CSU|LAW Students Taneisha Fair and Anastasia Sakairoun Appointed to Cleveland’s Inaugural Commission on Black Women and Girls | CSU College of Law Skip to main content
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Released on Mar 10, 2024
CSU|LAW Students Taneisha Fair and Anastasia Sakairoun Appointed to Cleveland’s Inaugural Commission on Black Women and Girls

Two Current Cleveland State University College of Law students, 3LE Taneisha Fair and 3L Anastasia Sakairoun, were among the nine members recently appointed to Cleveland’s inaugural Commission on Black Women and Girls.  Taneisha and Anastasia, both Dean's Leadership Fellows at CSU|LAW, were sworn-in by Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb in February. 

The commission exists to advocate for programs and legislation that’s intended to improve outcomes for Black women and girls, along with their families and communities, by addressing systemic inequalities and structural obstacles that lead to poor outcomes faced by Black women in Cleveland.

“I look forward to listening closely, engaging deeply, and collaborating with this commission of outstanding leaders to implement programs and policies that begin to close the success gaps that have plagued Black women in Cleveland for centuries too long,” said Mayor Bibb in a release.

Taneisha Fair posing with Mayor Bibb

Taneisha, born and raised in Cleveland and Cleveland Heights, is pursuing a dual degree at CSU with a J.D./Master of Public Administration. She made the decision to pursue this degree in 2020 after seeing police violence against unarmed Black and Brown people during the pandemic.

“2020 made it very clear to me that our generation had not progressed far enough from the Jim Crow era of our grandparents and elders,” said Taneisha.  “There was a collective awakening across the U.S. and people’s eyes were more open to the violence that Black and Brown people experience every day. I felt a pull to learn more about legislation and policy, and I also decided to go to law school to gain the skills I needed to be an advocate to ensure that our rights are not taken away.”

Taneisha works as an Associate, Racial Equity, at The Center for Community Solutions, where she helps the organization focus on how to use a racial equity lens in internal operations and when engaging with communities externally. In her previous position as a Research Associate with the Center, she conducted qualitative research during community needs assessments and helped develop recommendations for consulting projects with health and human service agencies or local governments.

Taneisha decided to apply for the commission after having conversations with Black women in her personal circle, at work, and in the community, about issues they were collective experiencing related to employment and income, healthcare, especially mental health, and education.  She was alarmed by the 2020 Bloomberg CityLab report that ranked Cleveland dead-last among major U.S. cities for Black women’s educational prospects and overall well-being, and second-to-last for health outcomes.

“My hope is that there can be spaces and initiatives created in the Cleveland community to help Black women and girls feel safe, heard, and ultimately be empowered to thrive in their city,” said Taneisha.

photo of Anastasia Sakairoun

Anastasia is also a Cleveland native who was raised in the Glenville-Collinwood area. Anastasia, who will graduate from CSU|LAW in May and serves as Director of Community Service for the Midwest Region of the Black Law Student Association, has always been passionate about being an oral advocate when there is a need to mediate a dispute. She wants to use her legal education to represent individuals who are seeking an empathetic and zealous advocate to fight for their causes. 

She, too, was motivated to apply for the commission based on the Bloomberg report and a follow-up study by Project Noir Cleveland. 

“I knew that this city was not the best place for me to thrive in the way that I desired to growing up,” explained Anastasia.  “These studies quantified my lived experience as well as the experiences I have observed from close friends and family.”

“The systemic inequalities that persist for Black women persist socially, economically, and professionally,” she continued. “From my perspective, it can sometimes feel like you’re constantly being overlooked, facing presumptions of incompetency, and not feeling included in social settings.”

Anastasia experienced discrimination in health care, professionally, and in access to housing in Cleveland all by the age of 20. Those events led her to move to New York City after graduating from Bowling Green State University.  

In New York, Anastasia served as a College Guidance Counselor at Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School, giving her a unique perspective on challenges and strategies for college access.  She returned to Cleveland to attend CSU|LAW and applied to the commission after her first year of law school. The commission designated spots for two members who were attending college and Anastasia specifically wanted to fill one of those roles, knowing black women are extremely underrepresented in the legal industry, making up only 2% of all at attorneys in the United States.

“I want to collaborate with my fellow commissioners to develop policy initiatives that promote self-esteem, college access, networking opportunities to build a sense of moral and camaraderie amongst Black women in Cleveland,” said Anastasia. “More specifically, I hope to collaborate with other commissioners to address barriers to access for Black women in higher education. Black women have the highest amount of student loan debt out of any other demographic, so improving test scores can help them earn more scholarship money to alleviate this disparity.”

Taneisha Fair and Anastasia Sakiroun
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