BY RODERICK PEARSON
When I was an undergraduate student, enduring the painstaking process of applying to graduate school the University of Cincinnati stood out among my other choices for one reason, The Cincinnati Project. Unlike most schools, The Cincinnati Project had a dedicated commitment to connecting with community organizations to serve the needs of residents in Cincinnati. This focus on amplifying the work being conducted by organizations in Cincinnati is what drove me to enroll at UC, as it epitomized the type of research I want to conduct and what I believe community-partnered research should be. Community-partnered research should be a collaboration between the community and the academy in service to improving the lives of their fellow citizens.
Since I first joined The Cincinnati Project team, I have been incredibly eager for the annual symposium to arrive because it is a culmination of the community-partnered research conducted by community organizations and The Cincinnati Project during that year. The collaborative nature of the Cincinnati Project helped create an extremely productive environment where community members and UC faculty coming together as equal partners to serve the Cincinnati community. As a student observing the different student research panels and community housing forum, the most important thing that was reaffirmed for me was the importance of bringing together community members and organizations directly tackling the issues of housing and homelessness in Cincinnati. Far too often these issues are discussed by people who are not directly impacted by the worst outcomes of these issues, and because of that key insights and information critical to solving these issues go unnoticed and unacknowledged. The insights brought by the Principal of Rockdale Academy Belinda Tubbs, Ohio State Representative Sedrick Denson, Steve Sharpe of the Legal Aid Society, Mona Jenkins of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, and moderator Christina Brown are critical to understanding and solving the pertinent issues facing our city. One moment that was particularly illuminating was when Mona Jenkins highlighted the ways in which the current eviction process exacerbates homelessness among already poor Cincinnatians. In the future, these types of conversations should be fostered further to develop solutions to homelessness and affordable housing in Cincinnati.
I want to give a thank you from myself and everyone at the Cincinnati Project for attending the Symposium. We eagerly look forward to seeing you next year at our 2021 Symposium.