Judge Marilyn Zayas. Photo provided

Chuck Berry. Photo provided

Join the Center for Closing the Health Gap at the 14th Annual Health Expo, with special guests ZAPP.  Come on Saturday, April 29, in Washington Park from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This year’s theme is “Racism is deadly to your health.” 

The Health Expo is embarking on 14 years in Cincinnati yet, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still reflect significant health disparities among minority groups both nationally and in Ohio. These discrepancies are rooted in the most complex factor in America, – Race. Race impacts education, socio-economics status, and overall health. Systemic issues continue to make it challenging for minorities to receive adequate health care. Among the barriers to healthy living are access to affordable transportation to medical clinics, lack of health insurance, unconscious biases by nurses and doctors, and limited access to early detection of diseases.

“Blacks are 50 percent more likely to be obese than Whites. Blacks are also 50 percent more likely to have hypertension. The evidence remains race is a factor in why so many people are not healthy. Decades of research link race and income to health disparities. If you are poor or of color, you are likely to have asthma or diabetes as a child. Then later in life, you are more likely to have a heart attack or die of cancer,” says Dwight Tillery, president, founder, and CEO for the Center for Closing the Health Gap.    

The Health Expo remains the largest health fair in the Tri-state area to offer free health screenings for both adults and children. Since 2003, 25,000 free health screenings were performed through our partnerships with the city and local hospitals. The screenings offered include blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, body mass index, vision, dental, and much more. Every inch of Washington Park will be dedicated to eating, moving, and living right.    

ZAPP, a soul and funk band, formed in 1978 by brothers Roger, Larry, Lester, and Terry Troutman. The band is known for hits such as ‘More bounce to the ounce,’ ‘Computer Love,’ and ‘I wanna be your man.’ ZAPP is known for the distinct use of the voice enhancement device called a talk box. 

This event is free to the public. Those interested in learning more information should contact the Health Gap by phone at 513.585.9872 or visit our website at closing the healthgap.org.  

An attendee at one of the Health Gap’s Health Expos has her blood pressure checked by a volunteer from a local health care agency. Some photos by Michael Mitchell

The apartment crime scene. CPD photo

By Andria Carter

Herald Contributor

Cincinnati City Council for Black History Month honored community volunteer Aurelia “Candi” Simmons on February 15, and Dr. Alvin Crawford and Dr. Charles Dillard on February 22. Council Member Yvette Simpson sponsored the resolutions honoring the three individuals.

Mrs. Simmons was recognized for her dedicated volunteer efforts and her commitment to Greater Cincinnati’s Arts and Human Services community. Simmons is known throughout the Cincinnati community as a staunch support of worthy causes in the city and the region. She has coordinated over 700 volunteers for the National Urban League conference in 2014; the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center where she is a chartering member of the Freedom Center Ambassadors and serves as Ambassador Chair; and the Cincinnati Symphony Organization, Board Diversity Committee and Multicultural Awareness Council.

            Dr. Alvin Crawford, who retired from Children’s Hospital after 30 years of services, is one of the country’s leading surgeons specializing in orthopedic and spine surgery. He is known in the community for his accomplishments as a teacher, ambassador, and humanitarian, and sharing his extensive knowledge around the globe.

            Dr. Charles O. Dillard, who retired last year from his medical practice after 49 years of service, is known for his advocacy for improving the health of Cincinnati citizens and its communities. In addition to his medical practice and working with various medical facilities, Dr. Dillard has helped with 20 foreign medical missions including Helping Hands of Haiti and Caring Partners International. Locally, he has helped with the economic development in the African-American community and helped to found the organization Inner City Healthcare, Inc.

            This is the fifth year Council Member Yvette Simpson has sponsored resolutions throughout February honoring local prominent African Americans celebrating their work and lifelong achievements in Cincinnati. 

CPS announces plans for new schools, expansion of vision 2020 and preschool

Council Member Yvette Simpson introduced a resolution last week’s City Council meeting opposing the legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday. The proposed replacement legislation gives tax breaks to the wealthy and freezes funding for poor children and families.

The House Bill, yet to be numbered, will harm millions of Americans who have purchased, and hinder those who have not obtained, healthcare through the ACA.

Additionally, the proposed legislation imposes a one year freeze on federal funding for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grants, and Social Services Block Grants.

 Simpson noted that both Medicaid and CHIP are both essential programs for thousands of Cincinnati residents who are barely able to make ends meet as they are below the federal poverty line.

The proposed replacement legislation places greater financial burden on older, sicker patients while lowering taxes for the wealthy individuals. The bill also cuts Medicaid limiting access for low income individuals to purchase healthcare.

The ACA, originally passed under President Obama, provided high quality healthcare for Americans of all ages and incomes levels. Cincinnati residents have the right to have affordable and high quality healthcare coverage.

Health Gap officials respond to press attacks, suspect racism

City Council Candidate Jeff Pastor announced he has exceeded the amount of validated signatures to be on the Cincinnati City Council ballot for 2017.

“When I announced my intent to run for Cincinnati City Council, it wasn’t because it was lacking as a government body, but because it could run more efficiently, more effectively, and more inclusively. I have and will continue to go to your community council meetings, to your diners, and parks and listen to what you have to say. You have expressed the need for change in your neighborhoods and I am ready to take on the challenge. I have come up with a formula that ‘Jobs + Education + Accountable Housing = Reduced Poverty.’ As a native Cincinnatian, former military man, proud father and husband, I pledge to you, I pledge myself, to a better Cincinnati. Give me your help; not to win votes alone, but to be greater together.”

Election day is Tuesday, November 7, 2017. You can learn more about Jeff Pastor and his campaign by visiting Jeff Pastor for Cincinnati City Council on Facebook.

Enjoy today's articles, support our advertisers, and come back soon for our new website! Also, "like" The Cincinnati Herald on Facebook and follow @CinciHerald on Twitter.

The Legendary Chuck Berry - Father of Rock 'n' Roll - Dies at 90

Washington, DC - AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond announced AARP's opposition to the House plan that would make harmful changes to our current health care system such as shortening the life of Medicare, hiking costs for those who can least afford higher insurance premiums, risking seniors' ability to live independently, and giving tax breaks to big drug companies and health insurance companies:

"AARP opposes this legislation as introduced that would weaken Medicare, leaving the door open to a voucher program that shifts costs and risks to seniors, LeaMond said.

