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Celebrating our neighborhood's heroes: Columbus is My Neighborhood

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

Community leaders are those neighbors we trust to guide, advocate, and support those around us. While they might not have their names in every headline, they certainly have places in our hearts. Their names and their stories are deserving of recognition from their neighbors and surrounding communities. For a second year, the Neighborhood Design Center has managed the Columbus is My Neighborhood program. With the help of Orange Barrel Media, their stories are highlighted for all of Columbus to see.

The roster of the Columbus is My Neighborhood's second edition

Columbus is My Neighborhood began as a project of two Ohio State University students. In 2020, Kendra Asiedu and Tori Burton partnered with the Neighborhood Design Center to celebrate the activism and commitment to communities from Columbus’s BIPOC leaders. Through social media and public art, they sought to amplify the faces, stories, and impacts of these heroes to all of Columbus. The program was created to serve as a platform that connects faces to the stories and contributions of the neighbors we might not always catch on the news.

This year, sixteen individuals were recognized for their contributions to improving their communities. The Columbus is My Neighborhood Class of 2022 includes: Arica Morgan, Danielle D. Smith, Diona Clark, Habiba K. Banks, Jhuma Acharya, Dana Ashley Lavender, Mario Dovell, Michael Young, Murtadha Al Shaikhli, Sean Walton Jr., Dorian Gray Grant, Shaletha Sanders, Sizzle Perry, and the Sisters of Empowerment.

Kiosk at the Short North Arts District featuring Habiba K. Bankston

From helping refugees settle into welcoming spaces in Columbus, to empowering entrepreneurship, to providing resources for individuals and families in justice, housing, and mentorship, these heroes work tirelessly to improve outcomes for all their neighbors. Their dedication to improve lives and protect their communities merit celebration from not only those near them, but also all of those in Columbus. Their stories are displayed not only on the Columbus is My Neighborhood website, but in several other media extend their reach.

Kiosk at the Short North Arts District featuring Sean Walton

Portraits of each individual selected as a Columbus is My Neighborhood were taken for their feature on websites, news stories, and publicity boards. The Neighborhood Design Center invited all selectees of the program’s 2022 class to record a podcast that further explained their stories and their labor. Recognition extended into print publications, with 614 Magazine featuring selected profiles and portraits in their November 2022 issue. As was done last year, portraits were featured on interactive digital kiosks found on sidewalks in the Short North and Downtown.

These inspiring stories of our everyday heroes continue to elevate their work and those who will join their ranks in future years. To read and hear more about the newest members of Columbus is My Neighborhood, visit Find these heroes on social media on the program’s Instagram (@cbusismynbhd) or on NDC’s Instagram (@cbusndc). A special thanks to the Columbus is My Neighborhood team: Kendra Asiedu, Tori Burton, Lisa Snyder, Jehan Daughtery, and Shelbi Toone. We thank Orange Barrel Media and The Columbus Foundation for their generous support as partners.


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