As the New Year approaches you can almost feel the global sense of relief felt by leaving 2020 behind. It was truly a difficult year that met us head-on with unique challenges, tested our resiliency, and stole both people and traditions we hold dear. The theme of uncertainty was woven into every aspect of our lives - school, work, healthcare, activism - few things were spared.

It is difficult to predict what lies ahead - but one thing is certain - we have the creativity, vision, and power to create the just, fair, and sustainable communities we desire. This truth should illuminate the path we choose in 2021.

In response to crippling economic uncertainty - mutual aid groups cropped up across the nation and continue to offer support and locate resources.

Legal protections offered to racial injustice wore thin and the veil of community police protection was torn away by Black Lives Matter protests paired with a demand to defund (and ultimately restructure) a system that perpetuates racism, poverty, and violence.

Yet, uncertainty can also surprise you. You cannot always predict when and where seeds will take root and grow. The Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) is a story that captivated the world - but it was sowed and nurtured by the communities and initiatives that came before it. These are not stories you will find on the front page of your local paper or sitting in your inbox, but collectively these stories have fueled a movement for systemic change - right here in Ohio - and set the stage for LEBOR to grow and flourish and take root in communities all over the world.  

  • Three Toledo residents filed their own lawsuit against the State of Ohio for not protecting Lake Erie and in appeal got the case remanded back to the lower state court.  
  • COVID-19 also interrupted Democracy in Columbus where residents were in the process of gathering signatures to place their water protection bill of rights on the Nov ballot. The city and the court refused to extend the people’s deadline when they suspended signature gathering to protect public health. 
  • As Ohio residents used their constitutional right to direct democracy through the initiative process, the state has systematically tried to squash that right. The people are fighting back in a civil rights case, now in appeal. This time there are others supporting their efforts by filing amicus (Friend of the Court) briefs.

We hope 2021 brings you empowerment, voice, and vision for realizing more just and sustainable communities. We're forging a new path and we invite you to walk it with us and take bold steps into the New Year. Future generations of Ohioans are counting on us!

A Look Ahead at 2021

Join OHCRN quarterly for a virtual democracy-themed film series and discussion. We will be announcing dates and film selections in the New Year! We hope you'll join us!

Our federal civil rights case reveals a pattern of state and corporate suppression of our rights. We'll be publishing the stories of the communities involved in that case - a component often ignored by the courts.

Your Support Makes a Difference

The Ohio Community Rights Network is a grassroots focused and volunteer driven non-profit. We rely on the support of individual donors like you.

If you would like to help us continue our work of empowerment, education and advocacy in communities throughout Ohio please make a tax-deductible donation today.