“Before people even reach retirement age, big insurance companies would be allowed to charge them an age tax that adds up to thousands of dollars more per year. Older Americans need affordable health care services and prescriptions.  This plan goes in the opposite direction, increasing insurance premiums for older Americans and not doing anything to lower drug costs.

"On top of the hefty premium increase for consumers, big drug companies and other special interests get a sweetheart deal.

"Finally, Medicaid cuts could impact people of all ages and put at risk the health and safety of 17.4 million children and adults with disabilities and seniors by eliminating much needed services that allow individuals to live independently in their homes and communities.

“Although no one believes the current health care system is perfect, this harmful legislation would make health care less secure and less affordable.

“AARP stands ready to work with both parties on legislation that puts Americans' health care first, not the special interests.’’

The Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) is seeking partners to help develop and grow Ohio small, minority-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged businesses through the Minority Business Assistance Centers (MBAC) Program. This program supports minority-owned businesses by offering no cost counseling, state certification support, and trainings focused on creating jobs and increasing sales.

“We want to partner with business leaders who can provide the best resources to Ohio minority-owned businesses,” said Jeffrey L. Johnson, chief of the Minority Business Development Division at the Ohio Development Services Agency. “By supporting these businesses with resources needed to grow, they will be better able to create jobs and improve their communities.”

To maintain the highest quality services for Ohio minority-owned businesses, DSA will be conducting an open competition to select MBAC regional partners across the state. Non-profit organizations, economic development organizations, and educational institutions with strong experience in business and economic development will be eligible for the program.

Service areas include Cincinnati and Dayton.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) is now open until April 21, 2017, with award notifications planned for May 2017. To apply and download the MBAC RFP, visit: www.minority.ohio.gov, under “Minority Business Assistance Center.”

The MBAC program is managed by DSA’s Minority Business Development Division and is a state initiative to develop and grow Ohio’s small, minority-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged businesses. 

These young ladies proudly display certificates of completion in a Health Gap “We Thrive” program.

Dr. Charles Dillard and his wife Jeanette share a moment with Councilmember Yvette Simpson after Cincinnati City Council honored him for his work in the medical community with a resolution for Black History Month on Feb. 22. Council Member Simpson sponsored the resolution honoring Dr. Dillard. Photo by Andria Y. Carter

The African American Chamber of Commerce and The Cincinnati Herald present THE BRIGHT AWARDS, honoring 18-30 year old stars!

Friday, May 12, 2017

5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Anderson Pavilion - 8 Mehring Way (under the carousel across from Smale Park)

Music, Food, Networking, Inspiration!

Written by Dakota Wright

Graduate Assistant to the Graduate School Office

Herbert Shapiro was not only a professor of history at the University of Cincinnati —he was an active participant. From marching in Montgomery to protesting the Vietnam War, Herb lived his passion and his truth. The greatest of these was the belief that all people should be treated equally. His life’s work was to promote a more peaceful and accepting world, and he spent many of his years at UC doing just that.

Herb’s influence lives on through the Herbert Shapiro Scholarship in African American History, established by his wife Judy in 2015. I met with her at their home, not far from UC’s campus, to learn more about Herb from the person who knew him best. Although he passed away in 2012, his presence was everywhere in the living room—his smiling face in family photos, books he had authored stacked on the coffee table, furniture he’d used to accommodate countless students.

“He hosted seminars every Friday in this living room,” Judy tells me, “even with two kids, a cat and a dog around. I would bake things for the students and serve refreshments at every seminar. They really loved the seminar, because it got them out of the classroom. It was a bit of home.”

When Herb lectured to students in the living room, classroom or anywhere in-between, he wasn’t just reading facts from a history book. He was telling stories from his life.

That life began in Queens, New York, where he was born to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. “I think his interest in African American history had something to do with being Jewish and having experienced anti-Semitism—he felt compassion for another group that had been discriminated against,” says Judy.

Following his penchant for history, he earned three degrees in the field: a BA from Queens College, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD from the University of Rochester. But it was his first teaching job at Morehouse College that really cemented Herb’s passion for African American history. He lived in Atlanta with his wife and two children from 1962 to 1966, teaching African American history in still segregated Atlanta. After two years of living in a White community in Atlanta, the Shapiros moved to a Black community across the street from Morehouse where there it was possible to have Black students in their home.

“There was a lot going on,” Judy says. “We were surrounded by civil rights activity. There were marches, demonstrations and sit-ins happening all the time. We were in lots of them, and we brought the kids. One was walking and one was just in a stroller. We heard Martin Luther King, Jr. speak numerous times. My husband, along with a group of other historians, joined the Selma to Montgomery March from Atlanta, and they were jeered by the crowd opposing the march when they arrived in Montgomery. We had the full treatment of the ‘60s.”

In 1966, Herb accepted a teaching offer at UC. Although he taught a variety of history courses, his upper-level African American history course engaged him the most. In his classroom, he encouraged open discussion and embraced the viewpoints of all students. The atmosphere was one of spirited debate and inclusive participation.

“He was very much beloved by the students. The letters that people wrote to me after he died are just beautiful. They said, ‘He changed my life, I wouldn’t be what I am today without him.’ He was a tremendous person as a teacher, a civic leader, and a university leader.”

Herb made an indelible impact on the University of Cincinnati, where he stayed as a faculty member for 35 years until his retirement. Although he made major advances in his field, he would be the first to say that there is always more work to be done.

The Herbert Shapiro Scholarship in African American History was established to support graduate students in the Department of History (http://www.artsci.uc.edu/departments/history.html) with research focusing on the struggle for freedom, justice and equality for African Americans. Picking up where Herb left off, students at UC are looking to the past in order to inspire a better future. This scholarship ensures that they can continue with their important work. 

“He didn’t know that I was going to establish this scholarship in his name,” says Judy. “He was a very humble person.” Even if he might have had a modest view of his own influence, there would be no better name for a UC scholarship in African American history than Herbert Shapiro.

                  The scholarship fund has reached the goal set for it of $50,000, which establishes it in perpetuity. The scholarship fund from July 31, 2017, to June 30, 2018, will be $2,222 per award. Any additional money donated to the fund will increase the amount of money in the scholarship awards.

