The Cleveland Observer Family and Friends: Ray Hom, Shana Black, Devon Jones, Meryl Johnson, Rosie Palfy, Carla Calhoun, Rachel Dissell, Mark Silverberg, Lisa Rose-Rodriguez, Margret Adams, Denise Holcomb, Trey Razanauskas and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell. Not Shown: Yugan Sakthi, Sharon Lewis, Melvin Mason, Jeremy Taylor, Sheila Ferguson, Dawn Glasco, Bruce Checefsky

Organizational History:

The idea to create a News Desk was born during a City of Cleveland Ward 7 community meeting in the summer of 2018. A multimedia platform, which includes a print, digital and audio edition to communicate with the community. The positive response was the beginning of the Ward 7 Observer.

The Ward 7 Observer was distributed to several Cleveland neighborhoods each month for over two years. 5,000 print newspapers were distributed to: AsiaTown, Fairfax, Hough, Midtown, and St.Clair-Superior. In August 2020, The Cleveland Observer (TCO) was launched in the midst of the pandemic and racial unrest and expanded to serve more communities in Cleveland, Ohio. With this expansion, TCO expanded to serve the neighborhoods of Central, Downtown, East Cleveland, Lee-Harvard, Broadway-Slavic Village, University Circle, and Glenville. The Cleveland Observer is a community-based news desk bringing trusted, newsworthy free content across Cleveland, Ohio.


Organizational Vision Statement:

Our vision is to be an information and resource hub to Engage, Educate and Empower Cleveland’s urban communities. We report on relevant topics through timely news updates, effective content communications, collaboration with partners and efficient programming.

Our Guiding Values

  • Provide continuity of Cleveland’s community resources focusing on Health, Education, and Financial matters.
  • Engage and inform the community through collaborative programming, utilizing various media sources.
  • Ensure JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) efforts are compliant in Institutions, Corporations, and Government in the city of Cleveland with trusted reporting.

Who We Serve

The Cleveland Observer “Urban Voice” addresses the concerns of under-represented communities.

Our solutions-based journalism, fueled by community and freelance content providers, reports on the truths relevant to the lives of urban residents.

The strength of TCO’s services rests in its commitment to diversity in age, gender, sexual preference and identity, race, ethnicity and socio-economics. 

Organizational Mission Statement:

“To empower and motivate communities in Cleveland, Ohio with a holistic approach. Providing critical information and resources in order to positively impact civic engagement for change.”

11459 Mayfield Ave #302
Cleveland Ohio 44103
Voice: (216) 236-8081

The Cleveland Observer is a community-based news digital and monthly print publication.

Our Board of Directors

Margaret Adams RN Retired


Cheif Executive                                                Ron Calhoun, Chief Executive Officer                                            

Sheila Ferguson, Ph.D., LPCC

Ron Harris, Chief Financial Officer at Squid iQ, Inc.

Ray Hom, Senior Account Executive at Tulip

Devon Jones, MSASS (2021); MNO
Community Research Associate for the Department of
Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

Sharon Lewis Instructor and Coordinator of Student Services
at MDT College of Health Sciences

Mark Silverberg  Consultant and volunteer for non-profit organizations

Consulting and Advisory:   

Denise Holcomb Founder of Removing The Stigma (RTS),

John Copic  Euclid/Collinwood Observer Publisher, 

Meryl Johnson State Board of Education 

Patricia Johnson Freelance Writer/Editor

Program Manager

Devon Jones


Ray Hom


Lexy Jensen


Melvin Mason


Marva White

Content Providers

Bruce Checefsky

Bruce Checefsky is a regular contributor to The Cleveland Observer. He has a Master of Fine Arts in Photography and a Bachelor of Science. Having published dozens of articles and essays in museum catalogs, art magazines, and local newspapers, Bruce received three Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Excellence Awards and a Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC). His photography and films are in the collections of The Cleveland Museum of Art, Akron Art Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Allen Memorial Art Museum, and more. Now that he has retired, Bruce enjoys just writing and being around people, since he grew up in a large extended family of 33 first cousins and plenty of aunts and uncles.

Sheila Ferguson

Sheila A. Ferguson  (S. Alease Ferguson) has a track record of writing across various genres.  Her published literary works span the realm of refereed scholarly writing and technical writing to playwriting, memoirs and creative non-fiction. To date, her co-authored works have been widely anthologized in the feminist press.  In 2011 Sheila and Dr. Toni C. King co-edited Black Womanist Leadership:  Tracing the Motherline (©2011, SUNY Press). Most recently, she has become a content provider for The Cleveland Observer.  In her spare time, she is an avid reader and lover of comedy.

Larry Frazier

Larry Frazier grew up and was educated in Cleveland. He later attended the Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and from there was ordained as a pastor for the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) in 1994. Larry has served in that capacity for 25 years, in both Chicago and now Cleveland, having been Vice President & Circuit Counselor of the Northern Illinois District, and now pastoring a congregation here in the area. Larry is an electronics technician, and likes to tinker in his spare time.


