The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announces its next major exhibition today, Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu. The world premiere exhibition, opening Friday, March 24, is in partnership with Matthew Willman, a South African documentary photographer who was commissioned by The Nelson Mandela Foundation during the last 10 years of Mandela’s life. Admission for Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu is $5.00 per person. The exhibition is sponsored by John and Francie Pepper, Macy’s, and ArtsWave.
Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu commemorates the life and legacy of former South African President Nelson Mandela through photographs by Willman as he revisited many of the locations that had played an important role in South Africa’s route to racial equality and Mandela’s personal fight for freedom. Visitors will travel throughout South Africa with Mandela via Willman’s camera lens: Mvezo Village, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Robben Island. The exhibit will also feature artifacts from Mandela’s life on loan to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center from The Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“Apartheid broke apart the very fabric of our society using the barriers of race and gender to isolate and divide. It created an inferiority complex that even today, we as a country are still working to overcome,” says Willman. “Yet, it is this ‘Spirit of Ubuntu’ that exists within all Africans who choose every day to aspire to the highest ideals that this man, Nelson Mandela, laid out for us to achieve. Ubuntu discovers in each of us our calling to begin to move together, to realize our inter-connectedness and our responsibility to each other.”
From humble beginnings, to a life dedicated to resistance, Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu tells the story of a young South African boy who became a man prepared to die in the name of equality, justice, and freedom. This exhibition provides a platform for a sharing of values so richly present in Mandela’s life to understand the role forgiveness, leadership, truth, and sacrifice play in overcoming the challenges we face in society today.
“We are not far removed from the era of Apartheid in South Africa,” says Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Mandela's ‘long walk to freedom’ in 1990 altered the course of history in South Africa and the world. His courage, resistance, perseverance, and ability to forgive made him a global icon. We are honored to share his story and commemorate his legacy.”
The exhibit opens the public on Friday, March 24 at 11 a.m. Admission for the exhibit is $5 per person.
Robin Givens, television, film and stage actress and long-time advocate for those facing the challenges of domestic violence, will keynote the 38th Annual YWCA Career Women of Achievement Luncheon to be held Wednesday, May 10 at Duke Energy Convention Center.
The event honors eight women from the Cincinnati region as Career Women of Achievement for their personal career success, leadership qualities and status as role models for all women. The YWCA also awards two educational scholarships: the Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship presented by Kroger to an African American high school senior, and the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Scholarship, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee, awarded to an eligible YWCA program participant.
Past Career Women of Achievement honorees Mary Miller, CEO and co-owner, of JANCOA Janitorial Services, Inc., and Liza D. Smitherman, Vice President of Professional Development for Jostin Construction, Inc. and Partner in Brewster Pumping, LLC, are event co-chairs. Funds raised provide direct support to YWCA community programs that serve more than 34,000 women, men and families, including domestic violence shelters, youth services, racial justice programming, job training and literacy education. Corporate and organizational sponsorships are available, and individual tickets are $85. Call (513) 241-7090 or visit www.ywcacincinnati.org for more information.
Robin Givens began her acting career in 1985 with an appearance on the Cosby Show. The following year, she landed her breakthrough role as Darlene Merriman on the hit ABC series Head of the Class (1986-1991). In 1989, she co-starred with Oprah Winfrey in the miniseries The Women of Brewster Place. Givens then starred in a critically acclaimed role in A Rage in Harlem (1991) with Forest Whitaker, Danny Glover & Gregory Hines; Boomerang opposite Eddie Murphy in 1992; Foreign Student (1992) and Blankman with Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier (1994).
In 2008, Givens worked with Tyler Perry on his film The Family That Preys with Kathy Bates and on his TBS series House of Payne. Givens’ extensive stage acting included a successful stint on Broadway in the leading role of Roxie Hart in the Broadway production of Chicago and in the Off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues. Robin recently garnered rave reviews and the coveted ‘Image Award’ for her starring role in the acclaimed production of Blues for an Alabama Sky.She has written and directed her very own Original Musical Joy in the Morning. In 2007, she published her first book, Grace Will Lead Me Home which will be re-released with an updated forward this Spring.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the National Parks Service (NPS) has awarded $50,000 to the Ohio History Connection to evaluate Ohio sites that played a role in the 20th century African American Civil Rights Movement and propose them for preservation.
“From the campus where students trained to register African American voters to the home of Underground Railroad conductor John Parker, we must ensure the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement in Ohio is not forgotten,” said Brown. “This federal investment will aid the Ohio History Connection in its important work to preserve our nation’s historic sites for future generations.” Brown is a strong supporter of preserving important sites of the Civil Rights Movement. Last Congress, Brown and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a bipartisan bill to create an African American Civil Rights Network – a national network of historic sites, stories, research facilities, and educational programs connected to the African American Civil Rights Movement. The U.S. Civil Rights Network Act of 2015 would also establish a NPS program to educate the public, and provide technical assistance for documenting, preserving, and interpreting the history of the Civil Rights Movement.
By Herald Contributor
WLWT News 5 anchor and reporter Courtis Fuller called journalists together last week to restart a local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Twenty-two journalists attended the organizational meeting held at The Cincinnati Herald Building and founded the Greater Cincinnati Association of Black Journalists, a nonprofit professional organization.
Officers are President – Charisse Gibson of Fox19, Vice President for Broadcast - Ebony J. Wynn of Radio One, Vice President for New Media – Ashley Wilson, Vice President for Print – Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney of Sesh Communications, Secretary – Alexis Rogers of WLWT News 5, Treasurer – Steven Easley of EasleyBlessed Photography, and Parliamentarian – Walter L. White of Sesh Communications.
Committee chairs are Scholarships – Courtis Fuller with WCPO TV 9’s Mona Morrow and journalist Gina Ruffin Moore, Urban Journalism – Ashley Wilson, Community Liaison – Jameeda Rucker, Graphic Design – Shaun Elliott of WLWT News 5.
The group will meet monthly and begin planning for community events.
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Written over a five year period, from 1994-1999, for his “Little Girl,” and fathers and daughters everywhere, Clingman decided to publish an updated version, now that his “Little Girl” is a grown woman. “I wanted to take a look back at our relationship and compare it to our current relationship; I also wanted to assess my life as a loving father to my daughter,” he stated.
The original book, which would not have been possible without the help of Leroy Jones (funder) and Sam Thomas (printer), served as a catalyst for Father/Daughter dances at Cincinnati’s Beulah Baptist Church in 2001 and 2002, envisioned by Arethia Hornsby-Renfro, and included Pastor John Ivey, Pastor Joseph Garr, Courtis Fuller, and Lincoln Ware—with their daughters of course.
Nationally acclaimed, Fathers and Daughters is described by noted psychologist Alvin F. Poussaint, as follows: “Clingman encourages positive relationships between fathers and their daughters. His reflections show how powerful and enhancing the father/daughter bond can be. It is important for dads to understand how much their little girl needs them.”
