Informed Communities: Evictions and Infant Mortality

WKSU is committed to serving the community's information needs.

Several foundations joined together last fall to invite local media to pursue collaborative projects that could meet the basic information needs of often underserved communities.

In their call for ideas, the foundations (Cleveland Foundation, Akron Community Foundation, Knight Foundation and The Center for Community Solutions) expressed an interest in "projects that provide actionable information that people need and can use."

WKSU was awarded a grant to work with The Plain Dealer and Spectrum News1 Ohio to produce content around the topics of evictions and infant mortality.

screenshot from the video Behind the Black Curtain

Chronic, maternal  stress is one of the reasons Black babies in Ohio are more than twice as likely not to survive to their first birthdays as white babies. WKSU provides insight through the powerful reflection of a North Canton grandmother.


Toxic: A Black Woman's Story / WKSU

Being black in America makes it more likely that you will be diagnosed with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. It even lessens the chance that you will draw your first breath or make it to your first birthday.

In WKSU's continuing series on infant mortality, maternal stress is highlighted as one of the biggest risks to black babies surviving. 

a photo of a multi unit housing structure

Liksha Hoskins was thrilled to see her new townhouse near Green, Ohio came with a dishwasher. She wasn’t so thrilled the first night she used it. She woke up to water flooding her kitchen. 

“I checked under the sink and saw the pipes weren’t connected.” 

A photo of the Centering Pregnancy Group

Summit County is channeling another two-and-a-half million dollars toward the centering groups that advocates say are one key to saving babies’ lives. The issue disproportionately impacts Blacks, who have an infant mortality rate more than twice as high as those of non-Hispanic whites. We visit one of the circles of expectant parents receiving extra support.


"I want you to use your thighs to stand up, and we still got our Kegels tight. Come on. Stand up.”


COVID-19 Disproportionately Affecting Communities of Color

May 22, 2020
screenshot of Spectrum News 1 story on COVID-19 impacts on communities of color

“It's simply unacceptable, and should be unacceptable to every Ohioan, that in our great state of Ohio, in the year 2020, zip code, zip code still determines to a great extent how long you will live, how well you will live,’ said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. 

Governor Mike DeWine is rolling out a slew of new resources that aim to tackle racial inequality during this pandemic. The first two are a set of maps. 

The first is a map allowing users to access county-level COVID-19 data by race and ethnic background,” DeWine said. 

Ohio Infant Mortality Continues to Decline, Gains by Race Remain Uneven

Feb 26, 2020
A photo of an infant's foot

Ohio’s infant mortality rate continued its slow but steady decline in 2018, driven largely by falling death rates for white babies. The rate of infant death in Ohio’s black community, however, remains stubbornly high.

In Ohio, 938 infants died before reaching a first birthday in 2018, down from 982 the year before. The state’s rate of infant death, calculated by the number of deaths among live-born babies per 1,000 births, was 6.9 in 2018. The rate has fallen by a little more than 1 percent a year for the past decade.