Resident and former 'Coventry kid' endorses Seren
It is with pleasure that I am endorsing City Council Vice President Kahlil Seren to become the first mayor of the city of Cleveland Heights.
The future of Cleveland Heights is important to me. I grew up in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood, but I spent a lot of time in Cleveland Heights at my grandfather’s home; so my summers were spent catching frogs in the marshy fields that buttressed his street, and my winters were spent sledding with my sisters and cousins in Cain Park. In high school, when my family moved to the Superior and Coventry section of East Cleveland, I was one of the many kids dressed in black buying CDs at the Record Exchange and Record Revolution, or sitting for hours in the Arabica coffee shop on Coventry, or outside the Grog Shop. When I moved back to Greater Cleveland in 2020, after living primarily in NYC since 1999, I purchased a home on the very same street of my grandfather’s home.
So when an incident happened last fall, with a person walking up my street with a military-grade weapon, I was confused and shaken. I e-mailed the entire city administration, demanding answers. Council Member Seren was the sole member of council to respond, and he took time to communicate with me what was learned about the incident and what the city was doing.
I recently attended a neighborhood meeting with Seren, and as my neighbors and I had heated debates, Seren remained calm, steady, and was able to hear all of us. He didn’t shirk from his own opinions, but made everyone feel heard and valued.
I also think Seren’s track record of visionary, yet practical, policymaking in Cleveland Heights and Cuyahoga County is what we need. The next few years will be critical for Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County, and the state of Ohio; [we need] to elect leaders who are invested in issues such as housing, education, green energy, and a progressive vision of public safety, to make [this] a place where young people aren’t made to feel like they have to leave in order to thrive. I was one of those young people 22 years ago.
I think that electing Kahlil Seren as mayor of Cleveland Heights, in our centennial year, is just the leadership we need to take us in the best direction for the next 100 years.
Kenyon Farrow is a nationally recognized writer and activist on public health, LGBTQ rights and other social justice issues. A resident of Cleveland Heights, he's still just a Coventry kid at heart.