“I am certainly proud to share this book once again, with new writings and many more photos of fathers and their daughters, especially those in Cincinnati,” Jim says. “I pray it will have a widespread positive impact on family relationships, not only between fathers and daughters but within families as a whole.”
Clingman is offering a special discounted price to those who attend the upcoming Cincinnati Herald’s Daddy/Daughter Dance on February 11 at the Duke Energy Center. Unfortunately, the books will not be available until the following week, but ordering information will be distributed to the attendees so they can purchase copies online until hard copies are available in Cincinnati.
For more information call 513 315 9866.
CHICAGO – The Obama Foundation announced that it has selected the architectural team of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) and Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) to lead the effort to design the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s mid-South Side.
The Center will include a library holding the Presidential archives, a museum focusing on the Obama Presidency and issues of our time, and space for programs and initiatives that advance the Foundation’s public mission.
“We are thrilled to announce the selection of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners to lead the design team for the Obama Presidential Center, and that they will partner with Interactive Design Architects as they begin this exciting project. Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners stood out in their commitment to exploring, together with the Foundation, the best ways of creating an innovative center for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges. Interactive Design Architects brings local knowledge and a track record for delivering excellence to large, complex civic projects,” said Martin Nesbitt, chairman of the Obama Foundation.
The architect’s proposal demonstrated a genuine commitment to also carefully balance an understanding and respect for the history and potential of the South Side, the Olmstead and Vaux-designed park setting and Chicago’s overall architectural legacy,” said Robbin Cohen, executive director of the Obama Foundation. “Together with these two firms, we look forward to building a Center that is a place for ever-evolving, innovative programming.”
Located in the city where a young organizer once inspired his community to take action, the Obama Presidential Center will seek to inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world.
The Center will tell President Obama's story in ways no other presidential library or museum has. And perhaps more importantly, it will deliver on the President's timeless idea that ordinary people can gather together and make change.
The center will:
- Inform visitors about our civic rights and responsibilities and inspire citizens to get engaged.
- Empower individuals who are leading change around the world, and help develop new ways to enable all citizens to take action.
- Connect people from different communities and disciplines to create new approaches to solving our biggest challenges.
- Translate new ideas into concrete actions that will have a measurable impact, enlisting partners across all
City Councilman Charlie Winburn he passed up an opportunity to run for Cincinnati mayor due to “serious needs in both my public and private life that I could not serve if I jumped into a long and demanding campaign.”
The deadline for filing for the mayoral primary was Thursday, February 16.
In an announcement released that same day, Winburn said, “I have been overwhelmed over the last month by the outpouring of support and encouragement from countless Cincinnatians and friends around the region, but after careful reflection and prayer, I have decided not to run for mayor of Cincinnati. I want to thank the new friends I’ve made throughout this time and the media for always giving me a platform to speak for the citizens of Cincinnati and fight to make Cincinnati a better place.’’
He said he decided not to run several months ago, but after strong urging from my friends and supporters, I began to reconsider my decision.
“I plan on continuing my service on council and aggressively pursuing priorities I have laid out for the city, including passing a structurally balanced budget, moving our police officers out of the deplorable conditions of District 5, and establishing an office of Inspector General in the city to ensure all city employees and public officials receive fair and just treatment under the law.
“I also intend to spend more time with my wife and family. My wife Coleen continues to fight her battle against breast cancer and it is important to both of us that I am by her side throughout the entire process.
“I am immensely grateful for the love and support I’ve received since considering my decision the same love and support I’ve received since beginning my time as a public official 25 years ago.”
Cincinnati Youth Collaborative is pleased to announce that Toi Clarke Jones has been named the organization’s Executive Board Chair. Jones is the President & Chief Solutions Officer of Onyx Sourcing Solutions, LLC, and a former Procter & Gamble strategic sourcing executive with over 25-years of experience defining strategies that deliver unique value. She has been an active Board member with CYC for over 10 years, and she is the first woman in CYC’s 34-year history to be appointed to the position.
Jones is highly-regarded for her contributions to her field, with clients around the world. She has been a featured speaker at the Market Pulp Association Conference in Vancouver, and has been recognized by the Path to Purchase Institute as one of the “Who’s Who in Merchandising.” She is also currently a faculty member with the American Management Association (AMA) in New York.
Jones is a respected community leader and champion for the rights of women, children, and minorities. In her spare time, Jones serves as Chair of the Program Evaluation Committee of the Greater Cincinnati YWCA, and volunteers for St. Xavier High School, where her son is currently enrolled. She is the proud mother of three young adult children, and is married to sales executive, Jay Wagstaff. Jones and her family take pride in their shared values for community service. Her reputation is characterized by uncompromising ethics, principles, and a commitment to aiding those in need. She is deeply devoted to furthering CYC’s mission to empower vulnerable children and young adults to overcome obstacles and succeed in education, career, and life. Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC), a United Way Agency Partner, has been committed to increasing Greater Cincinnati high school graduation rates for over 30 years by collaborating with schools, businesses and volunteers throughout the community. Since its founding, CYC has served more than 176,000 students by placing positive adult advocates in their lives. Working directly with local school districts, CYC offers comprehensive college and career preparation, as well as robust mentoring platforms for individuals, groups and businesses. Over the past five years, an average of 95 percent of CYC senior students have graduated on time from high school. To learn more about CYC’s services and to discover ways that you can positively impact the lives of our city’s most vulnerable youth, visit cycyouth.org.
Dr. Emmett G. O’Neal, who for many years was a prominent Cincinnati physician, died Sunday, February 12, 2017, at his home in North Avondale. He was 71.
Dr. O’Neal was born December 18, 1945, in Fairfield, Alabama, to the late Emmett and Mary Terry and lovingly raised by his grandparents, the late Luke and Elvira O’Neal.
He was born a fighter and carried on his duties of life with a sense of academic earnestness, said family members. By the age of 5, he learned to read and was hooked on books, and his grandparents took him to places he could only dream about, preparing him for a life of science and service.
Dr. O’Neal graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans, La., in 1969 with a degree in pharmacy and practiced pharmacy for two years while in the U.S. Public Health Service Corps in Staten Island, N.Y., and another two years in Chicago, Ill. On a dare, he took the exam for medical school and he passed.
He graduated from the University of Louisville Medical School in 1977 and subsequently began a residency at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati. Upon completion of his residency in 1982, he started his urological practice in Cincinnati, under the tutelage of Dr. Mulvaney and Dr. Hooden.
Always an independent thinker and businessman, Dr. O’Neal decided it was time to forge his own path, opening his solo practice in 1984, becoming the first Black urologist to stay and work independently in Cincinnati.
