The Black Led Organizing Collaborative (BLOC) was created to build Black political power and to equip the Black community with capacity building tools through civic education, civic engagement, campaign management and leadership development that will ignite and foster greater electoral turnout in Cleveland, Columbus, as well as our historical urban centers in Northeast (Youngstown and Akron). BLOC is the vehicle for collective political expression, educating the Black electorate and the broader Black community on issues impacting their lives and mobilizing them to turnout to vote on issues and candidates that support and enforce equitable policies for Black Ohioans.
Ray has been working to provide job training, jobs and education in the Black Community since walking out of prison in 2001. Hiring and training over 2,000 people in direct sales through canvassing in Ohio, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Detroit and Pittsburgh. He used those skills to build the largest voter registration team in the country from 2012-2018 registering over 500K Black people over that span.
America is at a tipping point – in a country that continues to lead the world in locking up its own people, mass incarceration has emerged in recent years as a defining civil rights issue. A movement has blossomed in which formerly incarcerated people lead alongside diverse and influential allies, powerfully capturing what’s at stake: that runaway use of incarceration dehumanizes poor people and Black people, damages already marginalized communities, does not advance public safety, and siphons public resources with no social benefit.
In a time of deep political and ideological divides, the fight for justice is more urgent than ever. At the same time, the need to reform our criminal justice system remains a point of agreement among a public made increasingly aware of injustices, leaders of red and blue states alike, and the local government actors who are in charge of delivering nearly all of our nation’s justice system. We are working to sustain and grow the momentum to undo the failed apparatus of mass incarceration. In its wake we can instill practices and build institutions that help build safe communities, are responsive to people, and affirm human dignity.
We know that through education, direct engagement and encouragement, Black people will be increasingly engaged civically and will participate in the building of the political infrastructure necessary to make progressive change in Ohio. Through partnership with the Ohio Transformation Fund, we will work with you to transform our justice system. Our goal is to build new leadership and support existing Black leadership and infrastructure in the state of Ohio.