Marvetta Rutherford discussed with us her take on transportation, food access, ownership, and empowering people. Marvetta gave her observations on the evolution of her hometown, Cleveland, Ohio. Her life experience spans enough eras to remember the Hough riots and Glenville riots during the sixties.
Through the eyes of a “lifelong Clevelander”, she talked about noticing change in her community, like the small businesses she once knew being replaced. Her journey in life also allowed her to recognize the differences of the East side and West side of her town.
Access to transportation is a vital part in life security, such as commuting to work or going out for groceries. Vulnerable neighborhoods can face unexpected challenges with a change in access; such as changing bus routes away from vulnerable neighborhoods.
Disparity in the town is being fueled by a system failing the people of the town. Marvetta spoke on the combination of lacking knowledge and contradictions that plague numerous systems across America. She mentioned a great example of prison labor being extensively used, including to combat fires that break out in California. Despite the hands-on experience, having a felony record will stop formerly incarcerated individuals from securing a firefighter position after their prison release. Following this tone, Marvetta also described phenomena of people working for years within the same company or completing college education to end up underpaid, or at a minimum wage job.
Marvetta made a strong point of giving people the opportunity to learn skills, and that not everyone needs the same skills. Instead, she said to “… at least live your purpose and do it with enthusiasm and empower other people to do that too.” Showing people how to care for themselves is a huge part of Marvetta’s work. She goes through each day excited about who she can help next. In her work, she helps educate people on living, in hopes of people having a better quality of life.
“It’s all about freeing up money, showing you how to save money and showing you how to look at it from the lens of a business owner.”— Marvetta Rutherford
Marvetta spoke with her heart on the instances Americans live through while trying to attain some form of the American Dream. She expressed her take on what is given to communities, what is sold to communities, and how communities respond. From financial freedom, to culture, to food tendencies, she shared her observations without being afraid to express and dissect the situations ongoing in community.
Our conversation eventually came to an important change-making vehicle: voting. Marvetta emphasized the direct impact any decision local elections will have on a community. People undervalue local elections at times, not understanding how each vote counts. She even has behind-the-scenes experience; recalling one mayoral election with a 20 vote difference for the winner. Marvetta encourages everyone to really take accountability of their voting rights and community.
If you would like to learn more, you can check out Marvetta on Instagram to keep up with her latest activities.