Museum Center, others tackling issue of STEM education access

Seeking partners to support minority businesses

Officer recovering from late-night shooting in Walnut Hills

The African American Chamber and The Cincinnati Herald present the 2017 BRIGHT Awards Luncheon

Single Tickets or Tables of 10

Was beloved professor, activist

Ms. T.J. Smith (far left) invited Celeste Kearney (center, back) to share with the Mt Airy girls her experiences as a White House intern.

City honors three in Black History Month presentations

Special Commentary

March 16, 1827 is the date that the first African American newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, was founded – 190 years ago.

Brian Taylor, a leader in the Black Lives Matter Cincinnati movement, discusses priorities the organization is addressing at an Applied Information Resources Community Forum. Herald photo

Travel opens new possibilities, says Tafrinda “T.J.” Smith, the founder of Aspire! Girls Group For 4th-6th grade girls at Mt. Airy Elementary School. She explained that last year, some girls at the school were forming gangs and fighting each other. “They needed something to do,” Smith explains, and so she channeled that girl power energy into a new program, Aspire.

            The girls meet and talk about everything from careers and academics to boys and bullying. Smith says that she was in high school when she got married, and wants her students to see that there are other options in life. Instead of gang life, these bright young women are talking about pursuing careers in medicine, law, education, zoology, fashion, and more. One of the young ladies has begun to write a book and aspires to be a published author.

            Last year, Smith took her girls on a trip to Chicago. Some of them had never stayed in a hotel before. “We stayed in the Hilton on the Pier,” Smith says, explaining that exposure to places such as the Hilton is important. She laughs about one incident where one of the girls flooded the bathroom while taking a shower – it was her first time and did not know that the curtain had to go inside of the bathtub. Smith was relieved that the Hilton did not charge them for the damage. “That’s the advantage of staying in a nice hotel.” Smith laughed. Other highlights of the Chicago trip included a boat cruise, visits to the DuSable African American Museum, the Navy Pier, a concert, and museums. This year, if they can raise enough funds, she hopes to take the girls on another trip somewhere this year, but it depends on whether they can raise the funds. Smith explains that there is no funding source for Aspire! so they must raise their own funds.

            They were excited to have a visit from Celeste Kearney, a college sophomore who interned at the White House in the fall. She shared her experiences, discussed the three branches of government, and passed photos while the girls listened intently and asked lots of questions. Yes, she did get a hug from Michelle Obama, and yes, President Obama made it a point to meet all of his interns. “He is really smart and very friendly,” Kearney said of President Obama. Kearney worked in the Office of Presidential Personnel through which presidential appointments are made. One of her favorite appointees was the new librarian for the Library of Congress. “Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress this past September,” Kearney said. “She is the first woman and first African American to be appointed as head of the Library of Congress.” Kearney talked about the long but fun work days (11-12 hours a day, generally), going bowling in the White House bowling alley, and other highlights such as meeting the butler at a White House Christmas party, then having him stop by her office with Bo, the Obamas’ dog. “Bo posed for photos with everyone!”

            In addition to the speaker series, Smith has a school sleepover planned, and a fundraising “Rock the Runway” fashion show, hip hop dance performance, and luncheon on April 22 at 11:30 a.m. at Mt. Airy Elementary School. Christie Kuhns, Esq., Vice President, UC Health, will be the special guest. The girls, as well as models from Inspire will model the fashions. Tickets are only $15. Vendor booths are available as well. Proceeds will help the girls to raise money for another trip –perhaps to Washington, D.C. For tickets and more information, contact Ms. T.J. Smith at (513) 363-3754.

By Dan Yount

The Cincinnati Herald

Executives with The Center for Closing the Heath Gap in Greater Cincinnati have outlined a number of accomplishments toward their mission of closing the health gap between minorities and Whites in the agency’s 13-year history, following articles in the media last week that those officials call “unfair’’ press attacks, and question whether the purpose of the sudden negative misinformation is for certain candidates to gain favor in the upcoming mayors race.

In addition to the City funds of $750,000, the Health Gap raised about $1.9 million in grants, donations and public support said Vanessa Gentry, the agency’s financial officer. The Health Gap spent about $1.8 million last year and has more than $3 million in cash and other assets, she said.

Community engagement

Dr. Melicia Whitt-Glover, president of Gramercy Research based in Winston-Salem, N.C. and the research consultant for the Health Gap, says other communities should be as fortunate in having an organization like the Health Gap.

Whitt-Glover, who has a background in public health, especially in promoting health in minority communities, said while researchers do a good job of developing effective strategies for prevention and treatment of health, the biggest challenge people in her field face is getting those ideas out to the community.

“That’s where we fall apart,’’ she said. “However, organizations such as the Health Gap are taking that research to the community level, such as advocating for elimination of food deserts with their corner store initiative, the screenings of thousands of people, and community programs on nutrition, infant mortality, and other health education activities.

“It is important people are made aware of their health issues so they can act on them, and many of the people the Health Gap is working with face health risks. The Health Gap screens thousands of people so they can act on their health.’’

The Health Gap is diligent in analyzing the data they gather in the communities they serve to ensure what they are doing has the most impact, she said. “You do not see that in a lot of communities,’’ she said.

Whitt-Glover added, “While millions of dollars are poured into community health research, organizations that carry the knowledge gained from that research directly to the people have limited resources, but continue to do a fantastic job to positively impact people’s health. Yet those groups, such as the Health Gap, are scrutinized more than those receiving money for research.’’

Expenditures questioned

In that the center received $750,000 from the City last year and is requesting $1 million for operations this year, the Center-bashing articles have focused on how those taxpayer dollars were spent last year in Health Gap operations. The articles especially note that the agency, which is also funded by private and corporate donations and grants, last year spent $500,000 for staff salaries and benefits; $90,000 on consultants; $18,000 for a marketing firm and job coach for the top executives; $8,000 for a civil rights lecture series featuring the brother of the center’s founder president and chief executive officer, former Mayor Dwight Tillery (but Tillery explained that the funds were used for advertising and marketing the event, and not to pay his brother); and $3,600 for community outreach and a website for Black Agenda Cincinnati. The Black Agenda Cincinnati is group of organizations aiming to improve the quality of life for Blacks in the city, formed by Tillery, Bishop Bobby Hilton, and Robert Richardson Sr.

