Profiles: Phyllis Harris, The Community Activist
Cleveland native Phyllis Harris holds a Master’s degree in non-profit management from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baldwin Wallace College. She is dedicated to helping improve the lives of Greater Clevelanders through advocating for social justice. She is the proud mother of two children ages 7 and 15.
The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland is nearly 40 years old. What role does the center play in the community? The LGBT Community Center continues to play an important role in the quality of life for many LGBT Clevelanders. In some instances the Center may be the only LGBT resource where residents feel that they can be affirmed and safely access social, educational and health services. The Center also provides LGBT Clevelanders the opportunity to engage in advocating for social and legal change.
What did it mean to you when Cleveland’s iconic Terminal Tower was lit in LGBT pride colors? I felt a sense of pride about being a Clevelander and about my choice to live in Cleveland as an out lesbian. I hold the lighting of the Terminal Tower in pride colors as a symbol of acknowledgement and appreciation!
The City of Cleveland offers a domestic partner registry. Has that helped to make Cleveland a more welcoming city? Yes, I believe so. I know many people who have left the state to seek out legal protections offered in other states like the ability to marry and build families through second parent adoption. I believe the registry is a start in the right direction.
How do you like living in the Cleveland region? I enjoy living in Cleveland! In the past few years I feel like I am rediscovering all that the region has to offer. I generally tell friends who want to visit that we have great Meds, Eds, Eats, Arts and Parks!
Any recommendations for visitors with kids? Yes, Cleveland is kid-friendly and has affordable opportunities such as our museums – the Children’s Museum, Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Museum of Art and so on.
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