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Justin's Story


Born and raised on the southeast side of Cleveland, Justin has experienced many of the challenges we face as a city firsthand.


He grew up quickly when his parents got divorced at the age of four and learned how to navigate multiple worlds, moving between his Dad’s home and living with his mom and grandma.


His family struggled to make ends meet — forced to choose between paying rent and tuition, they moved into their Grandma’s home, always putting education first. 



When Justin’s mom finished school, she could barely read or write, but she turned her life around and was the first in their family to graduate from college - now she’s a social worker.


His late father was a Navy diver and served as one of the first African American first responders in Cleveland Heights, working as a firefighter and special police officer for over 30 years. He had a tireless work ethic, working a shift at the fire station, sleeping a few hours and then working another shift in the special police force, patrolling places like Beachwood mall, Cuyahoga Community College, and Cleveland Clinic.  

As the son of a social worker and first responder, he was raised to put others first, even when they were struggling themselves. 

young Justin Bibb with Mom

“My mom did what she   had to do to make sure   I had a shot at life.”


“When I was working for Obama in the U.S. Senate, he said to me, “Justin, you should aim to do something

…not just be anything.”  


He co-founded Hack Cleveland in 2014 following the death of Tamir Rice and most recently launched Cleveland Can’t Wait, a nonprofit focused on advancing racial equity and economic opportunity in underserved neighborhoods across the city.

Currently, Justin works with mayors, business leaders and community organizations across the country as the Chief Strategy Officer of Urbanova, an innovative start-up that leads new initiatives to make cities safer, healthier and more resilient.

Justin is a proud son of Cleveland who has long advocated for change and reform in education, transit and criminal justice. His advocacy extends from the streets to the boardroom where he is fighting to make Cleveland a destination for tourism and talent, high-quality education, sustainable development and affordable public transit.  

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Justin Bibb is running for Mayor of Cleveland because he believes Cleveland can’t wait for change. He is a bold, dynamic, and visionary leader who will bring a new sense of urgency and fresh ideas to the challenges we face.

As mayor, Justin will champion a new generation of leadership to solve Cleveland’s oldest problems and modernize city government to make our neighborhoods safer, communities healthier and economy stronger.

Cleveland can’t wait. We’ve waited long enough.

Let's build a movement for change!

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