Health Gap Chief Operating Officer Renee Mahaffey Harris responds to the listing of expenditures in the news articles by saying communications is a big part of the work involved in getting the word out to the target populations the Health Gap serves. That accounts for the hiring of a professional marketing firm that has helped the agency with advertising their messages in various forms, which is a common practice in profit and nonprofit organizations, she said.

Tillery adds that the Health Gap was becoming defined as doing only the Health Expo, the massive event held each spring that draws thousands to participate in health screenings and educational programs, including big name entertainment, and other family-friendly events. “That’s not true, and that is why we hired a marketing firm, for there are numerous programs we have, and we, like most nonprofits, also need to tell those stories,’’ he said.

Grassroots Mobilization Model

The City’s contract with the Health Gap addresses health disparities and directs the agency to implement its grassroots mobilization model to eliminate health disparities, Tillery said.

The Annual Health Expo has drawn more than 87,000 attendees since it was started 13 years ago. More than 30,000 free health screenings have been conducted at those events, and in several cases, participants have been taken by ambulance to local hospitals after critical health problems have been discovered during the screenings. The 14th Annual Health Expo is April 29.

Gentry said, “The lecture series are hosted to empower people with knowledge about the determinants of good health, which also involve issues with education, transportation, housing, employment, and other factors that affect the quality of life and health.’’

       The City’s Healthy Living Task Force of local organizations, with Harris serving as a co-chair, led to the focus on food deserts in minority communities resulting in actions to bring grocery stores, fresh markets, and other services into those areas, he said.

The Center for Closing the Health Gap launched the Do Right! Health campaign in 2005 to combat family obesity by promoting healthy living through nutrition and physical activity. More than 20,000 participants, including congregants at many churches in several neighborhoods throughout the city are benefitting from this program.

Most recently, the City passed the Health in All policy that involves teaching City department heads that there should be a health component to every aspect of City services, said Harris. The Health Gap has been working the city manager’s office in training those department heads. “We have had a strong working relationship with the City in dealing with health disparities in thee African American, Latino, and all communities for nine years,’’ she added.


       Staff salaries at the Health Gap, an issue raised in the articles, are on the low side in comparison to similar salaries at other charitable organizations locally, per a recent survey conducted by WCPO TV. For example, KnowledgeWorks CEO Judy Peppler was paid $638,009 in total compensation in 2014, the highest nonprofit executive salary in Cincinnati outside the health care sector, the WCPO research shows. That is more than the combined salaries and wages of all the 14 full-time and 11 part-time Health Gap officials and staff. The region’s 100 largest nonprofits had 112 employees who made more than $500,000 in the most recent year tax records could be obtained, the WCPO report states. The average salary of key officers and employees at the region’s 100 biggest nonprofits is $331,358.

Tillery, who makes $232,822 a year in salary and benefits, is not paid by the City. The City’s contribution pays salaries for six staff workers and half of Harris’ salary and benefits.

Funds used to pay consultants includes payments to community outreach workers and research consultants, Tillery said, noting that the center could not afford to have a full-time research or medical consultant on board.

Black Agenda

Black Agenda Cincinnati partners with 10 other organizations in seeking $18 million from the City so the organizations can expand their programs.

Black Agenda Cincinnati is in a sense tied to the Health Gap in that its mission is to improve the quality of life of Black people in Cincinnati, Harris said. The Health Gap mission is to build a culture of health for Blacks, in particular, by uniting with other organizations to improve the quality of life for the City’s most vulnerable populations, she continued.

Tillery, who serves on several prominent national health care advocacy boards, noted that nationally the solution to addressing 80 percent of health disparities is through community based strategies. “Health is defined as more than the absence of disease,’’ he said. “It includes education, social services, and other non-clinical issues. Access to quality care is only 20 percent of the equation. However, the amount we receive from the City is miniscule compared to the money the clinics receive.’’

Tillery noted that even the federal program Healthy People 20/20 is based on community strategies that focus on health education.

Partnership with hospitals

“A big problem for us is the narrow understanding that people outside our community have of us. So, they feel financial support for us is a waste of money. They do not understand us, and these kinds of negative stories don’t help,’’ he said. Yet, we have as many as five hospitals supporting us, starting with the initial three hospitals, and, if they thought we were not doing a good job spending their money as well as the City’s money, they would not support us.’’

The Health Gap has a community/academic partnership with the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, which places students in the agency’s programs. “I think this is significant,’’ Tillery said. In addition, Dr. Jun Ying, a Medical School professor and director of the school’s community outreach program, is on the Health Gap’s Board.

‘Racial profiling’ of Black leaders

City Councilmembers Wendell Young, Yvette Simpson, and Charlie Winburn were critical of the articles during a forum, March 9 at Woodward High School. They referred to several negative media stories about local Black leaders and organizations in recent years that is taking on what they say is an aura of “racing profiling by the media.’’

In addition, Mayor John Cranley has asked City Manager Harry Black to conduct an audit of the agency to determine if it is in compliance with its contract with the City, said a spokesperson in Black’s office. Gentry says the agency has received funding from the City for nine years with no questions asked about any of the invoices that have been presented to the City. 

Simpson introduces resolution to oppose proposed ACA repeal

As provided by The Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati

Health disparities among African American and Hispanic populations are well-documented and persistent.  Health equality will remain elusive if well-intended social and health organizations as well as governments continue utilization of a top-down approach.  Health disparities are often driven by the social conditions in which people live, learn, work and play.  The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) movement of the 1980s for example demonstrated that change comes when the people most affected mobilize their communities. The demand for healthier lives must come from and be led by those who are directly impacted.  

A 2012 report by the National Urban League Policy Institute found that African Americans have higher levels of illness, disability, and death, and continue to pay a disproportionately high price for health disparities.  African Americans account for $54.9 billion of the total $82.2 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity.   

The Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati (The Health Gap) is a community-based non-profit organization.  Our work is based on the principle that the people most affected by health disparities must lead the movement.  People within these low in-come neighborhoods will formulate their interventions, and own their progress.  The Health Gap’s Grassroots Mobilization Model engages, advocates, and empowers community movements.

Our mission is to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in Greater Cincinnati through advocacy, education, and community outreach. 

