Road to Nowhere: Debt-Related Driver’s License Suspensions in Ohio

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Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Roberta Steinbacher Atrium (First Floor), Maxine Goodman Levin School of Urban Affairs, 1717 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
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About This Event

It is estimated that at least 11 million people nationwide have their drivers' licenses suspended not because they are dangerous drivers, but simply because they cant afford to pay a ticket or fine. In Ohio's urban communities, there are over 700 total suspensions for every 1,000 people of driving-age. While many states have responded to this problem by changing their laws, Ohio remains one of the states that use drivers license suspensions to severely penalize those in debt, resulting in a vicious cycle of poverty and criminalization.

Join Levin College as we discuss research conducted by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. A panel of experts will discuss the impacts of debt-related driver's license suspensions on individuals and communities, potential policy reforms to address this issue, and the broader implications for transportation, economic stability, and social justice.

Event Particpants


Erika AnthonyErika L. Anthony is a native New Yorker, is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Cleveland VOTES, a nonpartisan democracy-building movement focused on active participation and equitable civic engagement. Prior to this role, she served as the Executive Director of the Ohio Transformation Fund (OTF), a statewide funding collaborative advocating for fair criminal justice policies. Erika has also held positions at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Oriana House, Inc., and in the legal sector. She is actively involved in various boards and civic initiatives, including serving as Co-Chair of Mayor-Elect Justin Bibb's Transition Team. Erika has a background in psychology and holds a Masters of Public Administration. She resides in Cleveland with her husband and enjoys traveling, biking, and spending time with family and friends.


Brian MikelbankDr. Brian Mikelbank is an associate professor of Urban Studies at Cleveland State University. He is an urban geographer with varied interests in quantitative spatial analysis. His research focuses on urban spatial process, including the spatial analysis of metropolitan housing markets and dynamics of urban-suburban change. Brian teaches classes in housing analysis, quantitative and spatial data analysis, urban geography, urban development, and research methods.

Joi CarterJoi Carter is a community leader with a background in creating networks and initiatives that focus on preserving history, celebrating culture, and empowering residents in Northeast Ohio. Currently working as a Network Manager at Neighborhood Connections, she guides and supports community campaigns. Previously, she served as a Program Officer of Arts and Culture at the Cleveland Foundation, where she emphasized empowering artists and arts organizations. Her role at MidTown Cleveland involved community engagement and overseeing projects celebrating history and Black cultural empowerment. She also contributed to public art projects during her time at LAND Studio. Joi holds a Bachelor's degree in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development from Bowling Green State University, offering a unique creative perspective to her work.

Zack EcklesZack Eckles is a Policy Advocate for the Ohio Poverty Law Center working on reentry issues, housing, and family law. Prior to joining OPLC he spent three years as a Staff Attorney in the Athens office of Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, where he focused on community lawyering throughout the region. In that role, he worked with lower-income clients and social service organizations to advance long term community development projects. Throughout his career, Zack has worked for organizations engaged in policy advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. Zack earned his undergraduate degree at Ohio University and earned his law degree at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Anne SweeneyAnne K. Sweeney is the Managing Attorney for Community Engagement at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. She specializes in equitable community economic development, client support services, and advocacy for vulnerable populations. Anne has presented at various conferences and regularly trains non-attorney providers on navigating the civil legal system. She joined Legal Aid in 2004, initially as a general practitioner specializing in housing, and later expanded her role to include community engagement. Anne holds a JD and MSSW from the University of Wisconsin and is a licensed independent social worker. She also chairs Legal Aid's Ethics Committee.