He worked for many years alone, eventually taking on other young urologists, and teaching them the business. In time, he became a very sought after surgeon and speaker for pharmaceutical companies across the country.
Over the course of his career, he had affiliations with Deaconess Hospital, holding the position of chair of the Urology Department. He was the chair of the Department of Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital and active sections of Urology. In addition, he had affiliations with Jewish Hospital in Kenwood, Mercy hospitals, Bethesda hospitals, Christ Hospital, and Brown County General Hospital.
He was a member of the Academy of Medicine; American Medical Association; Cincinnati Medical Association (where he was vice president to 1991 to 1992); and he served as president of the Cincinnati Medical Association in 1994. He is a very proud member of Alpha Delta Boulé, having held various leadership positions over the years.
Dr. O’Neal gave back to the community, giving many hours of service to the West End Health Center. He also participated in the use and study of the Holmium Laser Ablation of the prostate for treatment of BPH and learned to perform intricate robotic surgery on the prostate.
He was well known throughout the Cincinnati community as a prominent physician and will be remembered for his technical skill and ability to help people heal.
He retired from his prestigious medical practice, May 15, 2014.
Dr. O’Neal will be remembered and celebrated for his dynamic personality. He owned any room in which he was present. He was devoted family man and dedicated Cincinnati Bengals fan. He was also a passionate fisherman who enjoyed fishing from Alaska to New Orleans and beyond.
He will be deeply missed by his devoted wife of over 43 years, M. Jewel O’Neal; children, Jennifer O’Neal-Douga, Emmett III (Jennifer) O’Neal, Jean-Marie (Corey) O’Neal Coxe, and Elliott O’Neal; grandchildren, Maggie, Mia, Emmett IV, and Christopher; his siblings, nieces, nephews and relatives.
Visitation will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, February 19, 2017 at Spring Grove Funeral Home, 4389 Spring Grove Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio 45223. A memorial service will be held following the visitation at 3 p.m.at the funeral home.
Join the Black Agenda Cincinnati for a voter registration rally led by former State Senator Nina Turner of Cleveland. Come to New Vision United Methodist Church, 4400 Reading Road in Cincinnati on Saturday, February 18, at 1 p.m. Not voting is no longer an option for the Black community in Cincinnati. When the community doesn’t vote, there is no power structure to uplift the suffering people. No vote!, No power! will be part of the message brought forward by Turner.
“When Senator Turner was on the campaign trail for Senator Bernie Sanders, she often called on the crowd to understand that enough is enough, is enough when it comes to the treatment of vulnerable populations in America. Turner inspires action and instills hope in crowds of more than 20,000 for bold causes like labor, women’s reproductive health, voting rights, and income inequality,” said Dwight Tillery, convener, of the Black Agenda Cincinnati.
Currently, Nina Turner is a college professor, author, and motivational speaker. Turner served as a national surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders during the tumultuous 2016 Democratic presidential primary and now appears regularly as a political analyst on national television and radio networks. She has worked in leadership at the Ohio Democratic Party and as an elected member of the Cleveland City Council—both opportunities demonstrated her ability to unify opposing ideologies in critical circumstances.
This event is free and open to the public. For questions please call 513-585-9879.
The Black Agenda Cincinnati is a movement of individuals and organizations working to improve the lives of Black Cincinnatians. The purpose is to bring the Black Community of Cincinnati together to prioritize our challenges as a race. We will develop a Strategic Plan to address those challenges to move our people forward in all aspects of our lives as we advocate for social, political and economic justice for the Black community with the goal to rebuild the Black Community through community engagement education. For more information, visit www.the blackagendacincy.com. Follow the Black Agenda on Twitter @TheBA513 or Facebook/TheBACincy.
In a press conference January 26, City Councilman Charlie Winburn said he and his staff were victims of a political witch hunt that resulted from erroneous information leaked and encouraged by political foes and reported in the media over boxes of documents and back issues of newspapers from his office that were removed from the City Hall basement where they were stored and turned over to the FBI. Both the FBI and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office quickly resolved the issue and returned the boxes to Winburn’s office last week.
“I am pleased to announce the FBI and Ohio Attorney General’s Office reviewed these boxes approximately two weeks ago and found absolutely no wrongdoing on the part of me or my office,’’ Winburn said at the press conference which was also attended by supporters of the councilman. These boxes were returned to the Cincinnati Police Department, and then quickly returned to his office, he said.
Winburn said he wanted everyone to know that his aide Rosalind Fultz, who had planned to take the boxes home to sort through them for him, did nothing wrong relative to these boxes, which never left the City Hall basement..
He also thanked City Manager Harry Black, Police Chief Elliot Isaac, and other City officials who handled the situation “professionally,’’ as well as Attorney General Mike Dewine.
“As you can see, these boxes have been returned to my office. This alone should put to rest all doubt that these boxes are the subject of any criminal investigation by the Cincinnati Police Department, the FBI, or the Ohio Attorney General’s Office,’’ he said.
Winburn explained that Fultz often takes work home to review and work from home, which is not uncommon for many of the staff at City Hall. He added the FBI never took any boxes from his office, from him or his staff, and they did not raid his office as had been reported. Also, the FBI never linked these boxes to an investigation of the Metropolitan Sewer District, as had been reported, he said.
“The contents of these boxes are composed of old notes, old newspapers, City administration memos, and presentations, among other things. There was absolutely no intent to destroy or otherwise permanently remove original public records,’’ he said.
“The media would have been correct if they had said that the FBI did pick up these boxes from the Cincinnati Police Department. Unfortunately, they were reckless with the facts,’’ he said. “However, there are those in the administration who exercised poor judgment in leaking these misleading details to the press.’’
Winburn, who leaves office next year due to term limits, said he plans on continuing to work with the City Administration to relocate police officers at District 5 following the discovery of hazardous environment problems at the current location; working as chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, to ensure that another structurally balanced budget is passed with view of making certain African Americans obtain equal opportunity and accessibility; and advocating for an independent inspector general’s office for the City.
“I was pushing for an independent inspector general’s office before these events, and I believe that the circumstances surrounding these boxes only makes a stronger case for the City’s need for an office with the sole purpose of accountability, transparency, and objectivity,’’ he said.
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Afro American Newspaper
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - The Reverend Darrell Scott, pastor of the New Spirit Revival Center in the Cleveland area, a speaker at the Republican National Convention and a member of the Trump Transition Team Executive Committee - by his own admission - falsely stated certain facts that curiously suggested that some of the top gang leaders he had a relationship with in Chicago were Trump supporters.
Scott made his statements apparently in an attempt to impress President Trump and others at a Feb. 1 White House Black History Month meeting of Black Trump supporters convened by President Trump.
During the course of the meeting Scott told Trump:
“I was recently contacted by some of the top gang thugs in Chicago for a sit down. They reached out to me because they associated me with you. They respect you (Trump), they believe in what you’re doing and they want to have a sit down about lowering that body count.”