Our Work and Results Highlights:

  • The Health Gap’s Do Right! Health campaign was originally launched in 2008 to combat family obesity, with almost 20,000 participants to date.  Through community based participatory research approach and the principles of healthy eating, activity and living, this campaign equips community residents to take ownership and craft solutions to improve their health. The main components of the campaign include:


  • Do Right! Campaign is a resident-led Block-by-Block lifestyle modification intervention program that focuses on physical activity level and dietary outcomes. 


  • Do Right! Healthy Corner Store Network Initiative is addressing the issue of food deserts by equipping corner stores located in these communities with the necessary equipment, technical assistance, and educational training to transform their store into a healthy food outlet. 


  •  Do Right! Babies Initiative allows us to engage community residents in high risk African American neighborhoods to deliver culturally sensitive resources and education.  This information empowers them to adopt healthy behaviors which, in turn, will help African American babies make it to their first birthday.


  • Do Right! Health Leadership Institute Challenge for Faith-based Organizations: Over five months, core participants experienced 13% reduction in BMI, 44 percent reduction glucose levels, and almost all made significant life-style changes due to the program.


  • Do Right! Healthy Eating: Nutrition Train the Trainer Series
  • Key Result: Graduated 88 Master Nutrition volunteers, who trained 825 participants in one year.


  • Do Right! Neighborhood Block Research Study with Christ Hospital
  • Key Result:  Attitudinal and response data to understand community barriers and outline community-generated actions steps to implement.


  • Do Right! Kids Afterschool Intervention Program (grades 4-6 and Junior High). Significant decrease in weekly screen time and sweetened beverage consumption, and increase in physical activity and fruit/vegetable consumption.


  • Do Right! School Produce Markets: A partnership with Cincinnati school district to provide fresh produce in Food Desert neighborhoods.   Established eight community farmers’ markets in neighborhoods with food deserts. 

  • The Annual Health Expo is The Health Gap’s signature annual event providing health education in a fun, family friendly environment by providing free health screenings, health information, workshops, fitness demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, national speakers and entertainment during the one-day event. Since 2003 reached over 81,000, providing 30,000 health screenings – 38 percent of which were for individuals who had not received a health check in past 3 years.

  • The Health Gap’s Community Health University is designed to increase the adoption of preventive solutions.  The program addresses this need by educating community residents to better understand and navigate their way through the health care system, and improve their health care experience by focusing on preventive services. 

  • The Health Gap partnered with the City of Cincinnati City Council member Wendell Young to establish the City of Cincinnati Task Force on Healthy Living to address food access disparities and identify innovative solutions and national best practices to replicate in Greater Cincinnati. The Task Force also focuses on: Recreation, Parks, Schools, Beverage Marketing and Messaging.   The Food Desert Awareness Campaign, a multimedia campaign on Food Deserts, was launched in November 2012.

The Health Gap is funded by four area healthcare organizations – UC Health, TriHealth, The Christ Hospital, Mercy Health and the City of Cincinnati.  We partner with more than 125 health care providers, business leaders, social advocates and faith-based networks.

Dwight Tillery (Founder, President & CEO) is one of Cincinnati’s leading champions to solve the health disparities of minorities in Cincinnati.  Through his many social servant roles including Mayor of Cincinnati, City Council Member, and tenure of many state and local community and government committees he has worked to effect change for more than 30 years.

Board members are:

Mark A. Vander Laan (Board Chair), Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

Roosevelt Walker III, MD (Board Vice Chair), Ob Hospitalist Group

Patricia Stewart Adams (Board Secretary), Executive Director, Project GRAD Cincinnati

Patricia Milton (Board Treasurer), President, Avondale Community Council

Richard P. Lofgren, MD, FACP, President & CEO, UC Health

Thomas M. Finn, President – Global; Health Care, P&G

Rev. James E. Pankey, President, Baptist Minister’s Conference of Greater Cincinnati & Vicinity

James E. Schwab, former President & CEO, Interact for Health

George H. Vincent, Managing Partner & Chairman, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

Barbara Tobias, MD

Vice Chair Robert and Myfanwy Smith Endowed Professor

By Frederick H. Lowe

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

(TriceEdneyWire.com) - Chuck Berry, who died Saturday, March 18, was held in such high esteem as the father of rock n roll that rock royalty often played backup in his bands.

At Berry’s 60th birthday celebration in St. Louis, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, huge stars in their own right, backed Berry as he sang and duck walked across the stage while the audience danced in the aisles or in their seats.

The late John Lennon, co-founder of the Beatles, who sang from time to time with Berry, paid him the ultimate tribute when he said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”

The 90 year-old Berry died Saturday at his home in St. Charles, Mo.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Chuck Berry, beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away at his home today (Saturday) at the age of 90. Though his health had deteriorated recently, he spent his last days at home surrounded by the love of his family and friends,” according to his website.

On October 18th, his 90th birthday was supposed to be a celebration. He said he would release in 2017 his first album in 38 years. The album consists of new songs he had written and produced. He planned to dedicate the album to Thelmetta, his wife of 68 years. The release date for the new album, simply titled “Chuck,” has not yet been announced.

A signature guitarist and a prolific songwriter, Berry wrote songs about fast cars, women and the gifted, like the subject of one of his greatest hits, “Johnnie B. Goode.”  The song’s lyrics said Johnnie B. Goode never learned to read or write so well, but he played the guitar like “ringing a bell.” In the song “Nadine,” she drove a coffee-colored Cadillac.

During Berry’s long career, he was imprisoned twice for income tax evasion and a conviction for violating the Mann Act, which involved taking a 14-year-old girl across state lines for illicit purposes. The Mann Act also was used against heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson in 1912 and architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1926. The charges were dropped against Wright but Johnson was convicted.

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry was born October 18, 1926, in St. Louis. His parents were grandchildren of slaves.

Martha Berry, his mother, was one of the few black women of her generation to gain a college education. His mother was a school principal, and his father, Henry Berry, was a contractor as well as a deacon at the Antioch Baptist Church. Chuck Berry was the fourth of six children born to the couple.

He attended Sumner High School, a private institution that was the first all-black high school west of the Mississippi. For the school’s annual talent show, Berry sang Jay McShann’s “Confessin’ the Blues” while accompanied by a friend on the guitar. Although the school administration bristled at what they viewed as the song’s vulgar content, the performance was an enormous hit with the student body and sparked Berry’s interest in learning the guitar himself, according to his biography.

