Common Ground: Strengthening our Community, One Event at a Time

By Robert Carr and Makalla Bogardy

Common Ground has been changing the way Cleveland interacts by “bringing people together in a unique way to build the community” (“Conversations Connecting…”). Common Ground started in 2017 and is celebrating it’s five-year anniversary. 

When they started the organization, they wanted to encourage community conversion and in those five years they have really developed. They have evolved over the years into having individuals, organizations, businesses, and community groups to help common ground events and to help people come together.  The organization hosts events every year and is currently hosting gatherings from July 16 – 31. Events include physical activities such as yoga and artistic gatherings that promote music, arts and crafts. This group also holds “community conversations” that cover important topics such as mental health, poverty, and racism. 

The Common Grounds hosted their first in-person event since COVID-19 on July 16. The  hosts were so happy to see so many new faces at their event. The event was hosted at the Dunham Tavern Museum’s backyard at 6709 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. The people who run the museum were very excited to see people again. People came from all over the Cleveland to meet each other in hopes of making new friends. Common Ground also teamed up with Pals. Pals is an Arts agency that helps bring arts and crafts to kids and adults who are going through trauma.

One of the Pals team members was working with everyone who showed up on Friday and they all came together and they painted masks. One of the Pals members said the reason that they were painting masks was because nobody smiles when they pass you on the streets so we are giving them a reason now to smile. Common Ground and Pals came together to host this event in the hope of reaching more people.

Some of these people came out to express their artistic side, while some wanted to leave their homes and meet new people. After asking the hosts at the event what they hoped to see on that day, they all said roughly the same thing. Stephanie Hicks Thomas said that she was already seeing what she was hoping for which was seeing people meet that never met each other before and are a part of the community coming together. People were talking and sharing their life stories and talking about how COVID-19 really affected them. Some talked about how they lost their jobs during the pandemic. Seeing people coming together to meet each other was very heartwarming. None of these have ever met teachers before and seeing them come together, to share their stories or their struggles shows us that the people of Cleveland have a strong bond and a strong passion for their beloved city.

Both Common Ground and Pals are great organizations that do a lot of good for Cleveland. They both want to help people come together to meet each other whether or not they have experienced trauma. No matter the cause they want to help you in the best way they know how. This story should encourage people to attend more common ground events. If you are the reader, go to the website www.commongroundcle.org, where you will see tons of events in your area. All Common Ground events are free and you are guaranteed to have a good time at any event that you will attend. Common Ground has one purpose and to “create spaces where meaningful connections are made and purposeful actions begin” (“Conversations Connecting..”).

According to the Common Ground website, participants include residents of Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga County. They are encouraging people to meet safely, through virtual events or socially-distanced, masked gatherings. Events are free to attend, but be sure to register ahead of time on their website, www.commongroundcle.org. If interested in hosting an event, Common Ground will provide resources to help and hosts are allowed to choose the date, location, and time of day. 

Ground, C. (2021). Common Ground : The Cleveland Foundation: Conversations Connecting Greater Cleveland: July 16-20, 2021. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from https://www.commongroundcle.org/

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