Sam Allard / Scene
Garrison, at Scene HQ, in January, 2017.
A website launched this week by 2017 long-shot Cleveland mayoral candidate Ja'Ovvoni Garrison aims to provide voters with the tools they need to make informed choices before the 2021 elections.
will "provide factual information and data that educates, empowers, and sparks civic engagement in Cleveland, OH," reads the mission statement. It will "create an informational collage of multiple sectors to prepare new leadership and invoke policy and legislative changes in the current elected officials."
Garrison, 31, told Scene that he was inspired to create the site after seeing the extent of citywide "miseducation" after the 2017 elections.
"I took a step back after my mayoral run and realized that part of Cleveland’s stagnant political standards are that many aren’t well informed in the actual language of local government and its partners," he said. "This site is curated to help kill political illiteracy."
With topical areas covering the city's governance, transportation, schools, utilities, health, community development and safety, the site promotes Garrison's belief that an informed electorate is a more powerful one. "Knowing is half the battle" functions as a kind of tagline.
Garrison told Scene that 2021 could be a pivotal year for Cleveland and that voters will have a chance to break through the wall of gatekeepers that has hindered the city's progress. Just like in 2017, the Mayor and all 17 council seats will be up for election in 2021.
These current leaders "don’t provide a ladder of mobility to the residents who fight for their message to be heard," Garrison said. "It’s clear they know they don’t need to. Democracy doesn’t live in Cleveland and we as citizens of the city can change that in 2021."
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