From left, are Trinity Missionary Baptist Church Pastor James. A. Lewis, Nancy King Jr. and Reverend Joel King Jr. Photo provided

Dr. Alvin Crawford (right) is honored by Cincinnati City Council on Feb. 22, for his work in medicine and in the Cincinnati community for Black History Month. Councilmember Yvette Simpson (left) shares a moment with Crawford and his wife Jean after City Council approved the resolution honoring Crawford that was sponsored by Simpson. Photo by Andria Y. Carter

Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is joining other community leaders to increase representation and access to STEM study and careers. Together with leaders in education, community development, youth development, business, government and other museums, CMC held a three day Next Lives Here summit March 2-4.

The fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, collectively known as STEM, are some of the fastest growing career fields, offering opportunities for lucrative employment and advances in services and technology with benefits worldwide. However, lack of access to STEM education, either because of poverty or educator limitations, puts some children at a critical disadvantage in their youth that extends into adulthood. The Next Lives Here: Social Change Innovation Summit is hoping to find the path to a solution by working locally and thinking globally.

"Cincinnati Museum Center is thrilled to participate in the Next Lives Here summit," says Whitney Owens, chief learning officer at Cincinnati Museum Center. "Our wide range of programming helps cultivate curiosity in learners of all ages, and we believe that STEM education is critical to helping people make informed decisions about their lives and their communities." 

The summit immersed participants in a deep exploration of barriers, successes, best practices and cutting-edge research with nationally-known local experts and visionaries from across the county.

As a precursor to the event, Design Impact Co-Founder and Design Director Ramsey Ford conducted interviews with educators, experts, funders and high school and college students in the STEM and collective-impact fields. The research revealed that poverty and its mobility are barriers to equal representation in STEM education and careers. It also showed that involving and equipping teachers in making STEM learning fun and meaningful is invaluable because of the precious time educators spend with students.

"The days of learning by memorizing facts are gone," says Owens. "We know that learning by applying STEM principles - in hands-on ways that are relevant to learners' lives - improves understanding and retention. We look forward to working with the Next Lives Here summit to see how we can extend Museum Center's impact on STEM education to even more members of our community."

As part of the District’s commitment to advance equity and respond to growing district enrollment by creating additional quality educational choices to meet diverse student needs, CPS is opening a new Rising Stars preschool in the former Carthage School and reopening the former North Fairmount School building. The Carthage School will be renovated and upgraded with a new play set, windows and roof and expansion of the Carthage community garden in partnership with the neighborhood. After engaging with the community, the North Fairmount building will open as Cincinnati LEAP (Language Enrichment and Academic Proficiency) Academy, a magnet school offering Spanish language instruction

Cincinnati Public Schools also announced that the Board of Education has unanimously approved entering into a contract to purchase the Rawson Estate adjacent to the former Clifton neighborhood school.

The move follows more than a year of community discussions about the possibility of creating a new school serving the neighborhoods of Clifton, Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview (CUF) and Spring Grove Village, while recognizing as a neighborhood asset the Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC), which leases space in the old Clifton neighborhood school building owned by CPS.

“We are thrilled with the options opened up by this purchase,” said Superintendent Mary Ronan regarding the property at 3737 Clifton Avenue, which includes a house and three parcels of land. “We believe this positions us well to relieve crowding and expand educational options in Spring Grove Village, CUF and Clifton while setting the stage for vibrant arts programming in close proximity to CCAC’s current location.”

The development is one part of the District’s larger Vision 2020 plan for growing and strengthening neighborhood schools, as well as its priority for expanding access to quality preschool. The new CUF, Clifton and Spring Grove Village school will start in August 2017 with three preschool classrooms and one kindergarten at Rising Stars on Vine Street.

“Carthage, Clifton, Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview (CUF) and Spring Grove Village and the North Fairmount area all will have new schools that are sources of neighborhood strength and pride,” Ronan said. “We look forward to deepening our existing partnerships in each of these neighborhoods and bringing in new partners as these new schools grow.”

Attendees at a Health Gap event in Mount Auburn gather educational brochures about improving their health.

Pastor exceeds signatures to be on 2017 City Council ballot

By Oscar H. Blayton

(TriceEdneyWire.com) - In 1960, Blacks in Virginia watched as the state changed the laws against trespass to make it a more serious crime, and the penalty was raised from a $100.00 fine to $1,000.00.  This action was taken by the then all-White legislature in an attempt to combat the Civil Rights Movement and more severely punish the activists that were engaging in the sit-ins that were taking place in Richmond – the former capital of the Confederacy – and across the nation.

During that time, we read the unhinged rantings of segregationists, such as James J. Kilpatrick, who wrote lies, to stoke fear and hatred in the hearts of whites against their Black neighbors by exaggerating the civil disruption caused by demonstrators.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Virginia was not the only state where fierce battles for equal justice were fought – battles where so many people suffered, and many lost their lives.  But much of the truth of this struggle was hidden by the dominant news sources of the day; and battles had to be fought to even bring the truth to light.

That was a time when the only reliable news about the Civil Rights Movement could be found in Black newspapers.  Even the storied New York Times and the Washington Post wrote about the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of spectators, a safe distance from the fray.  Having nothing to lose, the journalists at these newspapers, in an attempt at “objectivity,” often gave too much credence to the misrepresentations of their Southern counterparts.

Today, reading the current reporting and editorials of the large, White-dominated, corporate newspapers, I have a sense of déjà vu.  But now it is not just the newspapers of the Southern segregationists that are spewing lies.  The “alt right” haters have gained a prominent voice in the national discourse, and they are on their way toward gaining even greater influence, with Steve Bannon entrenched in the White House.

So now, as much as ever, the voices of the Black newspapers are needed to combat the evil we face.

We are witnessing the normalizing of the Donald Trump presidency, as the language of appeasement creeps, ever so slightly onto the front pages of the dominant newspapers.  Sports writers are chiding Black athletes for refusing to go to the White House and provide Trump with a photo-op, so that he can pretend not to be a bigot.  Journalists writing for many major outlets are reporting the terrorizing of undocumented aliens as “routine” law enforcement activity.  And stories about the law suits against Trump and the allegations of sexual assault, including rape, are evaporating from the pages of the corporate press like small puddles in a drought.

