Len Calabrese on the Cleveland City Club

This clip relates to numerous content standards from the Ohio Department of Education curriculum for Social Studies education, including:

  • Contemporary World Issues Content Statement #5 – Individuals can identify, assess and evaluate world events, engage in deliberative civil debate and influence public processes to address global issues.
  • Contemporary World Issues Content Statement #8 – Beliefs about civil and human rights vary among social and governmental systems.
  • American History Content Statement #28 – Following World War II, the United States experienced a struggle for racial and gender equality and the extension of civil rights.



Len Calabrese is the head of the Cleveland Clinic’s Section of Clinical Immunology, in addition to being deeply involved with outreach and professional organizations throughout the city of Ohio. His work pursuing equality for various religious, ethnic and social groups has been extolled by numerous organizations, including the Commission on Catholic Community Action and the Cuyahoga County Public Library. Mr. Calabrese has received countless awards for his work not only in the medical profession, but in greater society as well. In this interview from 2004, he shares the history of the Cleveland City Club in respect to its openness to admit members of society that were not generally welcomed to other organizations during the 1960s and 1970s. Mr. Calabrese shares the triumph of the City Club in overcoming social biases against race, ethnicity and religion, but also discusses that gender equality came much later in the history of the organization.

Potential Classroom Applications:

The story shared by Mr. Calabrese not only discusses the struggle for civil rights during the mid-20th century in America, but also addresses the ongoing struggle for gender equality worldwide. His description of the City Club’s openness to admit members that were not normally accepted by other social organizations is a wonderful platform from which teachers can address the subjects of social justice and civil rights. Educators can draw from the examples in the clip and the content standards and connect them to current instances and movements, such as the He for She movement for gender equality, the Not for Sale Campaign to end human trafficking worldwide, and even the American movement #blacklivesmatter in response to growing hostility to the African American community.

Educators can also connect the content of this clip with examples of how media can impact events and their outcomes. Many of the campaigns for social justice and equality have gained their following from publicity on social media websites, television productions, radio broadcasts, and even magazine and newspaper articles. Thus, it is important to address how media has continued to play a role in the ongoing discussion of human rights. Check out this link to the “Google for Teachers II Guide” and other educational resources that help integrate technology into classrooms!

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