Posts in Social Justice
On Realism and Healthy Roots: Yelitsa Jean-Charles

I love people who cut to the chase: This is who I am; take it or leave it. Yelitsa Jean-Charles is one such woman. In the few months I’ve known her, I’ve grown to love our short-and-sweet exchanges at Union Hall: two tired-but-happy entrepreneurs with big dreams, high expectations, and serious sweet tooths. We finally got a chance to sit down for an interview, and the artist-turned-entrepreneur was everything I knew she’d be: snarky (her words), unapologetic, honest. Read on to meet the founder of Healthy Roots Dolls, a budding company dedicated to bringing diversity and empowerment straight to the toy aisles of America.

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Toilynn O’Neal: The Magic of Art, Science, Education, and Community

Toilynn O’Neal is fully invested in the city of Cincinnati. She’s worked at St. Ursula Academy in Walnut Hills for the past 20 years and currently serves as their director of diversity. She works for the Cincinnati Visitors Bureau, helping to develop multicultural entertainment for Fountain Square in the summer. She’s the interim executive director of the Queen City Foundation, an organization devoted to helping young people succeed. Toilynn herself benefited from QCF, and she says it’s one of the reasons she is who she is today, doing what she’s doing to elevate young women in Cincinnati and inspire them to become leaders and community change agents.

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Dora Anim: Giving Reimagined

We huddled around a table at Fountain Square amid the usual noise to find out what has driven Dora, chief operating officer at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, to all that she has accomplished. As a vibrant guitarist played and groups of friends chatted nearby, we carried on a lively conversation surrounding our communities and the strategies for addressing those that need more attention. Dora is oftentimes at the center of the community both in her professional role and personal growth experiences, but that doesn’t stop her from taking a step back to the behind the scenes action of it all.

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Reported By Women: ‘What does Pride mean to you?’

We asked Cincinnatians of all genders, sexual orientations, races, religions, ethnicities, and cultures one question at the 2018 Cincinnati Pride Parade and Festival last Saturday: “What does Pride mean to you?” As rainbow flags flew through the rain and dancers pranced through the streets, smiles beamed while we dodged through crowds and heard their answers.

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Megan Fischer: Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank

I met Megan Fischer a few years ago, while she was working at an educational publishing company. She was smart and capable and sometimes had pink hair – the kind of person you suspect has interesting things ahead. When Megan started talking about a diaper bank, a term I’d never heard before, I stopped and listened. From her, I learned that diaper banks help provide diapers, a necessity for children that is not covered by any government program like food stamps or WIC. Health clinics and food banks aren’t regular sources of diapers either, so parents in need have no reliable way to get them if they’re short on cash.

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Amy Vann: Give Like a Mother

It was a very cold April morning when we sat down with Amy Vann, founder of Give Like a Mother. The air was crisp, the sun was bright, and the scenery at the Cincinnati Nature Center was absolutely gorgeous. With an inviting energy and a smile that could light up any room, Amy opened up about her childhood, the important role faith plays in her life, and her aspirations for her nonprofit organization. Here is a glimpse of her inspiring story.


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Easterseals’ Danielle Gentry-Barth: An Awesome Struggle

Danielle Gentry-Barth, a proud Bearcat, told us to meet her in front of Mick and Mack’s at the University of Cincinnati. We settled comfortably in an office borrowed from the philosophy department, and Danielle shared her journey from a master’s degree in history to her position now at Easterseals. She frequently described her work and her life as “awesome!” She fell into fundraising right out of graduate school and has yet to fall out of it. She also told us about the work she does to help others outside of Easterseals. It was clear that helping people is in her nature.

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Easterseals’ Debbie Smith: ‘Don’t tell me no; tell me how.’

Debbie Smith’s motto is: “Don’t tell me no; tell me how.” This bold attitude has brought her to develop innovative programs that elevate Cincinnati youth out of poverty. We met her at Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati in Walnut Hills and sat down in a conference room, where she shared her story with us. She weaved advice into her stories, thoroughly demonstrating her desire to help others in any way possible.

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Tackling Hunger Differently: Meet Chef Suzy DeYoung

Suzy DeYoung is a chef with a deep culinary heritage. After studying French and business at University of Cincinnati and training as a chef in Paris, she ran a successful catering business, La Petite Pierre, with her sister. Today, Suzy runs La Soupe, a nonprofit founded to rescue food from grocery stores, farms, and food purveyors that would otherwise be wasted. La Soupe takes a chef driven approach to turn that food into healthy, nutritious meals, which are then donated to schools and community agencies throughout Cincinnati.


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On Second Thought: Let’s Catch up with Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard

Life has changed just a bit for President Pro Tem of Cincinnati City Council Tamaya Dennard since we last talked with her in August 2017. During her campaign for City Council, she became famous for quoting Shirley Chisholm: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

A few weeks later, we walked down to City Hall on a hot day to catch up with Dennard on life at City Hall, the ups and the downs, and what the folding chair means to her today.


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From Mexico to Cincinnati: Angelica Perez

Angelica greets us with a smile and a toddler on her hip. The little boy, who I later find out is named David, keeps tapping her cheek as we climb up the stairs. I marvel at her ability to balance the active toddler and climb three flights of steps. Her journey to the U.S. began 16 years ago, and if one thing stands out among those 16 years, it’s the moments of family she’s experienced.

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