Too few Americans are alarmed by these recent developments because they are not in the crosshairs of the bigotry that drives the current administration.  There will be precious few allies to combat this plague of bigotry alongside people of color, progressive women, immigrants, the LGBTQ community and undocumented aliens.

But the one resource we have is the battle tested Black Press, founded March 16, 1827.  Black newspapers have always been the sword and shield against injustices aimed at people of color.  This tradition goes back to Fredrick Douglas and beyond, including the first Black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, founded 190 years ago by John B. Russwurm and Rev. Samuel Cornish.

The ammunition that we will need most in the struggles to come will be the accurate reporting of the truth; and it is beginning to look like the major corporate news media is prepared to compromise on that.  So, we must continue to battle to bring accurate facts to light.  And we will be opposed by those powerful people who want to hide the truth in the shadows by controlling the outlets that feed lies to the public in order to keep us passive, and apathetic.

Maintaining Black newspapers as a loud and honest voice that will fight for the rights of people of color is our best and brightest hope in these terrible times to come.

Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activists who practices law in Virginia.

Cousin of MLK Jr. is speaker at local church

The ammunition we need now more than ever: Black newspapers

Ohio Court of Appeals stands to set history

Damion McRae has been charged in the shooting of Cincinnati police officer. Cincinnati Police Department photo

This soon-to-be mother was able to receive information about caring for her child at a Health Gap program.

Reverend Joel King Jr., the first cousin of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was the guest speaker at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, 6320 Chandler Avenue in Madisonville.

James A. Lewis, pastor of Trinity Missionary Baptist, said, of the visit of Reverend King, “Our congregation experienced an electrifying message from none other than the Reverend. Joel King Jr.’’

            Lewis said King stated in his message that “History shows that it is the Lord who brought us out of everything we've been thru. It's because of us, why we are not where we ought to be today. We have a rich heritage and history, but we have been written out of history because of fear. If we all came together, and took a stand, we could make a difference and stop a lot of things that are happening in our communities and in our world.’’ He went on to say, that we may have lost this election, but we still have God on our side, Lewis said.

Rev. Joel L King Jr. was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He received the AAegree in Accounting from Cecil’s Business College in the same city. He is a student at the Ohio Dominican College in Columbus, Ohio and has been employed with United Parcel Service of Columbus for more than 23 years as a driver, supervisor and manager. He is married to Nancy R. Hayes-King of Columbus, and they have a son, Marcus Isaiah.    

 Reverend King was ordained by his father, the late Rev. Joel L. King Sr., (who is the brother of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Sr.) and has been in the Christian ministry for more than 34 years. In 1992, he King was called to pastor the Jerusalem Second Baptist Church of Urbana, Ohio and has served that congregation for the past 13 years.

He is a member of the National Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Advisory Committee in Atlanta, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Black Church Website.

In February of 2001, he traveled to Hyderbad, India, in support of Global Gospel Ministries, which has a goal of building 1,000 Christian Churches in India by the year 2020.

He is chaplain of the Gahanna, Ohio, Police Department, where he presently resides.

Herbert Shapiro Scholarship in African American History reaches in perpetuity at UC

Art Museum to enhance visitor experience

Girls aspire to travel to D.C.

Black Lives Matter leader discusses what matters

Herbert Shapiro and his wife Judy Shapiro. Photo provided

The Cincinnati Art Museum has been awarded a generous $1 million grant to transform the museum’s visitor experience through an innovative redesign of its Schmidlapp Gallery. The renovations, made possible by the grant from Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee, along with additional financial support from the State of Ohio, will allow people to connect with art, engage in focused study of collections, and provide orientation and connection to the historic Bimel Courtyard. The renovation will invite visitors to pause, converse, linger and discover highlights of the museum’s collection. The Schmidlapp Gallery is one of the most used spaces within the museum. Nearly all of its visitors pass through the gallery between the lobby and the museum’s Great Hall. The Schmidlapp Gallery has recently been used to feature “icons” drawn from the museum’s permanent collection including Warhol, Monet and Degas. Prior to October 2011, it showcased the museum’s Antiquities collection.

ZAPP funk band to headline at Health Expo

The Health Gap model, programs, and accomplishments

The Cincinnati police officer hit in an early Sunday morning shooting has been released from University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The police department announced via social media that Officer Kenneth Grubbs was released from UCMC Monday morning to continue his recovery from home.

The man suspected of shooting and wounding Officer Grubbs is an eight-time convicted felon who is probation for two years following his most recent drug trafficking convictions.

Damion McRae, 37, is accused of opening fire on two officers in the 2600 block of Gilbert Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Sunday when the officer and his partner responded to a domestic violence call.

McRae and the officers exchanged gunfire after authorities responded to a domestic violence call. Grubbs was shot in the lower abdomen.

McRae was charged Sunday with attempted murder and weapon under disability, or illegally having a firearm due to a previous drug trafficking conviction, court records show.

In October, McRae pleaded guilty in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in heroin and aggravated trafficking in drugs, court records show. Judge Pat Foley sentenced him to probation. McRae has trafficking cocaine convictions in both 2003 and 2006 and was sentenced to prison, records show. He also was convicted of trafficking marijuana in 2008 and sentenced to community control but sent to prison after violating community control. He was ordered to serve a year with 22 days credit, records state.

            Mayor John Cranley and Councilman Chris Smitherman visited the officer. "Last night's shooting of a Cincinnati police officer is a stark reminder that these men and women risk their lives each and every day for the safety of our City. I am thankful for their unfailing bravery and service to our community," the mayor said Sunday in a prepared statement. "I am also thankful the injured officer is safe and recovering. Please keep this officer and our police in your prayers."

            The officers responded after a woman called police just after midnight on Sunday. “My boyfriend, he needs to go. He just put his hands on me,” the woman told dispatchers. “He just spit on me. He just threw my phone. It’s just too much.” Her boyfriend McRae was still at the apartment on Gilbert Avenue.