Scott went on to say:
“These are guys straight from the streets, no politicians. Straight street guys and they’re going to commit that if they lower that body count we’ll come in and we’re going to do some social programs.”
The president, who has already threatened on Twitter to “send in the feds” to Chicago, responded, “If they’re not going to solve the problem—and what you’re doing is the right thing—then, we’re going to solve the problem for them because we’re going to have to do something about Chicago.” In the end, the president seemed to show his approval of the meeting.
Shortly after the meeting, however, Scott began to retreat from his statements which apparently caught the attention of numerous news outlets and people both in Chicago and elsewhere. Scott told WGN News (while laughing) “I misspoke...I only had three hours sleep at the time. I meant to say former street thugs...Former.”
But it doesn’t appear that any of Scott’s White House statements were true!
Interestingly enough, those who have worked for years to reduce violence and crime in Chicago said they have never heard of or seen Scott. Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church, a well-known and respected combatant of the city’s crime problems, was one of the first to blast Scott for his statements.
“I guess the first thing is, where’s he been and who is he? Where’s he been while we’ve been fighting this thing for years? Where has this pastor been and why hasn’t anybody heard about him?” Pfleger told WGN News. “It’s very surprising to me, as somebody who works with brothers in the street all the time, that they reached out to Akron, Ohio … If you care about this, how come you haven’t done anything about this until now and you’re sitting at breakfast with Donald Trump? How much money is involved?”
In January there were 51 murders in Chicago, one more than during the same month a year earlier. The city saw 299 shooting victims last month, eight more than in January 2016.
At a different point in the Feb. 1 Black History Month White House meeting, Trump noted that “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I noticed.” The remark caused many on Twitter to ask if Donald Trump even knew who the famed abolitionist and orator was.
Celebrate Black History Month with Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil, an electrifying fusion of acrobatics, dance and visuals that reflects the dynamic showmanship of the King of Pop exclusively at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Get your tickets now at CirqueduSoleil.com.
Save the date for next year: January 27th, 2018!
Chatfield College in St. Martin, Ohio and Cincinnati’s OTR neighborhood has announced the appointment of DeAnna Hoskins to its Board of Trustees.
Hoskins is the Senior Policy Advisor for Corrections & Re-entry for the United States Department of Justice. She received an Associate Degree from Chatfield College, a Bachelor’s Degree from Mt. St. Joseph University, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati. She currently serves on the Justice Roundtable, the Civil Rights Commission, the National Coalition for Homeless, all in Washington, D.C., and is active with JustLeadership USA in New York, NY.
“As an alumna of Chatfield College, who encountered many of the same challenges that current students experience, I am pleased to be in a position to instill hope in Chatfield students and impact policy and procedures,” said Hoskins.
Chatfield College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree in St. Martin and Cincinnati. The Cincinnati campus is at 1544 Central Parkway.
By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
“Phenomenal,” “amazing,’’ “unprecedented” were words City officials used to describe the progress made over the past year in economic inclusion of minority-owned and women-owned small businesses in obtaining City contracts during an update on the City’s Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Program.
Mayor John Cranley said minority and women owned business contracting by the City ranged from 2 to 3 percent four years ago, but is now at 17.4 percent due to the economic inclusion push.
In year one, substantial progress has been made in achieving program goals including a sharp increase in minority and women-owned business (MBE/WBE) contracting overall when compared with previous years, he said.
Additionally, the City reports that in 2016:
• The City awarded nearly a quarter, 24.85 percent, of outside expenditures with MBE/WBE firms.
• $36.2 million was awarded to MBE/WBE firms.
• The MBE 17.44 percent award percentage surpassed the program goal.
• $8.2 million was awarded to MBE/WBE firms by contractors working on City sponsored economic development projects in 2016. An additional $16.5 million has been committed for award in 2017.
• The City certified a total of 205 firms as MBE, MWBE or WBE.
“This is a vision that has become a reality,’’ said Paul Booth, a chair of the Task Force for Economic Inclusion that was formed by Mayor John Cranley in 2015 to create more opportunities in City contracting work for minorities and women business owners. “This is a milestone for economic inclusion here. We are not where we were, but we also are not where we need to be. I would like thank Mayor John Cranley, City Manager Harry Black, City Director of Community Affairs Bridget Patton, former Department of Economic Inclusion Director Thomas Corey, and the Task Force members who spent many hours on this.’’
Vincent Brown, managing partner of BRBS World, a consulting company what has provided guidance for the City's economic inclusion initiative, said many of the 37 recommendations made by the Task Force for Economic Inclusion have been implemented. “We want the City to be the best of the best in economic inclusion,’’ he added.
Brown noted that 80 MBE/WBE firms are now registered with the City, and the Department of Economic Inclusion is engaging neighborhoods and forming partnerships.
Per the Disparity Study published in July 2015, the City was proven to have a past pattern of discrimination in contracting specifically related to Minority and Women Owned Businesses. In response, on January 1, 2016, City established the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Program and added a Department of Economic Inclusion.
Combining City procurement and leveraging of developer commitments, in 2016 the City helped secure $52.8 million in MBE/WBE commitments, of which $36.2 million was specifically awarded in 2016 (the balance will be awarded as the projects proceed).
This year the City awarded nearly a quarter, 24.85 percent, of its outside expenditures with MBE/WBE firms. The total 2016 MBE/WBE award including prime and subcontracting participation was $27.9 million. Of that amount, $19.6 million (17.44 percent) was awarded to MBEs and $8.3 million (7.41 percent) was awarded to WBEs across all contract types.
During 2016, total City contract awards of $112.5 million were approved by the City Manager’s Procurement Review Team for award with mandatory inclusion goals and/or to an MBE or WBE prime contractor, or were MSD awards which included City-certified MBE and WBE subcontractors.
Also, the City works with developers to establish MBE and WBE goal commitments for City-sponsored economic development (construction) contracts that are not subject to mandatory inclusion goals. For these economic development projects, the City engages the developer to voluntarily commit to inclusion goals per project.
To date, City-sponsored economic development projects achieved a developer MBE/WBE commitment of $24.8 million, with $8.2 million already awarded in 2016 ($8.1 million MBE/$174,950 WBE). The remaining $16.5 million ($10.5 million MBE/$6 million WBE) committed will be awarded this year, providing a significant head start in 2017 versus 2016.
This, when added to the $27.9 million awarded through the City’s in 2016, totals $36.2 million (prime/subcontract) awarded to MBE/WBE firms in 2016. When the remaining 2016 developer commitments are factored in with the 2016 amounts already awarded, the total amount generated in 2016 is $52.8 million.
