Cincinnati Activist Iris Roley to be Inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame

Roley is being honored for her long history of pushing forward Cincinnati Police reform.

Iris Roley at a February 2018 session on police reform in Roselawn. - Photo: Nick Swartsell
Photo: Nick Swartsell
Iris Roley at a February 2018 session on police reform in Roselawn.

Cincinnati community activist and advocate for police reform Iris Roley is being inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

Iris Roley is a founding leader of the Cincinnati Black United Front and the city’s consultant for issues related to the Collaborative Agreement; a set of police-community relationship values outlined between CPD, Cincinnati Black United Front, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and community members in 2002.

Recent police reform efforts

Most recently, Roley brought a proposed set of edits to the city’s non-discrimination policy, or code 25, to create a zero-tolerance policy for the use of the n-word among the city’s police officers. The policy change would apply to all city employees, but was drafted with police in mind after two officers were investigated in 2022 for using a racist slur while on the job.

“To be recognized by my peers for work on something as important as human and civil rights, is very special. It is really humbling to receive the award in the presence of so many leaders, really giants, of our profession,” Roley says in a press release from the city.

Roley is also involved in various reform efforts, serving on boards for the AMOS Project, City Mangers Advisory Board. The Police Chief Advisory Board, The Community Police Partnering Center, Unofficial Juvenile Court in Madisonville and the Summer Enrichment Program.

Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame

The Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame “seeks to acknowledge outstanding Ohioans who are recognized as pioneers in human and civil rights and who have advanced the goals of equality and inclusion,” according to the press release.

The ceremony will take place at the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday, Oct. 6.

Other 2022 Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame honorees include:
  • John W. E. Bowen, III (1926-2011) - Former state senator, attorney at law and public servant for the State of Ohio
  • Bishop Timothy J. Clarke (Columbus) - Bishop and senior pastor for the First Church of God and civil rights advocate
  • Dorothy O. Jackson (1933-2021) - Former Deputy Mayor of Akron, sign language interpreter and community advocate
  • Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton (Worthington) - Former Supreme Court Justice of Ohio and advocate of mental health reform in the justice system

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About The Author

Madeline Fening

Madeline Fening is CityBeat’s investigative news reporter. Proudly born and raised in Middletown, she attended Bowling Green State University before moving to Austin, Texas where she dabbled in documentary filmmaking, digital news and bartending. Madeline then moved to Cincinnati to work for WCPO 9 News as an...
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