicator spoke to Joe Demare, who is running for U.S. Senate, about the Green Party's platforms. To learn more about the Green Party, visit http://www.gp.org/.
Video by Carter Adams. Interview conducted by Elisabeth Weems.
A few hours later, we caught the tail-end of the Shut down Trump and the RNC Rally. It culminated at the intersection of Lakeside Ave. and E. 9th St. The protest, which concluded near the main entrance of the fenced-in area surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena, was peaceful and resulted in no arrests or outbreaks of violence. However, it was moved by police forces a few blocks north of the Q.
Photos courtesy of Elisabeth Weems.
Video courtesy of Carter Adams.
Regardless of where you'll be in the coming week, the arrival of the Republican National Convention will continue to affect Cleveland in profound ways. Despite one's political affiliation, this is a unique opportunity to learn more about the political process, Cleveland, and the concerns of citizens. The political developments inside of the Q must be recognized as they relate to the Presidential Campaign, but it is important to note that people other than delegates and politicians will voice opinions and cast support.
The hotbed of media attention in Cleveland for the coming week will shine light on oppositional voices, whose protests and rallies are vital to democracy and create social change. Police officers, firefighters, and medics will be present to maintain order and safety. Businesses, hotels and entertainment centers will house, feed and keep busy the visitors to our city. What will be your role in the coming week?
For live coverage of events during RNC week, follow us on Twitter @Vindi_CSU and like us on Facebook (The Vindicator).