In the first year of the MBE/WBE program, through vigorous outreach and engagement activities, the City has registered 205 MBE, MWBE and WBE firms. This is a critical step because without certified vendors able to do the work the success achieved to date will not be sustained. The Department of Economic Inclusion continues to engage through several outreach efforts to encourage businesses to apply for City MBE, and especially WBE certification.
Cranley said the numbers will only continue to grow. The key, however, is to certify as many firms as possible.
City Manager Black, added, “This represents a strong foundation for future success. I am certain that with the City’s continued commitment this only represents the beginning in making Cincinnati a city whose diversity in contracting matches its tremendous diversity in population.’’
Governor John R. Kasich has appointed Gregory W. Battle to the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Board of Trustees through August 2022.
Battle is a professional engineer and executive with more than 30 years experience in the automotive and aerospace industries. While he officially retired from Ford Motor Company in 2006, he then became president, CEO and partner at Coolant Control Inc., and in 2014 launched Lean Continuous Improvement LLC, the consulting firm he currently operates. His career also includes working as a systems/process/manufacturing engineer at GE Aviation, formerly GE Aircraft Engines.
Battle is also a certified expert in process improvement and lean manufacturing the Toyota Way, having achieved the designation of Six Sigma Master Black-Belt.
“Cincinnati State has students who are unfamiliar with the whole college experience,” Battle said. “For me, becoming a trustee at Cincinnati State is an opportunity to extend my passion for helping these students at the college and to use education as a way of advancing themselves into rewarding careers.”
Battle’s extensive volunteer work includes serving as a director for the Cincinnati USA Chamber, vice president of development and Chair of the nomination committee for the Dan Beard Boys Scouts, workforce director of the Cincinnati Urban League, voting director of the African American Chamber, and an active member of the OMSDC council LAC committee. He has also served as mentor for more than 60 minority- and/or woman-owned businesses.“We were very pleased to hear that Greg had been appointed as a trustee,” said Mark Walton, chair of the Cincinnati State Board of Trustees. ”He not only brings a deep understanding of the value and importance of technical education, but he also brings a long-held dedication to helping students succeed.”
By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
The Viet Cong were supposed to be observing a holiday ceasefire during the Tet offensive in the Vietnam War in July 1967 as a patrol from the 101st Airborne with Cincinnati native and paramedic Dewitt Battle in it was advancing on a search and destroy mission through the forward positions. What happened that day, and the amazing heroism displayed by Army Specialist Battle earned him a Bronze Star, which he seeks to have upgraded to a Congressional Medal of Honor, and deservedly so.
Battle, 72, says he does not remember much from the ambush of his unit that day except for a tremendously loud explosion and a wound to his right hand, possibly from a bullet hitting it.
But accounts of Battle’s battlefield courage are detailed in Army papers documenting the award to him of a Bronze Star for heroism that day. Captain David A. Korponai, in writing about Battle’s heroism that day for the Bronze Star award, stated:
“Specialist Battle distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on June 8, 1967, in the Republic of Viet Nam. Specialist Battle was moving with his platoon on a search and destroy operation when they were ambushed by an estimated enemy platoon, wounding six paratroopers and himself. Despite his serious head wound and continuing enemy fire, Specialist Battle repeatedly exposed himself as he moved among his wounded comrades administering emergency medical aid to them. On several occasions, he moved back into the ambush killing zone and pulled his wounded comrades to safety. His fearless actions, while he himself was wounded, undoubtedly saved the lives of several seriously wounded soldiers. Specialist Battle’s devotion to duty and personal courage were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.’’
Battle, a Cincinnati native, age 72, Avondale, and a member of the family that for many years has owned and operated J.C. Battle & Sons Funeral Home, said he joined Army in April 1965, five days after was married. He had graduated from Hughes High School, playing tight end on the football team, and attended Miami University in Oxford on a football scholarship, playing there in 1965 and 1966.
“I wanted to marry my childhood sweetheart, and we were married in April of 1965,’’ he said. “Five days later, I joined the Army to have a job.’’
His father Lynwood Battle Sr. was then operating the family business, but his son Dewitt said the mortuary business was not his “cup of tea.’’ It would be left to his two brothers, J.C. and Lynwood Jr. to carry on the family business. Both also served in Vietnam, but only after Dewitt’s tour there had ended. Lynwood Jr. received his mortuary science degree while at Ohio State University, where he played tuba in marching band. During his senior year, he dotted the “i’’ with his tuba when the band formation spelled Ohio at the halftime performances. Brother J.C. obtained his mortuary license from Muskingum University in Concord, Ohio. Lynwood worked as an executive at Procter& Gamble, and J.C. was employed by the U.S. Postal Service.
Battle completed his basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., and advanced infantry training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he said he learned to be a medic, adding, “and boy did they do a good job.’’
He was then stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., where he joined the famed 101st Airborne prior to being assigned to Fort Benning in Georgia. A year later, he received orders for duty in Vietnam.
Battle arrived in Vietnam in January 1967 during the Tet Offensive, and he was immediately assigned to a unit in the combat zone. The Tet Offensive was the series of surprise attacks on major cities, towns, and military bases all throughout South Vietnam that were launched by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops.
“When the ambush occurred, the Viet Cong were supposedly on a holiday,’’ he said. “I cannot recall anything prior to the ambush on that day. While I was operating with unit associated with the 237th Infantry on a search and destroy mission, I heard a loud bang, which must have given me a concussion, and everything after that is a complete blank. A round went into my right hand, but that did not stop me from doing my duties. The trauma was so great that it must have paralyzed my hand so it did not hurt, which allowed me to treat the wounded and take them out of the ambush zone. Our point man was killed, and six others wounded, but I do not remember how long the firefight lasted or how it ended.’’
He said the point man told him the night before the ambush that he wanted someone else to walk the point, as his time was short. He was the only soldier killed in the ambush.
Battle lost contact with the men in his unit, and would like to be able to find some of them to see how they are doing, as well as to verify what occurred that day as he applies for a Medal of Honor.
He said he was reluctant to make close friends with his fellow comrades, because “you never knew who the VC would kill the next day.’’
After the ambush, Battle was taken out of the combat zone and sent to Osaka, Japan, where he recovered from his wound. Ninety days later, he was sent back to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he joined 82nd Airborne, and he went back to Vietnam with the 82nd, but was stationed in the rear of the fighting. Even then he said he feared being back in harm’s way. Ninety days later he was discharged.
Battle retired in 1980.
Battle’s wife became pregnant while the couple was stationed at Fort Campbell, and she delivered their son, Dewitt Jr., two weeks after he was wounded.
When the couple returned to Cincinnati, he worked as a bank teller, then in the emergency room at Jewish Hospital, then as a UPS driver. They are now divorced.
Battle said he was taught at Fort Sam Houston that a soldier leaves no man behind, and he will never forget that.