Ray Hom

Ray Hom is a frequent contributor to TCO, with articles pertaining to Asian American events and issues that are important to our readers. He is co-founder of the AsiaTown Landmark project and currently serves on the AsiaTown Advisory Committee, People’s Street Project and The Cleveland Observer Board of Directors. Ray grew up in Cleveland but has also lived in Singapore for over 16 years, giving him more perspective as an Asian American living in Asia versus living in the U.S. He currently has residence in Cleveland’s AsiaTown. Ray is passionate about Diversity/Equity/Inclusion initiatives, voting rights and equality for all.

Melvin Mason

Melvin Mason (or Twigg as he is sometimes called) started with The Cleveland Observer as a content provider and entertainment critic, but has progressed to become its Print Production Editor as well. This Magna cum Laude graduate is also the founder and director of Twigg Productions, a creative arts production house based in Cleveland, Ohio. Melvin’s desire is to inform and encourage people to pursue their purpose and become all they were created to be, working with aspiring writers and others to improve their output and abilities. That’s also the motivation for his first book, “Becoming A Kept Man: My Journey And Yours,” (©2019, Twigg Productions Publishing). Because he loves to travel, one of Melvin’s bucket list goals is to experience each of the 48 continental United States (if not all 50!) at least once in his lifetime.

Nicole D. Miller

Nicole D. Miller is a five-time self-published author, tenured blogger, and serial entrepreneur in Cleveland. She has been featured on various podcasts, guest blogs, and television platforms for her writing. She offers assistance with book publishing via ND Miller Publishing, where she provides aspiring authors with affordable resources to manifest quality content. In her spare time Nicole enjoys shopping, a good red dry glass of wine and anything consisting of 90s R&B and Hip-Hop.

Greg T. Moore

Gregory T. Moore is a freelance writer for The Cleveland Observer and author of the recently published book, “Beyond the Voting Rights Act: The Untold Story of the Struggle To Reform America’s Voter Registration Laws(©2022, DeGruyer Publishing). Greg is a native of Cleveland Ohio and a leading voting rights advocate. He has advanced voting rights, civic engagement and the expansion of participatory Democracy among African Americans as well as under-served communities at the local, state, and national level. Greg says growing up with 8 brothers and sisters, and 1 bathroom, taught him the valuable lessons of patience and sharing.

Kellie Morris came to The Cleveland Observer through our Journalism Workshop. She considers her writings to be an extension of her career as an educator and trainer. Kellie, who resides in the Glenville area of Cleveland, also works as a documenter for Signal Cleveland, reporting on various meetings and processes occurring in city government. In her spare time, Kellie loves listening to music.

Tonya Sams


Mark Silverberg

Mark Silverberg retired 4 years ago from a career in the sustainable construction industry to pursue documentary photography and storytelling, as well as work for justice, which he’s always wanted to do. One of the ways he accomplishes this is through his volunteer work for the past 12 years with Neighborhood Connections. Some of what motivates his photojournalism is his interest in how nature and all beings, both past and present, are somehow connected. Mark especially loves to tell stories of healing and transformation, and how spirit moves in the world. When not engulfed in studying or improving his photography skills, Mark likes hiking in nature with his rescue Labrador retriever, learning about depth psychology, and singing and playing guitar!

Veronica Thornton

Veronica Thornton, or “Vee,” currently works with Assembly for the Arts, the Neighborhood Leadership Institute and a small Civic Literacy group. She is also owner of Vee’s Consulting, a consulting business that helps find creative solutions for nonprofits, small businesses and artists. Having published two (2) books of poetry (“Universal Colloquies Inside of Me” and “Train of Thoughts”) currently available on Amazon and other online retailers, TCO is happy to have Vee join our family of content providers. She has been a contributor to over 10 anthologies and journals in her career, as well as contributing to a compilation of stories and resources for domestic violence called “Love Shouldn’t Hurt.” As a domestic violence survivor, Vee says “writing allows me to make sense of the way people choose to interact with each other.” In her spare time, Veronica loves taking in the Arts, both visual and performing, and she jokes around a lot.

Ray’Chel Wilson

Ray’Chel Wilson, a Certified Financial Education Instructor®, is the author of the Black Wealth Freedom series and CEO of Raise the Bar Investments, a minority-friendly, financial education, social enterprise. She is also an advisory board member of the Phe’Be Foundation, a Cleveland-based nonprofit fighting financial illiteracy across age ranges. Originally from Toledo-Ohio, Ray’Chel moved to Black Wall Street in Tulsa-OK in order to become a first-generation educator & entrepreneur, and has been honored as one of the top teachers in that state. Ray’Chel finds educating about holistic financial wellness and closing the wealth gaps central to her mission. Why? #ForOurLastNames. Ray’Chel enjoys taking road trips in her hybrid, sharing meals with friends, and thanking God for better days. 


Editorial independence policy

We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $5,000 or more per year. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards.

Donor & Financial Transparency

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization.

Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals, organizations and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics and special projects. We are operating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, we do not pay certain taxes. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses.  Our Application will be submitted in mid-March for 501c3 status. We have received funding through Martha and Tonya Johnson Legacy Project as our fiscal agent.

Our news judgments are made independently—not based on or influenced by donors or any revenue source. We do not give supporters the right to assign, review or edit content.

We make public all revenue sources and donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a news nonprofit, we avoid accepting charitable donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates seeking public office. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.



The Cleveland Observer is a community-based news monthly publication.