Democracy.com

6
Primary Election

May 06, 2014

Biography

PROVEN SERVICE AND SUCCESS...

Leah Lewis is a Candidate for Cuyahoga County Council, District 9.  She is a sitting Councilwoman in the Village of Highland Hills where she serves as chairperson of the Rules Committee.  Appointed to Council in August 2013, Councilwoman Lewis ran to retain the seat and won in November 2013.  She is a native Clevelander who grew up in the Lee-Harvard Community (Ward 1).

In August of 2013, Leah Lewis parlayed her ecumenical work where she has extensive experience in community engagement and social justice activism within the church to public service in the realms of governance and legislation. She continues to work on her passions for fostering: (1) quality education and opportunities, particularly for children; and (2) individual, institutional, and municipal collaboration.  

At present, Leah Lewis participates in the Cleveland State Leadership Academy XXIII held by the Center for Leadership Development in the Levin College of Urban Affairs.  "The Center's Leadership Academy is the College's signature public sector professional development program."  It integrates "theory, research, and tested models."

Well known for her organizing and interfaith work in the city of Cleveland.  One great example is her contribution to Women of Faith: Voices Against Violence, which was a collaboration with 150 women of faith--both lay and institutionally sanctioned women religious leaders.  This city-wide cohort came together to take a stand against violence and to commemorate the lives lost or impacted by violence.  A diverse body of over 600 Clevelanders, including 50 elected officials, attended this event at the Old Stone Church on Public Square.

Leah Lewis is currently pursuing her Doctor of Ministry at Ashland Theological Seminary specializing in Black Church Studies.  She is a 2005 graduate of Yale Divinity School and holds degrees from Howard University School of Law and Bowling Green State University.  

While at Yale Divinity School she served two terms as the Magee Fellow at Dwight Hall, the Center for Public Service and Social Justice.  At Howard University School of Law she was Managing Editor of The Howard Law Journal and winner of the Fats Waller Award for Excellence in Entertainment Law.

Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Pastor Emeritus of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, ordained Leah Lewis in 2006 into the Baptist faith.  She remained an Associate Minister there serving as Minister for Community Engagement until June 2013. Leah Lewis was Olivet’s lead organizer for their social justice mission under the banner of Greater Cleveland Congregations (an Industrial Areas Foundation affiliate) of which she is a former organizer.  During her tenure at Olivet she facilitated the Singles’ Fellowship and Sustainable Manna—a ministry committed to sustainability.  The latter led the “Produce to People” monthly free produce distribution to 200 – 400 families in Cuyahoga County in partnership with the Cleveland Foodbank and maintained Olivet’s community garden.  Though a partnership with Tech Corps, Leah Lewis brought Techie Camps to Olivet availing 20 children to a three-week technological education at a value of $420,000 underwritten by Chase Bank. 

She was a contributor to “Messages of Faith” in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, to The African American Lectionary and The African American Pulpit.  Her sermon “Like Mother, Like Daughter: Prophetic Principles from the Motherline” appears in Black Womanist Leadership: Tracing The Motherline, ed., Toni Denton King and S. Alease Ferguson (SUNY University Press, 2011). Other publications include Wilderness Whispers & Soul Shouts: Mediations from Ebenezer Members (Lenten Devotional) and Practical Matters: A Transdisciplinary Multimedia Journal of Religious Practices and Practical Theology. She is also the publisher and author of Little Lumpy’s Book of Blessings, a picture book for young children.

In her capacity as clergy, Reverend Lewis has spoken in some of America’s leading pulpits including New York’s famed Riverside Church and Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. She is equally comfortable ascending the bimah in Jewish Synagogues like Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple and Kol HaLev. She has spoken on college campuses including during her own commencement ceremony from Howard University School of Law and as keynote speaker at Ursulin College’s “Urafiki Celebration” of African American graduates.  Speaking to specialized groups is also in her quiver as she has addressed statewide gathering like that of the social workers of the Urban Minority Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Outreach Program and the activists of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio.  She produces events like the “An Evening with the Freedom Riders” and a “Conversation with Michelle Alexander” author of The New Jim Crow with Case Western Reserved University.  Due to a special relationship with the Cleveland Public Library, Leah Lewis is often called upon to introduce guest speakers, topics, and to moderate panels.

Prior to becoming a civic asset, activist, scholar, published writer, and minister, Leah Lewis gained value experience in business in the field of international banking and finance.  She serve as an Assistant Vice President for HSBC Bank USA after serving as a negotiator for other New York-based financial concerns.  Right after college, however, Leah worked in the legislative field of intercollegiate athletics with the Big Eight Athletic Conference in Kansas City, MO.

At her core, Leah Lewis takes seriously the challenge of working in the Lord’s vineyard, which she considers inclusive of the public, ecclesiastic and academic spheres. She seeks diligently to be a faithful steward and is serious in her belief that “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded” Luke 12:48 (NRSV).

A VOTE FOR THE BEST IS THE BEST VOTE FOR DISTRICT 9!