Workers at the Cincinnati wastewater treatment plant on Gest Street reported that they found an 18-week-old human fetus around 4:30 a.m. Sunday. Officials with the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati said they believe the fetus was carried to the treatment plant via the sewer system, per a memo from City Manager Harry Black to City Council. Workers said the fetus was surrounded by trash. It was next in line to be scraped off by a machine, so they made a quick decision, rescued the fetus and called 911.
"This tragedy for both baby and unknown mother requires more investigation," said Paula Westwood, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. "Cincinnati Right to Life is reaching out to local and state officials and others to investigate further such a desperate and sad discovery."
First Step Home, the premier addiction center for women in Greater Cincinnati, is pleased to acknowledge the contributions of volunteers, funders, board and staff in making 2016 one of the most successful for the treatment center.
First Step Home, located in Walnut Hills graduated 42 clients in 2016. These graduates also mark the success of the Maternal Addiction Program, which helps mothers through treatment and provides a continuum of care while they work to create a stable family environment.
One of the keys to success for the year were the volunteers. Over 100 people came to the doors of First Step Home to give of their time with efforts in landscaping, painting and rehab, making and serving meals to clients, along with many important social activities connected to the holidays. “Our volunteers represent a way to bring community together that enriches all of our lives, while helping our clients in ways that we could not do alone as an agency,” states Margo Spence, President and CEO.
In 2016 over $200,000 in foundation grants came into the agency including grants from five donors above $20,000: The George B. Riley Trust, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Joseph A. and Laura L. Klunk Foundation, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Robert H. Reakirt Foundation, PNC Bank, Trustee.
Rachel Lyon, Director of Development reports, “Many other important funders lent their support to the agency during this most successful fundraising year we’ve ever experienced, including sponsors from our Rose Award Gala. Funds raised were used for our Maternal Addiction Program and the Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants. Another major contributor was Gilkey Architectural Windows, which donated all the windows for the Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants. We are grateful for all of our generous donors and funders.”
The support and hard work of the First Step Home Board continues to contribute to the success of this agency and their mission of assisting women with substance use disorder. The Board is pleased to welcome four new board members to the team including Sara Breiel, Cathy Cooke, Verna Tuttle and Jessica Walther. Board members are Sara Breiel, Jerel Coleman, Cathy Cooke, Jon Fackler, MD., Cameron Foster, Kathryn Freemon, Maureen Heekin, Brad Hansman, Jeffrey M. Hendricks, Esq.,.Carole Montroue Miles. Rob Morand, Hugh O’Donnell, Esq., Ken Schon, Mary Schwaderer, Verna Tuttle, and Jessica Walther.
Founded in 1993, First Step Home is a treatment center located in Walnut Hills. Established as a women’s only facility, First Step Home is the premier addiction treatment center in Cincinnati allowing children, up to the age of 12, to live with their mothers while they are in treatment. First Step Home provides an entire continuum of care to women with substance use disorder. Our staff works to assist women in rebuilding their families as they break the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction.
The Maternal Addiction Program addresses a multitude of needs for pregnant woman and new moms recovering from addiction with wrap-around services. The Maternal Addiction Program has had 272 women in treatment and has supported 136 births in the past two years. Women delivering babies in the care of the Maternal Addiction Program, stayed substance-free 65% of the time and 98 percent have no further contact with the justice system. First Step Home is helping the local hospitals have fewer births that result in long term natal intensive care by treating the women during their pregnancies.
First Step Home has partnered with Good Samaritan Hospital, the Center for Addiction Treatment, Crossroad Health Center, G.L.A.D. House, Healthy Moms & Babes, and Dress for Success to create the Maternal Addiction Program.
For additional information about First Step Home, go to www.firststephome.org
Or Contact: Rachel Lyon • Rachel.Lyon@FirstStepHome.org • 513-961-4663 Ext. 107
Best known for his role of Walter ‘Flynn’ White Jr. for five riveting seasons of AMC’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning thriller, “Breaking Bad”, and the handsome face of GAP’s International 2014 “Lived In Summer” Campaign, RJ Mitte will be joining a list of Hollywood stars, dignitaries, and ReelAbilities film VIPs to join Greater Cincinnati in celebrating difference at the region’s largest film festival, the 2017 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival organized by LADD – March 9 to 12 at the Duke Energy Convention Center.
Tickets will go on sale for all Festival events and screenings at the end of January.
Like his character in “Breaking Bad”, Mitte, has cerebral palsy, however, milder than his character. He had to learn to walk on crutches and slur his speech for the role. Following that show, he was on the big screen with a lead role portraying a character without a disability in “Dixieland” which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. To heighten awareness and education of his own issues with bullying and prejudice, Mitte is an official ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy and Shriners Hospitals for Children; and is the celebrity face for the #CutTheBull Campaign in support of children with disabilities.
The public is invited for a 10 a.m. Welcome to Cincinnati question and answer event with Mitte and other stars that will officially kick off the Film Festival on March 9. At noon that day, Mitte will be the Keynote Speaker at the Festival’s Premiere Luncheon.
Thousands are expected for the four-day, Hollywood style film screening extravaganza that will benefit local nonprofit organizations whose work is enriching and strengthening the lives of individuals who have disabilities, their families and their communities. It will include star-studded parties and events, workshops, speakers, conversation sports and more than 40 exciting films that show case the stories, lives and art of people who experience disabilities. Attendees will be able to learn how to act, model, tell their story, see entertainment, and create films on their smart phone.
Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD, Inc.) is a 41-year-old Cincinnati-based nonprofit organization that is guided by the belief that every person has ability and value, and that there is great strength in diversity. LADD works to propel the inclusion and success of nearly 500 adults in Hamilton County who have developmental disabilities through housing and employment options, life skills training, and advocacy leadership.
During its 16-year history, Classical Roots has grown from a small concert series in African American churches into a diverse city-wide community of music lovers coming together to celebrate African American musical traditions with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The Classical Roots community connects people of different backgrounds through a wildly popular spring concert, often joined by notable guests who embody the African American musical experience. Last year’s special guest was hip-hop artist, Common. At the center of Classical Roots is the all-volunteer Classical Roots Community Mass Choir (CRCMC), led by Conductor William H. Caldwell. The 150-member choir consists of members representing over 50 churches with support from volunteer choral music leaders, clergy leadership and partners. The program also enables churches to raise funds for their programs. This year’s Classical Roots Concert will take place at Crossroads Community Church on Friday, May 5.
E. Selean Holmes was recently hired for the seasonal position of Classical Roots Coordinator. Reporting to Charmaine Moore, Manager of Community Engagement & Diversity, Holmes is responsible for assisting with the management of CRCMC and the entire CSO production team while maintaining the schedule and communications, rehearsal venue set-up and music distribution. She will also use her archival skills to serve as the music librarian. In the 1990’s Holmes was a guest on the classical music radio station, WGUC 90.9 FM and also appeared in their newsletter. “I’m elated to return to the arts,” said Holmes whose background includes holding the titles of Chief Curator, Director, Manager, Visual Artist and Consultant in museums and other institutions.