Grubbs, a veteran of the department since 1998, responded to the building with his partner, William Keuper, who joined CPD a year after Grubbs

“Officer Grubbs encountered an individual matching the description given by the caller,” Chief Eliot Issac said Monday at a news conference. “As Officer Grubbs approached the individual to stop him, the individual immediately drew a 9mm rifle he had concealed… and fired a shot striking Officer Grubbs in the lower abdomen.” Isaac said Grubbs returned fire as he was falling to the ground. Keuper who also fired at McRae. After McRae was struck, the officers held him at gunpoint until more police arrived.

Investigators discovered McRae was armed with two guns: a folding Kel-Tec Sub 2000 9mm carbine with an extended magazine and a single-action .22 revolver. Isaac said McRae could fire two shots from the carbine before it jammed.

Mayor John Cranley and City Councilman Christopher Smitherman visited Grubbs Sunday at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Cranley called the shooting of Grubbs an 'ambush' and 'attempted assassination.'

 “Officers know very early in their careers that some of the most dangerous calls that they will encounter are domestic type situations,” Isaac said. “For the community, for law enforcement, for us all, we must be vigilant particularly when we are talking about violence in the home.”

Court records show it was illegal for McRae to possess the firearms. In October, he was convicted of trafficking heroin and cocaine, both felonies.

Isaac said McRae will face charges of attempted murder and having weapons under disability. McRae remains hospitalized in serious condition, but Isaac said he is expected to recover from the multiple bullet wounds he suffered.Grubbs has been involved in two other officer-involved shootings. In 2000, he was among the officers who shot and killed Alfred Pope. Officers were chasing Pope after responding to reports of a pistol-whipping in Avondale. He was credited with spotting Pope's gun after the suspect fell. As Grubbs shouted at his colleagues to back away, police said Pope grabbed the gun and aimed it at the officers. In 2014, Grubbs was among the officers who shot and killed Gregory Sanders, who had advanced on police with a rifle after he stabbed his mother to death with a pen.

Rev. Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm, founders of Freedom's Journal, March 16, 1827

The “Wobble” dance line is a popular event during the activities at the Health Expo in Washington Park. The Center for Clising the Heath Gap is in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest Wobble line.

Community members participate in one of the Health Gaps’ diabetes testing programs.

Community members attend a Health Gap program on women’s health.

By Asia Harris

The Cincinnati Herald

Community members recently gathered for an Applied Information Resources meeting at Christ Church Cathedral to hear Black Lives Matter Cincinnati leader Brian Taylor discuss the priorities the organization is addressing.

Taylor spoke on the recent verdict of the killing of unarmed motorist Sam DuBose by former University of Cincinnati Police Department Officer Ray Tensing. Tensing’s trial was declared a mistrial in November following a hung jury. Taylor said he and those who were a part of Black Lives Matter are extremely disappointed by this outcome and the police community in Cincinnati.

Many Cincinnati Public Schools buildings have resource officers in their school buildings each day. Taylor explained the emotional conflict that having police officers in a school daily brings to students because they feel as if they are being policed, rather than in a peaceful learning environment. The funds used to pay officers to be in the schools daily would best be spent on coordinators and student resources, he said, adding that students would relate more to having relatives taking over that roll.

Black Lives Matter has declared themselves as an organization for all who believe in everyone being treated fairly, Taylor said.

Taylor spoke about the oppression of African Americans throughout the United States and especially in the justice system. “We don’t advance unless we have an open, honest discussion about these issues,’’ he said.

Those present were provided a list of Black Lives Matter Cincinnati’s Political Principles, which follow:

  • Black Lives Matter Cincinnati (BLMC) was built to fight for Black liberation and to defend the rights of the oppressed. Women’s liberations are an essential component in the fight for Black Liberation.
  • We demand an end to police brutality!
  • End mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline and the commodification of “crime.”
  • We respect the gender sovereignty, sexual orientation, and the right to exist of all people free from persecution.
  • As an organization, we look to build and increase Black confidence and Black leadership. We look to advance and nurture the leadership of women. We center our political and organizational work in communities of oppressed peoples. We strive consciously for our membership and leadership to reflect that. Our organization is open to all - on every level, to anyone of any ethnicity or gender - who agree with and carry out in practice, our principles.
  • We support the fight for the $15 minimum wage campaign and other social and union struggles to increase wages, benefits, and labor rights for the working class.
  • We practice independent, revolutionary political action.
  • We believe that to defeat the empire of oppression we must solidarize with all struggles of the oppressed.

For the full documents, visit Black Lives Matter Cincinnati’s Facebook page or blacklivescincy.com.

Taylor opened the floor for questions, with attendees asking questions regarding the Trump Presidency. One woman stated the next four years will be a time of challenging any negative energy and rebelling against separatism rather than being fearful.

Ohio set history on Monday, March 6, when Judge Marilyn Zayas, whose father worked in a printing shop and mother worked as a seamstress in a garment factory, will be the first Latina presiding judge on a court of appeals panel for the state of Ohio.  Judge Marilyn Zayas was elected to Ohio’s First District Court of Appeals in 2016.  This court encompasses all of Hamilton County.

A three-judge panel hears every case that comes to the Ohio Court of Appeals, and the most senior judge presides over the appellate proceedings. 

Zayas grew up in a tough neighborhood in New York City after her parents moved there from Puerto Rico.  She overcame numerous obstacles to earn a college degree in computer science. She made Cincinnati her home in 1988 when she came to work for Procter & Gamble.  In 1994 she left P & G and enrolled at the University of Cincinnati College of Law to pursue her dream to become a lawyer.

Prior to joining the court, Zayas served the community as an attorney for nearly 20 years. In 2000, she founded a private practice and successfully ran it until her election in 2016.  She has an extensive legal background including: investor, business and family immigration law; intellectual property; labor and employment; criminal; and juvenile law.

Two weeks ago, she participated in the first all-female panel of judges for the First District Court of Appeals.  She was joined by Judge Penelope Cunningham and Judge Beth Myers.

Zayas credits this history making moments to the people of Hamilton County by stating, “I am proud that Hamilton County is my home, where with hard work anything is possible.” 

According to the Latino Victory Project, only about 1 percent of all elected officials in the United States are of Latino/Latina ethnicity.

Cincinnati City Council honored Aurelia “Candi” Simmons (right) on Feb. 15 for her community volunteer work for Black History Month. Councilmember Yvette Simpson (left) sponsored the resolution that honored Simmons. Photo by Andria Y. Carter

AARP Opposes Special Interest Health Care Bill