Race relations in Cleveland 50 years after the March on Washington

CLEVELAND - When it comes to football, most Clevelanders bleed orange and brown together.  But when it comes to race, many say Cleveland is a city still divided 50 years after the March on Washington.

"We are still facing some of the same obstacles that we did 50 years ago when it relates to race," said Theasha Daniely, acting director of Cleveland's Community Relations Department.

With a mission of promoting amicable relations in Cleveland, the department has sponsored five race relations forums throughout the city since last October.  Residents who attended expressed concerns that racism still exists from employment opportunities to a simple trip to the store.

"Even in the grocery store certain areas where people would go to shop, they feel they're treated different than in their neighborhood grocery store," Daniely said. "They were looked at as if you don't belong here in certain areas of the city of Cleveland and they didn't feel welcome at the store."

But the forums were a first step, according to Community Relations Board member Peter Whitt.

"People left excited and encouraged to go home and do something in their own neighborhood," he said.

[WEB EXTRA: Peter Whitt discusses what we all can do to improve race relations in Cleveland in the video player above. Mobile users go here: http://on.wews.com/1409BvQ ]

Daniely said the department will issue a report on its findings.

"It's going to be a long time, I think, before we see a change," she said. "It's 50 years, but it may be another 50 years if there is ever a change."

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