Since 1985, her work has centered on helping others appreciate the rich history, art and culture of African Americans, including musical history. Holmes’ creative energies were manifested at the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center (Ohio), Smith College Mwangi Cultural Center (New England), Cincinnati Museum Center, Nat’l Underground Railroad Freedom Center, DuSable Museum (Chicago), Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies, Arts & Exhibitions International and Tavis Smiley’s America I AM Project (Los Angeles). Her extensive travel experience for work and leisure led to visiting several West African countries, Italy, British Columbia and multiple trips to Bermuda, where she assisted with the founding of its first Black Heritage Museum. As a curator she traveled extensively across America collecting artifacts and delivering presentations. Citing Yale University as her most memorable educational summer experience, she also attended Knoxville College and is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati. Holmes is the recipient of numerous awards for her work in cultural education and currently spends her time tutoring youth at the Envision Children program while also managing various consulting projects, and is a member of Lincoln Heights Missionary Baptist Church.
“Working for the fifth oldest symphony in the U.S. with 3 regional awards for outstanding work in diversity under their belt, is an honor.” Holmes commented.For more information on the program visit Cincinnatisymphony.org/classicalroots17.
Judge Tyrone K. Yates has donated three of the rarest first edition printings of books by John F. Kennedy to Harvard Library. The gifts were delivered to mark the 53rd anniversary of JFK’s assassination and two of the books arrived exactly on November 22, 2016. Mr. Yates, a municipal court judge for Hamilton County (Ohio) and former Democratic member of the Ohio House of Representatives (33rd District), is currently writing a book on the admission of James H. Meredith to the University of Mississippi during the Kennedy administration. Yates began collecting materials related to John F. Kennedy as he conducted research on his book. He has donated similar items and memorabilia to the Tyrone K. Yates/John F. Kennedy Collection at the University of Mississippi, the University of Cincinnati College of Law Rare Book Room, the Rare Book Room of the Hamilton County Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the John F. Kennedy Library.
“John F. Kennedy and John Quincy Adams, sons of Harvard, have inspired my career and public service,” Yates said. His first visit to Widener Library was in 1986 while studying in an Executive Program at Harvard Law School. He also completed an Executive Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and attended the historic Christ Episcopal Church during his time in Cambridge.
The three donated books represent a broad spectrum of Kennedy’s legacy as an author. As We Remember Joe is written as a tribute to Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. U.S.N.R., the eldest Kennedy brother who was killed in action in World War II. There are only 360 copies of this book printed in the first edition and only 250 copies in the second printing. Why England Slept is a version of a thesis JFK wrote as a Harvard College senior and was published in 1940. The book critiques England’s foreign policy and inability to prevent World War II. It is the first edition at Harvard Library to contain its original dust jacket. The third book, A Nation of Immigrants, was published in 1959. It presents a history of American immigration, explores policy suggestions on the topic of immigration reform and underscores the importance of immigrants in shaping American life and culture.
Mr. Yates received a B.A. degree in history from the University of Cincinnati (1978) and a J.D. from the University of Toledo College of Law (1981). He is a former Student Representative to the Board of Trustees at the University of Cincinnati and former member of the governing board of the University of Toledo College of Law. He was also selected twice to serve as Vice-Mayor of Cincinnati and served as a member of the Cincinnati City Council from 1990 to 1999.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced they are collecting materials from the Women’s March on Washington. According to the Associated Press, over 500 thousand people protested in Washington DC. Sister Marches took place across the US, including a march in Cincinnati Saturday, and around the globe, with more than 1 million people participating in the movement.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is collecting signs, t-shirts, hats, videos, and images from the Women’s March on Washington in Washington DC, the Sister March in Cincinnati, and from Sister Marches around the globe.
“We are an institution dedicated to inclusive freedom – all people enjoying rights and privileges of equal number, equal kind, and equal quality,” says Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Addressing the need for intersectionality, understanding White privilege, and organizing peacefully made the solidarity we witnessed on Saturday awe inspiring.”
Contact Ashley Jordan, Curator, at firstname.lastname@example.org and Richard Cooper, Director of Museum Experiences, at email@example.com, to make a donation.
Cincinnati is now a sanctuary city, according to an announcement made Monday by Mayor John Cranley as he was surrounded by local Muslim, Catholic, Jewish and political leaders.
This means, Cranley said, that Cincinnati will not enforce federal immigration laws against people who are here illegally, which is something the City has already been doing by not actively involving the city in immigration law enforcement.
Cranley said being a sanctuary city is a “badge of honor.”
Councilman Wendell Young has submitted a resolution proposing that the City of Cincinnati declare itself as a sanctuary city at the Council meeting Wednesday.
“The City has long considered itself as immigrant friendly. Solidifying a designation will confirm that our city is doing everything that it can to ensure immigrant rights are protected here and our city stays a welcoming and inclusive place for all immigrants to live, work and visit,’’ Young said.
Input in to the resolution came from community discussions, the National Immigration Center and interviews with existing Sanctuary Cities’ government representatives, such as Burlington, Vermont, he said.
“I am deeply saddening by the hate crimes that were committed over the weekend in Canada and Texas. I would like to extend my condolences to the families and friends of the six individuals who lost their lives and the five who were wounded at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center, and to the members of the Islamic Center of Victoria, whose Mosque was destroyed due to arson, in Texas,’’ he said. “These actions are not acceptable, nor do they represent the nature of us as humans. Cincinnati is a city that is inclusive of all individuals, a city that stands for what’s right even when it is not popular. My hope is that through this resolution we can further create a safer and more welcoming city for all people. And, I hope I am not speaking out if term when I say, Cincinnati stands with Quebec, Canada and Victoria, Texas.”
Cincinnati City Councilmember Charlie Winburn, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, said he has some concerns about the proposal. “I’m not interested in putting federal funding for Cincinnati in jeopardy. I also don’t want to make the jobs of our police officers any harder. Instead, I want to focus on our very real budget challenges and helping our police officers do an even better job,’’Winburn said.
In another move, State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) introduced a resolution urging Congress to rescind President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration policies and to limit executive authority as it relates to unilaterally barring entire groups of immigrants.
“President Trump’s executive order has made it clear that he will prioritize Christian refugees,” said Senator Thomas. “Our founders did not dictate what non-U.S. citizens should believe in, contrary to the language in this executive order prioritizing one religion over another.”
President Trump’s executive order did the following:
Suspended the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely
Suspended the entry of all other refugees for 120 days
Suspended the entry of all citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen)
“The United States was built on pro-immigration policies and the separation of church and state,” said Senator Thomas. “This executive order is ultimately a violation of the First Amendment’s ban on the government establishment of religion, as its intent favors a particular religion. Our country’s strength thrives when we attract the best our world has to offer as we build a better, stronger, and all-inclusive future for generations to come.”
All Senate Democratic members have signed on as co-sponsors of the resolution. It is currently waiting to be assigned a number and committee.
By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
More than 1,300 Cincinnatians attended Black Agenda Cincinnati’s 2nd Annual Black History Month Community Lecture Series featuring Roland Martin, columnist, author and host and managing editor of TV One’s “NewsOne Now,’’ as Martin provided marching orders for Black agendas in America.
Martin challenged the audience at Zion Baptist Church February 2 in Avondale to work together to form a force that can effectively challenge both White and Black elected officials to pay attention to the concerns of the Black community, and to also be a force in improving financial, educational, and healthcare issues in the Black community themselves.
“Ordinary people can do extraordinary things,’’ he said, pointing to the Civil Right Movement of the last century, which often involved a handful of people at the start and blossomed into massive forces that over a period of 13 years brought about numerous civil and human rights changes and laws. He pointed to how just four African American college students in February1960 walked up to a Whites-only lunch counter at the local Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina, and asked for coffee. Despite threats and intimidation, the students sat quietly and waited to be served, and they were joined by other students in a movement that eventually ended segregation at restaurants.
He said Americans talk about the icons of the Civil Rights Movement – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Sr, and others – as if they were “superheroes,’’ but “they were simply ordinary people leading ordinary people doing extraordinary things to bring Jim Crow to its knees.’’
Martin said African Americans appear to be waiting for their next “superhero,” without realizing that the movement involved all people. “Too many Black people are still stuck at the inauguration of President Obama in 2008 (in hoping he would be that hero). Yet, Black women said nothing about having a Black woman nominated as a Supreme Court justice while he was in office. There should have been a return on their investment during that time.”
Martin added, “We cannot change public policies when we don’t hold our own politically accountable’
He also said, “You cannot talk about a Black agenda if you do not challenge the people in power. King convinced President Johnson to support the Civil Right Act of 1964 and the Voters Rights Act of 1965, yet did not return Johnson’s phone calls to urge him to drop his opposition to the Vietnam War.’’
Blacks must have the courage to fight for what they want and not be afraid to use their own playbook, he said, noting that LBGT advocates met with President Obama in his first 60 days as President, but it took five years for Black leaders to do so.
“What are you going to do today after the march?’’ he asked. “Our ancestors took the agenda forward, and we do not understand those mechanics from our history. For example, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was supposed to last one day, but 50,000 Blacks did not get on a bus there for a year, until the Supreme Court banned segregation in public places. They did not buckle, and the movement was started by a small group in a church basement.’’
And Martin says, “The hell with the baton being passed from generation to generation. Run your own race. Black Lives Matter did, and they did not ask for permission.’’ But he cautions that the plan must be carried out together, or it fails.
The Black agenda is a working, fluid, consistent document, one that those in power should not be allowed to change, he said.
He asks if your document is a Black agenda or a Democratic Party agenda, noting that only 1.7 percent of Democratic Party campaign funds in the last five years went to Black candidates. Black businesses received only 1.7 percent of Small Business loans during recent years, something he consistently challenged Obama and his Administration about.
“The President was not happy when I confronted him about this, but I was there to get SBA money for Black people, for if we don’t get it we can’t grow,’’ he said.
Martin continued, “Money also equals power, and the number one concern of any Black agenda is economics, for without money you cannot fund your own grassroots operations or control politicians. It also removes the shackles of credit card debt.’’
Martin provided several simple, tangible things people can do to bring about change within their community:
Create Freedom Schools under the Children’s Defense Fund model at churches where students ages 4-7 can come to do their homework under volunteer mentors. This addresses an educational issue.
Use church nurses to conduct routine health screenings. This would address some of the serious health issues in the community.
Invest in a mutual fund offered by Black-managed Ariel Investments of Chicago, which caters to African American clients. It takes just $50 to open an account. Or better, get 5,000 people to open accounts with Ariel and each contribute $82 per month to reach $1,000 in a year, which would equal $5 million in Black wealth in your community in one year. Or join a Black investment club.
You can also sign petitions. State Rep Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) has worked several years to obtain 300,000 signatures to get her voter rights bill on the Ohio ballot. Blacks must come forward and help her out to get one of the most fundamental rights on the ballot before 2020, Martin said.
“If a handful of people back in the late 1950s meeting in a church basement or four students sitting at a lunch counter in the early 1960s brought about a 13-year span of civil rights changes, can you not do the same thing in 2017?’’ Martin asked the audience.
By Herald Staff
Alexandrea Thompson, a nine-year-old student at Mt. Auburn International Academy, and her 39-year-old father were both shot in a home on the 2200 block of Burnet Avenue on January 18, Cincinnati police reported. Emergency crews transported Alexandrea to Children's Hospital, where she died later in the night, police said. Her father was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was reported in stable condition.
Three or four men were seen going into the home where the victims were found and later running away, police said.
"Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of a child, 9-year-old Alexandrea Thompson, an innocent victim caught in the crosshairs of senseless gun violence," said Mayor John Cranley in a statement. “I offer my most sincere condolences to the family of this little girl, and I will continue to pray for them during this very difficult time. Our police department is working ceaselessly to bring those responsible for this murder to justice. At a time when there is very little that can bring this family comfort, I ask that our city join me in praying for Alexandrea and her family."
"Alexandrea was an exceptional student. She was a pleasant student. She had a smile that was infectious. She was one of the student leaders at the school -- a model student," Claudia Ehrle, interim director at the school at 244 Southern Avenue, said. "We are so saddened by this tragic incident."
Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call the Criminal Investigation Section at 352-3542 or CRIMESTOPPERS at 352-3040 or text “CINTIP” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). Callers may remain anonymous and may receive compensation for their information.Both Cranley and Councilmember Christopher Smitherman, who chairs the City’s Law and Public Safety Committee, have pledged campaign funds to increase a Crime Stoppers’ award to $2,500 for information related to Alexandrea’s death of nine-year-old Alexandrea Thompson.
Claudia Ehrle, interim director at the Mt. Auburn school at 244 Southern Avenue, said, "Alexandrea was a model student, an intelligent and hardworking student who loved art. She recently received awards for her spelling and positive behavior. She led by example as a student leader at the school, and she was looked up to by her peers. She had a smile that was infectious. We are so saddened by this tragic incident."
Grief counseling for both students and teachers have been provided at the school, she said. Some students have experienced similar losses, and this has triggered those memories, she said.
“The students are heart broken, and we have set up a memorial in the hallway that displays Alexandrea’s desk and artwork, and a memorial board they can sign and write comments on,’’ Ehrle said.The school is also planning an event to celebrate the life of Alexandrea to be announced later.
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